Video: Crazy Musician Tour Demands Exposed & Explained!

Musicians are well known for being eccentric, and you’ve probably heard a story or two about what the demand while on tour. Let’s check out some of the “craziest” stuff in this video!

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Musicians are known for being crazy. Let’s see why!

In the movie Wanye’s World 2, fictional super rodie Del Preston tells the some-what fictional story about trying to find 1,000 brown M&Ms to fill a bowl for Ozzy Osborn, who wouldn’t go on stage without them.

Van Halen's Tour Rider Contract Clause about No Brown M&M's

Actual Rider Contract Clause about No Brown M&M’s

That is a parody of a real-life rider request by Van Halen.

Though, the details are a bit different. Van Halen’s tour rider included a clause that specified a bowl of M&M’s be in their dressing room upon arrival at a venue. However, all the brown M&M’s need to be removed… not, be the only color, like in the movie. That sounds kind of pompous. Well, really pompous.

It was actually quite a genius move by the band.

A tour rider is a set of requests… or demands in the form contractual obligations, made by a band or performer when they are on tour that is to be fulfilled by the venue and its staff not super rodies, like Del. There are two types of riders. One is a technical rider. This includes any equipment necessary for the performance, sound system and/or lighting, staff requirements, like security, and any other business associated arrangements that must be met in order for the show to happen as it should. Pretty straight forward stuff, but the other type of rider is where tabloids and classic early 90s comedies get their fodder.

These are called hospitality riders. These are for the non-technical request and may be contractual obligations as well. Most items are pretty straight forward; types of beverages, food, free tickets for friends and so on. And, while some requests may seem strange at first glance they make sense for anyone that has done a live show – fresh socks and towels for example.


Maria Carey had a pretty notable case of rider notability when doing a Christmas special back in her prime. She required a Rolls-Royce, a pink carpet, pink podium, confetti shaped as butterflies, 80 security guards and 15-person entourage. All of which, being one of the biggest stars at the time, is understandable.

It was the 20 white kittens and 100 white doves that proved to be the problem. But, leave it to stellar venue personnel, and they did actually find 100 doves which were to be released during the performance. Though, the white kittens were never produced and ultimately the clause was turned down due to “health and safety concerns”.


In the end, “Mariah Carey needed 100 white doves” sounds crazy, and probably sold magazines and gets clicks, but it was for a show, that I bet was incredible… if you weren’t on the receiving end of a poop-shot that is.

So, that brings us back to Van Halen and the crazy brown M & M’s s story. What’s the deal?

Van Halen was one of the first extremely large acts to begin touring in smaller, less developed concert locations. And, by extremely large, I mean nine 18-wheeler trucks large. So, their rider read like a novel. Every detail was written and stated with a purpose. Things, that if not done, or half-assed, could ruin the show, or worse. That is why the brown M & M’s clause was there. If the band showed up to the venue, they would go straight to the bowl of M & M’s and look for any brown ones. If a brown one was found, they knew they needed to check over everything to make sure nothing else was overlooked or not done properly.

Not only that, but a brown M&M could mean that the band would not perform, but still get paid. The clause would be slipped in to different locations in the rider contract as well. Sometimes it was in the “Munchies” section of the hospitality rider, sandwiched between the pretzels and Reese’s peanut butter cups or deep in a random spot of the technical rider.

In his autobiography David Lee Roth wrote:

The contract rider read like a version of the Chinese Yellow Pages because there was so much equipment, and so many human beings to make it function. So just as a little test, in the technical aspect of the rider, it would say “Article 148: There will be fifteen amperage voltage sockets at twenty-foot spaces, evenly, providing nineteen amperes …” This kind of thing. And article number 126, in the middle of nowhere, was: “There will be no brown M&M’s in the backstage area, upon pain of forfeiture of the show, with full compensation.” So, when I would walk backstage, if I saw a brown M&M in that bowl … well, line-check the entire production. Guaranteed you’re going to arrive at a technical error.


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Author: Joshua Casper

Joshua Casper is an Artist, Musician, and Blogger.

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