Celebrity Musician Backstage Food Riders Revealed

There's no doubt about it that being an internationally acclaimed rock star who tours the world must be tiring at times. Of course, celebrities gotta eat, and with the physical and mental demands that come with performing to thousands of adoring fans, who can blame them for wanting to unwind with particular food-related requests? Whether it be a favorite drink or a traditional comfort food from home, it's always interesting to sneak a peek at what the rich and famous do when they're offstage. 

Which brings us to backstage riders. As explained by Music Gateway, a rider is a legally binding piece of a contract that maps out exactly what a star requires to play a venue. A rider may be dictated by the venue, budget, and culture of a place, and should ideally have some wiggle room. Backstage riders can be about anything, but they always include food and drinks, ranging from green room goodies to junket junk food to tasty tour treats. While some of the listed items may be reasonable, some of the asks are downright extravagant, simply strange, or both. Suffice to say, celebrity backstage riders offer a fun peek behind the curtain.

Kanye West asked for two alcoholic slushie machines

The tour life sure sounds exhausting, but what better way to cool off and chill out after a massive concert than with an alcoholic slushie machine? The question is not why, but why isn't this more of a thing — not just for celebrity backstage riders but for everyone. According to TMZ, when American rapper Kanye "Ye" West hit the road in 2016 in support of "The Life of Pablo," he made sure to have not one, but two boozy slushie devices backstage.

In one machine, there was a frozen Hennessy and Coca-Cola concoction, and the other featured a Grey Goose vodka and lemonade mix. At the time, Ye was still with reality TV star Kim Kardashian, and he wanted to make sure both of their palates were satisfied. And apparently, the mission was accomplished: According to TMZ, Kardashian shared a picture of the two machines on Snapchat and called the tour rider "LIT." Sounds like an enjoyable way to get brain-freeze.

Van Halen's infamous brown M&Ms request

The story of Van Halen and the brown M&Ms may sound like an urban legend at this point, but reality is stranger than fiction— especially in the world of backstage celebrity food riders. As recounted by The Smoking Gun, a rider from one of Van Halen's tours included a very specific condition: no brown M&Ms were to be served backstage.

At face value, such a seemingly absurd request may appear to be a sign of spoilt rock-star antics or pandering to diva-like behavior. However, nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, this stipulation was designed to test whether the rider was read properly and an assurance that other important points had been noted, such as health and safety issues. As David Lee Roth wrote in "Crazy from the Heat" (via Spin), "When I would walk backstage, if I saw a brown M&M in that bowl, well, [I'd] line-check the entire production. Guaranteed you're going to arrive at a technical error. They didn't read the contract." It was in fact a shrewd move to make promoters more attentive to the real demands of touring.

Britney Spears wants McDonald's, hold the bun

While she of course enjoys a luxe meal at high-end restaurants like Catch LA, music superstar Britney Spears' love of drive thru meals and junk food is no secret. And when she went on tour in 2011, some greasy goodness was worked into her rider. However, that wasn't the piece of the contract that made headlines. As the Mirror reported at the time, when the pop princess played London's O2 Arena, she apparently asked for a framed photograph of the late Princess Diana, as she is a big fan of the royal. Years later, Spears gushed about the People's Princess on Instagram: "she was sheer genius down to the way she spoke to the way she mothered her children."

As for the food-related matters? Her rider included bun-less McDonald's cheeseburgers as well as a taste of the U.K. with traditional fish and chips. However, it looks like it wasn't all stodge, as her rider also reportedly included 100 figs. Whatever her the highs and lows or her diet, there's no doubt that Spears' high-energy shows must burn off those excesses pretty quickly. 

It's nonstop bacon for Metallica

The heavy metal legends of Metallica do not mess around with Napster, nor do they mess around when it comes to their backstage food setup. In a 2004 tour rider obtained The Smoking Gun, the band specifically requested that vegetarian options be provided for members of the crew. Of course, that is a perfectly normal and considerate request; there's nothing like finishing a hard day of work only to realize the only vegetarian-friendly dinner options are granola bars and trail mix. But that did not mean the entire menu was vegetarian-friendly: Metallica also wanted bacon at literally every meal — in fact, that phrase "VERY IMPORTANT" was used all three times bacon was brought up. Bacon: it's what's for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. 

While the other specific requests are less notable than the bacon marathon, the band also wanted any brand of bottled water other than Evian, single-serving boxes of Kellogg's brand cereals, PG Tips or Tetley's British Blend tea, and no styrofoam cups.

