The stereotype of musicians in particular being massively demanding has been around for decades. Occasionally, spoilt artists take liberties by asking for literally whatever they want on their riders, no matter how ludicrous.
We’re counting down the most outrageous demands musicians have made while on tour, including plenty of big names you’re likely to be familiar with.
Beyonce demands $900 titanium drinking straws and red toilet paper
Beyonce is an artist with a relentless touring schedule who takes her stamina and self-care very seriously, so she doesn’t skimp on what she needs. Some of her requests make sense, like a diet plan that stipulates down to the weights and portion sizes what kinds of food she can eat pre-show.
Some make far less sense however, such as the fact she allegedly needs $900 titanium drinking straws to be present for her to use at all times. Not only that, but all the toilet paper in her personal dressing room must be replaced with red rolls, for a reason that she has never explained.
Jennifer Lopez requests her dressing rooms are made entirely white
It’s okay to have decor preferences in your own home or even on your tour bus, or at a push a dressing room in a theatre where you’re doing a residency. In a dressing room for a show where you’re playing for just one night however, it’s kind of bad form to critique the furniture.
Jennifer Lopez has no such qualms, however. Lopez requests that every dressing room she stays in is completely refitted to be all white: white carpet, white curtains, white furniture. She even requests specifically that white candles be burned in the room to relax her.
Cher needs a separate room for her wigs
Cher’s working-class upbringing has meant that for a mega-celebrity she’s pretty down to Earth, but a star that big is allowed their eccentricities. For a start, Cher always requests a separate room for her private physician, so she always has him on hand and can be closely monitored between her dance-heavy and physically demanding shows.
That makes sense, but the fact that she also requests a separate room for the over 20 wigs she changes in and out of during the show makes a little less sense.
Jay-Z needs ‘high quality’ peanut butter and jelly sandwiches
On one of his previous tours, Jay-Z requested seven dressing rooms in the venue he was playing at. This was presumably so he could swap dressing rooms every day while playing at the same venue, or at least every couple of hours, since he didn’t include information about an extensive entourage in his rider.
By contrast, his only other significant demand was for a couple of jars of peanut butter and a couple of jars of strawberry jam. He emphasised that both of these should be good quality, presumably so he could make some very high-quality peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.
Madonna has every dressing room made into an exact replica of her home lounge
Queen of pop Madonna has long been famous for her wacky antics and uncompromising attitude, which means that it’s no surprise that her touring rider is one of the most demanding on this list. Just to give you a taste, she requests enough room to house her 200-person entourage.
Even bigger is the fact that she requests her furniture be shipped all around the world from her home. Failing that, venues are told they must purchase and replicate her living room furniture exactly, right down to the flower-scented fabric of the chairs.
Lady Gaga once asked for a naked mannequin with a pink merkin
Lady Gaga is actually a pretty laidback and grounded person as far as pop stars go, so her regular rider is mostly just different flavours of tea that she drinks to keep her voice healthy. Not only that, but she also requests a selection of long straws, so that she doesn’t smudge her lipstick.
With that said, a musician with as eccentric a persona as Gaga has to have some odd requests now and again. On one occasion, she demanded that a naked mannequin with fluffy pink pubic hair be placed in her dressing room. Naturally, no explanation was given for this demand.
Mary J. Blige has a whole new bathroom installed wherever she gigs
A lot of insane musician demands actually make way more sense when you look at them through a germaphobe lens, since getting sick on tour can potentially cost everybody a lot of money. However, it still feels like R&B star Mary J Blige takes things a little bit too far. Her demands are pretty simple: any place she stays in must have a brand new toilet installed, one that nobody else is allowed to use.
Not only that, but the toilet must have a brand new seat put on that no-one else has touched, and the seat must be wrapped in plastic that only she can touch. Furthermore, she insists her dressing rooms contain a king-size bed, and nothing smaller.
Joe Jonas asks for a dozen puppies in every dressing room
When musicians make extreme demands in their riders, people often joke that they’re probably doing it just to mess with people. Joe Jonas does just that, in the sweetest possible way: the Jonas brother always demands that 12 puppies be placed in his dressing room for him to hang out with before his show.
He doesn’t actually expect them to show up, and usually he’s proven right, as the venue management just assume that he was joking. However, Jonas has stated that very occasionally he does get his wish, and a press manager goes above and beyond to make his request happen.
Britney Spears used to ask for a signed picture of Princess Di before every performance
Britney has been one of the biggest names in pop music for decades, so she could probably get away with demanding whatever she wanted in her touring rider. Her demands aren’t actually that extreme, though, they’re just super weird. Case in point: for a time, she used to request a signed picture of Princess Diana in her dressing room.
There is an explanation of sorts to this demand; Britney found the late monarch to be hugely inspirational and brave, and thought she could improve her performance by being reminded of her before she stepped out on stage.
Kanye West insists that the carpet is ironed and all his staff wear 100% cotton
Kanye West is no stranger to making the headlines for his eccentric behaviour, but the press are usually picking up on his controversial political comments, not his controversial rider demands. Still, the rapper definitely has very specific tastes, including Versace towels, which he must have in all of his dressing rooms as well as on hand at all times.
Not only that, but Ye stipulates that all of his staff must wear clothes made from 100% cotton, probably more for his comfort than theirs. Last but not least, he once demanded his assistant iron the carpet in his hotel room, refused to step foot on it until he did.
