From The Smoking Gun:
Van Halen’s Legendary M&M’s Rider
DECEMBER 11–Behold the Holy Grail. Since we began publishing backstage concert riders about 10 years ago, TSG has been searching for the most famous rider of them all, the one in which Van Halen famously stipulated that brown M&M’s were to be banished from the band’s dressing room. Well, as seen below, the hunt is over. TSG has finally obtained the 1982 Van Halen World Tour rider–typewritten and 53 pages long–containing the M&M prohibition (and a few other uniques demands). The document, which we’ve excerpted below, also stipulated that promoters provide the group with “herring in sour cream,” four cases of “Schlitz Malt Liquor beer (16 ounce cans),” and a total of eight bottles of wine and liquor. Oh, and the band also needed “One (1) large tube KY Jelly.” The rider’s “Munchies” section was where the group made its candy-with-a-caveat request: “M & M’s (WARNING: ABSOLUTELY NO BROWN ONES).” While the underlined rider entry has often been described as an example of rock excess, the outlandish demand of multimillionaires, the group has said the M&M provision was included to make sure that promoters had actually read its lengthy rider. If brown M&M’s were in the backstage candy bowl, Van Halen surmised that more important aspects of a performance–lighting, staging, security, ticketing–may have been botched by an inattentive promoter.