No Brown M&Ms, Van Halen and the Importance of Riders

Posted: December 11, 2014 in Speaking ministry
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mmsThis is going to seem like a weird post for this blog. To some it will seem a little ego driven, some will be offended by the term “performance” in a blog about ministry, etc. So before I really get started, I ask that you indulge me and stick with me, because I believe this will be helpful if you stick with me ’til the end.

My live painting ministry is a ministry, period. That being said, there is an element of performance to it. While I do my best to be led by the Spirit, there is a certain amount of planning and preparation necessary to do a complete painting in four to ten minutes. Also certain presentations require a certain amount of space, projection capabilities, etc. If I’m driving, I can take care of most to these contingencies on my own, but I am looking to a time in the not too distant future when more opportunities will involve flying and as this happens, I will need to depend on the “venue” and the host to meet more of those needs. It is for this reason that I am considering developing a rider.

In case you don’t know what a rider is, it’s a list of needs (and sometimes desires) essential for a presentation or performance. If you’ve had even a passing interest in the entertainment industry, you’ve no doubt heard about some really absurd demands placed on venues by performers. One of the most notorious is Van Halen and “no brown M&Ms.” You see, back in the day, Van Halen used to demand that their dressing room have a large punch bowl, filled with M&Ms with all the brown ones removed. This was in the days before you could go into a store and select your M&Ms by color. In other words, in any place Van Halen performed, some poor intern had to go through pounds and pounds of M&Ms and meticulously remove every single brown one. Insane and absurd demands of spoiled rock stars, right?

Well not so much. According to David Lee Roth, there was a method to the madness. Their stage production was one of the largest and heaviest ever. The rider included detailed instructions on how to prepare the floor to be able to handle it’s size and weight. One particular venue chose to ignore this part of the rider and the stage sunk into the floor, damaging it to the tune of tens of thousands of dollars. The “no brown M&Ms’ clause was added not long after. The band and their crew could go into the dressing room and see the punch bowl. If there were brown ones in the bowl, they could see the rider had not been read and judge accordingly as to whether or not they could set up.

Now of course I have nowhere near those types of considerations and most likely you won’t either and as a ministry, I fully intend to be a lot more flexible, but there are certain things we sometimes need to do what we do to the best of our ability. A rider can help all parties prepare in advance to make whatever you’re doing, the best that it can be.

What would be in your rider? If you’re on the “venue” end, what are the limitations of your “venue?” It’s worth considering ahead of time.

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Comments
  1. Dan Shaffer says:

    Dave, riders are really important for both sides of the event! It helps everyone know what needs to be done to make the ministry part of the event “flow”. It’s far better for each side to be able to know what is needed and prepare than to have to scramble at the last minute to adapt.

    Great blog by the way!

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