Of course, after more than fifty years of rock ‘n’ roll, there are plenty of stories to tell, from wild contract requirements to unfathomable backstage events. Whether you like to dance to pop or you’re head-banging right now, you’re bound to see names that you recognize. From metal to R&B, from solo artists to big bands, they’re all here.
The Famous Brown M&Ms of Van Halen
When people think of ridiculous requests by bands, this is the one people jump to. Van Halen asked for bowls of M&Ms during their 1982 world tour, but they didn't want any brown ones whatsoever. There was actually really good reasoning for this.
If a concert venue couldn't take the time to remove the brown M&Ms from a bowl backstage, could they be trusted to make sure the stage had the power setup, weight limit, and electrical setup to keep the band and the fans safe? It was sort of a trap, and if the band ever found a brown candy, they made sure to check everything else.
Slayer, the Bees, and the Goats
This famous metal band tends to throw silly things into their tour riders just to see what concert venues they will accomplish. There are plenty to choose from, but two of the strangest were when they demanded fifty thousand live bees “for Dave.” That Dave is, most likely, the drummer of the band at the time.
They also once asked for a hundred white goats and a Halal butcher to show them their way to goat heaven. It's the kind of request that is very on-brand for the band, but apparently, many of the things they include turn out to be jokes. How are we supposed to know?
Iggy Pop and Snow White
This legendary frontman has always had plenty of crazy demands, and they all had to be taken seriously, or you might not have seen him play. Among the demands over the many years of touring, a Bob Hope impersonator was included. The most famous of them was probably when he asked for seven dwarves, dressed just like the characters from the Disney movie.
However, he explicitly stated that taller people were acceptable – it was all about the attitude. Finding little people willing to get dressed up isn't always possible, but if they didn't have pointy hats, he wasn't interested.
Ozzy Chose the Wrong Spot to Make Water
Among the madmen of metal, Ozzy ranks right up there. If the only story you know about him is the bat thing (look it up if you don't know), you haven't even scratched the surface. There's a popular story saying that he once peed on the Alamo in Texas, but there's a little more to the story.
He actually urinated on the Alamo Cenotaph, a sixty-foot statue that honors the Texans who died at the Alamo during the Texas Revolution – it's adjacent to the Alamo itself. Osbourne was, of course, not exactly sober when he did this.
Cher Needed a Special Room for Her Wigs
With lots of costumes and looks to swap through, Cher knows she needs plenty of room when she's getting ready. Having hair that still looks stage-ready at her age, despite all the work she's had done, just isn't feasible anymore. She needed a room solely to hold her wigs.
The room is also supposed to include a large table and three chairs, which is really sort of standard as far as rooms go. Hopefully, it's a room that is visibly-marked, because anybody who accidentally walks into Cher's wig room without knowing might just have a heart attack on the spot. Cher also requests a massage room.
Only the Best for Kanye West's Drivers
We bet we could fill an entire article with all the unexpected things Kanye West put in riders, during tours, and in his private life. We'll stick with just a few: He once demanded that all drivers wear one-hundred percent cotton. No fibers were accepted. We don't know why.
He also often requested imported and recut Versace towels, which he used while he was performing. That one is practical, at least. We wonder if he could feel the difference. Actually, we don't know why we even ask. Of course, he could.
Drake's list looks slightly different than other superstars' requests. Instead of worrying about the interior design of the hotel room, or thinking about what goes in his body with the amount of seasoning on the chicken, Drake takes time to consider what goes on his skin. He won't use just any body-lotion that comes his way.
Dr. Bronner's Peppermint, this is your day, as Drake will only use your soap (it said so on the list), and if you ask yourself why Drakes's lips are so soft? Nivea chapstick is the answer. We can also reveal that after reviewing the full list, he adores scented incense and appreciates a good cigar.
Keith Moon Madness
The Who has been banned from every single Holiday Inn in the world. Do you know what kind of crazy stuff people get up to there? What do you have to do to get such a blanket ban? It was mostly drummer Keith Moon who got them kicked out.
On his twenty-first birthday, in 1967, it's been said that Moon drove a Rolls Royce – a car that was likely worth hundreds of thousands of dollars – into the swimming pool of a Michigan Holiday Inn. He also liked to blow up toilets with dynamite. Really hard not to side with the Holiday organization on this issue. Good drummer, though.
