It's not a secret that famous artists are sometimes huge divas. We hear about their neediness all the time. Yet it still shocks and appalls us when artists demand extensive backstage luxuries in concert riders, which are addendums to their standard contract with promoters. A couple weeks ago, music news sites were ablaze with the contents of Katy Perry's concert rider which requests, among other things, "ABSOLUTELY NO CARNATIONS."
Riders are practically an industry standard and some are even more crazy than Katy Perry's. So I present to you five of the craziest.
Lopez's rider has gotten air time not so much because of its contents, but the circumstances for which it was issued. Last year, JLo, now fresh off her first season as an American Idol judge, performed for a charity music video meant to benefit victims of the African AIDS epidemic.
At a time one might think JLo would keep her requirements modest (especially given the cause), they were anything but. The rider requested a 45' trailer complete with CD player and TV/VCR, a number of flowers, and an assortment of current music.
Lil Wayne's rider requests a lot of security; more than most artists, in fact. Apart from requesting two police escorts to and from the airport and hotel, Wayne demands an additional four off-duty police officers as escort from the hotel to the venue and back.
Other than his requests for security, most of the rider is fairly standard for an artist of his stature. Well, except for the chartered Lear Jet to and from the city of the concert.
As they have the great granddaddy of riders, it would be impossible not to include Van Halen on this list. Yet, the requirement they're known for best is, according to the band, widely misunderstood.
The 1982 rider listed, among other requirements, an odd request for a candy bowl filled with M&Ms without the brown ones. A lot of people thought it was strange until the rationale for it came out. The band figured that if there were brown M&Ms in the bowl that would mean the promoter's staff hadn't read the rider closely enough, meaning other things (like equipment specs) might be wrong.
Clearly hoping to capitalize on the attention given to Iggy Pop's rider (see below), Foo Fighters produced one that was way-out-there for their 2008 tour. It's so obvious they were trying to be like Iggy that they referenced his rider in theirs (though their 2000 rider has a few gems as well).
Among other things the band calls for is one bag of Pirate Booty (but not Johnny Depp's), 24 large bath towels (under threat of a wedgie), 75 pounds of ice, and vegetarian soup (lest there be flatulence among the road crew).
Although his rider is not quite as crazy in its requirements as some of these others (most of them are pretty standard), Iggy's is perhaps the most unique because of the way it's written. Rather than just listing the artists' needs and prohibitions, the rider ends up going into very detailed tangents, sometimes for a page or more. I'm talking about things like this:
"2 large industrial fans to be provided by the promoter one on stage and one in the dressing room for use by the drummer. He's practicing that scarf thing that that they used to do in Bon Jovi and Heart videos."
If I had to take a guess, I'd say that Jos Grain (who wrote this rider) dreaded the task, so instead of subjecting himself to tedium he decided to make it fun and be as ridiculous as possible. As noted above, Foo Fighters would later write a similar kind of rider.
If you were an artist, what ridiculous request would you put in your rider?