2 p.m., Dec. 10
Backstage Rider: He Removes the Brown M&Ms - 50 Rockstar Contracts
Brian Lewis didn’t hire the entertainment while serving as venue manager for Humphrey’s bar and concert showcase on Shelter Island. However, he feels the experience he gained there prepared him for booking and marketing jobs at several pivotal San Diego venues, including Mission Beach’s Catamaran resort hotel where he ran their Cannibal Bar.
“I liked the backstage responsibilities [at Humphrey’s] best of all because of the interaction…I’ve been a big music fan since I first saw the Beatles on the Ed Sullivan Show.”
“Humphrey’s was doing about fifty concerts a year, sometimes two shows on the same night. My job was making sure the performers were satisfied when they got there, setting up the backstage catering and fulfilling all the requirements passed on by the production manager. Or [I worked] from a list written into the ‘rider,’ [which is] part of the performer’s contract.”
Early on, he worried about being starstruck, but working closely with the venue’s famous guests wasn’t as intimidating, or as disillusioning, as he’d feared.
“The type of acts at Humphrey’s aren’t usually known for bad behavior. Most…found the place so comfortable, they’d just relax and be regular people, their everyday selves. I didn’t recognize him at first [but] Huey Lewis was talking to me in the hospitality suite while we watched Clinton lying through his teeth on TV. Dana Carvey would come into the inside stage and just chat with everybody. George Benson will hang out at the pool bar and drink Mai Tais and then come inside and say ‘hi’ to people.”
He feels that most performers, especially A-list draws with the most to lose, don’t want any trouble due to the media’s willingness to tear them apart. “It’s usually in the audience where you find people with the biggest problems. The funny thing is we can have Michael McDonald and everyone’s dancing in the aisles and drinking like fish and nothing happens. Then Tony Bennett comes in…and we had trouble with this older woman acting up.”
He says the woman was drunk and shouting, upsetting nearby patrons. “We had to kick her out and put her into a cab, and she was fighting the whole way.”
As for Bennett's backstage rider, he wants only a dark blue or black limo to ride him around, “no white,” and it is “essential that hotel room windows can be opened to [sic] fresh air.” A complete drum kit must be provided, all with “Ambassador coated heads,” because “artist only supplies cymbals and sticks.” Regarding seating, “the audience shall not be more than six feet from the stage” and “no tables shall have centerpieces [or] vases.”
To ensure the seats remain full, the venue “agrees to stop food and beverage service five minutes before the start of the performance and…not to serve any food or beverages during the show until after the artists’ concluding numbers."
RAY CHARLES WANTS A CHICKEN FRIED STEAK
"Ray Charles was doing two back-to-back shows on the same night," recalls Lewis. "In the middle of the first show, his manager told me, 'Ray wants a chicken-fried steak. And he wants two orders of it as soon as he comes offstage, before he goes on for the second show.'
"I went to the chef, and he said, 'I can bake it, I can broil it, I can grill it, I can slaughter it, but we don't do chicken-fried steak.' I told this to Ray's manager, and he said, 'I'm sorry, but Ray needs two orders of chicken-fried steak before he goes back onstage.'... We had to rush over to another restaurant, pick up an order, bring it back, and then re-plate it with fresh sauce and vegetables. We served it to Ray, and he said it was the best he ever had."
Which local culinary master prepared the best chicken-fried steak Ray Charles ever had?
"Denny's. It was close, it was quick, and we got it done."
Growing up in Point Loma, the diverse tastes of Lewis' six older siblings exposed him to a wide array of songs and performers, but Lewis’ early career goals had little to do with musicians, nightclubs and Bennett-crazed inebriates. “I studied business in college, worked for the Spagetti Factory chain and at one point I was taking maitre de jobs and planning a career in food service.”
Twenty-seven years old in 1985, Lewis replied to a want ad by mailing his resume to a blank PO box. “I thought I was applying for a fine dining job…it turned out to be Diego’s on Garnet (Avenue, in Pacific Beach). I’d been there maybe once or twice with a friend but Diego’s liked me, liked my ideas and they said they wanted to hire me for a management position, with a generous salary.”
The offer caught him by surprise. “I think [I was hired] because I was creative and artistic, and that helps in designing ads and promotions. I was always interested in how things were sold. [I] even studied magazine ads, billboards and TV commercials.”
His new career allowed him to put his flair for design into new menus, a kitchen layout, newspaper advertisements and event promotions. “The weekends would be so busy that we’d need the weekdays to lick our wounds and recover in time for the next weekend. We did about five mil[lion dollars] that year…the dollar margaritas special was going on and we’d have lines around the building.” Diego’s and other nightclubs hoping to attract new patrons operated “in the spirit of friendly competition, whereas today it’s more of a battlefield.”
“There was Wrangler’s Roost in El Cajon for country [and] contemporary rock at Park Place, which is now a bowling alley. Our only real competition was Confetti’s in Mission Valley. They had a thing called Club Piranha, adult alternative music…I did a parody of [their] event and called ours ‘Club Mean Fish.’ The ads had a giant big mouth bass swallowing a piranha.”
Asked about his proudest accomplishment during the two years he worked at Diego’s, he replies “I guess [it was] making the place busy every night. I brought in KGB on Sundays, on Mondays we had $1.50 Name That Drink, 91x had their own night…the crowds came by having radio stations sponsoring [events].”
A partnership in a Mexican restaurant drew him briefly to Washington state, but he soon returned to San Diego to take a job as marketing and promotions director for a new club then dubbed Belmont At The Beach (later the Hop, then Chillers and currently ‘Cane’s).
