Taylor Swift, Van Halen, Paul McCartney Riders

Oh the demands celebrities get to make once they’ve achieved stardom. The Smoking Gun contains a wide range of hospitality riders (backstage requests, or rather, demands) and FDRMX sifted through them to find out how different each artists’ riders are. Below are three drastically different rider demands from three music stars. Some are cute, some are well thought out, while others seem just as ridiculous as an adult being able to demand anything is. Check back in next week for Madonna’s entire MDMA tour rider.

Taylor Swift has demands similar to many people in their early twenties. Her rider is split into three days’ requirements: for Thursday, Friday and Saturday shows. If the show happens to be on any day but those, there is a note at the top instructing staff to revert to Thursday’s list. Regardless of which day, though, if she arrives before 11am, she will require 1 Grande ICED Caramel Latte with 2 sweet-n-lows, 1 Grande ICED Americano with 2 sweet-n-lows with soy milk, and 1 slice pumpkin loaf. Among the three days’ various requirements, makings for 3 boxes of Kraft Macaroni & Cheese (including 1 stick of butter) are on the list, along with 2 4-packs of Red Bull, 1 12-pack of Corona Beer, 1 12-pack of New Castle Beer, 1 bag of frozen Edamame (“it’s soy beans…in the frozen vegetable section,” in case you imbecile hired hands don’t already know), 1 case of Smart Water, 1 pint of Ben & Jerry’s Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Ice Cream, 1 pint of Ben & Jerry’s Chocolate Brownie Frozen Yogurt and 1 bag of Twizzlers. Don’t worry – she eats vegetables on Saturdays. Dill pickles, olives, and microwaveable buttered popcorn count as vegetables, right? All right, all right, she does ask for 1 small vegetable tray, too. I know you were concerned.

Van Halen is more well known for the odd requests within their rider, but they have a very good reason for demanding bowls of M&Ms with the brown ones picked out. They’re serious about this too – failure to remove the brown ones not only means the band will not perform but that the venue would still have to pay the full fee. This particular demand was established as a way to test how much attention to detail the staff at venues pays to the specificities in the rider. An absent bowl of M&Ms or a bowl with brown M&Ms in the mix would alert the band members to the high possibility of serious technical and safety issues being overlooked as well. In his autobiography, David Lee Roth stated that this strategy came into being as a result of negligible staff performance at a venue that nearly cost the life of a Van Halen crew member. He also stated that a one venue where the brown M&Ms remained in the bowl,  the management’s failure to read weight requirements in the rider resulted in the band’s equipment sinking through the floor and causing over $80,000 of damage. Venue staff take heed; read that rider all the way through, darnit. It’s only seven pages long.

Paul McCartney, ever the one to live in glass houses, bans meat, leather and fur (only cotton, denim, and velours allowed) in his backstage area. Please replace all fauna (whether artificial or genuine) with flora, including 6 full and leafy floor plants, but no trees. Please keep in mind, this means no trunks. McCartney wants plants that are just as full on the bottom as the top, such as palm, bamboo, peace lilies, etc. Speaking of lilies, have $50.00 prepared for one large arrangement of white Casablanca lilies with lots of foliage (you know, that green leafy stuff). While we’re at it, let’s go all the way with flowers; next he’ll have $40.00 worth of one long-stemmed arrangement of pale pink and white roses with lots of foliage, along with a $35 arrangement of freesia (which comes in various colors so please mix them up. Freesia is a favorite). Also on the floor with the plants will be halogen floor lamps with dimmer switches, only. Oh, and 20 dozen (that’s 240) clean towels outside of the production office. Just in case.