Van Halen's Infamous "No Brown M&Ms" Tour Rider Emerges

December 11, 2008 2:41 PM ET

We finally have proof of the mother of all insane tour rider demands, Van Halen's request for "No Brown M&Ms," thanks to the Smoking Gun. Written in 1982 and coming in at an astounding 53 pages, the band's oddball demands range from "herring in sour cream," countless bottles of alcohol and a "large tube of KY jelly." But it's in the rider's "Munchies" section where we find "M&Ms (Warning: Absolutely No Brown Ones)," meaning someone at each venue was given the job of plucking the brown M&Ms away from their yellow, green and orange candy-shelled counterparts. Keep in mind, this is 1982, so there were actually two shades of brown M&Ms at the time, with the standard brown and tan, which was eventually eliminated to make way for blue.

That infamous request for no brown M&Ms spawned both an urban legend (now confirmed) and a joke in Wayne's World 2. Why the outlandish demand? According to the Smoking Gun, "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." Nowadays, Van Halen has moved away from banning brown M&Ms and instead request normal things like tutors and room to practice martial arts.

Related Stories:
Smoking Section: No Brown M&Ms!
GOP's Use of "Right Now" Leads to Sammy Hagar-Eddie Van Halen Phone Tag
David Lee Roth Imposter "Scamming" Ontario, Allergic to Nuts
Van Halen Reunion Tour Grosses $93 Million

To read the new issue of Rolling Stone online, plus the entire RS archive: Click Here

Music Main Next
Around the Web
Powered By ZergNet
Daily Newsletter

Get the latest RS news in your inbox.

Sign up to receive the Rolling Stone newsletter and special offers from RS and its
marketing partners.


We may use your e-mail address to send you the newsletter and offers that may interest you, on behalf of Rolling Stone and its partners. For more information please read our Privacy Policy.

Song Stories

“Long Walk Home”

Bruce Springsteen | 2007

When the subject of this mournful song returns home, he hardly recognizes his town. Springsteen told Rolling Stone the alienation the man feels is a metaphor for life in a politically altered post-9/11 America. “Who would have ever thought we’d live in a country without habeas corpus?” he said. “That’s Orwellian. That’s what political hysteria is about and how effective it is. I felt it in myself. You get frightened for your family, for your home. And you realize how countries can move way off course, very far from democratic ideals.”

More Song Stories entries »