|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|
Boys Entering Anarchistic States Towards Internal Excellence
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 apposed 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.
Rubin & Def Jam
In 1984 at a New York University dorm room, 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.