Top 10 Ridiculous Riders


You’ve written down your water, kettle and of course your Vocalzone but what comes next? Here we take a look at some of the most bizarre and entertaining Rider requests of all time. 

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It should be noted that amusing artist rider anecdotes are the stuff of legend passed down through generations of venue staff, fans and journalists since the dawn of diva demands and rock star egos. As such, they should all be read with a pinch of salt!

1. Spinal Tap – Problems Backstage

“I don’t want it to affect your performance” says the band’s long suffering manager, Ian Faith. Spinal Tap’s lead guitarist Nigel Tufnel is struggling with under-sized bread, or is it over-sized filling? In this scene filmmaker Marti DiBergi commits the legendary green room antics of rock stars to cinema as he follows the band on their ill fated North American tour.

2. Van Halen – No Brown M&Ms

That’s right, Van Halen’s 1982 Rider infamously stipulated that under no circumstances were there to be brown M&Ms. A longstanding symbol of Rock ‘n’ Roll excess, it was recently revealed that this very specific request was included to test whether promoters were reading the rider and contract thoroughly. If the band got to the green room to discover brown M&Ms they knew it was highly likely that another more important detail was missed. Arguably ingenious as well as infamous!


3. Mariah Carey – Kittens

Alongside her usual butterfly shaped confetti and pink carpet, ultimate Diva Mariah Carey has been known to request 20 white kittens and 100 doves. The venue in question did manage to source the doves but fortunately health & safety stepped in to veto the kittens. Oh and make sure you’ve got a lift or the green room is on the ground floor – Mariah doesn’t do stairs.


4. Motley Crue – Mustard Induced Fury

Rock caricatures Motley Crue were renowned for their raucous behaviour, especially in their 80s heyday. Most rock star cliches started with this band. Not to be outdone by other poor imitators, for their 1988 tour Nikki and co requested directions to the nearest Alcoholics Anonymous meeting, a sub-machine gun, a 12-foot boa constrictor and insisted on a particular brand of mustard. The purchase of the incorrect mustard brand on one particular tour date resulted in singer Vince severing a thumb artery and the offending mustard laying smashed on the floor.


5. Jennifer Lopez – Anti-Clockwise Coffee Stirring

Renowned diva J-LO is a big fan of white; white sofas, drapes and flowers dominate her rider. The insistence that her coffee only be stirred anti-clockwise is a particularly bizarre request to make reports. Why only anti-clockwise? The only sensible answer seems to be that the action of stirring Jennifer Lopez’s hot beverage clockwise opens a portal to an alternative dimension.


6. Kanye West – Cotton Driver

Lip balm, soap, anti-dandruff shampoo, face scrub and moisturiser… Kanye West’s rider reads like the monthly shop of a man passionate about his skincare. At least it seems to, until you get to the next item in which specifications regarding Mr West’s driver become a bit intimate; they are only permitted to wear 100% cotton clothing. Bizarre.


7. Bloodhound Gang – Fridge Magnets

Given the content of their songs and music videos it’s no surprise to find that Bloodhound Gang’s rider is good for a chuckle, but they don’t let you have it right away. At the top of the document management detail the importance of its contents elaborating on how the very specific deli tray instructions are not to be skim read as ‘any old meat’. It sounds like the band have been burnt before. Then comes the wild card item – ‘one refrigerator magnet of local interest’.


8. Katy Perry – Mute Driver

As with many artists, backstage ambiance is very important to Katy Perry. Her green room is draped in beige or baby pink material and decorated with ornate french standing lamps. Aside from the usual fairly banal eating requirements, her rider goes into very specific detail about a few matters; there may be ‘ABSOLUTELY NO CARNATIONS’ in the flower arrangement and the driver ‘will not start a conversation with the client’.


9. Britney Spears – Fish & Chip Supper

When Britney played the O2 in 2011 her rider included a fish & chip supper and a frame photograph of Princess Diana. McDonalds Cheeseburgers without the buns and 100 figs and prunes were also required. Sounds like a recipe for an embarrassing on-stage accident!


10. Eminem

For a 2011 show in Northern Ireland Eminem was very specific about the brands of food and drink he wanted as well as his need for work out gear on site, but the oddest inclusion was the requirement of a Koi Carp pond.


Written by Laura Thomas

Social Media and Marketing Executive at Vocalzone. The Simpsons, The Wicker Man (original!), real crime shows, metal, punk and the new punk (grime)