Behold the Holy Grail.
Since we began publishing backstage concert riders about 10 years ago, TSG has been searching for the most famous rider of them all, the one in which Van Halen famously stipulated that brown M&M's were to be banished from the band's dressing room. Well, as seen below, the hunt is over.
TSG has finally obtained the 1982 Van Halen World Tour rider--typewritten and 53 pages long--containing the M&M prohibition (and a few other unique demands). The document, which we've excerpted here, also stipulated that promoters provide the group with "herring in sour cream," four cases of "Schlitz Malt Liquor beer (16 ounce cans)," and a total of eight bottles of wine and liquor. Oh, and the band also needed "One (1) large tube KY Jelly."
The rider's "Munchies" section was where the group made its candy-with-a-caveat request: "M & M's (WARNING: ABSOLUTELY NO BROWN ONES)." While the underlined rider entry has often been described as an example of rock excess, the outlandish demand of multimillionaires, the group has said the M&M provision was included to make sure that promoters had actually read its lengthy rider. If brown M&M's were in the backstage candy bowl, Van Halen surmised that more important aspects of a performance--lighting, staging, security, ticketing--may have been botched by an inattentive promoter.
The Van Halen rider was provided to TSG by relatives of Jack Belle, a late New York businessman who booked concerts in upstate New York. Belle, who died in 1987 at age 43, promoted shows featuring acts ranging from Foghat and Golden Earring to The Police and The Who. The 1982 Van Halen rider was included in dozens of show files that Belle maintained, and which his family is now considering selling (the files include riders, signed contracts, catering bills, etc.). So drop a line to firstname.lastname@example.org for more information about these rock and roll collectibles, which span a 1973 King Crimson show at the New York State Fairgrounds and a 1985 Bruce Springsteen concert at the cavernous Carrier Dome in Syracuse. (11 pages)