“I went head to head with my former employers at Diego’s. Their biggest thing was the Tuesday Dollar Margarita night and so on the same night I had 91X at Belmont with ninety-one cent drinks. Bikini contests had started there and I brought that over to Belmont…we just kind of buried them.”
However, Belmont never developed as he’d planned. “There were so many operational problems. We opened without a liquor license while we waited on it from the ABC so it was hard to compete with other bars. Plus, the dynamics of the beach area are low priced meals and we were serving expensive dinners. And from the get-go, there were protests about the whole Belmont Park development, on the liquor license, on the roller coaster being rebuilt…they [the residents] didn’t want the noise, didn’t want the traffic, didn’t want the natural things that happen when you develop and improve [an area]."
"The biggest problem was that the place was owned by a limited partnership of forty people. I put in a lot of blood and sweat but it didn’t end up working out.” He quit in early 1990, and the club was closed by summer.
“I ended up taking a position at Humphrey’s, in charge of entertainment and management for the inside bar and venue management for the outdoor theater.”
The outdoor theater presented noise problems, though not from the music being too loud. “At some of the quieter and more intimate shows, we’d have people in the audience talking too loud, drowning out the music. We’d try talking to them about it at first and if they continued to cause a problem we’d have to remove them.”
He inked the next credit on his resume in 1992, when he took a marketing position at the Barefoot Bar, in the Princess Resort on Mission Bay. “Every Saturday and Sunday, we had a band called Doctor Chico’s Island Sounds…then their lead singer got arrested and went to jail for being a PB rapist! The group had gotten really popular and only one of the seven guys was a criminal so I met with them and talked them into staying together.”
Lewis came up with a new name, the Banana Republicans, and the band remained a staple at the club for several more years.
He feels his marketing strategies for the club made it very profitable. “We did things like making footwear optional and you could even wear a bikini in the bar. There’d be a line for two hours to get in and we got to a business level where we did a hundred thousand dollars in one day. The previous year before I came in, I think they did less than a half million dollars in business. By the end of my first year there, we were doing two million."
As to whether he received percentages or bonuses from the increased profits, Lewis replies “Let’s just say I quit in 1994.”
After taking some time off to try his hand at consulting work and fatherhood, he accepted an offer to work for Humphrey’s once again. “When the Rolling Stones played the stadium, we did a promotion called ‘Gimme Shelter Island.’ We rented three double-decker buses and had two hundred and twenty tickets for the show. [We] offered a package deal for $150.00 that included a commemorative T-shirt, a three course dinner, beverages and a tribute band called Sticky Fingers played a three hour show in the [Humphrey’s] bar. Then we put everyone on the bus and all of us went to see the Stones with Carlos Santana.”
In early 1999, the General Manager of Paradise Point, which had formerly been The Princess Resort, made what Lewis calls an offer he couldn’t refuse, if he’d return to work at the Barefoot Bar, a position he accepted and kept for nearly two years. “We almost doubled our previous numbers for the best day [income]. But at the same time, they were changing format and going through an entire renovation."
"The [marketing] I worked at didn’t match what the new owners wanted. They were catering to people willing to pay top dollar for the rooms. They didn’t want music festivals or theme nights, which is fine, that was their decision, but it kind of eliminates what I do for a living.” He walked away from Barefoot in August 2000.
Lewis’ next position was booking the Cannibal Bar in PB, bringing in top-flight acts like former Animals leader Eric Burdon and Kinks guitarist Dave Davies, as well as Hootie and the Blowfish, Dave Mason, and The Psychedelic Furs, followed by stints at several other local concert venues.
“There’s a lot more competition nowadays,” says Lewis. “Humphrey’s ties up eighty-five to a hundred performers a year. Viejas is up and coming...when all the other clubs are bidding against each other to pull in a touring act that can only do one night and one venue in San Diego, I have to get pretty creative to come out on top. But I like being creative. And I definitely like being on top.”
BACKSTAGE RIDERS - 50 ROCK STAR CONTRACTS
EARTH WIND & FIRE are comprised of fourteen players and singers (including current bandleader Philip Bailey), earning around $28,000 per performance. That doesn’t include the cost of items appearing on the band’s backstage rider, with requirements for the band’s dressing room.
According to Empire Entertainment production manager Jim Corrieri (who books performers including EWF), “There’s a bottle of wine in their rider that’s a ‘thousand pointer,’ which means it’s one of the highest rated, most expensive wines in the world…it can cost up to $1000 a bottle.” Corrieri can’t recall the brand or vintage but says “A venue would probably have to send someone scouting around Mexico City or start checking wine auctions if they have any hope of getting a bottle. To tell the truth, bands put that kid of thing [in the riders] just to see if buyers are paying attention, if they’re for real about making sure everyone gets treated the way a group of this stature should be. Of course, most venues will look into the wine and then call up to say ‘Uh, can we substitute a case of Champagne instead?’ ”
“Then again, a lot of places just cough up the expensive wine…they’re definitely gonna get themselves a party band that night!” EWF was inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame in May 2000. In 30 years, they’ve sold around 30 million U.S. albums, eight of them certified double-platinum by the RIAA (two million copies sold).
When THE WHO come to town, Roger Daltry’s private dressing room requires six bottles of tonic water, a bottle of Belvedere vodka, a jar of honey, two packs of Throat Coat lozenges and a “small supply of vanilla ice cream.” Pete Townshend’s requirements include two large bottles of orange juice, six bottles each of Evian and Perrier water, six cans of Coke, six cocktail cups (“glass”) and a Chamomile tea setup (“with milk, not half and half”).
