Noel Monk Answers The Big Question: “What If Brown M&Ms Did End Up Backstage At A Van Halen Concert?”
Yes there were a few brown M&M sightings but they never came with nuts – as in Noel Monk going “nuts”.
Former Van Halen manager Noel Monk recently spoke with Brian Hiatt on the ‘Rolling Stone Music Now’ podcast to talk about his colorful seven year stint as manager of Van Halen. The interview began with Monk telling the story of how he and the band would demand in their tour rider that no brown-colored M&Ms be allowed backstage at their concerts. This, as Van Halen fans now know, was done to assure that every detail was followed to the very last letter.
Hiatt then asked Monk the question that many Van Halen fans have wondered.
“How often did you show up and there were brown M&Ms and how nuts would you go at that point?” asked Hiatt.
“I wouldn’t go nuts I’d just charge [the concert organizers] a hundred dollars and give the beer money to the crew,” said Monk. “What’s there to go nuts about brown M&Ms? I’m not that crazy Brian!”
Monk appeared on the ‘Rolling Stone Music Now’ podcast as part of a current promotional run in support his new book “Runnin’ With the Devil: A Backstage Pass Into the Wild Times, Loud Rock and the Down and Dirty Truth Behind the Making of Van Halen”. Monk discussed a wide range of Van Halen topics including the legendary David Lee Roth-Edward Van Halen love/hate relationship which was only made worse over time by drug abuse.
“You had the most brilliant guitar player and you had the most brilliant front man and they did not see necessarily eye to eye,” said Monk. “[But] drugs played a terrible part in fracturing their musical coherence.”
Monk also talked about the fabricated tale of David Lee Roth’s $1 million paternity insurance and the night his road crew put an irate Roth in a strait jacket during the 1981 tour.
“I have never seen David so distraught,” said Monk. “And so would I have been. I was pissed. You don’t do that to my lead singer. I couldn’t fire the road manager; it was the beginning of the tour. Dave and I sat [afterwards] and we talked for a couple hours. He came out of it but I was pissed. David was almost shell shocked. If it was me I would have ended up in a nut house [too if they] put me in a strait jacket.”
The interview concluded with Monk lamenting on the unfortunate demise of the classic original Van Halen lineup. Monk knew the end was near when Roth revealed to him and the band that he had already begun work on a solo album (1985’s ‘Crazy From The Heat’) before the band’s ‘1984’ tour had even finished.
“There was the biggest crack that ever happened in my band,” said Monk. “I can’t talk for David and I don’t want to. I don’t know [what Dave was thinking] but I was mortified. The handwriting was on the wall; written in a blackboard with a stiletto. He made it impossible for us to have an ’85 tour. With him coming out with a [solo] album what were we gonna tour behind? This was history in the breaking.”
Now that’s something that definitely drove Noel Monk “nuts”.
Listen to the interview:
By VHND contributing writer, Eric Senich