Saturday, November 21, 2009

It's All About the M&M's

We have all heard stories of the ridiculous excesses enjoyed by wealthy celebrities. (In fact, my sister works in the entertainment industry and has some amusing ones, but you'll have to ask her about them; I won't repeat them here.) One of the most famous "stupid famous tricks" is probably the legendary bowl of M&M's that were required by the Dutch masters of stadium rock, Van Halen. The group didn't just want M&M's; they actually had a contract that mandated that there be no brown M&M's in the bowl. Given that the brown ones were for years the most prevalent color in a bag of M&M's, that's a pretty hefty demand and a whole lot of candy-sifting for some backstage flunky. However, the requirement actually did have a reason. I'll link to the factually-verified article available at [Incidentally, that's a good website for most any rumor you hear or read about. Verify before you forward that amazing email!]

Essentially, the band had very specific technical requirements for their stage and sound equipment, particularly with very heavy speakers and lighting rigs. It was a matter of safety for the band and the audience that those requirements be met by the host venue. The M&M clause was inserted into the contract in a very innocuous manner in a very inconspicuous place, meaning that a careful reading of the contract was necessary to see it. If the band showed up and saw brown M&M's, they immediately knew their technical requirements had not been read and that there was likely something wrong with the venue. What initially seems like a typical case of immature-because-we-can prima donna star behavior actually served a very real and serious purpose.

I mention this because when we have lawmakers who want to pass legislation that is over 2,000 pages long with only a matter of days to review the specifics, and as such bills affect your health care, it might be worth knowing whether or not someone wants brown M&M's.

Image taken from the M&M webpage.

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