My bandmates and I have just started our current American tour, our first in nearly a year, and we’re all just getting used to the whole rigmarole again: sleeping in tiny, dark bunks while careening down the highway; eating meals backstage with our palates and digestive systems at the mercy of often uncaring caterers; figuring out where to hang our wet show clothes, and trying to find a flat surface on which to balance our laptops for music, e-mails and blogging. It’s a list of minute discomforts that often add up over the course of a day.
On top of it all comes the rider. You’ve probably all heard of the “rider,” the section of an artist’s contract that deals with food-and-beverage requirements backstage. Usually this includes mundane items like clean towels, ice or bottles of water, plus some of the comforts that a musician on the road might want so as to make the separation from home and family a little easier, like a favorite tea or fresh flowers.
Occasionally, though, we crave some pampering. Single-malt Scotch? Sure. Would you like all of the brown M&Ms removed from your bowl of candy, à la Van Halen? No problem, because frankly, it all comes out of your paycheck at the end of the night.
But what of wine? I never know what to ask for when it comes to my favorite beverage. Unlike at a restaurant, there’s no one to present me with a wine list, and on a show day, I don’t have time go wandering the aisles of a local wine shop (which has, for better or worse, taken over from my teenage obsession with record shopping as my favorite time-wasting activity). So, if we want to have a bottle or two of wine waiting for the band in the dressing room after a show, I have to give the promoter some idea of what I’d like to drink.
Sounds easy enough, but whoever will be shopping for the wine will also be shopping for soap, towels, ice, etc., and more often than not, it will be at a Costco or its equivalent. Although Costco often has some great wines, they are often in short supply, and, as with all vintage wine, once it’s gone, it’s gone.
In essence, what I need to do is describe to a complete stranger what kind of wine I like without them having the opportunity to taste it, or for them to purchase it from a knowledgeable salesperson. It would be nice to suggest regions, but how specific can you be without writing War and Peace? If I said I liked Pinot Noirs or Syrahs from California’s Central Coast, but in the shop the promoter’s runner is confronted with a selection of wines from Santa Maria Valley and Santa Rita Hills, but nothing that says Central Coast, then I’ve been too general. If I say I like the dry Rieslings of Zind-Humbrecht and the shop they visit only sells the perfectly delicious wines of Weinbach, then I’ve been too specific.
And, of course, as we all know, price range doesn’t always help either, as directions like “wines in the $40-$60 range” can be just as misleading as directions like “wines in the $10-$15 range.” All price brackets have great values, but not all wines in one price bracket are great values!
The best solution I’ve found is to say, “Surprise us! One bottle of red wine and one bottle of white wine, please. We like to try new things and are knowledgeable about wine. Ask a salesperson for suggestions.”
Oh, and I bring a few bottles from home as backups. And the trips around the wine shop aisles? Isn’t that why they invented days off?
Sao Anash — Santa Barbara — October 27, 2006 10:34pm ET
Justin Mcauliffe — Vancouver, Canada — October 28, 2006 1:45am ET
Richard Steinberg — Boca Raton , FL — October 28, 2006 3:26pm ET
R M Kriete — October 28, 2006 5:20pm ET
Steven Sherman — san francisco — October 29, 2006 1:01am ET
Brian Greenglass — Toronto, Canada — October 29, 2006 9:13am ET
Marc Goodman — Milwaukee,WI — October 29, 2006 11:39am ET
John Poggemeyer — Ohio — October 29, 2006 2:15pm ET
Steven Page — October 29, 2006 4:10pm ET
Richard Sibly — Seattle, WA — October 29, 2006 8:25pm ET
Abi Thompson — Washington, Dc — October 29, 2006 9:47pm ET
Anthony Clapcich — October 29, 2006 9:59pm ET
Lucie Sweda — October 30, 2006 12:14pm ET
Ken Koonce — Dallas, Texas — October 30, 2006 2:38pm ET
Steven Page — October 30, 2006 2:53pm ET
Steven Page — October 30, 2006 2:55pm ET
John Fanaris — Venice, CA — October 30, 2006 4:42pm ET
Colin — Milwaukee WI — October 30, 2006 7:37pm ET
Steven Sherman — san francisco — October 31, 2006 6:16pm ET
Ron Innes — November 1, 2006 10:24am ET
Steven Petersen — Seattle, WA — November 1, 2006 5:26pm ET
Tim Sylvester — Santa Monica, CA — November 3, 2006 4:07pm ET
Scott Wilson — Edmonton, Canada — November 3, 2006 9:38pm ET
Gregg Giordano — November 5, 2006 12:49am ET
Katrine Pollari — New York, New York — November 7, 2006 9:16am ET
Anthony Dixon — Atlanta, GA — November 7, 2006 10:40am ET
Carlo A Buffone — Ottawa, Canada — November 7, 2006 1:39pm ET
Lisa Ruyter — Vienna Austria — November 7, 2006 5:23pm ET
Rob Lentini — Alexandria, Virginia — November 9, 2006 9:18am ET
Steven Petersen — Seattle, WA — November 9, 2006 10:51am ET
Steven Page — November 9, 2006 2:34pm ET
Lisa Ruyter — Vienna Austria — November 9, 2006 6:01pm ET
Kirk R. Grant — Ellsworth, ME — November 9, 2006 10:46pm ET
Steven Petersen — Seattle, WA — November 11, 2006 5:42pm ET
Martha Wagner — Portland, OR — November 13, 2006 4:39pm ET
Brian J Lynch — November 14, 2006 9:07am ET
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