Thursday, August 06, 2009

New-found Respect for Van Halen:

This is one of the funniest things I have read in a while. It gives me a new-found respect for Van Halen et al, because of its simplicity and elegance, and because I love this kind of thinking. Van Halen's notorious “Brown M&M” contract rider came about because (quoting David Lee Roth’s biography):

“…Van Halen was the first band to take huge productions into tertiary, third-level markets…nine eighteen-wheeler trucks…where the standard was three trucks, max. And there were many, many technical errors—girders couldn't support the weight, the flooring would sink in, or the doors weren't big enough…The contract rider read like a version of the Chinese Yellow Pages…"

"So just as a little test, in the technical aspect of the rider, it would say ‘Article 148: There will be fifteen amperage voltage sockets at twenty-foot spaces, evenly, providing nineteen amperes…’ This kind of thing. And article number 126, in the middle of nowhere, was: ‘There will be no brown M&M's in the backstage area, upon pain of forfeiture of the show, with full compensation.’ "

“So…if I saw a brown M&M in that bowl… well, line-check the entire production. Guaranteed you're going to arrive at a technical error. They didn't read the contract…Sometimes it would threaten to just destroy the whole show…literally, life-threatening.”

“The folks in Pueblo, Colorado…took the contract rather kinda casual. They had one of these new rubberized bouncy basketball floorings in their arena. They hadn't read the contract, and weren't sure, really, about the weight of this production…I came backstage. I found some brown M&M's…and promptly trashed the dressing room. Dumped the buffet, kicked a hole in the door, twelve thousand dollars' worth of fun.”

“The staging sank through their floor. They didn't bother to look at the weight requirements or anything, and this sank through their new flooring and did eighty thousand dollars' worth of damage to the arena floor. The whole thing had to be replaced. It came out in the press that I discovered brown M&M's and did eighty-five thousand dollars' worth of damage to the backstage area. Well, who am I to get in the way of a good rumor?”

From Snopes,com, by way of Boingboing

No comments: