MCA Adam Nathaniel Yauch, (August 5th 1964, Brooklyn, NY)
Mike D Michael Diamond (November 20th 1965, Brooklyn, NY)
Ad Rock Adam Keefe Horovitz (October 31st, 1966, South Orange, NJ)
Label: Def Jam, Capitol Records
The Beastie Boys have represented New York’s youth sub-culture from outside the fundamental walls of hip-hop. At the point of release from the Bronx, a band of white Jewish boys grabbed a hold of the cultural essence of hip-hop angst and translated it for the whiter half of the youth. They proved not only was hip-hop bigger than the Boogie-Down but bigger than black music. From their ‘Pollywog Stew’ punk opening to their current ‘To the 5 Boroughs’ punk-rock-rap melting pot, the Beastie Boys have smashed through and reshaped the boundaries of popular culture worldwide and become the hip-hop fraternity’s own metamorphosis mongrel act. They have thrived on live instrumentation stirring almost every element of established genre into their format, reaching as far back from AC/DC heavy riffs into samba-funk flows and afro-Cuban jazz. With this they have triumphed immensely and to this day are celebrated as being one of the genre’s foremost innovative groups with the longevity comparable to that of the Rock’s own The Rolling Stones… And twenty seven years later they’re still rolling strong on the cusp of hip-hop’s cutting edge.
In 1979 a very small-time experimental teenage punk band rocking to the name of The Young Aborigines, were burgeoning on something phenomenal in a totally different direction. The band saw John Berry on lead guitar, Jeremy Shatan on bass, Kate Schellenbach on percussion and Michael Diamond sitting behind the drums. They were influenced by a diversity of performers ranging from Siouxsie & the Banshees to Joy Division. They built a small local fan base among friends like Adam Youch who was attending most rehearsals and learning to play the bass guitar. During rehearsals they did a pseudo-hardcore number called ‘Asshole’ which had the crew changing roles within the group and swapping instruments. John Berry would play bass guitar, Jeremy on lead guitar (playing badly), Kate on Mike D’s drums and Mike D singing on the mic, to which he felt comfortable at.
Upon Jeremy Shatan’s departure, sixteen year-old Adam Youch joined the group and played bass guitar. The outfit disbanded and regrouped a few times to perform and try to record tracks at a studio on the Upper West Side owned by friends of John Berry’s hippie parents but the sound and engineering was never right there. By the summer of ’81 the Young Aborigines were performing regularly at Jerry William’s 171A studios. On one particular night during the second week of July the owner of Rat Cage Records, Dave Parsons first heard about a band being formed called the Beastie Boys. Or B.E.A.S.T.I.E. Boys standing for ‘Boys Entering Anarchistic States Towards Internal Excellence’ with the B.B. initials intended to mimic Washington DC’s punk outfit, Bad Brains. Kate announced that Mike D was going to be the singer and everybody laughed it up.
The Beasties’ material was considered much more baby-rock ‘n roll as opposed to the more tribal raw sound from the Young Aborigines. The now Beastie Boys had grown into a garage or loft band with real traits of a punk influence. They were received with an audience at Berry’s House for their first show for Youch’s seventeenth birthday then began performing at shows like Even Worse and before too long were supporting Bad Brains and Reagan’s Youth at several venues including CBGB, (Country, Blue Grass, and Blues) the legendary club at 315 Bowery and Max’s Kansas City nightclub upstairs at 213 Park Avenue South, between 17th and 18th Streets in New York City. Upon closing in 1981 they played the closing night. Later that same year the Beastie Boys recorded the 7” EP ‘Pollywog Stew’ at 171A studios with Michael D’s brother, Stephen Diamond producing. The EP consisted of eight tracks including the tracks, ‘Beastie Boys’ and ‘Egg Raid on Mojo’ and released in 1982 on the Rat Cage label.
