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.
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