The legendary "No Brown M&Ms" clause revealed at last
Here's a justification that I was unaware of:
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.Snopes has a slightly different version, quoting David Lee Roth. According to Roth, the "no brown M&Ms" stipulation was buried among various technical requirements about electrical and structural requirements. Maybe different riders were used, or maybe Roth misremembered. (Given the amount of booze specified in the rider, I wouldn't be surprised.) But the story is substantially the same.
I think that it's a good idea to put something like that in a contract document that you're not sure is going to be read in sufficient detail. It reminds me of the copyright traps that some maps and reference works include to help reveal plagiarism.