Beyonce enjoys well-seasoned chicken backstage

Living legend Beyoncé must work up quite an appetite every time she hits the stage. And though she sings about being a diva in the song "Diva," one of her riders suggests she's anything but when it comes to her backstage food requests. The Texas-born pop star sticks to her Southern roots and enjoys chowing down on comfort food.

When she sang the national anthem before the start of the Super Bowl in 2004, her rider, as revealed by The Smoking Gun, included baked chicken that was to be prepared to her liking: "Please season with fresh garlic, season salt, black pepper, and cayenne pepper HEAVILY SEASONED!!" To accompany the chicken, green beans and steamed spinach was also requested. The rider also reminded the venue that Bey's endorsement deal with Pepsi meant she could only have Pepsi brand products backstage; anyone craving a Coca-Cola would have to look elsewhere. And hey, sticking to Pepsi sure has worked out for her: As reported by The New York Times, she signed a $50 million deal with the company.

Shepherd's pie is served before The Rolling Stones' gigs

Evidently, Keith Richards of English rock band The Rolling Stones can only get satisfaction on tour when he's served the British classic that is shepherd's pie. So important has it been to him over the years, it's part of his contract that it's served as a pre-show dish. As Richards wrote in his memoir "Life," "It's now famous, my rule on the road. Nobody touches the shepherd's pie till I've been in there. Don't bust my crust, baby." Alas, during the tour following the release of "Steel Wheels," a show in Toronto was apparently delayed because somebody busted Richards' crust. Much to the apparent consternation of frontman Mick Jagger, the traditional meal was made and the band played on. 

As recently as 2017, Richards has tweeted about his beloved backstage pie, showing a picture of it in his dressing room. And when he hosted BBC's "Lost Weekend," Richards shared that he must have his shepherd's pie with HP Sauce, and also recommended throwing in fresh onions before topping the filling with mashed potato. It seems that while Richards may have played to sell-out arenas across the globe, that when he's on the road, nothing tastes quite as good as home comfort food.

Grace Jones enjoys oyster shucking backstage

Model, actor, and avant-garde performer Grace Jones is a bona fide pop culture icon and musical pioneer. Naturally, her backstage rider is anything but run-of-the-mill. After all, she doesn't do anything by halves, including strutting her bold and beautiful androgynous style along the catwalks in the '70s for top fashion names.

In her biography, "I'll Never Write My Memoirs" (via Gawker), she actually prints her rider, so her demands are clear to see in black and white. The list includes vintage wines and Champagne flutes, sushi and sashimi, and a pile of oysters. Oh, and an oyster knife must also be at the ready because, as noted in the rider, "Grace does her own shucking." Her love of cutting into oysters runs deep. When Jones appeared on "Alan Carr: Chatty Man" in 2017, she shared, "I have to tell you a secret about me: I like to shuck my own oysters."

One might assume someone who is about to do a show or just finished performing might not want to deal with the somewhat intense task that is shucking oysters, but Jones is a shucking legend. 

Jack White's rider offers a guacamole recipe

While there are undoubtedly some wild backstage celebrity riders out there, Jack White's team's food demands are not necessarily outrageous, but incredibly specific. When the White Stripes frontman was set to perform at the University of Oklahoma in 2015, the OU Daily kindly shared the rocker's rider. Among the requests? Guacamole — but it couldn't be store-bought guacamole. Instead, it had to be made to a certain recipe (which, of course, was included in the list), as well as being served at a set time too. The rider also took a firm stance one fruit in particular: "We don't want to see bananas anywhere in the building."

After this document made the internet rounds, White's team stated that they were disappointed that the contract was made public and defended the musician. "Contrary to what some believe, Jack doesn't write the rider nor make demands about his favorite snacks that must be in his dressing room," they noted. "We're not even sure he likes guacamole but we do know that the folks who work hard to put on the show do enjoy it." They also recommended giving the recipe a try. 

Steve Martin created a ridiculous and specific rider

Perhaps not so strange for comedian Steve Martin, his hilarious 2010 rider was leaked on his own official fan club site, stevemartin.com. The tongue-in-cheek conditions were part of his tour with the Steep Canyon Rangers, and yes, it sure seems like he had fun with coming up with requirements. celebrity tour rider. From a roasted chicken that can double as a puppet to straws for dart-blowing purposes, the list gets quite weird quite fast. His other food requests included spoiled deli meats and iceberg lettuce from Scandinavia, Canada, or Russia, but not from the Antarctic.

The rider also demanded that Martin be presented with a trophy every ten minutes and "Swim trunks, size M, in case there's a pool onstage." Whatever the band's backstage buffet really consisted of, the comedian's funny stipulations sure do have a "This is Spinal Tap" mockumentary feel about them. This list essentially sends up, in a deliciously goofy way, over-the-top backstage demands.