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Photos of the Food and Drink Requested by Famous Musicians Backstage

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When musicians sign contracts to perform in major concerts, their documents often contain riders (more commonly known as addendums). These are a series of special requests made by the band or musician, and outlines specifics of what they’re expecting when they arrive.

Photographer Henry Hargreaves noticed that riders often contain strange requests for the foods and drinks requested, so he decided to turn the requests into a photo project that offer a glimpse into the lives of famous musicians.

The photograph above shows one of Lady Gaga’s riders: “Small plate of cheese (nonsmelly, nonsweaty), on ice.”

Each of the requests that accompany Hargreaves’ photographs are taken directly from the contracts, and the spelling is verbatim from the riders.

Hargreaves tells us that what attracted him to the series was “the way their requests manage to say something about the performers personality that words struggle to,” and the way they “were able identify with them through what they chose to eat and drink.”

The riders were originally obtained from a section on The Smoking Gun called Backstage, which aggregates and publishes the contracts from major musicians.

The catering riders were very comprehensive, so Hargreaves decided to narrow down on some of the quirky and unusual requests found in the contracts.

To challenge himself, Hargreaves partnered with prop stylist Caitlin Levin to compose the rider items in the manner of Flemish still life paintings.

Frank Sinatra: "One bottle each: Absolute, Jack Daniel’s, Chivas Regal, Courvoisier, Beefeater Gin, white wine, red wine. Twenty-four chilled jumbo shrimp, Life Savers, cough drops."

Frank Sinatra: “One bottle each: Absolute, Jack Daniel’s, Chivas Regal, Courvoisier, Beefeater Gin, white wine, red wine. Twenty-four chilled jumbo shrimp, Life Savers, cough drops.”

Foo Fighters: "Big-a** kielbasas that make men feel self-conscious."

Foo Fighters: “Big-a** kielbasas that make men feel self-conscious.”

Mariah Carey : "Cristal Champagne, bendy straws."

Mariah Carey: “Cristal Champagne, bendy straws.”

Nine Inch Nails: "Two boxes of corn starch."

Nine Inch Nails: “Two boxes of corn starch.”

New Kids on the Block: "Häagen-Dazs ice cream, Oreo cookies."

New Kids on the Block: “Häagen-Dazs ice cream, Oreo cookies.”

Billy Idol: "One tub 'I can’t believe it’s not Butter!', Pepperidge Farms Soft Baked Nantucket Chocolate Chip Cookies."

Billy Idol: “One tub ‘I can’t believe it’s not Butter!’, Pepperidge Farms Soft Baked Nantucket Chocolate Chip Cookies.”

Axl Rose: "Fresh Wonder Bread (white), Dom Perignon"

Axl Rose: “Fresh Wonder Bread (white), Dom Perignon”

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

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

Rihanna: "Hard-boiled eggs, turkey bacon, turkey sausage, at any time throughout the day. Please be prepared!"

Rihanna: “Hard-boiled eggs, turkey bacon, turkey sausage, at any time throughout the day. Please be prepared!”

Britney Spears: "Fish and chips, McDonald’s cheeseburgers without the buns, 100 prunes and figs, a framed photo of Princess Diana."

Britney Spears: “Fish and chips, McDonald’s cheeseburgers without the buns, 100 prunes and figs, a framed photo of Princess Diana.”

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

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

Marilyn Manson: "Gummi bears."

Marilyn Manson: “Gummi bears.”

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

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

Beyoncé: "Juicy baked chicken, heavily seasoned: garlic, sea salt, black pepper, and cayenne pepper. Beyoncé can only have Pepsi products."

Beyoncé: “Juicy baked chicken, heavily seasoned: garlic, sea salt, black pepper, and cayenne pepper. Beyoncé can only have Pepsi products.”

(via VICE)


Image credits: Photographs by Henry Hargreaves/Caitlin Levin and used with permission


 
 
  • http://www.telescreen.org Vidiot

    that Beefeater looks a lot like Chianti.

  • Fuzztographer

    Hmmm, “corn starch” … so that’s what they’re calling it these days ;)

  • DamianM

    The images lack depth.

    I understand he wanted to make them as Flemish Still life’s, but those paintings where made with an understanding of light beyond one soft box.
    The images are flat as flat can be compared to the contrast found in the original inspiration.

  • alexP

    cool concept; poorly executed

  • Ilikephotopuns

    Really like the work on his website. Must have been fun researching this project.

  • http://www.facebook.com/NormCooper Norm Cooper

    as others, interesting idea, poorly lit.

