The “rider” for a musician isn’t just a request or recommendation. Most of the time, it’s a contractual obligation. Most musicians are just looking for the basics such as privacy, water and maybe someone to help with hair or makeup. Others are more demanding. This is the group we are most interested in, the musicians that really push the “rider” concept to the next level.
What did the prima donna musicians ask for? Back in the day, the Beastie Boys were all about rainbow-colored condoms. We have a condom request on the list, but they didn’t make it. The Red Hot Chili Peppers requested fresh underwear, which makes sense, considering they performed in their underwear – yet still strange. Aerosmith requested fresh corn on the cob that has been cooked for only three minutes while Nirvana wouldn’t go on without mac and cheese backstage. Where does Axl Rosefrom Guns N’ Roses figure into this? He requested a square melon. Have you ever seen a square melon? Those responsible probably wished he would have requested rainbow colored condoms.
This list has the absurd, weird and just plain shocking. Yes, there are a lot of rock stars, but also some surprises. The diva factor is also in full effect here. Cher requested a person with wigs in her dressing room, but Mariah Carey always asked for a little bit more. This group will make you feel better about asking for something extra, now enjoy the 15 craziest items ever requested on musician's riders.
15 Madonna – 20 Phone Lines For International Use
As one of the biggest pop stars of the last 25 years, it’s not surprising to find she is high-maintenance on the road. However, who needs 20 phone lines for international calls. Is she moonlighting as a telemarketing agency? I understand her entourage is probably the end use of this request, but I like to think it’s for personal use and when she’s not on stage, she’s on the phone saying “can you hold for a second, I have 19 people on the lines!”
In addition to phone lines, Madonna actually travels with her living room, having furniture shipped from venue to venue to give her that “at home” feel. I’m not sure if she actually has her kitchen sink sent. Okay, bad joke. She also requests fabric that is flower scented, a personal chef, and a dry cleaning service. All are excessive, but not as strange as the 20 phone lines. “One second, I think someone is trying to call me!”
14 Jack White (White Stripes) – Homemade Guacamole
Jack White’s rider was leaked after he agreed to do a show at the University of Oklahoma. It was not cool given how private White keeps his life, but it was entertaining to learn his number one item is homemade guacamole. He actually included a long recipe to ensure it was to his liking, which I guess gives us a glimpse into why his music is so good, given his attention to detail. The insane part of this to me is assuming he always requests guacamole, I mean, don’t you ever get sick of it?
Apparently during this tour, no bananas were allowed. White also requested eight flutes, highball and wine glasses. No mention of liquor... maybe he likes to drink his water classy while eating guacamole? Also on the rider was prosciutto and salami with a sharp knife. Don’t go trying to pass off a rusty dull knife on White or the show will not go on.
13 Bush – Female Security Personnel
The actual request was “No less than 10 percent of all security personnel should be female" so maybe it was for of a stand for affirmative action – good for them, but it’s a strange request just on its own without explanation. Was someone actually counting and breaking down the percentage? Did a venue get extra credit if there was female security made up 15 percent?
In addition to the personnel request they also wanted miniature chocolates, soda, skim milk and hot salsa. Anyone else wondering the same thing? What in the hell are they doing with the hot salsa? Please tell me it’s for the miniature chocolates because that would be horrifyingly great! They also requested fruitless baskets which is strange to me because wouldn’t you just request “baskets”, which are pretty much what they got I’m expecting. Given they were rock stars they also tossed in Marlboro Lights and beer because nothing goes better with chocolates and salsa than a cold brew and smoke…
12 Jay-Z – A Maybach With Tinted Windows
This is a crazy request on tour, right, or is it just me? I mean isn’t Jay Z preparing for his show or just relaxing before he hits the stage. The request is not just for a Maybach, but it needs to be a 1957 or 1962 model. Not only is this extreme, it sounds like a tough request to accommodate depending on the city. Does Jay-Z have a pre-show ritual where he takes a Maybach out to grab dinner? I need to know!
Other items on his list include Sapporo beer, vodka (Belvedere), a couple bottles of tequila (Patron), red wine and of course peanut butter and jelly because that is confusing as hell. Now I don’t know what to think. I picture Jay-Z, kicking back with a glass of Patron tequila and a peanut butter and jelly sandwich (crust removed?) and then having someone drive him around the block in the Maybach just to keep his street cred up. This is very confusing…
11 Ozzy Osbourne – Nose, Ear and Throat Doctor
The prince of darkness has been going strong for many decades and that comes with concessions. The guy that used to do all the drugs, snort ants and allegedly bite animals on stage actually wants a doctor in the house. This was 1999, one of his “cleaner” times, but it’s still shocking that this is what’s happening backstage at an Ozzy concert.
