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nearwildheaven
03-25-2015, 09:11 PM
I'm sure this has been done before on this website, but WTH, I'll just go ahead and start my own thread on this.

We've all heard the story about Van Halen wanting a bowl of M&Ms with all the brown ones removed.

These are even better, if they're true.

I met a guy today who said he's worked in the entertainment industry in varying capacities, and he said that Barry Manilow wants a curtain put up between his dressing room and the stage, so he doesn't have to look at the stage crew/they don't have to look at him while he's walking to the stage at the beginning of a show.

:confused:

But he said the strangest request he ever encountered came, by far, from Janet Jackson. She demands that a new toilet be installed in her dressing room before she shows up; it must be a certain kind of toilet, and certified by the plumber before she will use it.

He said he didn't remember the nice people, because they didn't do anything to warrant stories like these.

:o

I'm sure there are plenty of Dopers who will have their own to add. :cool:

running coach
03-25-2015, 09:19 PM
Steve Martin. (https://overthehedgeblog.wordpress.com/2010/07/02/steve-martin-concert-contract-rider/) Obviously not serious. :D (.jpg, can't c&p any of it)

Max the Immortal
03-25-2015, 09:30 PM
I'm given to understand that the purpose of riders is to make sure that the people from the venue pay attention to details. If the band shows up and there's no bowl of M&Ms, or there's a bowl of M&Ms including brown ones, it's a sign that the venue is cutting corners. Where else are they cutting corners? With the lighting? That could be dangerous.

Exapno Mapcase
03-25-2015, 09:37 PM
Mick Fleetwood's new autobiography says that at the height of Fleetwood Mac, they demanded that hotels paint rooms pink for Christine McVie and Stevie Nicks. Stevie also demanded a white piano in her room, which often involved cranes to get it there. Why did they stay only at the most expensive hotels, some financial people once asked. The answer was obvious. Only the most expensive hotels would cater to requests like painting a room for a night's stay.

nearwildheaven
03-25-2015, 09:41 PM
Mick Fleetwood's new autobiography says that at the height of Fleetwood Mac, they demanded that hotels paint rooms pink for Christine McVie and Stevie Nicks. Stevie also demanded a white piano in her room, which often involved cranes to get it there. Why did they stay only at the most expensive hotels, some financial people once asked. The answer was obvious. Only the most expensive hotels would cater to requests like painting a room for a night's stay.

None of that surprises me. I've definitely heard the story about Nicks taking cocaine, ahem, some OTHER way, when she couldn't take it nasally any more.

(this board could use a vomit smiley)

Joey P
03-25-2015, 09:45 PM
I'm given to understand that the purpose of riders is to make sure that the people from the venue pay attention to details. If the band shows up and there's no bowl of M&Ms, or there's a bowl of M&Ms including brown ones, it's a sign that the venue is cutting corners. Where else are they cutting corners? With the lighting? That could be dangerous.

That's (supposedly) the purpose of the really bizarre stuff on the riders like the bowl of M&M's with no green ones. But a venue would be nuts to not do exactly what's on the rider. They signed it, do they really want a big name walking off (with their money) because they said 'he wants _____, screw it'.

My store does catering for a lot of big names and we get some of that stuff. Most of it isn't too strange. Fruit platters that must have papaya, meat platters with all kosher/organic meats, etc. During the season that we do most of this the venue won't always tell us who it's for (they host about 100+ major/semi major bands over the course of 10 days), but if you head over to The Smoking Gun and check out the riders we can usually figure it out who wanted, for example, recycled napkins or a block of soy cheese if you know what acts are in town in the next 48 hours.

nearwildheaven
03-25-2015, 09:46 PM
Steve Martin. (https://overthehedgeblog.wordpress.com/2010/07/02/steve-martin-concert-contract-rider/) Obviously not serious. :D (.jpg, can't c&p any of it)

One of his comedy routines said that he demanded that the letter "W" be stricken from the English language.

:p

"Without it, a waffle would simply be awful....." (SFW - it's from "Sesame Street")

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XJcdpKYIFKs

buddha_david
03-25-2015, 10:23 PM
"I want LARGE bread!" (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ypcSHTLlK8E)

Doug K.
03-25-2015, 10:32 PM
One of his comedy routines said that he demanded that the letter "W" be stricken from the English language.


That was in his list of demands in a hostage situation. He said you should make one nutty demand so if you got caught you could plead insanity. [sarcastic voice]"Getaway car!!"[/sarcastic voice]

The Winkler
03-26-2015, 01:27 AM
I have heard that Roger Daltry demands bottles of fresh milk. One of the hair bands from the late '80s (Poison? Warrant?) demanded a cache of porno magazines be supplied back stage. And I read that Peter Gabriel requests a massage from a female that includes a happy ending. Don't know how accurate that last one is.

There is a video on youtube with one of the guys from Metallica reading off a list of Axl Rose's backstage demands. It shows what a narcissistic bastard Axl is.