    I read that Van Halen used their request for no brown M&Ms as a test to the attention to detail for the venue. If they couldn’t follow the No Brown M&M instructions, then they would likely fail in other more important areas ,too, like band safety, etc

  • MattSteeleLA

    Interesting factoid about these requests, and the reason behind Van Halen’s infamous “No brown M&M’s” request:

    These details were included in riders when rock bands with big arena shows started playing smaller venues like the ones on the Sunset Strip. A lot of these bands had really heavy equipment and set pieces which required special rigging. They also had very specific electrical and grounding requirements. All these rider requests were critical to the safety of the artists and the fans.

    So as a test, managers began putting these odd requests for food items in the rider to test the venue and make sure the promoter/venue was doing what was required of them.

    That way, when Van Halen’s manager stepped into the dressing room to find the requested M&M’s sans brown ones, he’d know the rider was followed to the letter and no safety surprises would arise.

  • KD

    I heard that too

  • photodouche

    great idea, absolutely crap execution… cant put this crap in a decent portfolio…

  • m.koc

    don’t get too close to beyoncé after her performances. heavily seasoned foods and sweat are not a good combination.

  • http://www.facebook.com/choenlee Choen Lee

    fried chicken???

  • eraserhead12

    Does Dom Perignon pair nicely with Wonder Bread?

  • http://www.facebook.com/duke.shin1 Duke Shin

    >KY jelly

    I don’t even

  • http://www.facebook.com/allanby Elias Allanby

    Good concept, though final product lacks some skills in lighting and PS.

  • robbie

    busta knows where it’s at

  • Mike

    and no watermelon

  • http://www.facebook.com/zosxavius Zos Xavius

    underexposed somewhat. he needed more exposure and a 2nd light.

  • http://www.daneitz.com/ David Neitz

    Corn starch is used to get into vinyl clothing. It’s used as an initial lubricant to help get into the clothes and then it also absorbs sweat.

  • Martin Atkins

    yup, exactly right – it was a genius litmus test of attention to detail from their manager – not some silly affectation.

  • ragsn_old_iron

    If the they can’t get the food right, what else has a promoter got wrong? This is a simple proof to guarantee the rest has been done properly, and not really the oddity that the ‘photographer’ is making it out to be. Check out Terry O’Reilly in Age of Persuasion on this business practice for an entertaining view at business acumen of some celebrities.

  • Mike

    it’s for the herring

  • Nell

    LOL how do you know this?

  • chubbs

    Axl Rose likes to take photos of cats with their heads poked through slices of bread.

  • http://www.facebook.com/duke.shin1 Duke Shin

    Of course. Now it makes sense.

  • http://twitter.com/Joseph_Sorbara Joseph Sorbara

    It must be nice to be able to afford eccentricity.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Erwin-Anciano/1528387646 Erwin Anciano

    Lol cornstarch my ass!

  • cc72

    As clever as it sounds, and while there’s ample support documenting the truth of this, it’s long since been proven folly in the -it works- department. The idiot peon who is told to take out the brown M & Ms is far cry from the guy rigging the lights 60 feet above the stage. And while it might tend to show that attention to detail was paramount, it did nothing to guarantee safety.

  • MTBkelly

    Wow, you’re harsh. Now I understand your screen name.

  • gotham77

    It’s obvious that many of these requests are intended to be ridiculous, it just makes them feel like bigshots.

  • gotham77

    Ridiculous.

    Mick Jagger counts the receipts after every show. That’s how you show your “business acumen” and make sure everything was done properly, not by asking for 50 hot dogs and a barrel of all green M&Ms and a bottle of champagne at a specific temperature.

  • gotham77

    Is there even such a thing as “fresh” Wonder Bread?

  • chef

    none of them eat healthy and pick the worst crap to ingest

  • http://www.facebook.com/desire2talk66 Dee Smith

    Wrong, it was meant to see if management was doing their job.

  • http://www.facebook.com/desire2talk66 Dee Smith

    Trust me, Mick no longer counts receipts. But he will check to see if the road manager is doing his….

  • cc72

    Not wrong. As I said in the first sentence…..I know why the practice started. My point is that it’s long since been proven that such clauses are no guarantee of safety.

  • gotham77

    So…you agree with me that ragsn_old_iron’s comment was ridiculous?

  • Beer Fan

    What is ridiculous is that you make these WILD statements and expect people to not to set you straight. Do you ever get anything right?

  • Beer Fan

    I was wrong. I thought you last comment was the stupidest ever, but it is most definitely this one. Mick counts receipts? LOL!

  • dave W

    I heard David Lee Roth say that in a fairly recent interview.

  • RT

    Even black people like Guinness!