Did Van Halen Really Hate Brown M&Ms?

At the height of Van Halen’s popularity in the 80s they were notorious for specifically adding a contract stipulation that there be no brown M&Ms in their dressing room for munchies. According to David Lee Roth it was a test to make sure promoters were giving the group exactly what they demanded. If a simple thing such as brown M&Ms was overlooked, it meant security needs or the exact sound specifications the band needed to perform would be also overlooked. The boys were not divas, they were exercising their concerns for a safe concert environment.

“The contract rider read like a version of the Chinese Yellow Pages because there was so much equipment, and so many human beings to make it function.” And the insertion of random details like the brown M&M clause served as “a little test.”

“When I would walk backstage, if I saw a brown M&M in that bowl,” Roth wrote, “well, line-check the entire production. Guaranteed you’re going to arrive at a technical error. They didn’t read the contract. Guaranteed you’d run into a problem.”

Fun Fact: A Russian study came out linking the red food dye amaranth (also known as Red No. 2). The company pulled the red M&Ms for ten years. It came back in 1982.