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Excess All Areas: A Lighthearted Look at the Demands and Idiosyncracies of Rock Icons on Tour Hardcover – August 1, 2014
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This is a fascinating look at the life of rock 'n' rollers and what fills their stomachs. --Steven Rosen, Curled Up
An entertaining and divertingly illustrated look at the imperious idiosyncrasies and demands of rock icons on tour. They range from bizarre requests for ice without square edges, water from the top of Mount Olympus and a boa constrictor to Van Halen's famed demand that all the brown M&Ms be removed from the sweet bowl in their dressing room. And then there's the outright mad: Iggy Pop asked for seven dwarfs. All rock'n'roll life is here. --Tatler
''If you're looking for a stocking filler for the music fan in your life (albeit a rather wide stocking filler, perhaps a pillow case filler might be more apposite), then might we suggest Excess All Areas which leads the reader backstage into the, frankly ludicrous, world of the band contract rider.'' --Total Music Magazine
''An interesting look at a quirkier side of pop music.'' --Beat Magazine, December 2014
''… if you want a glimpse into the backstage demands of those high flying rock gods, and see what odd, excessive, peculiar requests they make, then this book is for you.'' --PennyBlackMusic
About the Author
Susan Richmond (London) began her career in the music industry in the '80s, starting out at A and M Records before moving to EMI and Parlophone. She ran her own record label in the late '90s and now works in the food PR and awards sector.
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Most want tea (this is the UK), followed by orange juice, water, and alcohol. Lots of alcohol. Often rare vintages of wine and the most expensive champagnes. And cigarettes. Cartons of them. It is encouraging that many, if not most, specify veggies and some vegetarian sandwiches and meals. But that’s not what we want to see. We want to see the stupidity. There’s plenty.
-Public Enemy requires all food to be kosher or halal, then specifies a bucket of Kentucky Fried Chicken, fish, meats, and cheeses. This is some other kind of kosher I’m less familiar with.
-Busta Rhymes is adamant there be no beef or pork in his dressing room or catering room. However two boxes of condoms are required. A different cut of beef, it seems.
-Amy Winehouse required a sign on her dressing room door: Only Big Boys Can Enter
-Many specify high quality meals and linen napkins for the band and crew, (and specifically no fast food) but one actually contracts for six cans of Chef Boyardee ravioli and cans of Campbell’s Chunky soups. Another prefers six hot dogs in a jar.
Things can get bizarre, as in ice with no straight edges, a Furby, a whip (not plastic), a rhesus monkey skeleton, and a .38 special with six rounds of ammunition. Some specify graffiti on the walls from the previous concert, and some specify the walls be clean, presumably for them. Reef requires four stamped local postcards, presumably to show Mum where they’ve been and that they’re still alive. A lot of bands ask for socks, usually tube socks, multiple pairs. Mum would be pleased.
The clear winner for me was The Stereophonics, which had to have an “ass-shaped piñata filled with Cuban cigars and dark chocolate Cacique rum liqueurs and one box of indoor fireworks, a local strippergram and a hedge trimmer.” People should not be allowed to have that much fun.
Finally, some acts got over themselves:
-Elvis asked for ten soft drinks and four cups of water
-The Beatles asked for a black and white television set and a few Cokes.
Excess All Areas is delightfully illustrated and artfully laid out. The artwork helps immeasurably, as the text consists entirely of long shopping lists. The pages are all different pastels, with a coiled border. The portraits are funky rock and go perfectly with the book. Not exactly an earth-shaking exposé, but an eyeopener on how the other half live. While they can.
A Lighthearted Look at the Demands and Idiosyncrasies of Rock Icons on Tour
By Susan Richmond is a 2014 Backbeat Books publication. I was provided a copy of this book by the publisher and Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
We have all heard by now the infamous story of Van Halen's backstage demands which included the removal of a certain color of M&M's. Well, demands have come a long way since the 80's as you will see in this book.
A rider is the list of demands each band or musical artist insist each venue in which they perform have available to them. In the very old days, music artist were lucky if they had a few cold cuts, cookies and some punch. But, as rock stars gained more power and made staggering amounts of money their backstage demands were more befitting the arrival of a member of royalty or a political dignitary. Van Halen seemed to set the stage when it came to how far a band's request could go. Once the standard was set musical performers began to out do one another and the result is that now it is a common practice, accepted without hesitation. This book details some of the more outlandish request by popular rock groups and performers like Usher.
Demands, and I use that word instead of “request” because in some instances if these items are not in place an artist will refuse to perform, costing everyone a lot of money and makes thousands of ticket holders very upset, include items such a this:
4 bottles of vintage white wine, 4 bottles of Chablis, 4 bottles Dom Perignon champagne. A packet of crunchy nut cornflakes, six bowls, six spoons, cartons of cigarettes, cheese, raw vegetables, fruit trays, carrot juice, chewing gum, 4 liters of apple juice, 4 liters of cranberry juice, 20 liters of mineral water, 1 bottle of vodka, chocolate bars, beer, soda, Gatorade, endless supply of ice, tea, coffee, milk, pizza, deli trays, Jack Daniels , sexy DVD's, ( one even required weed- at least an ounce!) newspapers, condoms, televisions, any left over food be donated to the homeless, buyouts for any items which could not be provided, towels, refrigerators, jelly beans, movies, ( with specific titles listed), a local strippergram, false facial hair, guns with ammo, padded doors, a Buddhist shrine, incense, personal masseuses, a pool table, and a vast variety of condiments. So, which artist demanded what? The author breaks the list down specifically and in great detail for each artist listed.
This was amazing and mind boggling at times. I read some this out loud to my family and we couldn't help but laugh and the some of the things these people actually asked for, and at other times we could only shake our heads at the absurdity of it all.
The downside to this type of book is that there is no other dialogue or explanations or tidbits of information to go along with the list, so after reading about half of the book it started to get really repetitive. So, without something to go along with the list of demands, it got kind of boring after a while.
So, to sum it up I have to say the book is entertaining to a point. It was fun to see who could out do the others, who was really naughty and who was super ridiculous and who was just basically doing what was expected of them. I'm sure life on the road gets old after a time and these artist do entertain members of the press and have a crew of people to feed and keep entertained. I can understand a band needing to have plenty of water, juice, and Gatorade, and that each person has his or her own taste and in food and drink. However, I can't believe these people drink this much and smoke all those cigarettes and eat all that food!! Geez! I simply can't fathom some poor soul having to hunt some of this stuff down for these people. Unbelievable.