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079 – Halen down on Eddie’s rogue m&m
Filed in Anecdotes, Business storytelling, Podcast
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Listen to hear how you should never make assumptions, even about Van Halen’s obsession over brown m&m’s.
In this week’s episode of Anecdotally Speaking, Shawn shares a story about American rock band Van Halen. Shawn first shared this story in his book, Putting Stories to Work. If you would like to read the book, click here.
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For your storybank
Tags: assumption, detail, safety
This story starts at 01:48
Back in the 1980s, Van Halen was the biggest band around. They were the epitome of a traditional American rock’n’roll band.
Each time they rolled into a new city for a performance, they bought with them nine 18-wheeler trucks filled with their stage and production. It was estimated the stage weighed the same as a Boeing 747.
It wasn’t just a big stage, but also a complex stage. It had lots of moving parts and things that could go wrong.
Van Halen asked for a lot of things, like many bands do, on their rider. They asked for a bowl of m&m’s with one specific proviso—there must not be any brown m&m’s.
When Van Halen would arrive at the venue for their rehearsals, they would go straight to the bowl of m&m’s and check whether there were any brown ones. If they saw a rogue brown m&m, they would immediately request a full review of the stage set-up, checking all the safety perimeters.
They figured that if the venue organisers didn’t follow their request for no brown m&m’s, they weren’t detail people. They may have missed something else.
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Hi again Guys – love this story. Such an impact in such a short, simple anecdote.
Just fyi, I think there may be a typo in the penultimate paragraph above – should it say “rogue” rather than “rouge”?
Thanks Paul. I love the story as well. And you’re spot about ‘rouge’ – it’s a bit confusing to have an M&M that is both brown and rouge at the same time 🙂
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