When PEARL JAM takes the stage, they’ll allow “no signage on, around or about the stage [including] any corporate sponsored venues, radio and TV stations, etc.” They want their dressing room stocked with a loaf of multigrain bread, a dozen fresh bagels, four large bags of chips (“include tortilla, potato with guacamole and salsa”), assorted sodas (“Coke Classic, Diet Coke, 7-Up, root beer”) and three quarts of fruit juices (“fresh squeezed”). The band carries their own juicer, for which they expect celery, beets, tomatoes, apples, oranges, grapefruit, bananas, pieces of Ginger and Ginseng root and six pounds of carrots (“no stems”). Required smokes include a carton each of Old Gold Reds and Camel Lights and the band wants a case of beer waiting for them on the bus (“no Budweiser”). Word to the ravers; “There is to be no sales of glow-lite style merchandise at a Pearl Jam show.”
Wherever CLAY AIKEN performs, his dressing room requirements include a basket of green apples (“preferably Granny Smith”), a jar of applesauce, a case of room temperature water (“anything but Evian”), and – big surprise – a loaf of white bread. In addition, “One meal must be prepared for Clay that does not have the following in it: nuts, mushrooms, coffee, mint, chocolate and shellfish…this truly is very, very serious.” Finally, he wants a 6-pack of Mountain Dew (“caffeine free”) and four containers of yogurt (“fruit on the bottom, please”…fill-in-your-own-gay-joke-here).
When ASHLEE SIMPSON performs, she may be stressing over halitosis, given her request for bag of Ricola cough drops, some Dentyne Ice or Orbit gum, a small bottle of Cool Mint Listerine, and a toothbrush with toothpaste. Other backstage contract requirements include a box of Oreos, two bags of Lay’s potato chips (regular and Baked BBQ), a box each of Wheat Thins, Triscuits and Ritz crackers, a jar of sweet pickle relish, a bag of Skittles and “a jar of your finest grape jelly.” Drinks: a case of Red Bull, 24 assorted sodas (“Coke, Diet Coke and Diet Vanilla Coke”) and 72 bottles of water (“no Evian”). Her band is described as “orchestration…drums, bass, two guitars and pre-recorded sequences operated by the drummer.” Their dressing room gets a 12-pack each of Miller Lite and Amstel Light.
TED NUGENT’s catering contract states “Absolutely no takeout meals will be deemed acceptable, i.e. McDonald’s, Fish and Chips, Weinerworld, Chinese, etc.” His dressing room requires a can of Planters Fancy Cashews, a large bag of Rold Gold Pretzel Thins (“fat free”), two cans of white tuna in spring water (“unopened”), a loaf of whole wheat bread (“sliced”), and two Yoplait low fat yogurts (“strawberry, blueberry, or mixed fruit”).
Drinks; four cans of Red Bull energy drink, six cans of V8 juice, a twelve-pack of Diet Coke, a large bottle of Ocean Spray Red Grapefruit juice, and a half-dozen Slim Fast drinks (“four chocolate, two tropical fruit”).
He also needs a toaster, a carving knife, a carving fork, six ceramic coffee mugs (“no Styrofoam”), 36 bath towels (“full size”), and a box of “man sized Kleenex.”
Wherever ALICIA KEYS appears, promoters are advised that “Alicia only eats fish and vegetables, no chicken, no beef, and no pork.” Her dressing room requires a hummus and pita platter, a veggie platter (“carrots, celery, cucumber, broccoli”), a fruit platter (“strawberries, seedless red grapes, bananas, mango, blueberries, cantaloupe, raspberries”), and a bowl of mixed nuts (“unsalted”). She also wants a jar of mayonnaise, a loaf of bread (“multi-grain or whole wheat”), three cans of tuna (“chunk white”), ten Nutri-Grain Bars (“blueberry, cherry, apple, strawberry”), and six packets of Quaker Oats Instant Oatmeal (“brown sugar and apple”).
Drinks; ten bottles of assorted vitamin water, three bottles each of cranberry and apple juice, a quart each of Silk Vanilla Soy Milk and Chocolate Almond Milk (“can be found at a health food store”), and four ceramic coffee mugs (“eight ounce”).
In addition, she expects her dressing room to include a box of Throat Coat Medicinal Tea and three scented Glade candles (“French Vanilla, Rain Shower, Wild Berry, or Tangerine Ginger”).
Her tour bus requires two bottles of red wine, one case of imported beer, a case of domestic beer (“Amstel Light, Corona, Bud, Bud Light, or local beer”), four quarts of orange juice (“no gallon containers”), and an unspecified amount of “microwavable oatmeal.”
K.C. & THE SUNSHINE BAND’s lead singer K.C. (what'd ya think his name was -- Melvin??) requires a bucket of fried chicken (“fresh”), a large bag of Ruffles (“light”), a deli tray of meat and cheeses (“no processed or meat substitutes”), and eight “dark towels.” Drinks: three six-packs of Diet Coke, a dozen bottles of Gatorade or Powerade (“assorted flavors”), a six-pack of light beer (“ice cold), and hot decaf tea (“not herbal!”). The Sunshine Band room gets a 50-piece tray of buffalo wings, 24 bottles of Evian water (“room temperature”), a gallon each of Tropicana apple and orange juice, and four 12-packs of assorted cold beer (“mix of Heineken regular and light”). The beer, it is noted, should “be held until the band is onstage.”
