Music History

Van Halen Might Want to Invest in This New App

The concert rider is the part of an agreement between an artist and promoter regarding what needs to be provided for the artist before, during and after a gig. The bulk of the rider deals with pretty mundane things: load-in/load-out times, electrical requirements for the PA and the lights and catering for the crew.  Where it sometimes get interesting are the requirements the artist lays down for the dressing room and the backstage area.

One of the most legendary concert rider stories involves Van Halen and their stringent demands when it came to chocolate-covered candies during their 1982 world tour. Upset that promoters weren’t following some of the most routine requests and requirements, the band decided to write in something completely ridiculous, just to test if promoters actually read this part of the contract. This is the source of the NO BROWN M&Ms story.

Sorry, kids. While the story is true, it had little to do with the outrageous excesses of touring rock bands. However, it’s since morphed into one of the great rock’n’roll myths.

Which brings me to this: an iPhone app that can connect to a special machine which will then sort M&Ms by colour.It seems like a lot of trouble to invent something like this, but you never know when Van Halen might decide to tour again.


Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

Alan Cross has 37914 posts and counting. See all posts by Alan Cross

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