Reba McEntire Had a Specific Demand
When it comes to crazy asks, country music singers aren't really the group to show up very often. But singer Reba McEntire once demanded in her rider that all of the cups she uses were plastic and entirely, absolutely clear. Not opaque, not translucent. One hundred percent clear. No one has been able to fully determine why.
It could be anything from she doesn't want to accidentally grab the wrong drink to just really, really disliking opaque plastic cups. We may never know the reason. It must be nice being famous. We'd demand that there's nothing that smells like lavender.
Why Do You Need That Much Corn Starch, Trent Reznor?
As the frontman and leading creative mind behind the industrial rock band Nine Inch Nails, Trent Reznor has carved out a place for himself in the history of rock. We can't help but wonder, though, why he asks for two boxes of cornstarch in his tour rider from each concert venue.
He has even said that the two boxes are very important for the band and...you know what, maybe we don't want to know. It's even stranger, given that most of the other things he and the band asks for are just things to make juices and mixed drinks. Maybe they just think oobleck is neat.
Mariah Carey NEEDS MORE POWER
When big performers are on stage, they need the right setup for fireworks or lights, blowing fans, speakers, washing machines, popcorn machines, etc. Demands for power in the makeup room are much rarer, but Mariah Carey is one of the few that makes them. She requires three separate 20 amp circuits to help her get her makeup and hair ready.
Smart planning – if one of the circuits gets overloaded and goes down, the other two are there to pick up the slack. Carey has to look her best when she hits the stage. When she's prepping, she also asks that all harsh lighting be turned off.
ZZ Top's Buffalo Got Away
That's not a euphemism. This band from Texas decided for their 1976 and 1977 Worldwide Texas Tour; they would bring a little bit of the local flavor with them while they traveled to join them on stage. This included a buffalo, a longhorn steer, two vultures, and two rattlesnakes. There's no way this could end badly.
After the June 12th show in Pittsburgh, the animals escaped, damaging the stadium where they were kept. The buffalo escaped in November of the same year, doing damage to nine rented limos that were parked and almost wrecking them.
The Rolling Stones Keep on Rolling
While this rock band was once the wildest and craziest to cross most hotels or stages, the time has mellowed them out somewhat. When they were on tour from 2005 to 2007 for their A Bigger Bang World Tour, they didn't demand that much. Drinks, food, the simple stuff.
Perhaps their most interesting request was that they wanted a running area that was private. Whether that means treadmills or an actual running track probably depended on the venue. Running is a great way to get healthy. Good job, guys – keep on rocking and rolling.
Beyoncé's Fancy Straws and Toilet Paper
When Beyoncé drinks her lemonade, it isn't with a plebian plastic straw. While she was on the Mrs. Carter Show World Tour, she asked for (and received) nine-hundred-dollar titanium straws. Does it make the drink taste better? Does she not like the feeling of plastic on her tongue?
The singer also took a page from fellow artist Mary J. Blige's book by demanding the toilets all have new seats. She also wanted red toilet paper. We aren't going to ask. There just isn't enough time in the day.
Mary J. Blige Doesn't Like to Use Any Old Toilet
Apparently something of a germaphobe, Mary J. Blige has the means to keep herself safe and sane while she's on tour. This R&B singer has a number of regular requests, which range from top-notch cleaning to Red Vines (presumably one of her favorite candies). Among these more standard asks is that she needs to have a private toilet.
Not only that, the toilet has to have a brand-new seat, unsullied and fresh out of the packaging. When you get right down to it, many of us wouldn't mind having a private toilet. Imagine being the first person to ever use a toilet. Blige lives the dream.
Funnily enough, Mr. Eminem doesn't ask for much. A bit of workout equipment, food, drinks, and a CD player. We know this is the 21st century, but a CD player was on the list when we last checked. Eminem's request list looks more like a family's list before going camping.
24 small bottles of Diet Coke, one loaf of white bread, another loaf of brown bread, a jumbo shrimp cocktail, and so on. Eminem, if there was a king of modesty competition, we would definitely crown you.
Deadmau5 Really Likes Stuffed Animals
As if you couldn't tell from the big mechanical mouse head, this DJ is a fan of animals in his professional life. He likes incorporating them into his stage. When he was on tour with fellow DJ Steve Aoki, he asked for numerous inflatable animals to accompany the two of them on the road.