Before MATCHBOX 20 performs, their hospitality room requires a bag of pretzels (“fat free”), a bag of Hershey candy bars (“bite size”), cookie packages (“Oreo, Chips A’Hoy, Nutter Butter”), two “big packs of gum,” and two boxes of Kleenex (“UNSCENTED!!!!” in caps, with four exclamation points). Drinks: six cans of Red Bull energy drink, a twelve-pack of Orangina Sparkling Citrus Beverage, eight bottles of assorted Snapple or Fruitopia drinks (“no fancy mixed flavors”), a dozen bottles of Heineken, and two bottles of red wine (“do not open”). Also, “Artist may request help in booking tee times at a local golf course.”
When LUDACRIS comes to town “at no time shall Ludacris be without his assigned ground transportation and driver.” His dressing room requirements include a large screen TV, a DVD and CD player, a Sony Playstation or Xbox game system, four full-length mirrors and a dozen aromatherapy candles (“pillar style”). Drinks: one bottle each of White Zinfandel, Hennessey, Bombay Gin, Grand Marnier, a six-pack of Heineken (“bottles only”), a case of assorted soda (“no Pepsi”) and he wants the mixing board station to have a case of Red Bull energy drink.
Before PUBLIC ENEMY performs, “Artiste [sp] will be granted a one hour sound check.” The promoter must provide (“at no expense to Artiste”) a bucket of Kentucky Fried Chicken (“mixed”), ten fresh baked fish (“snapper or whiting”), two large cheese pizzas, a tray of “various cheeses” and several family-size packs of cookies (“Sunshine, Hydrox, chocolate chip and Vanilla Fingers”). A note states “all food must be Kosher…no pork.” A perplexing tour bus requirement: “twelve large assorted sandwiches (eight tuna, eight turkey and cheese).”
Before CLINT BLACK hits the stage, his band’s dressing room requires a loaf of whole wheat bread (“40 calorie”), two bags of Guiltless Gourmet tortilla chips (“preferably yellow corn”), two packages of fat free cookies (“preferred Snackwells Devil’s food”), and four assorted non-fat yogurts. Ten skinless, boneless chicken breasts must be provided (“no processed”), to be prepared “roasted or grilled on open fire, with no butter, creams, or oils, just plain.”
When OZZY OSBOURNE plays, the venue “must have a real ear, nose, and throat doctor on site…must be able to administer if required a B12 shot and Decadron (anti-inflammatory) shot.” An oxygen tank must be available from load-in.
When AEROSMITH appears, “under no circumstances will the purchase of alcoholic beverages be allowed as a show expense.” They want the hospitality room stocked with chicken tikka pieces with yogurt and mint dip, turkey sandwiches (“on whole wheat”), Medjool dates, corn on the cob (“cooked three minutes only”), an assortment of fat free fresh-baked muffins (“no 7-11”) and “no pressed meat or processed cheese.” They also need contact info on hand for “a throat specialist, a physician fully qualified in internal medicine, osteo-podiatrist and a licensed chiropractor.”
Before VINCE GILL plays, he wants his dressing room carpeted and equipped with a clothes rack, two full-length mirrors and an ironing board. He also requires two quarts each of various fruit juices (“apple, orange, grapefruit, pineapple and cranberry”), a gallon of spring water (“room temperature”) and a box of herbal tea bags. The band’s dressing room gets a cheese and fruit tray (“with crackers”), a half-case of Coke Classic and a case of Evian water (“small bottles”).
Before JIMMY BUFFETT takes the spotlight, “purchaser, at its sole cost and expense, shall provide Artist with five limousines or four 15-person passenger vans.” When dinner is served for the crew and performers, “Jimmy should be (and often will be) the first person in line.” His dressing room requirements include a case of Coronitas beer, four Balance Bars and “this room needs to have the nicest bathroom.” The band hospitality room requires four bags of blue corn chips and salsa (“homemade”), three bottles of Chardonnay wine, three and a half gallons of Zephyrhills water, twelve Snapples or Arizona ice teas, and a case of Corona “to start with and to be replenished during the performance.”
He wants another half case of Corona at stage left and the band bus gets a six-pack each of Budweiser and Bud Light, two six-packs of Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, a four-pack of Guinness Pub Draught and a six-pack of “local microbrewed beer.” An additional “two cold Coronas” are required for “Jimmy’s car” and he’d better get a ninety minute soundcheck, otherwise “Artist shall be paid full compensation without the necessity of performing.”
When JENNIFER LOPEZ decides to sing, first her dressing room requires tables with white tablecloths, a white couch, white drapes, white candles, and a bouquet of flowers (“white”). Her clothing needs include a wardrobe rack, a steamer, an iron, and an ironing board. Expected munchies include honey peanut Balance Bars, mango and papaya fruit, chocolate chip cookies, brownies, and an apple pie (“a la mode”). Drinks: a selection of Nantucket fruit drinks, Snapples (“raspberry, lemon, iced tea”), Kerns (“apricot, mango, pear guava, peach”) and “no tomato, apple, or grape juices.”
When the STEVE MILLER BAND appears, their hospitality room requires tortilla chips (“one bag unsalted, two bags salted”), a pint of guacamole (“no supermarket prepackaged”), a “bunch” of cilantro (“fresh”), a dozen cloves of garlic, and a gallon vegetarian soup (“homemade”). Drinks; a half case of Corona beer, a half case of Coors Light, a half case of Heineken, a half case of “local microbrewery,” a six-pack of non-alcoholic beer (“Haake Beck or Clausthauler”), and a quart of acidophilus milk. Miller demands that no Styrofoam products be used, and he wants the crew to “act in an environmentally sound fashion.”
