The trivia question at Dunn Bros Coffee on Loring Park this morning was so appropriate to my life and an easy 10 cents off my caramel latte machiato:
What color M&Ms did the Rolling Stones request be removed from bowls backstage in response to Van Halen?
The band Van Halen is legendary in the music industry as pioneering the idea and evolution of the technical rider. A tech rider is comprised of a list of elements the band needs to perform: space size, number of dressing rooms, number of truss motors, brands of audio gear, placement of monitors, styles of mics, instruments the venue needs to provide (not all bands travel with their own), number of crew needed to get the show up and running for an audience, types of food and liquids available to the band backstage…the list goes on! Van Halen famously took this list of required items a step further by requesting a bowl of M&Ms backstage (as part of the band’s catering) with all the brown M&Ms removed. This was their test to see if the venue actually read the contract and was paying attention to all the elements listed in the tech rider. Their theory was if the bowl had brown M&Ms, then there might be other, more important, technical concerns that had not properly been addressed by the venue in preparation for the Van Halen show!
Although none of the Rock the Garden bands have that type of hard core technical needs (like a 6 truck Van Halen show), their catering requirements DO get pretty specific! Some of my faves from this year’s 4 bands:
One band requests an 8z bag of beef jerky
Another band requests 4 cans of Red Bull (not a case…but 4 individual cans)
one bottle of Maker’s Mark is pretty popular, but one band specifically requests NO JACK DANIELS (and yes, it is all caps in the tech rider)
In addition to the catering/hospitality set up, the tech rider is our main source of information on what instruments we need to provide the band and how the musicians are configured onstage. Sometimes this is a hand drawing that someone will scan and email. Other bands go to a lot of trouble to draft something out in scale with a lot of detail. My favorite this year even has little people inserted on the drawing representing members of the band…they all appear to be naked and all have incredible 6-pack abs!
My picture doesn’t do the level of detail on those abs justice, but you get the idea!
Another band on this year’s line up doesn’t have catering or hospitality on their tech rider (yet)…so they just emailed us to let us know that they are expecting a trampoline! Something tells me that those guys are going to be a blast backstage!
Oh, and if you head into the Dunn Bros coffee over at Loring Park today, the answer to the trivia is “green”. You are welcome…