Soon after John Berry left the group for another band, Thwig and was subsequently replaced by Rat Cage label mate, Adam Horovitz who had come from the punk band The Young and the Useless who played their last show at CBGB in 1983. However, at this stage he was alternating between both bands. By now the group was beginning to ground itself into a sustainable unit and were starting to merge their act into a rap format as shown on their first crossover track, ‘Cooky Puss’, a style of ice-cream sandwich made by Carvel Ice Cream and the track is based on a prank call by the group to Carvel. The single released the b-sides ‘Bonus Batter’ and ‘Beastie Revolution’ co-produced by the Beastie Boys and Dug Pomeroy by Rat Cage and upon its release became their first noticed hit, showing popular in the under-ground nightclub scene. These early punk tracks under Rat Cage Records were all put out in 1994 under a compilation called ‘Some Old Bullshit’ through their current label, Capitol Records. At 1984 the group was still heavily involved in the New York hardcore punk genre but with ‘Cookie Puss’ they showed clear interest in the wave of hip-hop sweeping through the five boroughs.
WITH RICK RUBIN
In 1984, at a New York University dorm room, the Beastie Boys were transformed into the hard-hitting force they are today, the only punk-rap outfit in hip-hop’s community. Def jam co-founder Rick Rubin scouted the group and envisioned them to take over the new scene of rap culture in New York. He threw out Kate Schellenbach on drums whom did not fit into his picture of a rap group. She later left to join the outift, Luscious Jackson. Rick produced their first Def Jam recording, ‘Rock Hard’ sampling AC/DC’s ‘Back in Black’. It is now considered a rare collector’s item as it has been long out of print and is not allowed to be used in its original format with AC/DC’s sampling. After Diamond spoke to AC/DC’s lawyers on the phone, the rock band told them they could not endorse sampling of their music and was subsequently left off their 1999 anthology. However the 12” single ‘Rock Hard/Beastie Groove’ sold well leading Def Jam to obtain a distribution deal with Columbia/CBS Records in 1985. With Rick Rubin’s guidance the Brooklyn trio, Mike D, King Ad-Rock and MCA were set to be the new-wave hip-hop movement across America.
By 1985 the band embarked on a year of touring their act across the country. They first opened as a support act to Madonna on her Like a Virgin tour which took them across North America. DJing for the Boys on their opening night of the tour was their producer Rick Rubin under the alias, DJ Double R. Other that Rick, the New York DJ, Doctor Dre (later from MTV’s Doctor Dre and Ed Lover) was their resident DJ through the tour before DJ Hurricane took over duties.
Later in the year they had their own audiences when they shared the stage with Def Jam label mates Run DMC, LL Cool J, Whodini and Timex Social Club on the Raising Hell tour. Their exposure gave them a greater notoriety and their latest hit ‘Hold it Now, Hit It’ made Billboard’s national R&B chart as well did ‘She’s On It’ from the ‘Krush Groove’ soundtrack continuing their true roots in hard rock with rap fusion. With this now-synonymous style, they brought out the double A-side 12” with ‘Paul Revere/The New Style’ which hit the streets at the end of ’85 and became another R&B dance hit.
In 1986 the album ‘Licensed to Ill’ was recorded and produced by Rick Rubin and released later that year in November Their debut album was a commercial smash-hit and was declared the highest-selling rap album of the ‘80s and became the first rap album to peak number one on the Billboard album chart where it sat proudly for five weeks straight. It also hit second spot on the Top Hip-Hop/R&B Albums charts. This became Columbia Records’ fastest debut selling hotcake to date going over five times platinum. The Source put in their 100 Best Rap Albums list and Rolling Stone placed it at number 217 of the Top 500 Greatest Albums of All-Time list in 2003.
The album’s first single ‘(You Gotta) Fight for Your Right (to Party),’ reached the seventh spot on the Billboard Hot 100 when it dropped and the video, directed by Ric Menello became a classic for MTV. The song was written intentionally as a parody for the party attitude of rock hits of the same era, ‘Smokin’ In The Boys’ Room’ and ‘I Wanna Rock’ but unfortunately the irony of this was lost to most listeners. Mike D commented that most of their fans rocking to the hit were lost on the fact that the song was a spoof on them. Despite this the song was a definitive piece and regarded as being their most famous track. It was later named one of The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s 500 Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll. Ironically again despite making the group so popular the Boys have expressed a dislike for the song in the linear notes of their 1999 ‘Sounds of Science’ anthology collection. MCA said he thought the song sucks and they have not performed the song live since their 1987 Licensed to Ill tour.
