Noisey Blog

The Most Ridiculous Tour Riders In History

By Yusuf Laher

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Inexplicably successful DJ, Steve Aoki, found himself in the eye of an antisocial media shit-storm last week, after an anonymous tipster leaked his ridiculous two-page tour rider. Aoki recently stuck a riposte on his site, justifying requests like, “six large, black, v-neck t-shirts (American Apparel and H&M acceptable),” “six pairs of men’s underwear (briefs style),” and “six pairs of men’s socks (crew style).” Before adding adorable quotes like, “two bottles of Cristal is definitely a ballin’ move...Do I need it? No, but if I can get it… sweet!” Fair play mate.

Madonna's latest demands for her MDNA tour were also leaked, though I guess it's kinda OK when you're the Queen of Pop and all. But it did include gems like:

"She requires all furniture be removed from the rooms and replaced with her own pieces that she has shipped in."
 
"20 international phone lines in the room as well as special white and pink roses that must have the stems cut to six inches."
 
And y'know standard stuff like...
 
"a personal chef, acupuncturist and an on-site dry-cleaner."
 
But in reality, Aoki and even Her Madgesty's demands are pretty smalltime. For starters, when it comes to insane tour riders, Iggy and the Stooges are the undisputed top doggies, as documented by roadie Jos Grain, with their legendary 18-page document including classics like:

“You know what would be really nice? If you could make this room look less like a typical rock & roll dressing room and more sort of… Interesting? Are you with me? Just let someone loose with a little bit of flair… Er, do you know any homosexuals?” 

“One monitor man who speaks English and is not afraid of death.”

And, most famously...

“Seven dwarves, dressed up as those dwarves out of that marvelous Walt Disney film…”

Slayer continued the great tradition of batshit riders on their Fun Fun Fun Fest tour, which included requests like, “100 snow-white goats for slaughter,” “a Halaal butcher to slaughter the goats,” “freezer bags and coolers to preserve the goat meat” and “four yoga ball chairs, black.” Obviously, like Iggy, Slayer were fucking around with their employers. Then again, it’s fucking Slayer. God’s favourite metal band. So y'know, again, fair play.

But the ridiculousness doesn't stop with those guys, *DEEP BREATH*

Johnny Cash needed an American flag, in full view of every audience member.

Trent Reznor needs two boxes of cornstarch (“VERY IMPORTANT”).

The Stones need a room for their travelling snooker table.

Mötley Crüe’s rider asked for local AA meeting schedules, a sub-machine gun, a 12-foot boa constrictor and a jar of Grey Poupon mustard – once, in 1988, frontman Vince Neil found the wrong mustard backstage, lost his shit and threw the bottle at the wall. It bounced back and severed an artery in his thumb.

Marilyn Manson’s list of demands includes Haribo gummi bears (only) and a bald, toothless hooker (according to his management, a joke Manson includes in the hope of one day meeting one).

Hank III has requested a great white shark.

The Bloodhound Gang once asked for a rhesus monkey.

DMX famously demands three boxes of condoms and one gallon of Hennessey – now that’s how you do real ballin’ Aoki.

Queen Latifah, dispelling all stereotypes, demanded a 12-piece bucket of KFC and a 12-pack of Lifestyle or Rough Rider condoms.

Prince insists that all food be wrapped in clear plastic film, to be unwrapped by him only.

Katy Perry’s 45-page rider insists that her driver is not allowed to talk to or make eye contact with her.

When she played the O2 Arena last year, two of Britney Spears’ weirdest requests were McDonalds hamburgers (without the buns) and a framed photo of Princess Diana, WTF?!

In February, M.I.A.’s 26-page tour rider leaked online and, in-between regular requests like vitamins, dried mangos and a bottle of absinthe, she asked for three women, between the ages of 20 and 25, to dance on stage, wearing full body burkas. Which is totally badass.

Angry ginger Axl Rose’s current rider, includes a square melon and an Italian leather sofa to eat it off.  

In 2011, before appearing at the Tennent’s Vital festival in Northern Ireland, Eminem asked for a wooden pond to be constructed in his backstage area and filled with koi carp. 

And finally, the tour rider that started them all; Van Halen and their brown M&Ms. In the '80s, Van Halen’s infamous “Chinese phone book” sized rider painted them as the biggest douchebags on the planet, after details emerged that they'd demanded a giant supply of M&Ms, but if there were any brown M&Ms backstage, the promoter automatically forfeited the entire show, at FULL pay. It wasn't until years later, that David Lee Roth explained they were in fact dicking-on promoters who hadn't read the fine print, and not in fact a band that were particularly touchy about confectionery.

Still, the fiasco went down in music history and paved the way for ridiculous riders. Pop stars with more cash than Zuckerberg and a very limp grip on reality have never looked back.

Follow Yusuf on Twitter @You_Surf