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Tour Riders: New Photo Series of Musicians’ Backstage Requests
May 13, 2013
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Frank Sinatra: One bottle each: Absolut, Jack Daniel's, Chivas Regal, Courvoisier, Beefeater Gin, white wine, red wine. Twenty-four chilled jumbo shrimp, Life Savers, cough drops.

A tour rider, for those of you not being ferried around to exotic locales to live out the rock 'n' roll dream, is a contract that outlines a performer's various requests.

These can outline exactly how a dressing room or stage should be set up, as well as what food and beverages should be provided.

Henry Hargreaves, a New Zealand-born photographer has put together 'Band Riders' - a series of photographic still-lifes inspired by the often peculiar backstage demands made by famous musicians.

Hargreaves wanted to explore the temporal nature of a career in the performing arts as musicians "only have a short time in which they are able to make these demands and have them fulfilled."

Perhaps the most famous rider is Van Halen's notorious request not to have any brown M&M's backstage.


In the 80s, this made national headlines - considered a diva move by a bloated rock band. But in fact, Van Halen only put it in there to guarantee promoters had actually read their tour plan.

The band's tour was so large - with nine 18-wheelers and tonnes of equipment - it could overwhelm promoters. So, they threw in that small M&M detail just to make sure all the bases were covered.

A portion of the tour rider (below) specifies that a deli tray be provided with the Dutch treat of herring in sour cream, favoured by the Van Halen brothers.


Hargreaves depicts the snack, as well as the M&Ms and some other items specified by the band in the photo below.

Van Halen: Herring in sour cream, large tube of KY jelly, M&M's (Warning: absolutely no brown ones).

Prince, as the portion of the rider below mentions, required that an on-call doctor be made available until 5:30 PM.


This was to administer a B-12 vitamin shot, in case you thought the photo below referenced a hard-drug addiction.

Prince: Coffee and tea setup, including honey, lemon, sugar, cream, fresh ginger root. Physician will be used to administer a B-12 injection.

Here are a few more of Hargreaves photos, inspired by tour riders for Lady Gaga, Busta Rhymes and New Kids on the Block

Lady Gaga: Small plate of cheese (nonsmelly, nonsweaty), on ice.

Busta Rhymes: Twenty-four pieces of fried chicken, Rough Rider condoms, Guinness.

New Kids On The Block: Häagen-Dazs ice cream, Oreo cookies.

You can see more of Hargreaves work at My Modern Met, including photos inspired by Axl Rose, Beyonce, Foo Fighters, Rihanna, and Marilyn Manson.

And he has another series called No Seconds, featuring the last meals requested by prisoners on death row.


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