While the Boys were producing the track, ‘No Sleep till Brooklyn’ Def Jam’s Rick Rubin was simultaneously working on heavy metal group, Slayer’s ‘Reign in Blood’ album which was originally released on Def Jam. Rubin invited Kerry King from the band to play lead guitar on the track for the Beastie Boys and appear in the music video which was a spoof to heavy metal with the name itself deriving from Motorhead’s ‘No Sleep till Hammersmith’ album title. All tracks from the album were written and produced by the Boys and Rick Rubin with the exception of two songs which was co-written by label mates Run DMC’s Darryl Lovelace (McDaniels) and Joey Simmons, ‘Paul Revere’ and most notably ‘Slow and Low’. Later in their ’99 Anthology booklet MCA stated that the track was originally a Run DMC recording destined for their ‘King of Rock’ album but for one reason or another did not make the final cut. Being a favourite of the Beasties on the album’s original sessions they asked permission from Run DMC to cover the track for their own use with only two lines altered to suit them.
These two being:
“D sees real well ‘cause he has four eyes”
“White Castle fries only come in one size”, and one line stating Run-D.M.C.’s name, changed to:
“We’re the Beastie Boys, not Cheech and Chong”.
The Beasties credited Run DMC with writing the track on the same anthology album sleeve. Beasties took their controversial Licensed to Ill tour globetrotting in ’87. Considered controversial due to the concerts having females from the crowd dancing in cages and an inflatable giant motorized penis not unlike the one used by The Rolling Stones in the 1970s. The tour was plagued with arrests and lawsuits accusing the band of provoking the crowd. In Great Britain alleged insults towards leukemia victims all but resulted in the band being kicked out of the country despite the Boys claiming the incident was blown out of proportion by the media when the actual event was over the Boys politely declined to sign an autograph.
GRAND ROYAL BOYS
The Beastie Boys marked their follow-up album, ‘Paul’s Boutique’ with a more experienced approach. Branching out from under the Def Jam banner, the second album was recorded under Capitol Records whom they would remain with to date. A falling out between Def Jam executives, Russell Simmons and Rick Rubin over the direction of the record company left the Beastie Boys packing for a new home. They left for the west coast’s Capitol, right on Hollywood & Vine. This move left their album sales at a considerable slump for Capitol Records compared to their first joint and executives pulled promotion on the album. Produced by Matt Dike and the Dust Brothers in 1988, they provided an innovative and extremely heavy array of samples to produce the record. This artistic explosion is today considered to be the Beastie Boys’ greatest accomplishment and one of the strongest produced albums of all-time. It contains one of the largest catalogues of 100 plus cleared samples noted. Before a landmark lawsuit against rapper Biz Markie by Gilbert O’Sullivan which forced new sampling laws subsequently changing the legal climate of hip-hop forever, their was no law to stipulate permission or clearances for the use of another artist’s music. Therefore ‘Paul’s Boutique’ production sampling was not cleared. Today with new stricter sampling laws the amount of clearances this album had to make would make this feat almost impossible and too costly to produce today. It reached number fourteen on the Billboard 200 and tenth on the Top Hip-Hop/R&B charts. The lead single, ‘Hey Ladies’ peaked at 36th on Billboard’s 100 and 10th on the R&B charts. The album was released July 25th, 1989 but despite its poor initial commercial reception the album would sell over one million units in the US. In 2003 Rolling Stone marked the album at number 156 on the 500 Greatest Albums of All-Time.