While the BLACK CROWES are in town, “dressing room must be equipped with real furniture…individual wooden chairs or stools is unacceptable.” Expected munchies include a whole chicken (“roasted”), a loaf of rye bread (“pre-sliced”), a jar of Guilder’s mustard, a large bag of M&Ms (“plain”), a box of crackers (“Carrs, Ritz, etc.”), and a deli tray with turkey, ham, salami, and bologna (“not processed”). Drinks; two six-packs of Coca-Cola (“classic”), a dozen bottles of Gatorade (“green”), 24 bottles of Sapporo beer, 24 bottles of Heineken, and two bottles of Ketel One Vodka (“750ML”). The band bus requires a case each of Heineken and Sapporo (“no cans”), a case of bottled water (“no gas”), and a six-pack of non-specified non-alcoholic beer.
When MARIAH CAREY agrees to perform, she expects two hot air humidifiers and two air purifiers to be running in her dressing room. Requested munchies include low fat bread, low fat cheese, low fat snacks (“Gold Pretzels for example”), a selection of sugarless gum, a bag of Ricola throat lozenges, some Honey Bear honey and tea service for eight (“must use Poland Springs water”). Drinks: three six-packs of Diet Coke, a six-pack each of caffeine free Coke and Snapple Iced Tea, two bottles of Cadmus White Wine, a bottle of Cristal Champagne (“chilled”), four champagne glasses and “one box of bendy straws.”
When KENNY G shows up for a show, he requires a separate room near his dressing room for his personal chef. “The Chef will need names, addresses, and phone numbers for natural food stores, fresh seafood markets, organic vegetables, and oriental markets,” according to G’s backstage rider. He wants his dressing room to include a “nice fresh flower arrangement with Japanese flair,” as well as an assortment of herbal caffeine-free tea (“all natural”) and “all natural salt and pepper.”
Before HOOTIE & THE BLOWFISH start playing, they want their dressing room stocked with pretzels, Sun Chips, a cheese platter, a deli tray with turkey, ham and roast beef, some whole fresh fruit, potato chips (“plain”) and a loaf of white bread. Drinks; three cases of Evian water, a case each of Coke, Diet Coke, Mountain Dew, Dr. Pepper and ginger ale, assorted Snapples, two half-gallons of orange juice (one with pulp, one without) and three cases of Budweiser (“bottles”). A cooler on the right side of the stage should contain ten more Buds, a six-pack of Sierra Nevada Pale Ale and a fifth of Jim Beam.
When TOBY KEITH is the headliner, “any opening act must match the artist’s merchandise prices.” In addition, “artist has his own roaming glow ring, glow rose and live rose operation…no glow products of any nature or any live roses are allowed to be sold by anyone other than representatives of the artist.” Keith requires 100 free tickets (“between the sixth and twelfth row”) and another 100 “prime tickets” must be set aside for his fan club members. Dressing room requirements include a 12-pack of Diet Coke and a fruit tray, and he wants his tour bus stocked with a case of Dr. Pepper, a case of Gatorade and a 12-pack each of Newcastle Ale and Honey Brown Lager. Finally, bootleggers beware; “If any authorized recording is discovered, artist shall have the right to withhold artist’s performance…until all copies of same and all mechanical instruments having to do with same have been surrendered.”
Whenever HEART are booked for a gig, their dressing room requirements include a dozen bottles of Arizona Green Tea (“not diet”), a quart of Odwalla Carrot Juice (“or other organic carrot juice”), a half gallon of skim milk (“organic”), a case of Sierra Nevada or Rolling Rock beer, two bottles of “quality” Cabernet Sauvigon (“must be corked”), and twenty plastic cold cups (“not waxed”). In addition, they want one Honey Bear, a bag of Halls Menthol Cough Drops, and a bowl of fresh fruit including Bing cherries, local strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, bananas, and peaches, all uncut (“fruit should not be under or over ripe”). Finally, they need one sharp knife (“long enough to cut the fruit).
When JOE COCKER performs, he wants his dressing room stocked with four bottles of Gatorade (“lemon-lime”), four liters of Evian and a cooler with eight bottles of Corona beer “to be iced at 6:00 p.m., re-iced at 8:00 p.m. and again at 10:45 p.m.” (or, his contract notes, during “With A Little Help From My Friends”). Cooler boxes on stage right, left and center-stage need to contain six-packs of Becks or Heineken beer, as well as Diet Sprites and more Gatorades. Finally, “One serving of traditional Shepherd’s Pie, with a side of baked beans, will be required each show night after the performance.”
Back when the late JAMES BROWN was still putting on shows, he wanted to arrive in a current-year model limousine which is “black or white, 186 inches long.” His dressing room needs included two full-length mirrors as well as “makeup mirrors with lights.” A “professional press or cleaning service” had to be available to prepare band uniforms, while “band members and vocalists must stay in a four-star hotel separate from the dancers.”
Finally, “There MUST be an oxygen tank and mask on stage at all times.”
In order for SINEADE O’CONNER to perform, the venue has to purchase public liability insurance of one million pounds (“or its local equivalent’) and agree that “no photograph of the Artiste shall be used in advertising without prior written approval of the Artiste.” Her dressing room should include one quart each of apple juice (“no added preservatives”), milk (“not Half & Half”) and orange juice (“freshly squeezed”), three quarts of Evian and two bottles of “good quality” Champagne (“Moet et Chandon”). She also wants some raw ginger root (“about two hands worth”), forty Marlboro Lights and an on-duty masseur, with the latter perk “to be paid for by artist.”
When The NEVILLE BROTHERS play, backstage requirements include a 12-pack of Coke, a six-pack of Dr. Pepper, ten bottles of Evian, sixteen bottles of Perrier, a half gallon of whole milk (“as cold as possible”), some green tea (“no caffine [sp]”) and a “large bag or box of any sort of healthy snack (surprise us!).”
