Van Halen’s No Brown M&Ms Contract: The Truth

Van Halen with David Lee Roth

I first heard the story back in 9th grade. A female classmate was talking about rock group Van Halen. The group always demanded a bowl of M&Ms backstage. Then, the brown ones were to be removed.

Also, according to the classmate, the group’s lead singer David Lee Roth hurt himself onstage. After the inncident, a brown M&M was found backstage.

At first, I thought nothing of the story about Roth hurting himself because of a brown M&M. Over the years, I thought it was bullshit, just a rumor with no evidence.

I also thought the no brown M&Ms demand was bullshit too, a demand from pretentious rock stars.

Yet, after thirty years, I found out the truth. The traveling stage containing high voltage required specific settings. If settings weren’t correct, things could go wrong and even be fatal. One time, the stage sunk into the floor. The specifications were included in the contract. To make sure folks were reading the contract, the brown M&M clause was added. If brown M&Ms were found in the bowl, this meant the contract wasn’t fully read.

So, after three decades, I found out what the brown M&Ms story was all about.

Let’s hear Mr. Roth tell it.

About Patrick Scott Barnes

Most of Central Florida knows Stone Crazy (Patrick Scott Barnes) as a poet. Yet, he also photographs, DJ and blogs. The rest of the time, the now sober blogger guzzles Diet Coke in Central Florida nightspots.
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2 Responses to Van Halen’s No Brown M&Ms Contract: The Truth

  1. Let tell you,I read every contract that came over my desk when I was working at the club I was at in Palo Alto. I personally signed off on everything that a band required. And you know what? They would have had brown M&Ms in their room and the bags would have been UNOPENED. They could have taken their own damn M&Ms out.
    Riders are subjective,many times I called the agent and said we could or couldn’t do certain things and they always worked with us. Never once in 10 years did I lose a show due to a incomplete rider.


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