After an almost three-year hiatus to re-establish the business side of their careers, the Boys formed their own Los Angeles-based recording label under Capitol Records called Grand Royal where upon they came up with their third album. ‘Check Your Head’ was the trio’s follow-up release for Capitol and every track was cut at their own G-Son studio in Atwater Village, California for Grand Royal. The band went back to their true punk-roots calling on this album and performed with live instruments. This saw Mike D on drums, MCA on bass guitar and Ad-Rock on lead guitar. Mark Ramos Nishita or ‘Keyboard Money Mark’ on the keyboard and Mario ‘Mario C’ Caldato engineered the record and continued with the group through their careers. The first released single ‘Pass the Mic’ became a dance and club scene hit and the second single ‘So What’cha Want’ reached 93 on the Billboard 100 as well as making the R&B and rock charts. Diverse experimental techniques shone through the album with tracks, ‘Lighten Up’ and ‘Something’s Got to Give’ delving into funk and jazz selections while the high-energy, head banging track ‘Time for Livin’ brought out the hardcore punk-rock that runs naturally through their veins. ‘Check Your Head’ was released in April 22nd, 1992 and went double platinum in the US and peaked at number ten on the Billboard 200 proving no matter how they came at it, the Boys were among the most talented artists hip-hop has ever adopted. After their last album release they concentrated on building their record label, signing a diverse cultural roster of artists to Grand Royal including former band mate Kate Schellenbach’s Luscious Jackson where the band became the label’s first to release an album, ‘In Search of Manny’ in 1993. Also signed up was Sean Lennon, Ben Lee and Japanese duo Cibo Matto. The Beastie Boys owned and controlled Grand Royal records until 2001 when it went out of business due to mounting financial debts. All assets were auctioned off with the exclusion of any Beastie Boys rights who were owned exclusively by Capitol and Def Jam with their earlier work. During this period with Grand Royal the Beastie Boys also published Grand Royal Magazine.
GRAND ROYAL MAGAZINE
Mike D explained to Select magazine (June 1997) how the idea came about publishing the magazine,
“We didn’t sit down and think, Hey, lets make a magazine. It was more pathetic than that. We had all of these people writing to us (using the address listed within the Check Your Head liner notes) about the band and we weren’t getting back. We had this simple ambition of a newsletter, but then we saw a couple of other bands’ fanzines and they were just like, This is what the band is up to now and this is what they’ll be doing. We were like no way! So we made it into a proper magazine.”
News-stands and book stores across Los Angeles and New York on the winter of ’93 were inundated with requests for the Beastie Boys’ first edition, Grand Royal Magazine, an entirely Beastie production for $2.95. All three boys contributed to writing of the 76 pages of a highly-sought after premiere. The first edition featured a cover story on Bruce Lee with an interview with Los Angeles Laker great, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. The front cover was an illustration of Lee kicking Kareem Abdul-Jabbar from his final film, ‘Game of Death’. A Tribe Called Quest’s Q-Tip was Question and Answered. Former label boss from Def Jam, Russell Simmons was interviewed via the car-phone, Mike D interviewed Pharcyde. The centre-spread featured a four-page artwork by the colour-blind Parliament-Funk’s George Clinton. Issues two and three ran for 140 pages each with more interviews and interesting pulp. The second came with a Biz Markie 7” and third came with an iron-on ‘Grand Royal’ transfer. The 1995 issue contained a memorable piece on the “mullet” hair design. This and the Beasties’ 1994 track entitled ‘Mullet Head’ became the first time the term had been published according to The Oxford English Dictionary which states the term was coined and certainly popularized, by US hip-hop group the Beastie Boys. By issue number six, the magazine had become more of Mike D’s pet-project than the other two members.
In the sixth issue Adam Horovitz added a disclaimer stating,
“I was a fashion (I mean, super model) in the first issue of Grand Royal. But since then I’ve had nothing to do with the magazine. So not only are my views and opinions not expressed, but I don’t agree with everything in the damn thing.”
Despite this and the other two boys not participating in the magazine the publication grew to an outstanding run of 50,000 copies by 1993 from initially a limited print. Huge consumer demand saw potential advertisers lining up to splash their names across the pages of Grand Royal’s glossy pages. However deadlines were not being met. The second issue dubbed as the War & Peace edition by the “Generation X” culture took over an extra year before it hit store shelves. This resulted in several editors coming and going from the firm. However the wait for each edition left fans salivating with anticipation, unfortunately advertisers did not see it this way and became furious at the delays. Issues continued to sell at a high rate as the last issue was one of the biggest sellers. The decision to cancel the magazine came from the Beastie Boys themselves. For creative reasons the magazine was turned into an online magazine which soon failed when the novelty wore off. Sadly with the fall of the magazine came the record label soon behind. The few issues printed and released are now considered rare collector’s items, with every article seemingly still fresh and relevant some ten years later.