Guns N’ Roses ask for adult magazines with their beer
Since they emerged in the mid-80s, hard rock superstars Guns N’ Roses have pretty much embodied the sex, drugs and rock’n’roll cliche. In their heyday, the band members were rarely seen off-stage or on without a drink to hand, and wherever they went an army of groupies was sure to follow.
After many years and several line-up changes, Guns N’ Roses have mellowed a bit with age, although they haven’t exactly cleaned up their act. They just demand a whole stack of adult magazines to be delivered to their dressing rooms, along with the alcohol and snacks they’ve requested.
Prince once demanded a new home be built next door to the venue he was playing at
The late music legend Prince is as legendary for his musicianship as his eccentricity. In 2004, his rider demanded everything in the dressing room be bought brand new and wrapped in clear plastic wrap for Prince himself to open. If venue staff tore or damaged the plastic wrap in any way, the item would have to be re-purchased and shrink-wrapped all over again.
That demand came out of a fear of germs that only grew more extreme with time. In 2007 Prince requested the management of a venue he was playing at build him a five-bedroom house with all new furniture nearby, so that he would have somewhere comfortable to stay throughout.
Foo Fighters’ rider was a 52-page colouring book
One of the world’s more down-to-earth superstar rock bands, Foo Fighters enjoy making fun of celebrity diva demands. For their 2011 world tour, they decided to have a bit of fun by producing a ridiculously elaborate rider that was 52 pages long filled with absurd stipulations, including sandwiches with a side of pebbles and rocks, and instructions on how to make ice.
The eccentric demand handbook was actually written by their tour manager with the band’s approval, but they did help decide on the final flourish: instead of just printing out, the rider was turned into a colouring book, which the venues would have to colour in in order to understand.
Iggy Pop once asked for the seven dwarves in his dressing room
Iggy Pop is another rockstar with a wacky sense of humour, which extends to his rider demands. For one tour, he demanded to dress up like Disney’s seven dwarves and hang out in his dressing room. Thankfully, he did specify that the heights of the dwarves didn’t matter to him all that much, and anyone could play the parts so long as they had the right spirit.
That wasn’t even the only strange request he made for costumed people to join him on tour. As well as seven fictional miners, he also requested a professional Bob Hope impersonator to come and hang out with him, presumably just to see if he would!
Paul McCartney imposes a ban on all non-vegan products
When you’re one of The Beatles, it’s pretty much an established rule of the music industry that you’re allowed to ask for whatever you want. That said, Sir Paul McCartney’s requests don’t necessarily seem too unreasonable, although he does ask a lot of the people in his employ.
McCartney has demanded everyone working on his tour follow a vegan lifestyle, insisting that no animal materials like leather and wool were worn or used in furniture, and allowed nothing but vegan food to be served on the buffet. Meat-eating crew members and bandmates were even banned from bringing their own food.
Rihanna’s many demands include a specifically scented candle in every dressing room
Rihanna adores animal print so much that she requested every dressing room she stayed in had an animal print rug. She also insisted the rug be shampooed beforehand, since she planned on walking around on it barefoot. She also stipulates that all curtains be overlayed with icy blue chiffon, and any exposed brick walls or pipes must be covered with white satin drapes.
Once all that has been taken care of, Rihanna also demands that a candle with a very specific scent must be burned, and in a situation where the venue can’t obtain it, they must contact her manager directly to get her undisclosed second choice.
Slayer once asked for 50,000 live bees
Slayer have been considered one of the scariest heavy metal bands in the world for over 40 years, and you don’t maintain that kind of reputation without putting some scary demands on their rider. The band once demanded “50,000 live bees, for Dave”, with no explanation on why he needed them or how to transport them to the venue.
Then, as if that wasn’t enough of a metal-appropriate rider, they also added that they needed 100 snow white goats to slaughter on the altar of the devil, of course. We’re pretty sure Slayer were kidding about that last one, regardless of their diabolical image.
Mariah Carey always asks for three 20-amp circuits to power her beauty prep
As one of the most legendary pop divas of the last 40 years, it’s no surprise that Mariah Carey’s personal rider is extensive and demanding. These include the fact that all harsh lighting is to be turned off before she arrives at the venue, and she requires a whole team to hover around her and ensure that everything is just right.
Most puzzling of all though, is the fact that she requests three separate 20-amp circuits to all be available to her in her room. That’s a lot of electricity for one person, but Carey is adamant that she needs that much electricity to straighten and curl her hair.
Justin Bieber demands a variety of cars
Since rising to fame in his youth, Justin Bieber went from pop sensation to tabloid pariah for his often appallingly entitled, brattish behaviour. In more recent years he’s managed to curb his bad boy persona to some degree, but when it comes to his personal tour rider, Bieber’s still completely okay with making excessive demands.
He demands something called an Indian yoga casket for one, so that he can meditate before shows. This seems reasonable enough, but Bieber’s other stipulation – ten luxury sedans and two designer Volvo buses to move around his entourage between backstage and various parties – is a bit less practical.
Nine Inch Nails’ Trent Reznor won’t perform without corn starch
The rider for alt-rock pioneers Nine Inch Nails is, for the most part, what you would expect for any touring band. Primarily they ask for various kinds of alcohol, as well as fruits and vegetables that could be blended together to make different kinds of juices and smoothies.
However, on one tour frontman Trent Reznor has made a more bizarre demand: he insisted on being supplied with several boxes of corn starch. No explanation was given for why he needed it, but Reznor stressed it was hugely important and he couldn’t perform without it.