Let’s assume that many of the people reading this blog have been on tour before and know what a “backstage rider” is. But for those of you who don’t it’s simply a document that you (or your band) give to the venue which lists your demands for backstage, especially your dressing room (also known as the green room). Typically the items on the list include security needs, bottled water, cold & hot drinks and food preferences. But when certain superstars taste fame their tastes tend to get a little blown out of proportion. The following Top 10 list describes some of the most ridiculous demands by some of the world’s most famous rock/popstars. What, no brown M&Ms is too much to ask for??
Disclaimer: The validity of the information in this article cannot be confirmed. The information is taken from various riders which have “leaked” on the web and various music publications. Whether these artists actually asked for these things or not is debatable (and fun to read) but it’s safe to say that with fame often comes pickiness.
10. Adele – Brand new mugs, metal teaspoons, non-organic honey
Adele’s demand is modest enough and characteristically British: She requires 6 brand-new large mugs (washed and dried) for tea, 6 metal teaspoons (classy!) and a tub of honey that is not organic. Looks like Adele has done her research on organic certification! Oh, and she doesn’t like tomatoes on her sandwiches. Keep reading, they get better (or worse?)…
9. Rolling Stones – Booze, cigs and… how do I turn this thing on?
These old rockers still include the classics – alcohol & cigarettes – in their rider but with the members’ average age being around 73 they require 24-hour butlers and written instructions on how to use the electronics in their rooms. Hey, no disrespect, at least they can still play their instruments better than most people!
8. Paul McCartney – A forest with no animals
Sir Paul requires some pretty specific foliage in his backstage room. He demands 6 leafy floor plants which must be “as full on the bottom as the top” and absolutely no tree trunks. He also wants to be surrounded by a large arrangement of Casablanca lilies with lots of foliage, an arrangement of pale pink and white roses and an arrangement of freesia flowers. Sound like a natural paradise! He also prohibits any animal products and even products resembling animal products, like synthetic fur (clearly due to his animal rights values). Veggies, flowers and plants, sounds literally like a green room!
7. Beyoncé – Room temperature and seasoning specifications
Mega popstar Beyoncé requires that her dressing room remains at exactly 78 degrees Fahrenheit (25.55 degrees Celsius) at all times. Like Paul, she also likes to munch on green veggies (they must be “lightly seasoned”) but she also requires a “Juicy Baked Chicken”, which must be “HEAVILY SEASONED”. Also, she doesn’t want a Coca-Cola product in sight, Pepsi only for this pop diva!
6. Jack White – Homemade guacamole and no bananas
Jack White wrote “NO BANANA TOUR (Seriously)” on his backstage rider. This was later confirmed to be due to an allergy of one of his staff members. White also required a VERY specific homemade guacamole recipe to be prepared for him and his staff. The recipe is included in his rider and the guacamole must be chunky and made from a certain variety of avocados, with the pits inside to keep it from browning. And it needs to be prepared not too long before him and his crew arrive. The recipe can be found online. I know what I’m making for lunch!
5. Van Halen – No brown M&Ms
Van Halen’s legendary rider story about their demand for a filtered candy bowl has been making it’s rounds on the internet. During their 1982 tour they specifically wrote “M&Ms (WARNING: ABSOLUTELY NO BROWN ONES)” and threatened to cancel the show without reimbursement if their rider wasn’t respected . Experts have since called it a very smart business tactic stating that Van Halen did this to make sure that the venue staff read their rider thoroughly. A good test!
4. Iggy Pop – 18-page document
Iggy Pop’s rider is absolutely ridiculous, it’s 18 pages long (!) and full of… jokes (let’s hope). He demands that a Bob Hope impersonator be present in his dressing room and he wants “a copy of USA Today that’s got a story about morbidly obese people in it”. Not much information was found about his dietary preferences except that he loves cauliflower and broccoli, “cut into individual florets and thrown immediately into the garbage”. What a character!
3. Rihanna – Specific scented candles and an animal print rug
Rihanna’s rider states that she needs “Archipelago Black Forest” scented candles and if these cannot be found to contact her team ASAP. She also needs an animal print rug and it MUST be clean because she will walk on it barefoot. Makes one curious about her pre-performance rituals!
2. Kanye West – 100% cotton and a slushie machine
On an Australian tour Kanye’s rider stated that his driver must wear a 100% cotton suit and must avoid “man-made fibres”. He also requested only Versace towels to wipe his sweat while performing and is reported to have requested a slushie machine that makes these two slushie flavours: Greygoose & lemonade and Hennessy & Coca-Cola. Outrageously refreshing!
1. Madonna – Backstage must look exactly like her home
Madonna, the Queen of Pop, demands to be treated like the Queen of England! Not only did Madonna require 20 international phone lines in her dressing room but she also wanted to call her friends from the comfort of her own home. How is this possible? Well, why not ship her furniture to every city she perform in? Yes, this was, reportedly, a demand on her rider! Talk about comfort!
Music can take some people this far, to a life of luxury, even while on the road. Next time your band goes on tour try to test your luck and ask for something outrageous, or don’t, you might not be welcomed back!