Edit: Here's the link.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5w-tx6bfyn8

nearwildheaven
03-26-2015, 01:37 AM
One of the hair bands from the late '80s (Poison? Warrant?) demanded a cache of porno magazines be supplied back stage. And I read that Peter Gabriel requests a massage from a female that includes a happy ending. Don't know how accurate that last one is.

My sister is a LCMT. One of the things they learn about in massage therapy school is what to do if a client requests this. In short, they tell them that they must get dressed and leave immediately, or the police will be called. They don't fool around with things like this. Maybe it's another kind of masseuse he hires, if that's the case.

One of my college classmates was involved in a peripheral way with a Guns N'Roses concert when we were in school (early 1990s) and among other things, he had to go to a local grocery store and buy IIRC 40 loaves of bread for the backstage buffet (lots of crew and "camp followers" to feed too!) and he too had to go to an adult bookstore and pick up some porno mags. The one I remember him talking about was one called "Score". :p I said, "Good heavens, you'd think they already had enough of the real thing!"

WordMan
03-26-2015, 06:18 AM
Mick Fleetwood's new autobiography says that at the height of Fleetwood Mac, they demanded that hotels paint rooms pink for Christine McVie and Stevie Nicks. Stevie also demanded a white piano in her room, which often involved cranes to get it there. Why did they stay only at the most expensive hotels, some financial people once asked. The answer was obvious. Only the most expensive hotels would cater to requests like painting a room for a night's stay.

He has a new autobiography? I read one from a good, oh, 15 years ago - ah, here it is; heck, it is from 1991:

http://www.amazon.com/Fleetwood-My-Life-Adventures-Mac/dp/038071616X

Came across like a complete idiot (to be clear, I have a deep respect for FM through their various incarnations). Stories about customizing a Ferrari (?) with a penis-shaped stickshift; attaching a foot-long rubber dildo with a suction-cup base to the front of his kick drum so it would bounce along; getting into a Catfish relationship via phone that (I think) led to a divorce. Just kinda "boys will be boys" cluelessness, told with a lack of self-reflection that was hilarious.

Similar to Ron Wood's autobio, which was totally clueless as well, esp when read alongside Keith Richard's which was definitive and brilliant, and Rod Stewart's which is a wonderful collection of stories, well told.

kayaker
03-26-2015, 06:52 AM
Blues keyboard legend Pinetop Perkins was 93 when he played at a friend's club. The day of the sold-out show, the club owner asked if I would be willing to be Pinetop's bodyguard/gopher, which he just realized his contract stipulated. I agreed.

My friend told me to do whatever the guy asked. We got along great; his stories were amazing. Then he asked if I would get him anything he wanted. My mind went to the gutter, but I told him yes. He asked for vanilla icecream. I ran to the closest store and bought some. I spent the rest of the afternoon moving his icecream from the counter to the fridge to the freezer, as he slowly consumed the quart.

OneCentStamp
03-26-2015, 07:01 AM
I put on small to medium sized shows (300-3000 seaters) throughout the late 90s and early 2000s. No "no brown M&Ms!" bullshit at that level of success, but plenty of demands for certain brands of beer or bottled water, oddball dietary requirements, along with weird ones like tube socks and batteries. However, I'll offer one counter-example to all the weirdness and narcissism here.

Fugazi's hospitality rider called for:
4 bottles of water
4 bottles of sparkling water
4 bottles of Gatorade or some similar sports drink
4 clean towels

No massages, no knickknacks. No food.

Also, unique among bands of their stature, their contract didn't include a guarantee, which in turn allowed them to set the ticket price: no more than $6.

kayaker
03-26-2015, 07:17 AM
Another blues performer who played at my friend's club was Son Seals. His contract specified twin beds, three feet apart from each other. I helped set that up. He had lost a leg to diabetes. When he went to bed, he removed his prosthesis and "tucked it in" to the other bed. When he woke up he was able to sit up, grab his prosthetic leg, and put it on.

Sam Lowry
03-26-2015, 10:17 AM
I'm given to understand that the purpose of riders is to make sure that the people from the venue pay attention to details. If the band shows up and there's no bowl of M&Ms, or there's a bowl of M&Ms including brown ones, it's a sign that the venue is cutting corners. Where else are they cutting corners? With the lighting? That could be dangerous.

Right, the brown M&Ms thing was a super smart thing to include in the rider. Snopes has the full explanation. (http://www.snopes.com/music/artists/vanhalen.asp) Van Halen had an elaborate lighting and stage setup, that was super heavy, much heavier than other touring bands' setups. It was something that needed to be setup up properly so that it worked right and so that it didn't come crashing down on top of anyone. If the rider was followed and there were no brown M&Ms in the bowl, the band could feel reasonably confident that the rest of the contract was followed and all the lighting and such were setup up properly. But if there were brown M&Ms in the bowl, the whole setup would need to be carefully checked. One concert shows how it was justified:

The folks in Pueblo, Colorado, at the university, took the contract rather kinda casual. They had one of these new rubberized bouncy basketball floorings in their arena. They hadn't read the contract, and weren't sure, really, about the weight of this production; this thing weighed like the business end of a 747.

