Van Halen vs. M&Ms

EVH Guitar

I’d really hoped to get the new design running full steam by today. I uploaded it Sunday and tinkered for a couple hours, but there are just too many details getting in the way of a full transition. I’m using the Sandbox theme as a foundation, which is extremely flexible. It’s a coder’s dream, but it’s also remarkably complex. I’ll need one more Saturday to iron out all the issues. But hey, it looks pretty good and it represents me far more than this theme does. It’ll be fun to use. And soon, like Van Halen, Sixsquare will be reborn.

Okay, not quite like that.

But as long as we’re on the subject, the allmusic blog reminded me of the old Van Halen story about brown M&M’s. Have you heard it? Rumor had it that they liked M&M’s but hated the brown ones. Their rider specifically requested M&M’s in their dressing room come showtime, but that in under no circumstances were there to be any brown ones in the mix. None. Zero. Then in Colorado they went on a rampage that caused 80,000 dollars in damage to a Colorado venue where they were scheduled to perform. The reason for the outburst? There were brown M&M’s in their bowl. I’d always thought that story was apocryphal. Turns out it’s not, but the truth, as always, has been distorted.

The rider point is true. They actually did have a detail that specified no little brown candies, but it had nothing to do with the color or taste (if it had one would think DLR would specify “green only.”) But the request was buried in the center of a blizzard of technical specifications. It was their way of testing to make sure the venue folks were actually paying attention to the exacting structural requirements of the mammoth Van Halen traveling circus. If there were brown M&M’s in the mix, guaranteed they’d overlooked other (possibly dangerous) specifications as well.

So, come the Colorado concert, they find there are — you guessed it — brown M&M’s in their dressing room. And according to Roth, there was a bit of a tantrum backstage; a hole in the door, an upended buffet. That sort of thing. But that wasn’t where the 80 Grand figure came from. According to Roth, in his autobiography:

The staging sank through their floor. They didn’t bother to look at the weight requirements or anything, and this sank through their new flooring and did eighty thousand dollars’ worth of damage to the arena floor. The whole thing had to be replaced. It came out in the press that I discovered brown M&M’s and did eighty-five thousand dollars’ worth of damage to the backstage area.

Well, who am I to get in the way of a good rumor?

Indeed. Van Halen were nothing if not good showmen. Snopes, as usual, has the full story. And for fun, check this out. It’s a vocal-only track from “Runnin’ With The Devil.” Even a cappella, it’s classic David Lee Roth.

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