DAVID LEE ROTH EXPLAINS THE ECONOMICS OF THE BROWN M&M CLAUSE. Levitt and Dubner summarize David Lee Roth’s explanation of the brown M&M clause. The Van Halen show featured spectacular lighting effects. The 53 page rider contained detailed safety instructions to avoid “a collapsing stage or a short-circuiting light tower”. The brown M&M clause provided a quick check to see whether the promoter had read the instructions and followed them carefully.
Note that for a rock star in the 80’s, a great deal of engineering knowledge was very useful.
Here is an article about a vimeo video of David Lee Roth explaining the practicalities of his concert shows.