So What Does Van Halen Have Against Brown M&M’s?

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We’ve all heard the stories. Celebrities have a reputation — some deserved, perhaps some not — for being a bit eccentric about pre-performance rituals that may or may not involve certain foods or various other items.

From TV3 in New Zealand, we are hearing some details regarding pre-show requirements of a few well-known rockers, and some of them certainly cross over into the realm of the bizarre.

image Although this one may not take home the prize for the most unusual, one cannot help being a little curious about why the supply of M&M candies Van Halen requires at every show must have all the brown ones removed. Might the rockers be accused of candy discrimination?

Perhaps my palette lacks the ability to judge the delicate difference between the various colors of the famous confections, but I must confess that they all taste the same to me.

Those of us who remember the Reagan administration may recall that the former President mandated that a supply of M&M’s be available at every cabinet meeting. I’ve never heard whether or not Mr. Reagan preferred one color over another, but I cannot fault anyone for wanting to have a supply of M&M’s around, since they are a personal favorite of mine as well.

Word from the backstage hangout of metal group Anthrax is that their requirements are more in line with what we might expect from a group of hard-rocking guys. Apparently, they’re happy to have a sufficient supply of water, whiskey, beer, and snacks.

Although I don’t normally wander too far off the trail that was blazed by the "classic" groups of the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s, I thought it was worth mentioning that Slipknot, a group formed in 1995, and therefore not considered "classic" in this writer’s judgment, boasts the most bizarre request of the bunch.

For reasons that only they may understand, Slipknot requests a kiddy pool filled with dirty water, which "big people" are paid to jump in. I presume the request is dependent on the presence of a hose and a supply of dirt as well, since I suspect not much dirty water remains within the limited confines of a kiddy pool following the rather abrupt arrival of a "big person." Come to think of it, some rain gear for the spectators may not be a bad idea either.

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4 Comments

  1. The Road August 26, 2008 at 3:08 pm

    Although Reagan might have liked M&Ms, it was jelly beans that he was fond of, and kept on his desk.

    The Van Halen M&M story has been around since the 80’s, when they once supposedly trashed a dressing room after finding the offending colors in the M&M bowl. As I remember, they were green. But it was a long time ago…

    The Smoking Gun website has copies of artist rider contracts full of backstage requests, normal and odd. Some artists request enough booze to drink backstage, and carry on the road with them.

  2. Real Rock News August 26, 2008 at 3:19 pm

    Thanks for that correction. You are quite correct about Reagan.

    I think it was my personal preference for M&M’s that clouded my memory!

    Jelly beans are OK, but I’ll take a bag of M&M’s any day! 🙂

  3. EH medic 6 August 27, 2008 at 1:05 pm

    As far as the Van Halen story: I remember David Lee Roth saying in an interview they put that request in their contract as a secret test to see if anyone ACTUALLY READ THE CONTRACT. I believe the trashed hotel room story was made up.

  4. Real Rock News August 27, 2008 at 5:01 pm

    Now that you mention it, that bit about the contract seems vaguely familiar to me now.

    That would not surprise me, since we know how little bits of info like that can get blown out of proportion — especially when rock stars are involved!

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