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In 1981, Mike and Yauch had became close friends. They had also got together with Kate Shellenbach and John Berry. As a goof these teenagers formed the Beastie Boys. A New York hardcore band with Kate on drums, John on guitar, Yauch on bass and Mike on vocals. None of them took it real seriously. They just wanted to start a hardcore band because there weren't any hardcore bands in New York by the time. They were just going to play a couple of songs and play a couple of gigs. Dave Parsons, owner of a small record shop called Rat Cage where the Beasties hung out a lot instead of school, decided to start a label named after his shop. Of course he asked the Beasties to make a record for this new imprint. The Polly Wog Stew EP was recorded on a single winter weekend in 1981. They recorded it in a studio in the same building as the Rat Cage record shop. When the EP was released in early 1982, the group bizarrely celebrated their first record release by splitting up. John Barry was the first one to leave the group. The Beasties spent 1982 and 1983 devouring hip-hop. Kate was not into hip-hop in the same way as the Beasties were. All the attention seemed to circle around the other three members and kate just kept getting less and less involved. Maybe that's one of the reasons she left the group late 1982, just a few months after John did. As Mike and Yauch still wanted to make music, they decided to look for a guitar replacement.
Adam Horovitz - as known as King Adrock - became the replacement. They started to make hip-hop songs and the first release of their new trio, Mike D on drums and vocals, MCA on bass and vocals and Adrock on guitar and vocals was Cookie Puss / Beastie Revolution. With a DJ now added as known as Rick Rubin or DJ Double R who introduced them to high-flying manager Russel Simmons. The two of them started the hip-hop label Def Jam 1984 and the Beastie Boys were the roster's first signings. While working on some hip-hop songs Mike sued British Airways on $40 000 for using a sample of Cookie Puss on a commercial without permission. This enabled them to move out from their parents homes and into a decrepit china town loft. It hit a perfect time. They could now play music at any time of the night as loud as they could possibly get their amps.
1985, the really well known teen queen Madonna chose the Beastie Boys to open the show for her Like A Virgin tour. While touring with Madonna they released their very first Def Jam release - Rock Hard EP. A four track EP that included Beastie Groove and Party's Getting Rough. The following year was spent mostly in the studios working on new material. This first resulted in MCA's solo release with Barzootie. Drum Machine which was a 3-track Single release. The following summer which would be summer of 1986, they went on their second tour - Raising Hell Tour - supporting record label friends Run DMC and LL Cool J. It was a 180 degree turn from the Madonna Tour and it definitely gave them experience of playing large arenas to a predominantly black audience. Later the same year they finally released their first full-length album Licensed To Ill. One of the best selling debut hip-hop albums of all time. Spending seven weeks at the Billboard pop chart. The albums first single was Fight For Your Right and also that entered the charts at number one. All of it was still a joke according to the Beastie Boys themselves but unfortunately some people took it too seriously. In Liverpool 1987, Adam Horovitz got arrested and charged with an illegal assault of a female fan, who claimed to have been hit in the face by a beer can pelted from the stage by the baseball-bat-wieldie Beastie Boy. He spent the weekend in a police cell while Mike and Yauch left the country. "We weren't being disloyal to Adam, but there was nothing we could do for him", Mike said during an interview about the arrest. He appeared in court on June 1st 1987 and was released on a bail of £10 000
A ruckus with Def Jam over royalties saw them switch label to Capitol Records. They separated from their friends and family and moved to Los Angeles. While there they hooked up with Matt Dike from the Dust Brothers and Mario Caldato Jr. at a club in LA called Power Tools. The Beasties were amazed by the music playing at the club which was the music of the Dust Brothers'. As time passed by the Beastie Boys saw an opportunity to make an album with the Dust Brothers. They got into the studio together and started writing and recording. Meanwhile they moved into a lavish house with which they named the G-Spot with a bedroom that had a window into a swimming pool, where their friend and photographer Ricky Powell would shoot what was to become the inner sleeve portrait photograph for the next album Paul's Boutique They also built their own studio as known as G-Son. Mario Caldato Jr - as known as Mario C - became a close friend to the Beasties and co-engineer for Paul's Boutique. The album went pretty bad when it first was released 1989. Selling around 800 000 copies wasn't what Capitol expected. Because of the poor sales the Beastie Boys never did a tour to support the album. Although they said that a tour would kick off when the album went platinum. But since the album didn't go platinum until 1998, the tour never took place.