When POISON comes to play, they want their dressing room stocked with six-packs of Dr. Pepper and 7UP, a loaf of bread (“white”), peanut butter and jelly, three boxes of Nutri-Grain bars (two strawberry, one blueberry), and a twelve pack each of Heineken and Coronas. Tour busses need a bag of tortilla chips, a case of beer (“premium”), two pounds of grated sharp cheddar cheese (“in a resealable bag”), and a dozen bottles or cans of chocolate Yoo-hoo drink. Regarding fire safety, they want four fire extinguishers onstage, though they must be CO2-style because “powder, water, or foaming extinguishers…may cause serious damage to equipment.”
When AL GREEN is ready to croon, he’s willing to forgo a limo for a late model “Mercedes-type” luxury sedan. He expects his hotel room to be a two corner suite on a high floor in a “four or five star quality” inn (“television in rooms”). Green gets 25 free tickets “in the center section, first five rows” and he wants a security guard in charge of preventing “any person or persons from making any unauthorized audio or video recordings or merchandising during the performance.” His dressing room needs a six-pack of Coke (“cold”), a bottle of white wine and wine glasses with a corkscrew. Alongside the stage, he wants four 32-ounce bottles of Gatorade (“any flavor”) and a bar stool.
When the BEACH BOYS stop suing each other long enough for some concerts, their backstage munchies should include 25 boiled and peeled shrimp (“high quality”), a bowl of white Pistachio nuts (“no red), a half-pound bag of Peanut M&Ms, an “organic vegetable platter to include but not limited to carrots, celery, cucumbers, tomatoes, broccoli and cauliflower with one dip,” along with a package of alfalfa sprouts, sliced avocado, a fruit tray and a jumbo pack of Freedent Spearmint gum. They also want a carton of Marlboro Lights in a soft pack (“not 100s, not in a box”), noting “This is an essential item.” They’d like to see recycling bins for aluminum, glass and paper and they don’t want any Styrofoam cups being used backstage (“The Beach Boys and the planet thank you”).
Wherever JOURNEY plays, the band lounge requires two quarts of Martinelli’s apple juice, two six-packs of Stewart’s Orange Cream Premium Soda, a half gallon of orange juice (“fresh squeezed”), a case of Classic Coke (“in cans”), and 36 bottles of room temperature spring water (“no Evian”). The band bus must be stocked with a case each of Coke, Diet Coke, Dr. Pepper, Pepsi, and assorted Snapple drinks.
No word on whether swingin' guitarist Neal Schon gets first dibs on the wives of White House crashers.
Before the GOO GOO DOLLS play, they want their dressing room stocked with eight bottles of Starbucks Frappuccino or Nestle cappuccino (“four plain coffee, four vanilla”), a large bowl of Hummus and pita bread, two bottles of red wine (“good quality”), a twelve-pack each of Budweiser and Heineken (“no Ice or Lite”), a one-pound package of Mr. Turkey (“fresh”), four bars of “freshly wrapped” soap (“Safeguard or Ivory”), and six new pairs of tube socks (“white”).
When the GAME appears on stage, he expects 20 free tickets “within the first 15 rows” and his hotel “must be rated a minimum of four stars…absolutely no motels!” The backstage hospitality room requires chicken wings and chicken fingers (“100 pieces”), assorted candy (“Jolly Ranchers, Snickers, Kit Kats”), a case of quart-sized bottled water (“no Dasani”), a bottle of Belvedere vodka, two liters of Hennessy cognac, and four “large bottles” of Hypnotiq.
When LeANN RIMES performs, her dressing room requirements include a vegetable and fruit tray (“with bananas”), two quarts each of apple, orange, grape, pineapple, and cranberry juices, a six-pack each of Coke and Sprite, and a small bowl of fresh tuna (“solid white…please keep chilled”).
Wherever ICE CUBE appears to perform, his dressing room requires a CD player (“with power cord”), five table lamps (“with red bulbs”) and a dozen towels (“clean, pre-washed”). He expects the backstage hospitality room stocked with two large pizzas (“cheese only”), a deli tray (“no pork or ham”), a large bucket of mixed Kentucky Fried Chicken (“original and crispy”), 36 KFC hot wings and a “basket [of] assorted good chocolate bars.” In addition, he requires twelve beers (“Corona, Rolling Rock”), a fifth of Hennessey, six packs of chewing gum (“Big Red or Spearmint”), four lighters (“Bic”) and a copy of USA Today
When ERIC CLAPTON appears, his dressing room requirements include two bottles of orange juice (“fresh squeezed”), six bottles of Gatorade (“lime”), twenty-four cans of Coke (“classic”), forty-eight bottles of beer (“Corona”) and four bottles of wine (“two red, two medium white”). He also wants a tray of cold cuts, a cheese board, a large fruit bowl, a “selection of M&Ms and assorted chocolate,” ajar of honey and a hot tea setup with Earl Grey and English Breakfast tea (“served in china cups”).
CHRISTINA AGUILERA's dressing room requires an assortment of Power Bars, Cliff Bars and Balance Bars, a half-pint of fat free small curd cottage cheese (“Knudsen or Clover only”) and a platter of “assorted gums and mints.” Drinks; a six-pack of Coke (“not Pepsi”), a liter of “full fat” vanilla soy milk (“must not contain Canola oil, barley, oats or malt of any kind”) and four packs of Carnation Instant Breakfast (“original malt”). In addition, she wants a container of Nesquik (“chocolate”), a package of Soya Kaas soy cheese, a bottle of Echinacea capsules and a bottle of Flintstones vitamins (“with extra vitamin C”).