These inflatables surfed the crowds at the shows and spent plenty of time in pools between shows as the two performers relaxed. Deadmau5 specified that they must be at least five feet in size. Aoki is sometimes crowd-surfed along with the animals, which sounds pretty smart.
Jack White Like His Guacamole Homemade
We all love some good guac. Jack White is among us, and while he's on tour, he always wants some to snack on. We really can't find anything wrong with that. However, he does want the guacamole to be homemade, and he gives strict instructions on how to make it.
The instructions include mixing in or squeezing half a lime over the finished product to keep it from browning, which is a handy tip that you, too, can use the next time you're mixing up a batch. His music might not be everyone's favorite, but you can't fault White's taste.
M.I.A. Wanted Three Backup Dancers
Yeah, that's the kind of title that raises an eyebrow, but it's not what you think – the Sri Lankan rapper requested the women to be backup dancers on stage. Usually, tours hire backups for the entire list of performances, but for some reason, M.I.A. wanted three different women every time she took the stage.
They had to be between twenty and twenty-five years old and had to be able to groove to the music – that's a direct quote. Maybe she was interested in getting people from the area, making each performance special. We guess there was a time when M.I.A. could make this kind of demand, but it wasn't a very long time.
The Foo Fighters Requested No Rocks
When The Foo Fighters hit the road in 2011, they sent out a fifty-two-page list in their rider. Among the coloring pages and games, one reasonable request was that the food served to the band should not include any rocks. They didn't want any lame food, which also included sandwiches and pickles.
The manager for the tour, Gus Brandt, came up with the rider, and Dave Grohl has said that Brandt always takes opportunities to show off his humor. Their first choice was to do a laminated Waffle House-style menu with suggested servings, but it proved to be too fiddly. Instead, they went with the coloring book.
Van Halen Wasn't Short on Protection
The eighties were the time of Van Halen. Whether it was touring or when he was at home, someone that was famous around the world needed to know he was staying safe. He had plenty of bodyguards, but he also hired two dwarves as extra security during a tour, dressing them in small S.W.A.T. Team uniforms, complete with handcuffs and sunglasses.
He called it a comfort, knowing that he could wake up in random hotels in the middle of nowhere and see his little friends watching over him. Having someone you can rely on is pretty important.
Pharrell Williams Wants a Picture of Carl Sagan
For those of us who were around while it was on, there are plenty of fond memories of the Carl Sagan show “Cosmos.” Williams was one such fan and recounted that he was often blown away by what he learned on the program.
He now requests that his dressing room contains a framed photo of Sagan at all of his shows since it reminds him of how lucky we all are to be on a planet that supports us and lets us do what we love and what Williams loves specifically. A reminder of our small part in the universe at large and to make the most of it.
Adele Needed Her Cigs and Gum
Adele has one of the most powerful and famous female voices in the industry, so it's strange to hear that she often demanded Marlboro Lights in her tour rider, along with a lighter. Maybe there was some sort of special recipe that she did to get her voice so beautiful – we don't recommend trying it, though.
But Adele didn't want a smoker's breath right before going to meet with fans, so she also requested chewing gum to freshen up. Finally, the singer usually requests red wine – twelve bottles of the best quality possible. Hopefully, that's to celebrate another great set after performing.
Marilyn Manson's Famous Food Fight
Gothic shock rocker Manson is actually somewhat tame when it comes to rock antics that aren't on stage, but he still has his moments. One of those moments came in 1998 when he and his retinue did more than twenty-five thousand dollars of damage to a Sheraton Hotel in New York – with a food fight. How on earth they managed, this is unknown.
They must have been throwing some hard food. Oh, also, somebody's shirt caught on fire, which led to their room's carpet also catching fire. Try explaining that one to the authorities without them locking up everyone involved.
Rapper Lupe Fiasco Needed Ice Cream. A Lot of It
When this rapper was on tour during 2009, his rider included what we can only call an ice cream bar to end all ice cream bars. Among the traditional toppings and offerings, the rider also demanded several flavors of ice “crème,” sprinkles, nuts, hot fudge, warm brownies, warm apple pie, and glazed Krispy Kreme doughnuts.
