Beastie Boys

Soon after the release of the ‘Ill Communication’ album in 1994 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 ‘Some Old Bullshit’, album 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.

Hello Nasty

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 VMA’s 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.