When EVERCLEAR is on the bill, expected dressing room provisions include a veggie tray with dips and humus, a fruit tray (“oranges, bananas, strawberries, kiwi, cut watermelon, cut pineapple”), a large bag of nacho cheese chips (“Doritos”), 48 bottles of non-carbonated spring water (“half iced, half room temperature”) and a 12-pack of ginger ale (“very important”). The band bus requires a bag of Thomas’ English muffins, assorted bite size candies (“Snickers, 3 Musketeers, Cadbury”), a liter of Soya milk (“sweetened”), a jar of Jif peanut butter (“crunchy”), a box of Nutri-Grain cereal (“no sugar”), a quart of Tropicana orange juice (“not from concentrate”) and a large bag of Tostitos tortilla chips (“with fat!”).
JUDY COLLINS wants it known that she “reacts violently to cigarette smoke” so smoking is not permitted “in the dressing room, on the stage or backstage,” whether by stagehands, crew or security. For stage dressing, she wants “one wildflower arrangement in a clear vase to be placed on the floor beside the piano, two feet to 30 inches tall.” To avoid another violent reaction, “please avoid daisies, snap dragons, mums or carnations as Ms. Collins is allergic.” In addition, “artist requests that no alcohol or drugs be permitted back stage in area, dressing room [or] on the stage.” The tour bus must be too crowded to bring her own makeup chair, so the venue’s “must have padded seat that goes at least as high as 28 inches from the floor,” and chair must have wheels and a footrest bar.” Allergies, no smoke, only certain plants allowed, a ban on drugs and alcohol, padded high chair with wheels - long time gone since Woodstock, indeed, Miss Suite Judy Blue Eyes.
DON HENLEY apparently worries about mailbombers and/or naked photos of his fans, insisting the “promoter shall provide timely delivery of all messages, letters, gifts, etc. to the Artist, Artist’s Representatives and Tour Accountant, with particular urgency provided for the delivery of messages or other items of a bizarre, threatening or otherwise inappropriate nature.” Don’t let Henley see the pizza delivery guy, because “the presence of anyone backstage who is not involved in the performance…(including friends, guests, relatives and business acquaintances of promoter) will cause artist to become extremely upset.” In addition, gas powered blowers and cleaners aren’t permitted to be used while Henley’s in the house. Bad for the environment, dontcha know, but once he’s gone, go ahead and kick the Earth in the nutsack.
ZZ TOP may be seen sniffing something behind the speakers, but don’t call a cop: it’s only because “oxygen and face mask must be available 30 minutes prior to performance in immediate backstage area and remain available at all times until 30 minutes after conclusion of performance.”
Their backstage arrangements “shall be first-class in nature and commensurate with the stature of a superstar in the best dressing rooms,” with those “superstar” perks required to include “one large bag Baby Reeses Peanut Butter Cups, one jar jalapeno peppers, one bottle tobasco sauce, one crock pot of homemade cream of tomato soup” [it’s not specified whose home the soup must be made in]” and “one medium serving bowl cocktail franks in special sauce.” The latter includes a note to “consult with production assistant for the recipe and preparation instructions” of said sauce, so now you know who to schmooze for ZZ Top’s secret recipe for “superstar” cocktail wienies.
When STING plays, his dressing is required to be carpeted, with a two-seater couch, two armchairs and “low key lighting.” Mandatory refreshments include “one bottle [of] full bodied red wine (California, Rioja, Cabernet Sauvignon, etc.)” and a hot tea tray to serve up to six people. He also wants twelve fresh lemons, a jar of honey and “fresh skinned and grated Ginger root.” The band gets water and tea but no wine and “the atmosphere is requested without extravagance.” The players can get their liquor in the Hospitality Room, stocked with Miller Draught and Heineken beer, a bottle of Vodka (“Stolyichnaya or equivalent”), two bottles of “good quality” Champagne, red wine (“French, Italian, Californian or Spanish”) and a bottle of white wine (“good chardonnay or Chablis…cheap wines will not be accepted”). The “house sound and light mixer” personnel get a free bottle of red wine too.
Before STYX will perform, they expect a munchie platter containing “the highest fresh fruit including exotic,” two large pizzas (“half sausage, half pepperoni, one cheese”), a box of sourdough pretzels, a jar of soy peanut butter, a quart of vanilla soy milk and “one bag assorted candy (mini-Snickers, Kit-Kat, Milky Way).” The required four gallons of spring water must include “no Evian” and the two cartons of Carnation Hazelnut and French Vanilla drinks should be “not fat free.”
When The PIXIES come to play, their contract with the venue requires that “the whole backstage area needs to be an alcohol-free zone.” The “male dressing room” (Frank Black, Joey Santiago, David Lovering) must be stocked with a CD sound system as well as a sliced smoked salmon platter, a tin of Suisse Mocha International Coffee, a veggie platter “with hummous” and a cheese selection “to include roule” (flavored with herbs). The forty-eight non-alcoholic beers must be either Becks or Hacke and any bottled water is okay except “no Aquafina” (sparkling water from San Pelligrino is suggested). The guys also want “one new deck of poker size Bicycle playing cards” and eight packs of foam earplugs (“yellow sponge ones”). Kim Deal’s dressing room has only three required items – still water, spring water and a twelve-pack of non-alcoholic beer.