It's not the wildest thing on this list, it's not even the unhealthiest, but it does make us all sit back and dream. Lupe Fiasco got to the big time, and he celebrated the way so many of us would.
Tony Iommi Accidentally Set a Bandmate on Fire
Some people have gone so far as to say that Black Sabbath is the very first hard rock band. They gave Ozzy his start, they changed the history of music, and they got up to some really, really bizarre stuff. In his 2011 autobiography, guitarist Tony Iommi said that a prank went really, really wrong when he filled up an entire bucket with alcohol and tossed it at drummer Bill Ward.
Ward immediately burst into flames. The alcohol soaked into his legs and delivered third-degree burns. No one is entirely sure how it happened, and if we're honest, we aren't coming up with any good solutions, either.
Madonna Wants to Call You
As one of the original pop stars, Madonna has probably asked for everything from specific foods to rooms with a certain feng shui, and she has almost certainly got them. She needs to be able to talk to people around the world, so one of the things she has requested numerous times is a bank of twenty international phone lines in her room while she's on tour.
She really, really needs to be able to talk to people. Then there are the more traditional asks: a yoga instructor, a personal chef, and an acupuncturist, which are all kept on standby for when she needs them.
Lady Gaga's Mannequin
A huge star like Lady Gaga can ask for, and get, anything she wants when it comes to tours, and she tested that idea in one certain tour rider. Not only did she ask for posters of her favorite bands and musicians like David Bowie, Queen, and Elton John, but she specifically asked for a mannequin that had puffy pink hair in a certain spot. A very certain spot.
Why on earth the self-acclaimed queen of the universe wanted this mannequin is anyone's guess, though big stars often include wild requests to make sure all the rules – which include power and infrastructure requests – are followed.
Pearl Jam Wants to Be Healthy
Staying in good spirits and good health while you're touring on the road is something that all the big bands have at the top of their to-do lists. It's a hard life even if you aren't an international star, which is why the band Pearl Jam requests four cartons of Epsom salt for medicinal purposes – that's the only piece of information we have on the matter.
Of course, as long as they're using it the right way, creating a bath out of the compound will help relax muscles after a long, tiring show. It can even help reduce pain in the shoulders, neck, back, and skull. Just what some aging rockers need.
Justin Bieber and the Indian Yoga Casket
Let's just reiterate that title really quickly: Justin Bieber wanted an Indian Yoga casket. Now you might be asking what exactly an Indian Yoga casket is, and here's the answer: It's a...it's a casket. And it's got stuff like aromatic oils, incense, and yoga books.
This was during a tour in India, so it kind of makes sense, but there was plenty more that he asked for during the tour. Other items include backstage Jacuzzis (we can't argue with that one), helicopters on standby, and a whopping three floors at a five-star hotel. Apparently, there are also ten luxury sedans that the singer and his crew used.
One Direction Needed Some Fun
The boys from One Direction were just that – boys. They couldn't really live the rock 'n' roll lifestyle as we know it, ignoring the fact they weren't exactly rockers. In their riders, they asked for things to keep them entertained and their minds off of performing, including a ping pong table, pinball machines, and one other game of the venue's choice, offering a few examples such as a pool or air hockey.
Ping pong, in particular, is the kind of thing that can keep you occupied for hours, and you can really show off your skills if you've spent enough time with a paddle in your hand.
Paul McCartney's Zoo
Being a Beatle, Sir Paul McCartney has an animal-oriented request list when on tour. You can imagine the boundaries when touring with Paul. No meat, no fur, no leather, no life. Now we respect and support animal rights activists, but what are animals got to do with dimmer switch lamps (as only these are acceptable for Paul)?
No animal resemblance whatsoever. No prints, no material, nothing. Sir Paul McCartney does have a love for flowers, plants (no trees), and 20 dozen clean towels that must be put outside of the production office. Go figure.
The Backstreet Boys Want to Eat Healthily
Despite being a boy band that tried to portray a clean image, we imagine even this group of five guys got up to some craziness when they could. But when it came to their diets on the road, they wanted to stay healthy. Their rider specified no candy, chips, chocolate, or junk food of any kind.
Instead, they requested water, milk, fruit, and vegetables. Perhaps the most unhealthy item they had on hand was the ingredients for peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Is there anyone out there who doesn't like PB&J? If you're performing for months on end, that healthy food goes down smooth.
