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Two Heads of Lettuce

May 11th, 2010 | 1 Comment

Artist riders are the stuff of legend. These are the lists of “requirements” that performers expect to have delivered to their dressing room as part of their agreement to appear on stage. Some requests are reasonable enough – bottles of water, towels, or a modest variety of things to snack on. Then there are the more extreme requests which include everything from specific-coloured M&M’s, to prostitutes, to new carpet and wall coverings. I’ll leave the names of the applicable artists out of print (but feel free to follow up with me later).

One particular rider insisted on, amongst a full page of other things, two heads of lettuce. After the requisite snickering and head shaking, the local promoter arranged to have the entire rider accommodated and displayed in the band’s dressing room, including the two heads of lettuce. There he awaited the arrival of the tour manager.

The tour manager walked in under a head of steam, surveyed the room, and upon seeing the two heads of lettuce he smiled and shook the promoter’s hand.

The lettuce wasn’t for the band… it was for him. More specifically, it was for his peace of mind. Along with the rider, the tour manager sends a number of important advance documents to each stop on the tour. These include a stage plot and specific (and often intricate) requirements for sound and lighting. This particular tour manager judges his host’s attention to detail by the inclusion (or omission) of the heads of lettuce in the dressing room. If the venue cannot manage a relatively benign request, what other more critical elements have been overlooked? His experience has taught him that when the two heads of lettuce are tended to he can relax, as more important details have been has well.

How you do anything is how you do everything.

backstage pass

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August 12, 2010

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