When SNOOP DOGG has a show, hopefully rowdy gangsters won’t force an early end to the set as when he appeared in San Diego June 16 2001. Bear in mind he’s only obligated to “play a minimum of 45 minutes…Snoop Dogg, however, at his option way exceed the specified performance time without interference.” There’s also a chance he’ll take an “unscheduled intermission.” Dogg’s dressing room isn’t allowed to have fluorescent lighting, and the catering list includes a “very important” note to provide vanilla ice cream. He also wants “one complete Sony Playstation” at the ready. His game choices usually include NBA Live, NCAA College and Triple Play, and he requests four controls with “an appropriate video screen. Please trust that this will be some of the most important money you spend.”
PRINCE left Cox Arena hanging a few years back by canceling a sold out show at the last minute so he could attend the Super Bowl. His backstage requests include vegetarian meals, healthy snacks like Wheat Thins and whole wheat bread baskets and a stipulation that no drugs, alcohol or “illegal activity of any design” will be allowed on or near the stage or in the dressing rooms. His security requests provide for at least eight people between him and the audience and no less than four gatekeepers checking backstage access credentials in a gauntlet of security checks before visitors can reach his inner sanctum. The only brand water Prince drinks is Fiji. The average “guarantee” (minimum the artist is paid to show up) he’s been requiring of venues in 2004 is $500,000.
BURT BACHARACH expects in his dressing room little more than Evian waters, 7-UP, creamy peanut butter, sliced whole wheat bread and one bottle each of “first class” red and white wines, with no brand or vintage specified. In the singers’ and musicians’ dressing rooms, they get “good” wine, along with water and soft drinks.
The BLACK EYED PEAS require an “experienced, professional, English speaking, SOBER monitor engineer who shall attentively remain at the monitor position” and a “first class lighting system.” In addition, “there shall at NO time throughout the entirety of the Artist’s soundcheck and performance [be] the use of fog machines of any kind.” Their dressing rooms should include two pizzas (“pepperoni and vegetarian”), fried chicken (“assorted pieces”), Snapples, Diet Cokes and “two pounds assorted nuts (cashews, pistachios esp.).”
When REO SPEEDWAGON play, their dressing room will likely be stocked with “a bowl of chilled tuna salad, one box low-fat wheat thins,” and “two boxes Honey Maid Graham Crackers.” To wash it down, “one case Coors beer, six bottles good local beer” and six bottles Samuel Adams Ale or Porter.” The band also usually requires “one box each Throat Coat Herbal, Earl Grey and Constant Comment teas” and “one box Hall’s light blue or light green Cough Drops.” Who knew color and shading was important to rock star cough control, and how crowded must that tour bus be if they can’t pack their own cough drops?
Several years ago, before Eddie got sober, VAN HALEN required “one half case premium beer (Pilsner, Corona), one pint Jack Daniels (black label), one pint Absolut vodka, one 750 ml. Bacardi Anejo Rum, one 750 ml. tequila (the best you’ve got!), two bottles white wine top quality, small bottles of Grand Marnier, Cointreau” and “ingredients for Bloody Marys.” They wanna bum a smoke off the promoter with a request for one carton each of Winston Regulars and Winston Ultra-Lights cigarettes. The “one case Sharps non-alcoholic beer (must be in cans)” may be the benefit of reported teetotaler Eddie Van Halen.
When BOSTON appears, their personal chef required a separate dressing room with two 8-foot tables. At the band’s request, “no veal or lamb” was served. The musicians’ dressing room usually requires “twenty-four assorted bagels, one case of St. Pauli Girl beer, one case of Amstel Light or local brewery beer” and “one large bowl of peanut and plain M&Ms.” The band insists that “due to the state of our environment, no Styrofoam or plastic goods (cups, plates or utensils) are to be used” and “there is no glass allowed backstage.”
B.B. KING doesn’t ask for much, other than “a hot meal before showtime.” His usual request is a “fresh fish entrée along with two fresh vegetables, one pound Nova Scotia salmon with sliced onions, tomato, lettuce and black bread, five pounds fresh fruit” and a six pack each of Coke and Diet Coke. He’s been known to ask for two bottles of chilled white wine (“the quality of Mouton Cadet”) and a fifth of Cutty Sark scotch. His band requires only “twelve plates of hot food, twenty-four assorted sandwiches, one fruit platter” and a variety of sodas and water, plus a case of beer.
BOYZ II MEN want only “white meat chicken, no fried.” They also require dishes like baked salmon, steamed lobster, grilled jumbo shrimp and grilled tuna, served on “fine china and dinnerware…along with glasses.” For snacks, they want one large tin King Leo peppermint candy pieces, one large bag of Archway Oatmeal cookies (low fat) and one large bag of Life Savers. The Boyz’ drink list includes a case each of spring water and assorted Fruitopias, and a gallon each of cranberry and pineapple juice. The backing band gets a deli tray and a case of Heineken beer to split between them. No liquor for the male and female dancers - only soft drinks, water and a “basket of assorted breads.”
When EVERCLEAR appears, expected dressing room provisions include a veggie tray with dips and humus, a fruit tray (“oranges, bananas, strawberries, kiwi, cut watermelon, cut pineapple”), a large bag of nacho cheese chips (“Doritos”), 48 bottles of non-carbonated spring water (“half iced, half room temperature”) and a 12-pack of ginger ale (“very important”).
Their band bus requires a bag of Thomas’ English muffins, assorted bite size candies (“Snickers, 3 Musketeers, Cadbury”), a liter of Soya milk (“sweetened”), a jar of Jif peanut butter (“crunchy”), a box of Nutri-Grain cereal (“no sugar”), a quart of Tropicana orange juice (“not from concentrate”) and a large bag of Tostitos tortilla chips (“with fat!”).
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