Posts Tagged ‘Van Halen’
Excesses and extravagance have always gone hand in hand in the rock world: spoiled and superstitious divas often lie behind hard lyrics and outrageous makeup, willing to hysterical tantrums if they are disregarded even the most mundane expectations.
It’s on this wavelength that was perceived the will of the american hard rock band Van Halen, to insert a curious clause in the technical part of the contract that bound the group to the local organization of their concerts: in a statement it was expected the presence in the backstage of a big bowl of M&M’s in all colors except brown: a possible default by the organization would put the band in a position to decide whether to cancel the show while maintaining the agreed fee.
The point of no return was the concert that was supposed to be held on March 30, 1980 at Colorado State University, Pueblo, CO. The stage could not withstand the weight of the equipment causing $ 85,000 damage to the floor of the gym. David Lee Roth and the other band members realized that there were some brown M&M’s in the bowl, contrary to the provisions in the contract: they railed against the organization and broke open the dressing room.
What at first glance may seem like a lot of classic 80′s frivolity, actually proved a clever stratagem that allowed Van Halen to figure out if the contract had been carefully read by the counterpart: a sort of alarm bell for the whole team, an invitation to check every single aspect in setting the stage to avoid problems that could tarnish the image of the band, but mostly could cause accidents to staff or public, all the things Van Halen do not like.
David, interviewed by the way, declared that at that time they were beginning to move their concert in the american province, on stages not normally trodden by the big rock star and then allegedly set up with much less attention. After a series of small but frequent incidents and other accidents fortunately avoided, the band decided to introduce this addendum (known as Article 126 or “No Brown M&M’s clause”) in their contracts, demonstrating a shrewd business strategy for those years and they were imitated by many other artists.
Eddie Van Halen, surely one of the greatest rock guitarists of the last 35 years, played the solo in Beat It, the famous song of Michael Jackson in 1983. Quincy Jones, Jacko’s agent and producer, contacting him to ask for his collaboration, heard slamming the phone down twice as Eddie thought it was a joke. After the match Eddie came in the recording studio in a bad mood, asked to perform a “take” to test the instrumentation and replaying his execution proved greatly disappointed. The sound engineer was of different opinion and instead of accommodate the artist and re-run, he decided to use it for the final recording of the song. Eddie Van Halen even refused to be paid for the cooperation and when Jennifer Batten, historical Michael Jackson’s guitarist, performed his solo flawlessly in the presence of Eddie, he kindly asked her to repeated because he couldn’t remember it at all.