Life on the road can be tough for musicians, even the stratospherically famous ones. One of the few pleasures of being on tour (besides the armies of hysterical fans, adding three zeros to your net worth and gallivanting across the globe in five-star luxury surrounded by hordes of sycophants) is having a bit of fun with the tour rider. Herewith are some of our favourites from across the decades…
Van Halen – M&Ms
The ‘80s was the golden age of the rider and Van Halen’s request for a bowl of M&Ms with all of the brown ones taken out is infamous. The band later claimed that this was just to test whether the venue was actually reading their important but fantastically tedious technical specs for amp sockets and so on. “If I saw a brown M&M in that bowl, I’d line-check the whole production,” says vocalist David Lee Roth in his autobiography. “Guaranteed you’d run into a problem.”
Kanye West – Smooth carpets
Kanye is known for his outrageous statements, so it’s hardly surprising that his rider reportedly includes some equally outrageous demands. Apparently the rapper demands imported Versace towels on hand at all times, and that his drivers wear clothes made from 100 percent cotton. According to some sources, Kimmy Kardash also demanded that his dressing room carpet was ironed by an assistant because it was “too bumpy”.
Iggy Pop – Crudites
Always a man concerned with getting his 5-a-day, Iggy Pop’s 18-page rider parody included “Cauliflower/broccoli, cut into individual florets and thrown immediately into the garbage.”
Beastie Boys – Colourful contraception
Back in happier frat-rap days, the Beasties were known to put in a possibly optimistic order for rainbow-coloured condoms. Let’s face it, they put them over their heads and blew them up.
Mariah Carey – Furry menagerie
Diva-ish demands are a given with Mariah Carey, who wants a dressing room festooned with fluffy kittens, puppies and bunnies. God knows what happens to them afterwards.
Slayer – Goat-ageddon
Slayer’s rider from 2011’s Fun Fun Fest sounds anything but ‘fun’. With possibly the most metal rider of all time – which may or may not have been serious – the band requested 100 goats for slaughter, a Halal butcher to carry the whole bloody practise out, as well as freezer bags and coolers to preserve the goat until the band could get it home.
Eminem – Gone fishin’
Prior to an appearance at Tennent’s Vital festival in Northern Ireland in 2011, Eminem requested that a wooden pond be built in his backstage area and filled with koi carp. Other items on his rider for the festival included dumbbells, a microwave and seedless watermelons.
Katy Perry – Carnations and human contact forbidden
Katy Perry wants you to say it with flowers but “ABSOLUTELY NO CARNATIONS.” Perry also reportedly forbids her drivers from making eye contact or conversation with her. If you ever have to pick Katy Perry up from somewhere, just make sure you don’t greet her with carnations and a hug.
Dillon Francis – These are a few of my favourite things
“A framed photo of any action star from the years 1985 to 2005, Black Tar Heroin, a replica of the whip in Indiana Jones”…just a few creature comforts to remind him of home when DJ and producer Dillon Francis is on tour.