The Outrageous and Hilarious Requests of Rock Stars

The Photo Blog
June 2 2013 10:00 AM

Amazing Rider Requests from Rock Stars

Note: Photo caption verbiage comes directly from contracts and is unedited.

Henry Hargreaves
Left: Britney Spears—Fish and chips, McDonald's cheeseburgers without the buns, 100 prunes and figs, a framed photo of Princess Diana; Right: Billy Idol—1 tub "I can't believe it's not butter," Pepperidge Farms soft-baked Nantucket chocolate chip cookies.

Henry Hargreaves/styled by Caitlin Levin

The rich and famous are notorious for the bizarre demands they sometimes place on their underlings. Perhaps because it’s easy to find so many band riders on the Internet, mega-famous musicians are legendary for some of the backstage demands they place contractually into their concert riders.

Photographer Henry Hargreaves, with the help of collaborator Caitlin Levin, pokes fun at some of the more peculiar demands famous musicians have made in their concert riders in his “Band Riders” series. Perhaps the most famous and specific is Van Halen’s demand for “no brown M&Ms” (depicted by Hargreaves), often assumed to be an obnoxious demand but actually the band’s way of testing how vigilantly the contract was read. If a venue couldn’t get the M&Ms right, the band couldn't be sure their equipment and technical requirements were met, which was significant because of real safety concerns. More recently, Glenn Danzig was ridiculed for refusing to go onstage until he was provided with French onion soup and a host of other things that may or may not have been in his rider.

Henry Hargreaves
Left: Busta Rhymes—24 piece Fried Chicken, Rough Rider condoms, Guinness; Right: Mariah Carey—Cristal Champagne, bendy straws

Henry Hargreaves/styled by Caitlin Levin

Henry Hargreaves
Left: Frank Sinatra—1 bottle each, Absolute, Jack Daniels, Chivas Regal, Courvoisier, Beefeater gin, white wine, red wine, 24 chilled jumbo shrimp, life savers, cough drops; Right: Beyonce—Juicy baked chicken. Garlic, sea salt, black pepper and Cayenne pepper HEAVILY SEASONED!! Beyonce can only have Pepsi products

Henry Hargreaves/styled by Caitlin Levin


About the project, Hargreaves wrote via email, “I love the way people’s taste in food says something about them we sometimes can't articulate. I'm as fascinated about celebrities’ activities as the next person and I thought it would be a fun way to try to get people to relate to these musicians through their weird and wacky catering requests.”

From a plethora of concert riders, Hargreaves chose musicians from various genres and was drawn, naturally, to the riders with the oddest requests. “My favorite was Sinatra,” Hargreaves wrote. “No BS, just straight to the point: booze and more booze!” The project also brought him closer to the pop starlets whom he generally wouldn’t find relatable such as Britney Spears.

About the style he chose in which to make the photographs, Hargreaves said that he and collaborator Caitlin Levin “... wanted them to be evocative of Flemish still-life paintings; Caitlin talked me into going down this path. The themes of the paintings—death, mortality, etc.—seem to relate to celebrity and the fading spotlight really well.”

Work from this series is on view today, June 2, in Hargreaves’ studio at the Bushwick Open Studios, in Brooklyn, New York.

Henry Hargreaves
Left: Van Halen—Herring in sour cream, large tube of KY jelly, M&M's (warning absolutely no brown ones); Right: Foo Fighters—Big ass Kielbasas that make men feel self conscious

Henry Hargreaves/styled by Caitlin Levin

Henry Hargreaves
Left: Axl Rose—Fresh Wonder Bread (white), Dom Perignon; Right: Al Green—24 long stem (dethroned) red roses

Henry Hargreaves/styled by Caitlin Levin

Henry Hargreaves
Left: Prince—Coffee and tea set up (include honey, lemon, sugar, cream, fresh ginger root), physician will be used to administer a B-12 injection; Right: Marilyn Manson—Gummi bears

Henry Hargreaves/styled by Caitlin Levin


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