Mike D remarked with a comparison between the magazine and fine wine,
“Each issue is designed to age gracefully, with mellow undertones, and a fruity finish…This is an extremely collectible magazine. All the time I hear about people going to other people’s houses and reading it. It’s phenomenal! Its shelf life is just huge!”
ILL COMMUNICATION ERA
The Beastie Boys returned to the popular charts with their latest album, ‘Ill Communication’ in 1994 as it debuted on the first spot on the Billboard 200 and second on the Top Hip-Hop/R&B Album charts. The hot single, ‘Sabotage’ became their biggest selling signature cut since Fight for your Right. ‘Sabotage’ was a huge hit on the modern rock charts and the accompanying video spurred the single’s notoriety on even further. Directed by Spike Jonze, it grew into a mini-movie and was well received by MTV who had it on extensive rotation. Each member of Beastie Boys and DJ Hurricane played characters representing a parody of 1970’s police dramas, such as Starsky & Hutch. The clip was complete with tagged on interviews with the characters before and after the feature video, setting it at around twenty minutes playing time, although today it is hard to find the extra original footage outside of the music video itself. The second single, ‘Get it Together’ reached the Top 10 Billboard dance charts and became an urban hit along with the cut ‘Sure Shot’
Ill Communication was produced by the Boys and Mario C and released May 23rd, 1994 under Grand Royal/Capitol and became their second triple-platinum hotcake. Soon after the release of the Ill Communication, the Milarepa Fund was born, founded by Adam Youch (MCA) and Erin Potts. The organization was named after Jetsun Milarepa the revered eleventh-century Tibetan saint who used music as a way of enlightening the people. The foundation’s purpose was to raise awareness across the world to the Tibetan human rights issues and the exile of the Dalai Lama. It was originally designed to expend royalties from the ‘Ill Communication’ album’s two songs which featured samples from Tibetan Monks on ‘Shambala’ and ‘Bodhisattva Vow’ but it took off further when the Milarepa Fund organizers joined the Beastie Boys as they toured. The Beasties headlined at one of America’s leading travelling music festivals, Lollapalooza in 1994 alongside the Smashing Pumpkins. During this tour the idea of staging a fundraising concert for Tibetans similar to Live-Aid was created. With this they performed three concerts-in Los Angeles, New York City and Washington DC to raise money for the cause.
In June 1996, MCA organized a two-day festival at Polo Fields, Golden Gate Park in San Francisco called the Tibetan Freedom Concert. Some of the major acts who performed at the concert were The Smashing Pumpkins, Foo Fighters, A Tribe Called Quest, Cibo Matto, Biz Markie, John Lee Hooker, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Rage Against the Machine, Sonic Youth, Beck, Björk, De La Soul, Fugees, Yoko Ono/Ima and several more. Also present were speakers who spread knowledge on the cause: Chimi Thonden - Tibetan Activist, Robert A.F. Thurman, Professor of Indo-Tibetan Buddhist Studies, Columbia University, Palden Gyatso - Former Political Prisoner and Shen Tong - Chinese Democracy Activist. The event on 13th and 14th of June attracted a total of over 100,000 attendees fundraising over $800,000 for the Tibetan causes. The event continued the next year in New York City at Downing Stadium, Randall’s Island for June 7th and 8th and raised $250,000 with over 50,000 Attendees. Again in ’98 in Washington at RFK Stadium June 13th & 14th, $1.2 Million raised from over 120,000 Attendees. The concerts continued until 2001 travelling overseas to Amsterdam, Tokyo-Japan and Sydney-Australia generating unprecedented public awareness amongst young people about the plight of the Tibetan people. This helped spur the growth of Students for a Free Tibet worldwide.
The Boys dropped several compilation albums releasing old b-sides, scrapped cuts from previous albums and their old humble punk tracks from before Def Jam. The album, Some Old Bullshit featured the band’s early independent material on EPs radically different to anything that would be called hip-hop. These cuts were from a time when the Beasties were a hardcore punk outfit in the underground New York scene. This album was released February 8th, 1994 by Capitol Records’ Grand Royal and climbed to 50th spot on the Billboard independent charts. Later toward the end end of ’95 they released another EP entitled Aglio e Olio (Garlic and oil in Italian) which featured more punk-rock songs from their early independent days. There were eight tracks on the EP lasting a sum total of eleven minutes. This was released November 13th, 1995. Several months later they came back with another EP, The In Sound from Way Out! which this time was a collection of jazz/funk instrumentals recorded during 1992-1996 with the album cover similar to pioneers Perrey and Kingsley’s groundbreaking electronic album from the same name. This hit the streets April 2nd, 1996 under Grand Royal.