Bon Jovi Knew There Was Nothing Like Healthy Food to Bring People Together
Even though they're a classic member of the rock pantheon, even Bon Jovi knew that the right food could make all the difference. During one tour, the band requested at each of the venues where they played a large urn of hot homemade, low-fat chicken noodle soup.
They also requested enough bowls and spoons for up to ten people. It might not have been the wild party that rockers used to get up to, but when you've spent your life on the road, sometimes you just want some soup.
Ozzy Osbourne Just Straight Up Disappears
Ozzy antics seem to have no end. One of the more amusing tales of this rock god comes from when Black Sabbath was on tour with Van Halen in 1978. Black Sabbath checked into their hotel in Atlanta and started preparing for their show that evening, only to discover Ozzy wasn't in his room.
The bed was untouched and his luggage unopened. Police were notified, and a search began. Van Halen played the opening set, but Black Sabbath had to apologize for canceling. Nine in the morning the next day, Ozzy called the band to ask when they were going to the venue. He stumbled into the wrong hotel room and slept for more than twenty-four hours.
Katy Perry’s Banns the Carnation
If you're a flower lover, you should love all flowers, except if you're Katy Perry. In 2011 Katy Perry listed the flowers she wanted to decorate her dressing room. Wouldnt that be amazing, opening a flower catalog and just picking whatever you fancy that day?
Katy perry requested white hydrangeas, purple hydrangeas, pink and white roses, and how not — peonies. But there was one flower that was banned. She specifically asked that there would be no carnations. Non what so ever. But why? What have the carnations ever done to her?
Billy Idol Hosted the Craziest Party
In the midst of a tour, Billy Idol decided to party. And party he did at the Oriental Hotel penthouse in Thailand in 1989, hosting what some have called a series of parties and what others have called a single three-week party. He and his guests incurred almost a hundred and fifty thousand dollars in damages, but still, he refused to leave the premises.
The military came in, hit Idol with a tranquilizer dart, and carried him out on a stretcher. Really, it's hard to imagine a scenario that is more hard rock than that.
Shakira Got Really Specific With Her Fruit
As someone who has a brand that not only depends on her singing voice but her appealing dance moves at the same time, Shakira is known for eating healthy and keeping herself fit. Thus, her rider asked for fruit at each of the concerts where she performed – but there were some specifics.
The rider called for three mangos (that's how it's spelled in the rider), three Hawaiian papayas (small), six bananas, and three peaches. All good fruits, but the specificity is memorable. This could be another example of testing the venue to make sure they're following all the more important rules the singer wanted for her performances.
Someone Didn't Know Who Chris Robinson Was
In 1991, Black Crowes singer Chris Robinson was arrested after an incident inside a 7-11 in Denver, Colorado. Apparently, Robinson was peeved he couldn't buy booze after midnight. He got angrier and angrier, getting into a confrontation with the store's employee, a woman who admitted that she had never even heard of the Black Crowes.
This so enraged Robinson that he spat on her without a second's thought, which of course got law enforcement involved. Robinson didn't need to buy any booze at the time if he was interested in his health. We've never heard of the Black Crowes either, Robinson, come at us.
Rihanna in the Archipelago Black Forest
Rihanna, Rihanna, Rihanna. Will only black drapes with icy blue chiffon layers do? We don't understand how drapes are leveled so high on the stars request list, and not only hers. The drape issue is apparently a big thing amongst the celebs.
Rihanna has requested in the past only Archipelago Black Forest candles and stated that if these can't be found, please alert and a second option will be given. Why don't they make life easier for everyone and give the second option with the initial list? And by the way, the tulips can be placed only in a square vase. The tulips don't like round environments.
Steve Aoki Just Wants Some Cake
Any big name on this list will have some weird items to make his or her life a little easier while performing, but Steve Aoki might be one of the few to ask for something that he's going to give the audience.
His rider habitually includes a soft cake that says “Dim Mak” (the name of the record label he founded in 1996), which he always hurls into the crowd during his set. It's sorta become his thing. Note that he specifically requested soft cake – if his fans are going to be hit in the face with a cake, it should be pillowy.
Asking Alexandria Are Wanted in South America
Most of the wild backstage stories are from the classics like the Stones or Black Sabbath, but one modern band is continuing the tradition. While in Argentina, the band went wild, ruining the hotel they were in – destroying rooms and TVs and walls and everything else.
