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Van Halen and the Brown M&M's

A Clever Contract

Jason Stone of Davis Brown Law presented to the BIZ Networking Group last week on contracts and how to stay out of trouble. To make a particular point, Stone told the story of the band Van Halen's brown M&M clause in their contract with entertainment promoters in the '80s. Embedded deep within the notorious party band's lengthy contract, which detailed every aspect of stage construction with a particular emphasis on safety, was an obscure clause that a bowl of M&M's devoid of all brown M&M's was to be provided backstage.

Rather than being the ego indulgent demand of self-absorbed rock stars, it was a clever means of assuring that the older venues being visited had read the contract in sufficient detail that the band could feel safe when they took the stage. If they found no M&M's or brown M&M's, they knew the contract had not been read with enough attention to guarantee their safety.


Square One DSM, an initiative of the Greater Des Moines Partnership, is formerly known as Business Innovation Zone (BIZ).