During 1995 the Beastie Boys realised their underestimated worth as performers when tickets went on sale in the US for an arena tour and were completely sold out within minutes. One dollar from each ticket sold went to local charities. This same year saw the Boys take their act to South America and South-East Asia for the first time.
The Beastie Boys returned to New York City in 1997 to produce and record their fifth studio album, Hello Nasty under Capitol. With this period the music took a distinct shift in its overall vibe without DJ Hurricane who had left the group. He was replaced with Jewish DJ, Michael Schwartz (Mix Master Mike) a DMC champion. The album took a similar return to their first two studio recordings. It was released 14th July, 1998 and upon its first week on the street, 700,000 units were sold in the US alone and it went straight to number one in the US, UK, Germany, Australia, New Zealand and Sweden and number two ranked in Canada and Japan and top ten in Switzerland, Austria, Ireland, Belgium, Finland, France, and Israel. The Boys won two Grammy awards in 1999 for Best Alternative Music Album as well as the Grammy for Best Rap Performance by Duo or Group for their Hello Nasty single, “Intergalactic”. This was to be the first and only time to date any band would receive awards in both rap and alternative categories. At the 1998 MTV Video Music Awards Beastie Boys won the highly converted Video Vanguard Award for their contribution to music videos. The following year at the VMAs they won the award for Best Hip-Hop Video for their song “Intergalactic” which was featured at the opening to the award presentation with a man covering the song singing the lyrics, “Intergalactic Planetary, Planetary, Intergalactic” into a water-stick repeating over and over.
Later in 1998 the Beasties embarked on an arena tour again in 1998 taking Hello Nasty across the nation. The Beastie Boys with the help from Ian C. Rogers became one of the first bands to make live free downloads of their performances available on their internet website to fans but the operation was temporarily foiled when Capitol Records removed them from its website. However they made history as being one of the first bands who made mp3 downloads available on their website, through this they achieved a high level of response and public awareness. They were even covered in a published article in the Wall Street Journal. By 1999 the Beastie Boys had released the anthology of their work on their 42-track, two-CD box set, The Sounds of Science. Inside is a tri-fold sleeve outlaying all their album and EP covers and a booklet describing the thoughts and origins behind most of the selected tracks in the Beastie Boys own words. It was released November 23rd, 1999 and had reached number 19 on the Billboard 200, 18th in Canada, 6th on the Internet sales charts and 14th on the Hip Hop/R&B charts. The one new song, the single “Alive” reached 11th spot on the Billboard Modern Rock chart.
In 2000 the Beastie Boys had to call of plans to join Rage Against the Machine on the Rhyme & Reason tour when drummer Mike D suffered a serious injury from a bicycle accident. The official diagnosis was fifth-degree acromioclavicular joint dislocation. This resulted in him needing extensive surgery and rehabilitation. Unfortunately Rage had already disbanded by the time he was well enough to tour. Ad-Rock took on a side project he called BS 2000 under Grand Royal Records which was a group starring himself and Amery ‘AWOL’ Smith and occasionally tracks featuring Janay North. They first released a self-titled vinyl-only release in 1997. And in 2000 they released a limited-edition vinyl/CD, “Buddy” and “Simply Mortified” on vinyl and CD on February 6th, 2001.
