Artist riders are for the rock or pop stars to request whatever they want when touring or performing at venues, however some are really quite unconventional, funny and sometimes outrageous!
Rock concerts have changed a great deal over the years since bands such as the Beatles performed in boxing rings and hockey rinks. As the popularity of going to see bands perform live at venues increased, promoters stood to make more and more money from housing these events, this meant that not only could the musicians command higher prices for their performances, but they could demand other perks as well. – Enter the artist tour rider.
A tour rider is generally a pretty boring document. It contains terms and details of the performer for the musician/s and the venue, for example; sound, lighting, security, dressing rooms, dressing room contents, food, drink and dietary requirements etc. However, along the way some artists have begun to demand a somewhat more detailed rider, containing a lot specific (and sometimes bizarre) items. The tour rider has become the last great hope for stars to get themselves treated like royalty.
(All information below taken from www.thesmokinggun.com.)
Van Halen – Absolutely NO brown M&Ms. Van Halen had many requests, among them being the presence of a bowl of M&M’s but there must be, under no circumstances, any brown M&M’s anywhere in sight. This does sound particularly peculiar, but singer David Lee Roth explained that while this is a real clause, it was in fact a practical request that would determine whether the technical specifications of the contract had been thoroughly read and adhered to.
Elton John – 2 dressing rooms. One for him and one for his fancy glasses. John performed at a stadium of 60,000 in Brazil and reportedly asked for separate accommodations for his collection of fancy glasses, apparently because “he needs a temperature of 16C (or 60.8 degrees Fahrenheit) to preserve the accessories.” he also specifically asked for 74 towels. Not 75.
Iggy Pop – 28 pages of hilarity. This artist rider read more like a 28 page conversation rather than a guideline and contains a load of items that will make you laugh out loud. Including but not limited to: “Seven dwarves, dressed up as those dwarves out of that marvellous Walt Disney film about the woman who goes to sleep for a hundred years after biting a poisoned dwarf, or maybe pricking her finger on a rather sharp apple… or something.” -That’s got to be a little unorthodox right?
Lady Gaga – Furnishings and an accessorised mannequin. During her two and a half-year Monster Ball Tour, the star requested that her dressing room be decorated in a “glam rock” fashion and furnished with white leather couches, fresh roses and black satin drapes, old Rock Posters from her favourite artists Bowie, Queen, Elton, Billy Joel, Billy Holiday and… a mannequin with fluffy pink pubic hair.
Eminem – A Pond. For his appearance at the Tennent’s Vital festival in Northern Ireland last summer, Eminem insisted that the organisers build a wooden pond backstage for a range or exotic aquatic creatures, specifically koi carp. He also asks to have pickles and seedless watermelon.
Marilyn Manson – Cold gummy bears. Marilyn Manson is reportedly hell-bent on having air conditioning to blast freezing cold temperatures to keep his room as cold as possible. Rather more understandably, he also requests a bald-headed toothless hooker and Haribo gummy bears.
AC/DC– No Beer. Despite what you would expect from popular rock bands, AC/DC requested absolutely no beer or alcohol in their dressings rooms prior to a performance. In fact, they were pretty modest in their 2008 USA tour rider, asking for an assortment of english cheeses with crackers and some fun sized candy bars.
The Foo Fighters – A rider packed full with sarcastic comments and quips. Although “…not as funny as Iggy Pop’s” rider, the 9 page 2008 document contained some bizarre requests such as “1 bag of pirate booty, not Johnny Depp’s” and “24 large bath towels – if they are new and unwashed, you will receive a wedgie”. It also discusses the wish to breathe in bacon (“gods currency”) and included a recipe on how to make ice. The last page does express a desire for the left over food to be given to the local soup kitchen or homeless shelter which is rather honourable if you ask me.
If you’d like to read more artist riders, find them here.