Rock Reads: Excess All Areas: Demands and Idiosyncracies of Rock Icons on Tour by Sue Richmond, illustrated by Wilf Hanson

Reviewed by Kevin Wierzbicki

When bands agree to appear live part of the paperwork involved is called a "rider," a list of stipulations from the band or performer that must be met by the show producer. Normally what's encompassed on a rider is mundane; generally they specify what kind and amount of food and beverage the band will be expecting in their dressing room, and maybe tacking on a few things like packs of cigarettes and fresh clean towels. Elvis Presley's rider, for example, appears in Excess All Areas as being an extremely simple request for 10 soft drinks and 4 cups of water. Pretty mellow for the King of Rock 'n' Roll. And even though Elvis lived in a different time, many of the riders detailed in the front portion of the book are similarly undemanding; David Bowie asks for little more than coffee, fruit, mirrors and an outside phone line while Ozzy Osbourne wants a fish dinner and lots of organic and healthy munchies. As the book progresses the riders tend to the outrageous though, starting with a whole chapter on demands for alcohol where you have bands like Terrorvision asking for a bottle of Moet & Chandon champagne, cutely adding "No Moet no show-ey, no Chandon no band-on.) The real fun though is saved for the end of the book and here's stuff that makes Van Halen's legendary "bowls of M&Ms with the brown ones removed" look tame. Jurassic 5 asks for six crack whores and water from the top of Mt. Olympus, the Offspring ask for edible undies, Nikki Sixx wants a machine gun and 500 rounds of ammunition, and Iggy Pop demands seven dwarfs. Super Furry Animals eventually get around to asking for wine and a bottle of gin in their rider but not before saying they'll require 10 ounces of maggots, 350 packs of condoms, five Tunisian camels and a poster of Faith Hill. The one thing the book doesn't offer is what year or era the riders come from; Monster Magnet may not still be asking for a helper monkey today. Hanson's illustrations add to the entertainment value of this whimsical read.

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