Additional items Ozzy Osbourne requested on his rider include oxygen tanks... actually three oxygen tanks. My God man, maybe it’s time to call it a day. He also requested that there was a doctor that could give him a B-12 shot. Hopefully they could find a doctor that could do all the requests otherwise it must have looked like a hospital backstage. Was there any rock star left at this time? Yes, apparently Ozzy also requested fire extinguishers. Let’s hope that was due to shenanigans and not old man paranoia.
10 Korn – A Lawyer
This is taking a crazy turn for the worse (hang in there, it gets more decadent), but when I think Korn and “rider” I think clean needles, hookers and body lotions, but sadly that’s not the case. Instead, they request a lawyer, doctor, dentist and chiropractor. I mean, this is a band that is very successful. Either they are really cheap or maybe it’s that their shows get REALLY out of hand.
Unfortunately, I think this band is more straight and narrow than their music lets on (boring) as they also request meals (alcoholics don’t eat), clean bathrooms, and lights that dim. They also request 72 clean towels, full-sized towels as if they are worried they will be given 72 wash clothes. They also request ashtrays. I’m guessing that’s just in case someone next to their space is smoking so they can demand they put out their cigarettes right away. Is it crazy? Yes, for Korn I think most are shocked. It’s also BORING…
9 Van Halen – No Brown M&M Candies
Maybe the most famous rider request of all time, Van Halen always requested that there were no brown M&M candies. The reason was actually semi-logical as they requested this to see if the venue had read the rider request. Had this not been done they would know some of the more important details may be in jeopardy. David Lee Roth was known to check the stage to ensure there would not be injury should he perform one of his 360 degree karate kicks.
In addition to the M&M request there was a lot of requests. There was two breakfasts requested featuring soda (four cases), milk (four gallons), chocolate milk (also four gallons), two-dozen muffins and much, much more. Strangely beer was not to be served until 6pm, but then included two cases of beer for dinner and two more cases for the manager following. There were a ton of more beer and food requirements as well as KY Jelly, requested “large” tube of course. Odd to me that only one tube was requested. I guess at one point this band was really close.
8 Motley Crue – Sub-Machine Gun
During their early days, I imagine the boys requested cocaine and heroin and were disappointed when it wasn’t waiting with a naked hooker in their room. Once they got sober, you would think they were easier to serve.
That’s not all... in addition to the machine gun the band actually asked for a boa constrictor and a list of Alcoholics Anonymous meetings that night. They also requested creamy peanut butter (don’t you dare serve chunky) and also Grey Poupon mustard because nothing goes better with creamy peanut butter and a machine gun than Grey Poupon mustard right before you head to an AA meeting. I’ve seen a few Motley Crue shows and never once before slaying into “Dr. Feelgood” did the band stop and talk about how good their pre-meal peanut butter and Grey Poupon was. Hopefully they were still doing drugs because thinking about anything else just doesn’t seem right with this band.
7 Trent Reznor (Nine Inch Nails) – Two Boxes of Corn Starch
Sometimes the requests of rock stars are more common sense than insane. Still, let’s not pretend two boxes of corn starch is anything but insane. Nine Inch Nails lead man, Trent Reznor, always requests two boxes of corn starch? Why? So he can fit into his leather pants. No need for chaffing if you can take care of the problem, right? I don't know that he needs two boxes, have you seen the size of boxes corn starch comes in? It’s surprising he doesn’t take the stage in a cloud of the stuff.
In addition to the corn starch, there are requests for Gatorade and food. He also requests beer, Budweiser and Bud Light. Why both? Probably for multiple people with multiple tastes, but maybe Reznor starts off his night with a few Budweiser beers, gets depressed at the calorie intake (and how tight his leather is fitting meaning more starch) and switches to Bud Light to feel better. Unlikely, but fun to believe…
6 Metallica - Bacon
As one of the biggest bands in the world, it’s no surprise Metallica has one of the longest tour riders known, clocking in at 24 pages. There isn’t much booze anymore; in fact they have rules on how it’s sold at the venue, but they do have a crazy request and that’s bacon. So much bacon you wonder if they also request the nearest BA meeting (Bacon Anonymous), which would be difficult because I believe most meetings only happen on Sundays.