After the September 11th, 2001 terrorist attacks in New York’s Manhattan CBD the Beastie Boys stepped their level of political activism up another notch with the formation and headlining of the New Yorkers Against Violence Concert a month after the horrific event. Proceeds from the concert went towards the New York Women’s Foundation Disaster Relief Fund and the New York Association for New Americans (NYANA). In 2002 after the foreclosure of their west coast recording studio and label, Grand Royal the Beastie Boys began erecting a new working recording studio facility, Oscilloscope in downtown Manhattan where they began working on their new album. They released a protest song, ‘In a World Gone Mad’ directed against the 2003 Iraq invasion by the US government and put it on their website for free download on several websites including the Milarepa, MTV, MoveOn.org and Win Without War sites making it the most downloaded track during April of 2003. By this stage, the Tibetan Freedom Concerts were counted to 18 with the 19th and 20th events held in Tokyo and Taipei (the Beasties’ first Taiwan appearance.) They also headlined the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival. The Boys’ released their latest single, May 2004, “Ch-Check it Out” which debuted on The OC: The Vegas episode from season one which aired April 28th, 2004. The single, released in May reached top spot in Canada, second on the US Billboard Modern Rock chart and world Internet download charts, and third on a composite world modern rock chart. Soon behind was the much-anticipated sixth studio release from the Beastie Boys, To the 5 Boroughs, their first in six years.
5 Boroughs hit the streets running, June 15th, 2004 and was the first album the Boys produced entirely themselves. It peaked at first position on the Billboard 200 album chart, second in the UK and Australia and third in Germany. The album sparked controversy with allegations that the album had components that installed spy-ware on the CD drive of a computer. The band denied this stating that there is no copyright protection agents software on the album sold in the US or UK. However it is standard practice for all European copies released under EMI/Capitol Records but does not install any spy-ware software. The album’s remaining singles dropped in July, “Triple Trouble”, “An Open Letter to NYC” and “Right-Right Now Now” and premiered on US and UK radio stations.
Incidentally, their 2004 studio album was a respectful homage to the city of New York where all three Beastie Boys members hail from and to the September 11, (9/11) attacks on the World Trade Center which is featured prominently on the album’s cover. Solid Gold Hits is the greatest hits collection released from the Boys in November 7th and 8th, 2005 in the UK and US respectively. Unlike their anthology collective release, this album is comprised only of their singles that broke gold sales throughout their definitive album catalogue. The single CD compilation contains a DVD with 15 tracks. The Japanese release has the song and video for their 2004 single, “Right Right Now Now” as the final track. The Beastie Boys stated recently in the summer of 2006 they are currently writing material for the next album, and are expecting to undergo the production themselves.
DEATH OF ADAM YAUCH
In February 2009, Yauch revealed their forthcoming new album has taken the band’s sound in a “bizarre” new direction, saying “It’s a combination of playing and sampling stuff as we’re playing, and also sampling pretty obscure records.”
The tentative title for the record was Tadlock’s Glasses, of which Yauch explained the inspiration behind the title:
"We had a bus driver years ago who used to drive Elvis’ back up singers. His name was Tadlock and Elvis gave him a pair of glasses which he was very proud of. So for some reason that title—Tadlock’s Glasses—has just been bouncing around.”
In June 2009 The Beastie Boys appeared at Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival and performed the new single from the album titled “Too Many Rappers” alongside rapper Nas who appears on the track. The group would have toured the UK later in the year in support of the new record.
On May 25, it was announced during an interview on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon that the name of their new album would be Hot Sauce Committee and was set for release on September 15 (with the tracklisting of the album announced through their mailing list on June 23). The album included a collaboration with Santigold who co-wrote and sang with the band on the track “Don’t Play No Game That I Can’t Win”.
Speaking to Drowned in Sound, the Beastie Boys revealed that Part 2 is done. Mike D also hinted it may be released via unusual means:
"Pt. 2 is pretty much done. Basically we were making …Pt 1, had too many songs, so we recorded some more songs. Which sounds bizarre but it actually worked out, because it made it clear to us which songs were going to be on …Pt 1. Then we had this whole other album of songs: …Pt 2. …Pt 1’s going to be your regular CD in the stores and to download, but …Pt 2 is going to be released in…we’re still figuring it out, but a different way. More of a 2009 style. You could get in the shower one day and, boom, all of a sudden you’re showered with MP3s. Or we might send people a seven-inch every few weeks, so you have a whole box set."
On July 20, Yauch announced on the Beastie Boys’ official YouTube channel and through the fan mailing list the cancellation of several tour dates and the postponement of the new album due to the discovery of a cancerous tumor in his parotid gland and a lymph node. The group also had to cancel their co-headlining gig at the Osheaga Festival in Montreal as well as a headlining spot at 2009’s Lollapalooza.
