There was a time when being a star meant getting away with whatever you wanted, whenever you wanted. Tales of trashing hotel rooms just for fun, drinking, smoking, and snorting everything in sight, lines of groupies waiting outside tour busses, and even, in some unfortunate cases, taking part in sexual activities that are at best in poor taste and at worst illegal, used to be one of the most exciting things that came with fame. But as times have changed and attitudes toward abuse of substances and cleaning crews alike have shifted, there simply aren’t too many extreme indulgences that your typical rock star or pop diva can get away with anymore. Throw a TV out a window? Someone on the maintenance crew tweets about it and there’s a hashtag calling you an asshole before you even end up on TMZ. So what is a poor rock star to do? If your fans won’t let you get away with shenanigans, where do you turn?
Enter the tour rider. On its face, a tour rider is a pretty boring document. It sets the terms of the night of the performance for the star and the venue. Things like speaker and lighting details, what security is required, how many dressing rooms and what should be in them, and meal details are the usual type of things covered in an artist’s rider. But somewhere along the way, artists began using the rider to make requests beyond these mundane details. Whether it’s socks and underwear, wanting everything in your dressing room to be the same color, or demanding a specific brand of bottled water served at a specific temperature out of specific drinkware, the tour rider is the last great hope for stars to get themselves treated like royalty.
Last week Jack White’s tour rider was published, and it took specific food requests to an all new level with an included guacamole recipe that is detailed enough to explain what to do with the avocado pits. White and his management company are pissed at the leak, but the truth is, as silly as his guac needs may seem, he’s actually in pretty good company when it comes to extreme requests. Let’s look at 10 tour riders that are crazier than Jack White’s.