Last week we took a look at a couple of riders from the Foo Fighters and Van Halen’s infamous 1982 contract rider which dictated no brown M&M’s should be served to the band backstage. This week we will take a look at a few more riders that have become famous in their own right, starting with the Iggy Pop rider which inspired the boys from Foo Fighters to make their riders. 

The Iggy Pop rider is famous for being one of the most hilarious to read riders ever due to its stream of consciousness style and its telling of some great backstage stories to illustrate the point. For example, when detailing its request for a monitor mix technician, the rider says:

We need one (1) monitor man who speaks good English and is not afraid of death {only joking, or am I?} Also, he needs to know a little something about monitors. This may seem a little bit obvious but believe me…

For example, in Santiago de Compostela, in Galecia in Northern Spain, they appear to think – if they just ignore riders like this, then supply a fat bearded hippy with a digital monitor desk (doh!) who doesn’t know shit about EQ-ing, and monitor wedges which would be better suited to wedging doors open, and a load of stage managers and PA geezers and promoters reps who do a lot of shouting – instead of providing what a band needs in order to do a gig to the best of its ability. And if they deny that their gear is no good that it will suddenly magically become good.

I’d just like to say that the next time the Stooges get booked for their festival I’m going to turn up with some pickled eggs, a small blue vibrator with a jelly dolphin balanced on its shaft, a set of dog eared encyclopedia with the volumes E-G missing, and a screwdriver that’s been accidentally dropped in a toilet.

And then when they say "That’s not the Stooges", I’m going to say "Yes it is", and then they’ll say "No it isn’t" and then I’ll say "Yes it is!!!" See how they like that, the fuckers.

Anyway, where was I? Oh yes, the monitors…
We do not have our own monitor man because in the future robots will work for us and make the world a better place.

Sorry about that rant about Santiago, by the way. I just had to get it off my chest, and killing people is just sooo 80’s don’t you think? The next page contains the information you require. Bear with me. Not a real bear, of course.

By the way our guitar roadie, Chris, assures me that the panda is not of the genus "Bear", but is actually part of the "Pig" family. Could this possibly be true, and why would he risk telling me, so that I can tell the whole world about his half baked theory? Unbelievable.

Some artists just want a few items specifically laid out in their riders. Bruce Springsteen asks for a security guard for his guitars. Ruben Studdard wants a bucket of KFC chicken every night when he comes off stage. NSYNC asked for Pop Tarts for their dressing rooms on their 2000 tour rider. And the list goes on and on. 

Why do these artists demand such accomodations in their performance agreements? Well, its actually a necessary part of the process. Technical riders all started out as just that – technical requirements for the touring act. Most technical riders leave it to that and set out the specific requirements necessary for the modern touring act to perform their best show. 

What a lot of folks don’t realize is that most bands touring today travel very light and rely on these riders to fulfill most of their equipment needs before they come to town to perform. Larger tours with multiple trucks worth of staging, PA and band equipment may be common for the large arenas and stadiums, but 75% of the concert business is in large theaters and concert halls where the touring band shows up with their instruments or sometimes less. 

All across the country are businesses that cater to the concert promoters and touring bands’ PA, staging and even instrument (or, backline as its called in the business) needs. An entire segment of the concert business has grown up over the last few decades supplying the equipment necessary to put on a great show. Due to the huge number of variables in producing concerts promoters have struck relationships with multiple equipment rental providers to take care of technical requirements, and the most invaluable tool they have to do their job is the contract technical rider. 

The tradition of adding superfluous items to the technical rider has no clear beginning, but it was common as far back as the 30s for club owners to supply complimentary food and beverage as part of the performer’s compensation. As performers’ celebrity increased one can assume the demands increased as well, human nature being what it is and all.

Some people will call the technical rider a pain in the ass and disregard it, at their own peril. Promoters can sometimes be a shady lot. I have toured with a handful of regional and local bands from the Midwest and can attest to the fact that sometimes what you are told will be available before a show and what is actually there when the band arrives can be two different things on a lot of occasions. This is why the technical rider is so important in the contract process. Laying out specifics of what is needed contractually before a performance can ensure the performer has a safe and happy performance. So long as there’s no brown M&M’s. 

For more detailed concert riders from your favorite performers, see the Backstage Pass section of thesmokinggun.com. I have spent many hours over the years reviewing some of the dozens of riders they have collected there. By far the best collection of such material anywhere online. Kudos to TSG for their efforts to curate the best concert technical riders found online!

Joh Padgett

Joh Padgett

I do the music column on Saturdays and the Primordial Grooves playlist on The Seminal blog on Sundays. I also own Layman Media, a social media production company in Indianapolis and I love cheese.

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