Recently a good friend, “T-Rex” published a link to the article “Man pranks hotel by making ridiculous requests – hotel completes every single one “. When you book online there’s a blank for you to add any special requests such as no feather pillows or first floor only, you get the idea.
Like when Van Halen’s contract called for the removal of all brown M&Ms from bowls of candy placed backstage. While this sounds like a diva move there was some reasoning behind it as David Lee Roth explained.
Van Halen was the first band to take huge productions into tertiary, third-level markets. We’d pull up with nine eighteen-wheeler trucks, full of gear, where the standard was three trucks, max. And there were many, many technical errors — whether it was the girders couldn’t support the weight, or the flooring would sink in, or the doors weren’t big enough to move the gear through.
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. So just as a little test, in the technical aspect of the rider, it would say “Article 148: There will be fifteen amperage voltage sockets at twenty-foot spaces, evenly, providing nineteen amperes …” This kind of thing. And article number 126, in the middle of nowhere, was: “There will be no brown M&M’s in the backstage area, upon pain of forfeiture of the show, with full compensation.”
So, when I would walk backstage, if I saw a brown M&M in that bowl … 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. Sometimes it would threaten to just destroy the whole show. Something like, literally, life-threatening.
All this got me started thinking about some hotel fun that I’ve had.
One of our classic bits happens when two of us check in at the same time.
Hotel Staff: Checking in? Name, please.
Mr Smith: Smith, John Smith.
Hotel Staff: Ah here we go Mr. Smith, 2 double beds as requested.
Me, in an excited tone: 2 beds? Excellent, we’ll have some place to put our luggage.
This is guaranteed to make the hotel staff stop in their tracks, look inquisitive, and fake a smile. Once I check in with my own room we all have a good laugh.
Happen to be bored, creative and looking to freak out the hotel staff? Right before check-out gather up all the bedding, pillows, and towels and build your own hotel dead body. Hilarity will ensue, right after the screams subside.
This last one was a one shot deal. We had reserved the whole hotel for a huge meeting, not sure who’s American Express card shouldered this undertaking, but apparently their expense report got it paid. The hotel staff being ever so helpful slid the next day’s agenda, complete with candy, under each door. Once we discovered there was candy under every door we fashioned a very crude coat hanger candy retrieval system and headed down the hall pulling the candy back out from under each door. We felt like Willy Wonka, is diabetes spelled with one or two B’s?
It’s easy to get punchy while on the road, so you’ve got to find ways to laugh.
Have any funny road stories? Feel free to leave a comment below and travel safely.
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