In late October 2010, the Beastie Boys sent out two emails regarding the status of Hot Sauce Committee Pts. 1 and 2 to their online mailing list. An email dated October 18 read: “Although we regret to inform you that Hot Sauce Committee Part 1 will continue to be delayed indefinitely, Hot Sauce Committee Part 2 will be released on time as originally planned in spring of 2011.” One week later, a second email was sent out, reading as follows:
"In what can only be described as a bizarre coincidence, following an exhaustive re-sequence marathon, Beastie Boys have verified that their new Hot Sauce Committee Part 2 will be composed of the same 16 tracks originally slated for inclusion on Hot Sauce Committee Part 1. The record (part 2 that is) will be released as planned in spring 2011 on Capitol. The tracks originally recorded for Hot Sauce Committee Part 2 (which now are actually back on Part 1) have now apparently been bumped to make room for the former Hot Sauce Committee Part 1 material. Wait, what?
"I know it’s weird and confusing, but at least we can say unequivocally that Hot Sauce Committee Part 2 is coming out on time, which is more than I can say about Part 1, and really is all that matters in the end." says Adam "MCA" Yauch. "We just kept working and working on various sequences for part 2, and after a year and half of spending days on end in the sequencing room trying out every possible combination, it finally became clear that this was the only way to make it work. Strange but true, the final sequence for Hot Sauce Committee Part 2 works best with all its songs replaced by the 16 tracks we originally had lined up in pretty much the same order we had them in for Hot Sauce Committee Part 1. So we’ve come full circle."
The official release dates were April 27, 2011 for Japan; April 29 in the UK and Europe and May 3, 2011 in the US. The third single for the album is “Make Some Noise” was made available for download on April 11, 2011 as well as a limited edition 7” vinyl single for Record Store Day five days later with a Passion Pit remix of the track as a b-side. The track was leaked online on April 6 and subsequently made available via their blog.
On April 22, the Beastie Boys emailed out the cryptic message "This Sat, 10:35 am EST – Just listen, listen, listen to the beat box". A day later, they live streamed their album online via beatbox inside Madison Square Garden.
The band was announced as an inductee into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in December 2011. They were inducted by Chuck D and LL Cool J on April 14, 2012. Yauch was too sick to attend the ceremony, having been admitted to NewYork–Presbyterian Hospital the same day, therefore the group didn’t perform. Diamond and Horovitz accepted and read a speech that Yauch had written.
On May 4, 2012, Adam Yauch (also known as MCA) died from cancer at the age of 47.
On May 24, 2012, in an interview with Rolling Stone, Mike D claimed that the Beastie Boys recorded new music in late 2011 after the release of Hot Sauce Committee (Part 2), although it was not indicated if or when these recordings would be released. During the same interview, Mike D claimed that the Beastie Boys will likely disband due to the death of MCA, although he is open to making new music with Ad-Rock in the future. Nothing certain has been said regarding the future of the band, but Mike D stated he would like to continue making music and “Yauch would genuinely want us to try whatever crazy thing we wanted but never got around to.”
In April 2013 it was announced that the group has signed a deal to write an autobiography. The book is scheduled to be released in the fall of 2015. On May 3, 2013 a children’s playground in Brooklyn was renamed for Adam Yauch.
1986 Licensed to Ill (Def Jam/Columbia)
1989 Paul’s Boutique (Capitol)
1992 Check Your Head (Grand Royal/Capitol)
1994 Ill Communication (Grand Royal/Capitol)
1998 Hello Nasty (Grand Royal/Capitol)
2004 To the 5 Boroughs (Capitol)
2011 Hot sauce Committee Part Two (Capitol)
1984 Some Old Bullshit (Grand Royal/Capitol)
1996 The In Sound from Way Out (Grand Royal/Capitol)
1999 The Sounds of Science (Grand Royal/Capitol)
2005 Solid Gold Hits (Capitol)
2007 The Mix-Up
1982 Pollywog Stew (Rat Cage)
1983 Cooky Puss (Rat Cage)
1984 Rock Hard (Def Jam/Columbia)
1995 Aglio e Oilo (Grand Royal/Capitol)