The hotel wanted justice, getting their plane grounded for a little while. The band managed to get away, and when they returned to the continent two years later, the only hotel that would put them up gave them nothing but a bare mattress on the floor of their single room. Get to sleep.
Jay-Z, the Car, and the PB&J Sandwich
For the 2009 tour, this famous recording artist had a number of demands. The most extravagant of them all was a late-model black Maybach with tinted windows. He also asked for alcohol, tobacco, and plenty more.
He couldn't get most of those things since he was performing at the University of Arizona, and they just didn't have the funds for luxury cars worth almost half a million dollars. He did, however, ask for (and got) a peanut butter and jelly sandwich made from good quality ingredients.
Kanye West and the Slush Machine
Kanye West is not one of those who go after single-colored M&M or specific gym equipment to decorate their hotel room. However, during his 2016 Saint Pablo tour he did request slush machines. And the more the better.
He asked for frozen Coka Cola and frozen Lemonade and any other frozen beverage he could think of. Now we know Saint Pablo can be humid and hot, but a slush machine in your hotel room?
Mariah Carey’s Interior Design
It is no surprise that Mariah Carey has a very long and outrageous list she wants to be fulfilled before every show. She is s diva and she knows it, and because she knows it, she can demand. We will start with the basics of 20 white kittens (must be white), 100 white doves (white again), and water with vitamins, not for herself but for the dog.
Now what made us lift an eyebrow was the following request. Mariah Carry requested specific drapes for all rooms and eight (no more and no less) leafy plants to go with the drapes. Did someone tell Mariah that the interior design workshop was last month?
Beyoncé's Chicken and Soda Menu
Beyonce can have it all. She can even have an entire takeout chicken menu altered just for her requests as you will now see. Firstly the room must be at a certain temperature (78 degrees to be precise). Rose candles must decorate the room (doesn't the smell affect the flavors of the food?), and now...to the chicken.
The regular seasoning the chicken place uses is insufficient. Beyonce asks for heavily seasoned chicken that must be with cayenne pepper. No other will do. Coca-Cola can not be even visible (to anyone around, not only her) as she has a contractual agreement with Pepsi. We understand the Pepsi thing, but heavily seasoned????
What Does Metallica Want? BACON! When Do They Want It? NOW!
As men among boys, when it comes to the touring scene, Metallica knows what they want, and they want pork products. Their rider includes a special note that bacon is very important, and it must be available at every meal and even between meals to snack on. They also ask for breakfast sausages alongside the bacon.
Also requested in the rider: tea. The band prefers PG tips or Tetley's British Blend. The perfect foods right before getting onstage and shredding “Enter Sandman.” Tea does tend to make you sleepy.
The Sex Pistols Were Built for Confrontation
Thanks to their attitude and craziness more than their music, the Sex Pistols became punk royalty. Their manager often booked them in places off the beaten path just to get the most publicity, even if it was bad.
One gig in San Antonio saw people spitting on the band, beer cans launched at their heads, plenty more craziness – bassist Sid Vicious hit a man with his guitar. It became one of the most iconic Sid Vicious moments and one of the most memorable punk moments, so the manager seems to have succeeded.
Led Zeppelin Gets Banned From a Hotel Twice
After a night of partying a little too hard, English band Led Zeppelin got themselves banned from the Seattle Edgewater Hotel in 1969. That's nothing special; that was like a Tuesday night for these guys. The hotel threw them out and said to never come back, and then Led Zeppelin did just that. Come back, we mean.
It took them eight years, but they were able to sneak back in using false names. They immediately started misbehaving. Allegedly, they threw five television sets out of the window and into the waters of the Puget Sound, next to the hotel. Could they not have just gone to a different hotel?
Red Hot Chili Peppers Need Some Quiet Time
It might come as a surprise if you're familiar with Red Hot Chili Pepper's music, but they're pretty quiet lads, overall. That's why, after they're done rocking for hours on end, they need a meditation room as part of their rider. The rooms must have dark walls, a carpet, and an area rug.
The band also often requests aromatherapy candles, and they also like to have a pair of cotton boxer shorts ready too. No, hold on, what was that last one? Are we missing something? Why do they need special meditation underwear? Is there something we don't know about meditation?