I've always loved the story of the brown M&Ms and Van Halen. Chris Dixon posted it on his blog this morning and I thought I would do the same.
The background is that in every contract with every venue they would play in they required the venue to have a bowl of M&M's backstage with all of the brown ones removed. From Chris' blog.
That way, the band could simply enter the arena and look for a bowl of M&Ms in the backstage area. No brown M&Ms? Someone read the contract fully, so there were probably no major mistakes with the equipment. A bowl of M&Ms with the brown candies? No bowl of M&Ms at all? Stop everyone and check every single thing, because someone didn’t bother to read the contract. Roth himself said:
“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."