They also request a breakfast for their full entourage of around 100 people that of course has to have lots of bacon and also fruit, which I guess offsets the bacon? Also, the hardest band of the world likes cereal, lots of cereal and lots of coffee that must be kept fresh. Essentially, Metallica is now the biggest brunch band in the world.
5 Gnarls Barkley – Magnum Condoms
Go big or go home is apparently Gnarls Barkley manta. No guessing how he spends his pre- or post show, Barkley is hitting it! Kudos for having safe sex and enjoying your celebrity status! Hey, it’s part of being a rock star celebrity, there are benefits. Also, kudos to the large appendage! My only surprise is that Cee Lo Green didn’t have a request for a hot tub, which would seem essential.
Cee Lo also requests Swisher Sweet blunts which I’m guessing are not for the tobacco and bottles of both vodka (Grey Goose) and whiskey (Hennessy). All of these items tell the story of a man who likes to relax and enjoy his downtime. Another strange item, though, is that he requests two pairs of white socks. Why two pair? What kind of crazy kinky sex is Cee Lo Green having? I really, like actually really want to know.
4 Mariah Carey – 20 White Kittens and 100 Doves
Long live the diva! One Christmas in London, Mariah Carey requested 20 white kittens and 100 doves. Apparently the venue was able to accommodate the doves, but the kittens were problematic – no kidding. They got around it saying there were safety concerns versus calling her an insane diva with ridiculous requests.
Other items on the Carey list include a Rolls-Royce because duh, confetti (cut into butterflies) and a podium and carpet, both in pink. Why not just ask for a heart transplant with a doctor all dressed in pink? Seems reasonable, you are Mariah Carey after all… She also requests an entourage (she doesn’t have her own) and up to 80 security guards, hoping for four for each kitten I’m assuming. So the doves, okay, at least she was planning to release them, but what’s the deal with the kittens? Was she planning to take them for a ride in the Rolls-Royce? You have a more plausible explanation? Let me know…
3 Marilyn Manson – Bald, Toothless Hooker
We are finally here, the final three and they do not disappoint. Marilyn Manson is the king of shock and his tour rider is no exception. His craziest request (sliding scale) was a bald-headed, toothless hooker. Obviously a joke, I think, well maybe, you know what I don’t know but it was on his rider. You know, everyone has their type so I’m not going to judge here.
The rest of his list is civil compared to the hooker. Manson apparently loves gummi bears, Haribo gummi bears. Also mini chocolates, Doritos and cereal as well as 2 percent milk (apparently for the cereal. In addition to the toothless hooker there are more “rock star” requests that include fine cheese, Cristal champagne and Absinthe (two bottles). One last request is air conditioning which makes sense if you are having hot sweaty sex with a bald, toothless hooker; you really want to be able to cool off quickly after.
2 Iggy Pop – Bob Hope Impersonator
I debated putting this number one, but given it’s so absurd and that many people might now know who Bob Hope is, I’m putting this as the runner up. Who comes up with something like this? Only someone as eccentric as Iggy Pop, that’s who. Apparently Iggy really liked to laugh and this is the most awesome request of all time, and I’m not just talking tour rider. Good for you Iggy!
Iggy Pop had a long list for his rider which included the location of devices such as speakers, two “loyal” security people, very strong caffeinated drinks, lots of food, including large pizzas. He also wanted a twelve pack of beer, requesting “nice beer”, dinner for up to 10 people and a deck of cards. What am I hoping went down? Hopefully a poker game (with nice beer and pizza) that featured Iggy, a couple of loyal security guards and a Bob Hope impersonator.
1 Lil Wayne – Private Jet
So as the saying goes, when you request a private jet on your tour rider it is game over. Okay, maybe that’s not a saying, but I think we can all agree it’s true. This was a bold move, only previously requested by…I don’t know, maybe the Beatles of Rolling Stones? I don’t think so. This was at his peak of fame, I’m pretty sure Lil Wayne can no longer get a jet, or maybe even a bus for that matter (sorry, Lil Wayne), but the fact is that at one point – dude requested a private jet!
Lil Wayne also had on his rider a police escort and five-star hotel requested. To me, this goes without saying if you are coming in on a private jet. What’s strange to me is that he stopped there; his other requests included Red Bull, candy, chips and Gatorade. Why not request gold chips inside the Gatorade?