The 7 Craziest Rock Band Riders
By L. Fernando
Iggy Pop and The Stooges
Probably the funniest rider of all time, Iggy Pop and The Stooges’ rider aims to entertain and humour instead of scare and intimidate. The rider, which is written in a rambling conversational tone with a few internal monologues thrown in for good measure, is quite frankly a literary masterpiece and is one of the most fascinating riders I’ve ever read.
For example the rider asks for seven dwarfs dressed as if they were due to meet Snow White. But then mentions that taller people are acceptable too because after all,“it’s attitude, more than height, that’s important here.”
The rider also mentions that Iggy’s dressing room should “look less like a typical rock and roll dressing room.” The rider also includes a suggestion for concert promoters on this note: “Just let someone loose with a little bit of artistic flair…Er, do you know any homosexuals?”
Iggy and the boys even manage to make the technical details entertaining:
“1 x KORG 2000 DIGITAL RACK TUNER. Digital in the sense that it works via an electronically generated number system, not digital because it only works if someone holds it together with their fingers.”
Van Halen’s ’82 Rider
Eddie Van Halen and crew’s rider from 1982 is said to have read like a Chinese phone directory for the sheer volume of details it contained. But along with articles detailing specific power outlet wattages and exact height measurements of lighting rigs, Van Halen also included a clause that requested bowls of M&Ms with all the brown ones removed.
While most people at the time saw this as just an overly indulgent attempt for a rock band to throw their weight around, Van Halen actually had quite a good reason for this request. Their reasoning was that if they ever found brown M&Ms backstage, it would mean that the tour promoter hadn’t bothered to read the rider thoroughly, and therefore could quite possibly have missed out on crucial technical details. This doesn’t sound quite so fussy when you consider that Van Halen used to go on tour with eighteen tour busses loaded full of equipment that helped them give fans some of the most mind-blowing rock and roll shows of the 80’s.
For a band that kicked off their international career trying to smuggle porn magazines through Canadian customs and throwing TV sets out of hotel room windows, Mötley Crüe’s rider requests are actually quite pragmatic.
Their list of demands includes (but is in no way limited to):
A jar of creamy peanut butter,
A schedule for the closest Alcoholics’ Anonymous meeting
A sub-machine gun
A 12-foot-long boa constrictor
And most importantly, a jar of Grey Poupon mustard. For those of you who didn’t know, Grey Poupon is the mustard world’s equivalent of a Rolls Royce and includes traces of white wine. After all, shooting a sub-machine gun and playing with boa constrictors can leave any rock band hungry for expensive and classy condiments.
You’d expect the king (?) of shock rock to have the craziest most unimaginable set of rider requests that you could ever have the fortune (?) of going through.
As it turns out Manson’s most important backstage request is for an adequate supply of gummy bears. But just not any brand of gummies, Manson absolutely needs them to be Haribo brand gummies and states that he will officially lose his shit if presented with any other brand.
But then again, Manson, almost as an afterthought, adds a request for a bald-headed, toothless prostitute, for purposes which are best left unasked.
For a glam rock band, Poison are quite reasonable when it comes to their backstage rider.
Apart from the usual excessive amounts of alcohol and comfort foods expected from any self-respecting heavy metal band, Poison’s most important rider request is that all the venue’s smoke and fire detectors be disabled before their shows owing to their use of pyrotechnics and flares.
They also have a non-negotiable request for an American Sign Language interpreter for the band’s deaf fans. The raging argument within glam metal circles is if the huge on stage explosions cause serious hearing difficulties, or if fans were deaf before getting into Poison in the first place.
Dave Grohl and Co.’s rider is probably the next best thing since…well Iggy Pop’s rider. Prepared by the Foo’s tour manager, the rider is 50 odd pages of hilarious insults, self deprecatory jokes and pop culture references and also has a 10 page section titled Foo Fighter’s Field Guide to Food – Colouring Book and Activity Pages. Yeah, it’s exactly what it says it is. An actual full length colouring book with puzzles and crosswords and everything! How’s that for bada**?
Some of the best moments off the rider are pure comedic brilliance. For instance the rider insists that all soups offered be vegetable selections because “meaty soups make roadies fart” and specifically requests for “big-a** kielbasas (Polish sausages) that make men self conscious.”
But you really have to see this one to enjoy it.
Steve’s not really a rock star but his rider is so brilliantly funny that he’s as rock and roll as they come, in my books. The following are some of the best moments from the comedian-cum-musician’s rider:
Security- All security staff must carry blankets and pacifiers and be prepped to offer hugs and comforting pats, in case Artists are feeling vulnerable.
Sound check – Instruments must be tuned by a wiry, sarcastic guy named Shorty, Lou or Lightnin’
Dressing rooms – Beginning two hours prior to performance, Steve’s dressing room must have a new trophy delivered every ten minutes. Suggested trophies include “Most Beloved,” “Best Show of the Year” and “Best Musician.”
Meditation room – Soft cushions for yelling into, gong and mallet for authentic Asian feel and ice cubes for putting down robes.
K-9 Sweep – Local police shall sweep the venue with K-9 units once prior to load-in and once before audience enters the venue to ensure Steve has dogs to pet if Wally, Steve’s dog, is busy.
Lasith Fernando is a heavy metal musician and the front man of local heavy metal band Angel Down (see www.facebook.com/angeldownband for definition). He is also the current reigning world champion thumb wrestler. While hesitant to admit that he is the best in the world, he confesses that he is definitely in the world’s top one list.