Performance Contracts – no brown candies!

May 22nd, 2014

Performance Contracts

Hello loyal readers. I’ve been very busy and apologize for not regularly posting.
I’m sure you have all heard about the crazy things rock stars ask for in their contracts. The most famous being Van Halen’s distaste for brown M & M’s and more on that later. I’m not really breaking new ground here in this particular blog entry but I will be setting the record straight and shedding light on at least one artist you’ve never even heard of.

Brown M & M’s
From Snopes:
Van Halen’s standard performance contract contained a provision calling for them to be provided backstage with a bowl of M&Ms from which all the brown candies has been removed.
According to the good people at Snopes, this is in fact true.

David Lee Roth, “ Van Halen was the first band to take huge productions into tertiary, third-level markets. We’d pull up with nine eighteen-wheeler trucks, full of gear, where the standard was three trucks, max. And there were many, many technical errors — whether it was the girders couldn’t support the weight, or the flooring would sink in, or the doors weren’t big enough to move the gear through.

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. They didn’t read the contract. Guaranteed you’d run into a problem. Sometimes it would threaten to just destroy the whole show. Something like, literally, life-threatening. “

This is where I would usually put a video but quite frankly I was never a Van Halen fan except of course for Eddie’s guitar playing. So instead here is a flattering picture of David as a young Rock God with the obligatory junk enhancing tights.


So just how detailed do bands get in terms of their contract riders?
This is what Heart requires in the green room in terms of food.
From the San Diego Reader:
a dozen bottles of Arizona Green Tea (“not diet”), a quart of Odwalla Carrot Juice (“or other organic carrot juice”), a half gallon of skim milk (“organic”), a case of Sierra Nevada or Rolling Rock beer, two bottles of “quality” Cabernet Sauvigon (“must be corked”), and twenty plastic cold cups (“not waxed”). In addition, they want one Honey Bear, a bag of Halls Menthol Cough Drops, and a bowl of fresh fruit including Bing cherries, local strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, bananas, and peaches, all uncut (“fruit should not be under or over ripe”).

And here they are killing “ The Battle of Evermore “.

Next up, the entire technical requirements of one of my favorite bands, The Tiger Lillies. Read the whole thing or scroll down to -The band requires a dark floor – and you’ll get a very good idea how much detail goes into a contract.

And finally to take us out The Tiger Lillies – Crack of Doom…


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