I came backstage. I found some brown M&M's, I went into full Shakespearean "What is this before me?" . . . you know, with the skull in one hand . . . and promptly trashed the dressing room. Dumped the buffet, kicked a hole in the door, twelve thousand dollars' worth of fun.

The staging sank through their floor. They didn't bother to look at the weight requirements or anything, and this sank through their new flooring and did eighty thousand dollars' worth of damage to the arena floor. The whole thing had to be replaced. It came out in the press that I discovered brown M&M's and did eighty-five thousand dollars' worth of damage to the backstage area.

gaffa
03-26-2015, 10:19 AM
A friend of mine who is an emergency room physician got a call from the management of the Rolling Stones on their first tour after the murder of John Lennon. Apparently, Jagger was freaked out by this, and demanded that a trauma doctor be sitting on side of the stage at every show on the tour. My friend asked what it paid, and was told that it paid nothing, that anyone should be honored to do this for free.

My friend replied that:


He didn't spend all those years in medical school and residency so he could work for free.
Mick Jagger has plenty of money to hire anyone he wanted.
He didn't give a shit about the Stones - he was a Beatles fan.


They finally called back, offering $2000, 8 front row tickets and backstage passes. He took it because he realized that plenty of his friends would enjoy the show.

Suburban Plankton
03-26-2015, 12:21 PM
I recall reading that there was a band whose touring schedule one year had them visiting many of the same venues that Van Halen had recently played, who stipulated that they receive all of the brown m&ms that went unused during the Van Halen shows.

Unfortunately Google is not being helpful this morning, so I'm not sure if the story is true...

gaffa
03-26-2015, 12:30 PM
But he said the strangest request he ever encountered came, by far, from Janet Jackson. She demands that a new toilet be installed in her dressing room before she shows up; it must be a certain kind of toilet, and certified by the plumber before she will use it.
That's pretty extreme, but I have heard of those who specify that a new toilet seat be installed. I wonder if she demanded a Washlet bidet type of toilet?

Anyway, at the height of her fame, they could probably recover part of the expense by reselling the toilet on eBay.

Joey P
03-26-2015, 12:47 PM
Anyway, at the height of her fame, they could probably recover part of the expense by reselling the toilet on eBay.

At the height of her fame (Control/Rhythm Nation IMO), there was no eBay.

Slow Moving Vehicle
03-26-2015, 01:07 PM
We discussed this in a thread some time ago, and I remember the "clean socks" thing coming up. The poster pointed out that a band on a long tour doesn't necessarily have frequent or convenient access to a laundry. Putting in a "clean socks" rider is an easy solution; and I speak from personal experience when I say that putting on a pair of fresh, clean socks after you've been wearing dirty ones for a while (a month, in my case) is an exquisitely wonderful sensation.

nearwildheaven
03-26-2015, 06:09 PM
That's pretty extreme, but I have heard of those who specify that a new toilet seat be installed. I wonder if she demanded a Washlet bidet type of toilet?

Anyway, at the height of her fame, they could probably recover part of the expense by reselling the toilet on eBay.

Someone else there suggested doing exactly this! :cool:

As for the brown M&Ms, I think that was Billy Idol's band.

RealityChuck
03-26-2015, 06:17 PM
Martin Mull is only known today as an actor, but he is a songwriter and back in the early 70s, he put out a few albums. On his first album was a song "Margie the Midget." His contract included a rider that any midgets attending the concert were to escorted to the front row and seated there.

Lemmytheseal2
03-26-2015, 06:52 PM
I put on small to medium sized shows (300-3000 seaters) throughout the late 90s and early 2000s. No "no brown M&Ms!" bullshit at that level of success, but plenty of demands for certain brands of beer or bottled water, oddball dietary requirements, along with weird ones like tube socks and batteries. However, I'll offer one counter-example to all the weirdness and narcissism here.

Fugazi's hospitality rider called for:
4 bottles of water
4 bottles of sparkling water
4 bottles of Gatorade or some similar sports drink
4 clean towels

No massages, no knickknacks. No food.

Also, unique among bands of their stature, their contract didn't include a guarantee, which in turn allowed them to set the ticket price: no more than $6.

So awesome. I think this means something, in light of the conversations in the Beyonce/megastar thread.

Iggy
03-27-2015, 12:58 PM
Back in my college days I worked for the concessionaire at a venue that hosted concerts. I was the one who set up the food and/or beverage order in the performer's dressing room(s) and had to deal with these riders.

I had responsibility for the food and beverage but had absolutely nothing to do with the setup of the stage, lighting, or sound systems. I did my job properly but that in no way should imply that the electrical people did their work correctly, and vice versa.

Most riders specified exact setups including brands of beverages and the manner of service. Typical would be 6 cans of Coke (NOT PEPSI!) on ice. 12 bottles of Dasani bottled water at room temperature, with a bowl of ice and 6 drinking glasses (Glass, not plastic!). And so on...

It was the rare one that left anything to my discretion. I remember one of those rarities asking for a six pack of bottles of a locally produced lager. I got to go to the liquor store and pick and choose.

None of the requests were particularly weird. No picking out brown M&M's. But we certainly catered to the personal preferences of the performers.

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