One of the oldest and best music industry urban legends concerned Van Halen’s production rider and how brown M&Ms were expressly forbidden from the backstage area of the band’s shows. It was for years the subject of great debate over whether or not it was actually true. And then the Smoking Gun got its grubby paws on one a few years ago and the world finally had absolute confirmation.
TSG has finally obtained the 1982 Van Halen World Tour rider–typewritten and 53 pages long–containing the M&M prohibition (and a few other unique demands). The document, which we’ve excerpted here, also stipulated that promoters provide the group with “herring in sour cream,” four cases of “Schlitz Malt Liquor beer (16 ounce cans),” and a total of eight bottles of wine and liquor.
Oh, and the band also needed “One (1) large tube KY Jelly.”
The rider’s “Munchies” section was where the group made its candy-with-a-caveat request: “M&M’s (WARNING: ABSOLUTELY NO BROWN ONES).”
Now watch below as David Lee Roth, looking a bit like a farmer in an urban setting, explains the reasoning behind the provision. (SPOILER: it was to make sure concert promoters actually read the entire contract.)