The Beastie Boys chill with the rap trio Run-DMC in 1987
Remembering Adam Yauch of the Beastie Boys - The Beastie Boys chill with the rap trio Run-DMC in 1987

I remember being in tenth grade, driving to school in my car, smoking a join with a friend and blasting out the Beastie Boys‘ ‘Paul’s Boutique’ on the stereo. I took a sharp left turn and completely totalled my car. The front was badly smashed up and it was pretty embarrassing because the whole school was there watching, but we left the stereo on and somehow the Beasties were the perfect soundtrack for such a ridiculous situation. I’m not sure you could ever say the Beastie Boys make good music to crash your car to, but there is a sense of humor that brightens up the mood.

The first Beastie Boys track I heard would have been ‘Fight For Your Right’ but the first time they made a real impact on me was with the ‘Check Your Head’ LP – those really bombastic drums were unbelievable. Since then, I’ve though the Beastie Boys were the coolest band around. There are all these horrible trands in music but the Beastie Boys have always transcended them. How did they influence us? Well, they totally pillaged (Led Zeppelin‘s) John Bonham and I guess we can relate to that sentiment! The only difference is we didn’t actually use John Bonham.

In terms of their sound, I think they’re just really light-headed and fun. Often with the bands who make musik like that, you can play their records at the wrong time and end up feeling sick. But with the Beastie Boys it always feels right to play them. They’re never laughing at you. With all of the pop culture references and they way they interact with each other, you’re always in on the joke. I also liked MCA’s vocals – he had a voice like Keith Richards if Keith had been a rapper, all cracked and brilliant.

They got a lot of criticism for being sexist and, you know, they definitely were sexist. But I don’t think they were as people, it was just part of their humour at the time. Their attitudes were never really designed to hurt women. They also got some stick for being white but I think that’s irrelevant. I guess it did help them get media coverage and support because deep down America is still a really racist country. But they always delivered.

I haven’t heard many white kids make music with that much soul – I almost believe that white kids shouldn’t play dance music because they don’t understand it. But the Beastie Boys did understand if and if you listen to their records there’s so much soul. They made really soulful party music that you could dance to, and they just didn’t give a fuck. In that sense I guess they were a punk rock band.

Nowadays, I think it’s cool they’ve taken on this strange role as the hip-hop Bono – I don’t know that much about their work for Free Tibet and all that stuff but if they believe in it then I think that’s cool.

I’m not sure if the new record will be any good. I can’t say if it’s even possible to make a hip-hop record in your 40s that people will care about. But if anyone’s in with a shot at doing it, they they are.

Leave a Reply