Sparkling water … but, no brown M&Ms !

This came up in conversation over the weekend, so I thought a reprise was in order …

Awhile ago,, I was invited to do a radio interview on NPR.

When I told my daughter-in-law, she suggested that I request sparkling water and green M&Ms.



I thought that was pretty funny, but didn’t know the story behind it


Now, I realize that all cool people know that rockstars Van Halen always included a contract provision that there be M&Ms in their dressing room and backstage … with the brown M&Ms sorted out.

Publically, that demand morphed to “only green M&Ms” … and was used to tag Van Halen  as uber-spoiled rocksters.

They might have been, but this isn’t the evidence to convict.

According to the Smoking Gun it turns out that there’s more to the story … that the contract provision  was not an example of rock ‘n’ roll hedonism, but a savvy business move:

The rider’s “Munchies” section was where the group made its candy-with-a-caveat request: “M&M’s (WARNING: ABSOLUTELY NO BROWN ONES).”

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.

And, one of my students told me that the provision was added only after a promoter failed to put a restraint in the right place – as spelled out in the contract – and a stage hand had a fatal fall.

I can’t verify that part of the story … that’s the way urban legends are, I guess …

P.S.  No I didn’t get green M&Ms, but I was able to sneak some candy into the studio.


Thanks to JNH for  the idea and JV for feeding the legend.


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