Craziest Items on Celebrity Appearance Riders
Every time a celebrity does a media appearance or a band does a performance in a different venue, their agent negotiates a contract. This contract stipulates how much they’ll be paid, the conditions under which they’ll perform, and all sorts of nitty-gritty legal details that protect each party.
Once they get really famous, celebrities and artists can make more outrageous demands on their contract, which appears as an addendum called an appearance rider. In the past, these riders have leaked, exposing the strange tastes of different artists. Here are some of the craziest items that have ever been included on a celebrity appearance rider.
A popular story that’s often re-told within the music community concerns Van Halen’s 1980s tour rider. At the time, the band was ridiculed for specifying that the venue should pick all of the brown M&Ms out of their bowls of candy. Even though the big rock bands of the ‘80s all had crazy riders, the “no brown M&M” clause was thought to be the most ridiculous. However, it actually had a good purpose.
Van Halen’s tour setup was technically complex. So, stagehands had to know all the necessary safety precautions by closely reading the band’s technical rider. If the tour manager arrived at any venue and saw that there were brown M&Ms in the bowl, he knew that he would then have to look closely at the stage setup because clearly, no one had actually read the rider.
Mariah Carey is known for being a complete diva. Part of that has to do with her intense appearance rider.
When Carey did a Christmas concert in London a few years ago, the venue was asked to source 20 white kittens and 100 doves. The doves would be released into the sky at the end of the show.
Despite the venue up not being able to find the kittens, they were asked to complete the rest of her rider demands. These included hiring 80 security guards, laying down a pink carpet, and sourcing confetti cut out in the shape of a butterfly.
No one is really sure if all of the requests in Iggy Pop’s tour rider are legitimate or are even able to be fulfilled on a regular basis.
The two most ridiculous requests are a Bob Hope impersonator at every tour stop and a copy of USA Today that features at least one funny story about obese Americans. In addition to these stranger items, Iggy Pop’s rider includes a request that his accommodation be designed by someone “loose with a little bit of flair.” He also asks for 12 bottles of nice beer, fruit, strong tea, coffee, and chocolate.
When Beyoncé is on tour, her rider specifies that her dressing room is kept at exactly 78 degrees (no lower, no higher). She also requests rose scented candles and a lighter, to further set the mood.
As for food, Queen Bey snacks on juicy baked chicken legs, wings, and breasts that are “heavily seasoned” with fresh garlic, salt, pepper, and cayenne. Clearly, she’s had chicken in the past that’s not seasoned enough — and she is NOT down with that. To go with the chicken, the rider specifies steamed broccoli, green beans, and spinach. Beyoncé is also contractually obligated to only drink Pepsi products, so all Coca-Cola beverages are banned from her rooms.
Kayne West has always been keen to show off his lavish lifestyle, which includes specific additions to his tour rider that accommodate his wife Kim Kardashian. On his recent Saint Pablo tour, Kanye requested two slushy machines: one filled with Hennessy and Coke (his drink of choice) and the other filled with lemonade and Grey Goose vodka (her drink of choice). In addition to the alcoholic slushies on offer, venues were expected to provide $3,200 worth of alcohol including three bottles of Hennessy Paradis.
The Queen of Pop spends so much of her time touring that she’s made her appearance rider a study in how to feel at home while on the road.
To start, all the furniture in her dressing room and backstage lounge must match her home. So, Madonna ships her furniture around the world whenever she goes on tour. She also requires specially scented linens, which are kept fresh by the dry-cleaning professionals that travel with her.
Additionally, Madonna travels with a 200-person entourage. In case those weren’t enough people to keep her occupied, she requires 20 international phone lines to be set up whenever goes. This is done so Madonna can keep in touch with her friends around the world.
Another diva who clearly knows her own taste is Rihanna. Her tour rider isn’t extensive, but what it lacks in quantity it makes up for in sheer specificity.
Rihanna doesn’t like to look at the normal walls of the dressing rooms or backstage lounge. As such, she requires that all of her rooms be draped with dark blue or black curtains, which are then covered with “icy blue” chiffon drapes.
Plus, Rihanna prefers Black Forest candles from Archipelago Botanicals. If those are unavailable, her team is always ready with her second choice. Rihanna also has three choices of flowers in case her first choice of white tulips is unavailable.
Supermodel Grace Jones isn’t afraid to get down and dirty with some quality seafood. Just as long as her choice of champagne is available to wash it all down.
When Jones travels, she requests two dozen Findeclare or Colchester oysters on ice. She also likes to have multiple sushi and sashimi platters available for her entourage to snack on, along with three bottles of each red and white wine (French vintage only) and six bottles of Louis Roederer Cristal champagne.
Like Van Halen, Jack White went through some gentle ribbing after his tour rider leaked. It revealed that he absolutely forbade bananas in his backstage area. The phrase “PLEASE NOTE: This is a NO BANANA TOUR. (Seriously)” made some people laugh. However, White later came out and said that it was because one of his touring team was severely allergic.
In addition to the no banana policy, White’s tour rider also asked for a bowl of guacamole. It included a specific recipe, as well as a time that it should be served.
Taylor Swift’s tour rider reads more like a shopping list for the first day of college. On it, she requests three boxes of Kraft Mac and Cheese (along with a stick of butter), 24 beers, eight Red Bulls, a bag of Twizzlers red licorice, and two pints of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream.
If you thought that’s crazy, that’s for weekdays. On the weekends, Swift likes to add a small jar of dill pickles and a box of microwave popcorn.
Swift also has a specific Starbucks order that she likes to have waiting for her if she’s arriving before 11 a.m. It’s an Iced Caramel Latte and an Iced Americano, both with sweet-n-lows and soy milk.
It’s unclear whether this demand came from Selena Gomez herself or an overeager manager. After Gomez broke up with Justin Bieber in 2014, Selena’s rider was changed to include the clause that no one with the name “Justin” could work on her show. As it’s quite a common name, many guys who were working backstage with her were given other names for the time that she was in town.
As for the rest of her rider, all Gomez needs is hot Cheetos, pickles, and plenty of water.
Mary J. Blige
When Mary J. Blige is on the road, her rider used to stipulate that not only does she require her own toilet in her dressing room, she doesn’t want to use one that anyone has ever used before. This amusing demand was in her tour rider up until 2015 when it was mysteriously dropped. Before that, staff at the venue would have to buy a brand-new toilet seat and install it right before she came in.
Blige also requires four Diptyque candles and two tubs of red licorice: one Red Vines and one Twizzlers.