After Adam “MCA” Yauch’s passing last week—and when a friend of mine started posting Beastie Boys videos on his blog—I started a process of digging a little deeper into the Beastie Boys’ background and music catalog.
My introduction to the Beasties was (naturally) Licensed to Ill, funnily enough through one of my younger brother’s friends who wanted to listen to the album every day on the way to school. Of course I gravitated to the heavier (and less hip-hoppy) tracks “No Sleep Till Brooklyn” and “(You Gotta) Fight for Your Right (To Party),” but I was also exposed to tracks like “She’s Crafty,” “Brass Monkey” (I still haven’t recovered from that one), and “Paul Revere” that I could appreciate from a creative standpoint. It’s not that I necessarily disliked the burgeoning rap scene, it’s just not where my head was at the time, and truthfully, it was a little uncool for metalheads to actually enjoy rap, right?! Remember, this was around the time Anthrax released their rap goof “I’m the Man” and well before their “Bring the Noise” collaboration with Public Enemy that was the final signal that it was now OK to like hip hop that we metal devotees had been waiting for.
With each successive Beastie Boys release, I was exposed to less and less of their material, hearing only the tracks mainstream media or friends latched onto. So with Paul’s Boutique it was “Shake Your Rump” and “Hey Ladies,” and until recent years I had only heard “So What’cha Want” from Check Your Head and Ill Communication's “Sabatoge.” Little did I know that the Beastie Boys could actually play instruments and had started life as a hardcore punk band—which makes sense the further into their catalog you listen—nor did I realize that their music had become more removed from traditional hip hop.
In all my research, I ran into this long-ish—and often uncomfortable—interview the Beastie Boys did with Charlie Rose. It’s apparent that in the beginning the guys—especially Ad-Rock—fully expected to conduct the entire interview in character and pull their normal stunts, but Rose was having none of it, alternately giving it back to them or giving up and changing the subject. Once things settled down a bit, it turned into quite a good conversation about their career.
All in all, it’s a great interview, and despite the occasional weirdness, it appears that a good time was had by all.