The Australian Small Business Blog

Monday, August 16, 2021

Should you take Business Advice from a Rock Star?





                     by Dr Greg Chapman

The music industry (pre-Covid) is very big business and in staging a major tour, there are many moving parts and even small lapses can end in disaster. One of the biggest and most ground breaking bands of their era was Van Halen with their frontman David Lee Roth, who encapsulated the stereotypical rock and roller. Hard working, hard living and a brand designed to outrage their elders and delight their fans.

That’s not orange juice they’re drinking.


David Lee Roth (2nd from the right) wasn’t the shy retiring type. He got quite a reputation for throwing tantrums if things were not the way they wanted. Possibly the weirdest requirement for their gigs was that in the dressing room was that there had to be a big bowl of M&M’s, without any brown ones. In fact, David Lee Roth would trash the dressing room if that was not provided. But there was method in his madness.

Van Halen stage show was a highly choreographed light and sound spectacular. Their contracts had detailed technical specs with which the promoter had to comply. The equipment was very heavy, and of course high voltage. Van Halen were very safety conscious because if something went wrong it could be quite dangerous. People get injured at concerts due to technical problems quite regularly.

So in the middle of the technical specifications for the promoter, David Lee Roth inserted a clause about the M&M’s with a rider that if they weren’t supplied as requested, they could cancel the concert and still be paid. Roth would come in 2 hours early, and check the bowl of M&M’s. If there were not there or there were brown ones in it, he would throw a tantrum, and then when he calmed down, insist on a line by line check of the technical specifications. What Roth knew was if the M&M’s weren’t right, they hadn’t read the contract and there would probably be other problems.


So he had devised a very simple spot check to see whether their systems had been followed and whether a more detailed check is necessary. The M&M’s were a flag. A canary in the coal mine.

So you don’t have to check every last line in your system compliance reviews, but you can set flags, and do audits.

Without a business management reporting system of some kind you may have great looking systems manuals, but your business is out of control.

Hear a somewhat more subdued David Lee Roth explain it all in his own words.




May Your Business Be –As You Plan it!

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Dr Greg Chapman is the Director of Empower Business Solutions and is Australia's Leading Advisor on Emerging Businesses and provides Coaching and Consulting advice to Australian Small Business Owners in Marketing & Business Strategies Planning & Systems. He is also the author of The Five Pillars of Guaranteed Business Success and Price: How You Can Charge More Without Losing Sales.

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