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Henry Hargreaves's Photos of What Famous Musicians Eat Backstage

Rihanna may want turkey sausage at any time of day. Please be prepared!

A rider is a contractual proviso that outlines a series of stipulations or requests between at least two parties. While they can be attached to leases and other legal documents, they’re most famously used by musicians or bands to outline how they need their equipment to be set up and arranged, how they like their dressing room organised, and what types of food and beverages they require. Anyone who’s seen Spinal Tap knows these requests can be extremely outrageous and unreasonable. (And, in the case of Iggy Pop's, unexpectedly hilarious.)


I was inspired to create this series after reviewing a few riders from some of the biggest acts in the world, all of which were ridiculous. But what I found most interesting about them is that they offered a glimpse into their larger-than-life personalities.

I initially thought I would try and shoot all of the items listed on the catering riders but quickly realised that this would become an exercise in wasting money. So I decided to focus on the quirkiest requests and shoot them in a Flemish Baroque still-life style because I felt that there was a direct connection between the themes in these types of paintings and the riders: the idea of time passing and the ultimate mortality of a musician’s career as the limelight inevitably fades – they only have a short time in which they are able to make these demands and have them fulfilled.

Photography and Direction: Henry Hargreaves

Prop Styling: Caitlin Levin

Al Green

Twenty-four long-stem (dethorned) red roses.

Axl Rose

Fresh Wonder Bread (white), Dom Perignon


Juicy baked chicken, heavily seasoned: garlic, sea salt, black pepper, and cayenne pepper. Beyoncé can only have Pepsi products.

Billy Idol

One tub I can’t believe it’s not Butter!, Pepperidge Farms Soft Baked Nantucket Chocolate Chip Cookies.

Britney Spears

Fish and chips, McDonald’s cheeseburgers without the buns, 100 prunes and figs, a framed photo of Princess Diana.


Busta Rhymes

Twenty-four pieces of fried chicken, Rough Rider condoms, Guinness.

Foo Fighters

Big-ass kielbasas that make men feel self-conscious.

Frank Sinatra

One bottle each: Absolut, Jack Daniel’s, Chivas Regal, Courvoisier, Beefeater Gin, white wine, red wine. Twenty-four chilled jumbo shrimp, Life Savers, cough drops. 

Lady Gaga

Small plate of cheese (nonsmelly, nonsweaty), on ice.

Mariah Carey  

Cristal Champagne, bendy straws.

Marilyn Manson

Gummy bears.

New Kids on the Block

Häagen-Dazs ice cream, Oreo cookies.

Nine Inch Nails

Two boxes of corn starch.


Coffee and tea setup, including honey, lemon, sugar, cream, fresh ginger root. Physician will be used to administer a B-12 injection.


Hard-boiled eggs, turkey bacon, turkey sausage, at any time throughout the day. Please be prepared!

Van Halen 

Herring in sour cream, large tube of KY jelly, M&M's (Warning: absolutely no brown ones).

Previously: Henry Hargreaves Photographs Death Row's Final Meals