Most Outrageous Riders in Music
You’ve finally made it. You’ve bagged yourself a world tour. After spending years playing in pubs to anyone who’ll listen, and ogling over those selling out stadium after stadium it’s now your turn.
People are flocking to buy your tickets for a show that’s close to selling out. Demand is higher than ever. You can pretty much have anything you want. From your creature comforts in the dressing room, to the down right ridiculous. You ask for it, you’ll probably get it. Wow247 have compiled a list of some of the most outrageous requests in music history!
‘One small Rhesus monkey skeleton’ – Bloodhound Gang
“One small Rhesus monkey skeleton…”
“One fridge magnet of local interest”
Bloodhound Gang were never the most serious of bands. And while their rider document does at least admit the whole monkey thing was “non-serious”, we imagine Jimmy Pop’s collection of National Heritage fridge magnets to be pretty impressive.
‘The driver will not start a conversation’ – Katy Perry
It wasn’t so much the venue staff as Perry’s driver who we felt sorry for on her 2011 World Tour, with a long list of demands, detailing just what he/she could and couldn’t do. Though we’ve been subject to enough awkward taxi rides to validate this, “the driver will not start a conversation with the client” does seem a bit ‘mightier than thou’ to us.
‘WORKING TOILETS!!!!!’ – Beach Boys
“No form of Media advertising… shall contain the word ‘OLDIES’”
In this day and age, working toilets shouldn’t be considered an outlandish request. But it’s the capitalisation and apparent need for five exclamation points to ram the point home that gets us here. With a rider that also contains calls for a masseuse, a doctor and a wide array of yoghurt based “munchies”, necessary steps must be made to accommodate these oldies. Sorry, ‘veterans’.
‘A wooden pond with koi carp’ – Eminem
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, which can cost anything from £200 – 600 each. Other items on his rider for the festival included dumbbells, a microwave, and seedless watermelons.
‘Tables for gifts and flowers’ – Prince
The diminutive popstar has always been one for a flamboyant live show, so it makes sense that his rider demands would be equally over the top. A 1990 rider saw the artist formerly known as Prince request medical assistance at 6pm every day for a B-12 injection, and recent tours have seen him require tables “at all entry points for collection of Gifts and Flowers.”
‘Haribo Gold Bears’ – Marilyn Manson
“4 bags of Haribo Gold Bears Gummi Bears. Must be Haribo Gold Bears”
“Marilyn Manson’s coming to town. The anti-christ himself!”
“Oh God, what’s on the rider? Kittens fresh for the slaughter? A pentagram drawn in the blood of virgins?”
“No, some Haribo Gold Bears Gummi Bears.”
“Oh. Well, I’ve got some knock-off ones from the local Lidl.”
“No. They MUST be Haribo Gold Bears.”
‘Let someone loose with a little bit of artistic flair’ – Iggy & The Stooges
As rock ‘n’ roll riders become ever more ludicrous, a handful of artists are playing with the format and lampooning the whole ridiculous practice.
Step forward Iggy Pop, who in 2006 submitted an 18-page rider dubbed at the time as “the single most entertaining concert rider ever”. Written by roadie Jos Grain, it features amazingly tongue-in-cheeks requests on the state of the dressing room (“just let someone loose with a little bit of artistic flair”) and justifies the request of two heavy duty fans so the crew “can wear a scarf and pretend to be in a Bon Jovi video.”
‘Cricket on TV’ – Rolling Stones
“Please find out what channel is showing cricket”
“The tour carries there [sic] own snooker table”
These guys again. Twenty-four hour bars and unending Marlboro Lights are nothing for cricket fans the Stones, whose tour riders over the years read like the spoilt rotten dreams of a seven-year old. One highlight from a 2005 tour demands space be made for the TV guide averse band’s travelling snooker table, and a “medium white Casablanca lily with weeping eucalyptus” as part of a ludicrous “flower order”.
‘Guacamole (but not just any guacamole)’ – Jack White
It’s not uncommon for artists’ tour riders to be stuffed full of food requests. We get that working musicians have to eat to, so we can forgive the endless requests for veggie burgers and hummus.
But Jack White took it one step further for his 2014-15 solo tour by including his favourite recipe for homemade guacamole, detailed right down to what to do with the pits (“SAVE THEM”). He might as well have got his mum along for the tour for a spoonful of Momma White’s classic homemade Shepherd’s Pie
‘Pop Tarts, Fruit Loops and KFC’ – Britney Spears
“Any incoming calls will result in a $5000 fine”
Ol’ Britney’s been through some hard times, but long before that year, we perhaps should’ve seen the warning signs through her outlandish rider requests. Her 2000 World Tour required an outgoing only telephone with any incoming dials costing the promoter $5000 a piece, while a 1999 tour’s food requests laughed in the face of the traditional three meal day. Pop Tarts, Fruit Loops AND two buckets of KFC does not a balanced diet make.
‘One large inflatable animal’ – Deadmau5
“One large inflatable animal, inflated and at least 5′ tall”
The Canadian EDM producer must live a lonely existence. No band mates to speak of, and only a crew of gruff roadies following him around to screw his impressive stage sets together. Step in “one large inflatable animal”, the perfect after-show drinking companion for the lone dance maestro.
‘American flag on stage at all times’ – Johnny Cash
“An American flag… is required onstage in full view of the audience throughout”
Ever the patriot, the ‘Man in Black’ demanded that audience member be able to see the ‘Stars and Bars’ throughout his shows, just in case they forgot what ‘Gettysburg Address’ and ‘From Sea To Shining Sea’ were actually about.
’16 oz plastic Solo brand cups’ – Foo Fighters
Iggy Pop’s effort was commendable, but the real king’s of tour rider pastiche are the Foo Fighters.
Grohl and co.’s sense of humour has endeared them to countless fans, so sections marked “WOW ROCK STARS ASK FOR SOME STUPID CRAP!” and threats of a “catering jihad” if their demands for 16 oz. Solo branded cups weren’t met helped ease up the rider’s self-important tone on their 2008 tour rider.
‘A square melon’ – Axl Rose
The Guns ‘n’ Roses frontman currently demands that promoters alter biology itself to present him with a square melon (and an Italian leather sofa to eat it on of course). Perhaps the lengthy process of actually growing a melon into a cube is what has made him late for so many shows recently.
‘M&M’s (with the brown ones removed)’ – Van Halen
Perhaps the most renowned rider story of all time, Van Halen famously requested that all the brown M&M’s be removed from a big bowl backstage with the threat that if any were found, the band would pull out of that evening’s show entirely at full pay.
Rather than being total divas, the band later claimed it as a clever ploy to check that promoters had read the rider’s small print, and thus had the more important things under control. Yeah, right.
So, you fancy living the high life? Before you get to demand pretty much anything in the world to go on your rider, you should probably put a bit of practice in. Study a music course at The Sheffield College, and soon you could be requesting a room full of your favourite treats!