When the world first heard about the Beastie Boys, they were a joke, literally. Their first release to hit the popular airways became a frat house anthem to party. What few people knew then, and even fewer now know now is, they intended the song to be ironic.
It was more intended like, sure, fight for your right to party and all that, but don’t be a douche…
Since the death of one in 2012, Adam Yauch, the Beastie Boys have recorded no new albums. They have no plans to do so without Yauch, but that doesn’t mean we can’t find new music with the Beastie Boys name attached.
A series of tracks recently went viral with Beastie Boys lyrics mashed into Daft Punk loops.
Dig deep enough and you’ll find these Boys more of an enigma than you may have assumed. They may have started from the streets, made as many mistakes as the rest of us, but they’ve come to mean so much more.
They’ve impacted the lives of people all over the world. These are just a few tidbits you never knew about the Beastie Boys.
When the Boys first started recording music, it wasn’t all hip-hop and big mustaches. In fact, it wasn’t just boys. It wasn’t even a trio.
They’re earliest performances were punk shows. There were four members in the first version of the Beastie Boys.
It was Michael Diamond (Mike D), Adam Yauch (MCA) and two people who would later leave the group when Adam Horovitz (Ad Rock) joined. Their names were John Berry and Kate Schellenbach.
Horovitz was playing guitar in another band, but when John and Kate dropped out, that left a door open for Horovitz. What followed was hip hop, at first in small doses, but they never forgot their punk roots.
Yauch discovered Tibetan Buddhism later in life, which changed much about his path. It also altered the paths of Horovitz and Diamond.
Later tracks from the Boys would feature Tibetan monks chanting. Proceeds from sales would go towards the Tibetan freedom movement. In case you didn’t know, Tibet is under Chinese rule.
Yauch was so engaged with freedom for Tibet, he started a fund, called the Milarepa Fund. His passion for Tibetan freedom spilled into the hearts of other bands, The Red Hot Chili Peppers and Rage Against the Machine.
Together, these groups raised millions of dollars in an effort to free Tibet.
Most people know that the Boys are from New York, but few people know there were a many years where they lived in Los Angeles.
“When the snow is fallen then I am gone.”
Because they were in the recording industry, there was a lot of travel. Los Angeles came up, of course, but in 1988 they moved their operation to LA.
In fact, Paul’s Boutique, the flop album that made a slow rise to fame via the underground, they recorded in Yauch’s Koreatown apartment.
In 1996, Yauch moved home to New York. The other two followed soon after.
The first big time success from the Beastie Boys was Licensed To Ill, which featured the track everyone knows, You Gotta Fight For Your Right To Party.
The Boys wanted the original title of the album to be Don’t Be a F**got.
Early in the band’s career, they were many things, including homophobic, racially insensitive and derogatory towards women. They would later regret those associations, for many reasons, but mostly because people grow up.
The Boys worked hard to overturn these perceptions; still to this day. In recent news, vandals spray-painted swastikas on the playground equipment of a park named after Yauch.
The remaining members of the Boys are rallying anti-hate demonstrations in response to the graffiti.
The life of a recording artist is often marked with travel and craziness, but not every artist has the wherewithal to change his stars they way these Boys have done.
What started out as a trio of punks a grew into a movement of tolerance and change. Would that we all could walk a mile in such shoes.