Scene4 Magazine — Les Marcott
Les Marcott
A List Of My Demands

If wishes were horses, beggars would ride.  (James Halliwell)

I recently read with much amusement and bewilderment the various demands that rock stars and other assorted performers foist upon concert promoters/venue operators.  Of course all of these demands are converted into the appropriate legalese of a performance agreement or contract rider.  Some promoters simply cross out the offending demand but most are more than eager to please.  For instance, magician David Copperfield demands not only hotel accommodations but the best suite within the hotel.  Go figure. And its not that he desires grilled boneless chicken breast, it's that he desires it at a moments notice.  One can only surmise that if Mr. Copperfield's demands aren't met, he will perform one of his famous disappearing acts. Drum roll please.  The prop laden comic Carrot Top, requires a female masseuse at his beck and call.  We wouldn't want one of those big, burly, sweaty, hairy, toothless, male masseuses around would we?  British diva and frequent rehab resident Amy Winehouse demands a lot of alcohol backstage (surprise, surprise).   Styrofoam is not allowed.  China only.  It seems that "Styrofoam is bad for the planet" according to Miss Winehouse's contract rider.  Yes and so are arrogant, pompous, pop stars.  One of my favorite rockers, Tom Petty, desires Orange roughy.  Somehow I don't think you're going to find this fish at your local Kroger's.  In the past, the members of Jane's Addiction have insisted that a pack of Calvin Klein underwear be made available back stage.  One can assume fresh underwear are needed because they are full of you know what when they exit the stage. And finally, political activist, avid sportsman, and sometimes guitar slinger Ted Nugent demands "man sized" Kleenexes at the ready.

After further consideration, maybe all of these demands aren't so outrageous after all.  When a performer can command $300-$400 a concert ticket, shouldn't we expect outlandish behavior.  Doesn't that go along with the territory?  Haven't they earned the right to be buffoonish?  And when outlandish demands and behavior can be codified, clarified, and cemented into a legally binding agreement; it doesn't seem so ridiculous anymore.  It's lawful. What would be my response if I suddenly had the opportunity and ability to catapult onto the same stage as these superstars?  Would I take it?  You bet I would.  Who among us hasn't suffered at the hands of hecklers, begged for food on the set of a low budget film, or endured the indignity of paying a cover charge for a show you were a part of.  Enough of that.  As Mr. Petty once wrote and crooned, "even the losers get lucky sometime".
Here is a list of my demands:      

1. Ashtrays, ashtrays, ashtrays.  I haven't smoked in years, but you never know when I might start again.  And if I start again, I have a feeling I'm going to be a chain smoker.  Plenty of ashtrays.  And please don't bother me with some city ordinance that forbids smoking – onstage or backstage.

2. Cigarette lighters are to be banned however.  It's really quite silly to see a crowd flick their bics during some smaltzy, saccharine, romantic ballad that they danced to in high school.  I don't sing those types of songs anyway, but there's always a smartass in the crowd.

3. Only the finest BMW automobile to ferry me from airport to motel to concert with heavily tinted windows.  Don't insult me by providing one of those sissified "hybrid" cars that resembles a golf cart and runs on popcorn or coconut oil.  A driver shall be furnished who is NOT FLUENT IN ENGLISH.  If the driver is not fluent in English, he will not feel the need to engage in mindless chatter.

4. Adequate security shall be provided.  If you look like a mall cop, you are probably not adequate for the job.  Keep the riff raff away.  I'm not there to shake hands, sign autographs, or have fans regale me with stories.  I'm there to perform!  

5. Man sized toilet paper.  'Nuff said.

6. An elegant dressing room shall be provided for me and my three year old chow Ponchita. Ponchita doesn't perform, but she's the "boss".  She also helps to keep groupies at bay.  Just remember, hell hath no fury like a Ponchita scorned.   The room should not look like a Howard Johnsons.  Room temperature shall be set at 55 degrees Fahrenheit.  We like it a little frosty.            

7. Specialty foods required such as boudain, marinated artichokes, hickory smoked Vienna sausages (yum yum), organic buffalo meat, free range chicken, potato and avocado salad, bottled water imported from the Arctic Circle, plenty of the best coffee in the world – Seattle's Best.  Real beer such as Guinness Stout, Samuel Adams, and Shiner Bock shall be made available before, during, and after the show.  Anything "lite" will not be acceptable.

8. A food taster shall be provided an hour before meal time.  I simply cannot afford to contract food poisoning before the show.

9. Ponchita has special dietary requirements. Needless to say, it doesn't involve Alpo or Kibbles n' bits.  Think more along the lines of Orange roughy.  Suffice it to say, she will also require the services of a food taster.  Further instructions will be given the day of the show.

10. A monitor will need to be set up backstage in order for Ponchita to see Daddy perform.  Ruff, ruff.

So there you have it.  I'm sure as my fame and acclaim grow, my demands will increase accordingly.  This list is just a starting point…of course I run the risk of having the whole thing crossed out.

To view contractual demands of some of your favorite performers, visit:    


View other readers' comments in the Readers Blog

©2009 Les Marcott
©2009 Publication Scene4 Magazine

Les Marcott is a songwriter, musician, performer and a Senior Writer and columnist for Scene4. His latest book of monologues, stories and short plays, Character Flaws, is published by AviarPress.
For more of his commentary and articles, check the Archives
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June 2009


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