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What the Hell is Going on With Pharrell Williams' Tour Rider?

He's requested two framed photos of Carl Sagan, a bin, and 12 bottles of Stella, among others.
Emma Garland
London, GB

You can tell a lot about a person from a list of items they consider to be essential, which is why tour riders often find themselves in the eye of a ridicule storm. Like that time someone unveiled DJ Steve Aoki's 2012 tour rider, which requested, among many, many other things, “Six large, black, v-neck t-shirts (American Apparel and H&M acceptable),” “Six pairs of men’s underwear (briefs style),” and “Six pairs of men’s socks (crew style)". He's not alone in his obscene desires, though. Prince insists that all food be wrapped in clear plastic film to be unwrapped by him only, Axl Rose once demanded a square melon and an Italian leather sofa to eat it off, and Iggy and the Stooges used to request “one monitor man who speaks English and is not afraid of death.”


It might not come as a surprise, then, that rapper, producer and now children's book author, Pharrell Williams, has some pretty weird requests. And now you can see them all thanks to The Smoking Gun allegedly acquiring his 2015 tour rider, which asks for a framed photo of the late astronomer Carl Sagan to be placed in his dressing room - an item so integral to Pharrell's inner-balance that it actually appears twice on the list, which you can view in all its low-key glory here.

The framed photo of Sagan is the most blatantly "wacky" of all the demands. But if you look past that you'll find loads of stuff on there that's much more subtle, yet equally odd. For example:

1 Trash Can Lined with Trash Bag

Image via.

A bin, basically. Not just any old bin that could be used by anybody though - Pharrell's own, special bin, for his special super producer littering needs. This is his top priority while on tour, number one on his list, his item of utmost importance. If someone strapped him to a chair and ordered him to write a list of his desires at gun point, Pharrell's mind would immediately flash "Bin, bin lined with bin bag." Pharrell is Tom Hanks in Cast Away, and this bin is his Wilson.

1 Box of Matches (Very Important)

Image via.

This is all well and good until we get to the brackets. Note those brackets: "very important" they state. In context of the rest of the list, which is mostly made up of ethically sourced mineral water and snacks for toddlers, to stress the importance of a box of matches seems a bit weird. What are they for, Pharrell, that you cannot possibly do without? Do you carry candles wherever you go and perform a vigil before each gig? Do you love getting high but consider the mass-production of plastic lighters harmful to Planet Earth? Or do you have little matchstick pub tricks you like to do to keep your roadies entertained? WHAT IS IT, WILLIAMS?


1 Liter Bottle of Silver Patron Tequila, 1 Liter Bottle of Ketel One Vodka, 12 Bottles of Stella (Chilled)

There is something very humbling about this selection of booze. For someone of Pharrell's status, it's actually quite humanising to know that his taste in alcoholic beverages doesn't venture outside of the stock list at a Revolution Vodka Bar. He's one of us.

1 Bag of Goldfish

Image via Flickr user Mark Fischer (lol).

Under normal circumstances, one could safely assume that the "crackers" part has been mistakenly omitted. However, these are not normal circumstances. This is Pharrell Williams' tour rider. I would fully not reject the idea of him, 3 minutes before he's due on stage, stomach acid bubbling from nervous excitement, the rim of his Big Hat quivering ever so slightly, reaching for a plastic bag with a goldfish in it and holding it up in front of his face. He will make eye contact with the fish, staring deep into those little black dots as though he were searching for a reflection of himself, and whisper softly, "Don't blow this, Pharrell Williams, don't you fucking blow this."

1 Grape Jelly, 1 Box Nilla Wafers, Sensible Portions Brand Veggie Straws (Ranch Flavour)

Because any Pharrell Williams show is just a subtle perspective change away from being a child's birthday party hosted by Liberal Twitter parents.

Cetaphil Soap Bar, Soap Dish, Cleansing Wipes and Cleansing Lotion

A photo posted by Pharrell Williams (@pharrell) on Nov 20, 2014 at 1:37pm PST

Again, a very modest request here even if it does come with the hyper-specific tone of a serial killer on a clean up job. Now is the time where we each assess the contents of our bathrooms and hang our heads in shame for spending so much money on fancy goo for our cuticles when Pharrell is lathering up on stuff that costs $4.00 per 3oz on Amazon.


“Pedialyte® helps prevent dehydration and replace nutrients and electrolytes lost through vomiting and diarrhea in adults, children & infants.”

This probably explains the matches tbh.

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