"I remember being very surprised that the album didn't do any better than it did when it first came out because I think it was just so much of a better record than Licensed To Ill, but.. you never know..." Adam Yauch told MTV during a biography interview.
The album had a total different style from Licensed to Ill. Nobody did never expect anything more from the Beastie Boys. Everybody thought "This is just one album and we're never gonna' hear from them again". And even if there were people who believed in it, they did never expect anything as complicated. Every song was straight-up, deep hip-hop with all kinds of samples from country artists to well known hip-hop artists. The lyrics prooved the Beasties skills extremely well. The critics loved it and the album won almost every end-of-year best record poll.
After the record release they created their own clothing marquee called X Large which was mostly Mike's responsibility. When, one evening, Mike crashed his car (as usual) into the wooden gatepost at the G-Spot, Mario's high school friend Mark Ramos Nishita - as known as Keybord Money Mark - got the call to come fix it. That was actually the first time MCA, Mike D and Adrock met Mark. He was a keybord-specialised multi-instrumentalist and it was a perfect time to add a member to the band, So he earned a place in their band. With Mark now added, they decided to pick up their instruments again. They went back to the studio to record some instrumentals and punk songs for their next album Check Your Head. After a long time working with instrumentals they finally made Mario happy by working with some rap joints. Check Your Head which was released 3 years after Paul's Boutique - 1992 - did very good and entered the charts at number one. It became a well respected album by the critics and this time also by the fans.
After a successfully album tour they went right back to the studio and started to record some new material. During the time working on their next album, they put together some old punk songs from the early days released by the name Some Old Bullshit. Before the next album, the group started their own label under the name Grand Royal. Kate Shellenbach's band "Luscious Jacksons" were the first signings.
1994 Ill Communication was ready for release. Its style was quite similar to Check Your Head but this time it was more hip-hop focused. The first single from the album was Sabotage which earned several nominations at the MTV Video Music Awards. It was the first real smash hit single since the early days single Fight For Your Right. Aglio E Olio was released right after Ill Communication followed by The In Sound From Way Out, a instrumental album with cuts from their past two albums Check Your Head and Ill Communication.
After traveling back and forth between Los Angeles and New York, they finally decided to return to their roots, New York City to work on a new album. Mike spent a lot of time working on the label while AdRock was working on the album. Yauch was getting more involved about the situation in Tibet and decided to start his own foundation, the Milarepa Fund. An Organization to help the people and culture of Tibet. He also thought it would be a great idea to start a benefit concert. The first Tibetan Freedom Concert was hold in San Francisco over two days in June 1996, with some very well known artists such as Rage Against The Machine, A Tribe Called Quest, Björk, The Smashing Pumpkins, Beck, De la Soul, Foo Figthers, Biz Markie, The Fugees, Red Hot Chili Peppers and of course The Beastie Boys themselves. The concert did very well and brought in loads of money. Therefore they set up another Tibetan Freedom Concert the next year in 1997. By this time things had gotten rather quiet about a new album from the Beastie Boys. Not until the spring of 1998 things went clear that the Beastie Boys were launching another full-length album. But before this release another Tibetan Freedom Concert was set up in Washington, DC.
After four years of hard work Hello Nasty finally hit the stores. After two pretty similar albums the Beastie Boys had totally changed styles. The album was more computerized and "clean" using the panty hose for the microphones. Some songs on the album could be associated with people like Santana and different Jazz and Bossanova musicians. It did not included any punk songs since they had all been released earlier on the punk-rock ep Aglio E Olio. The new Beastie style woke up millions of new fans and the album sold over five million copies. Intergalactic, the first single from Hello Nasty, entered the UK top 5 together with the Run DMC remix It's like That. That both the Beastie Boys and Run DMC would have top 5 singles in the UK twelve years after their ill fated tour seemed inconceivable until it actually happened. After its release they went off touring in North America and doing festivals in Europe. While touring in North America they also picked up a video vanguard award at the MTV Video Music Awards. When they got home from touring they released two new singles - Body Movin' with a Fat Boy Slim remix which also became the video, and Remote Control with a Three Mc's And One Dj video. In April '99, they went back touring in Europe as well as Japan and Australia for about three months and when they finally got back home it was about time to do a fourth Tibetan Freedom Concert. Although, this time the concert took place in four different cities around the world instead of just one. But the new idea wasn't as good as they thought it would be and only gave around $260 000 while the 1998 benefit concert gave about two million dollars.
In September 1999 The Beastie Boys picked up another award for best hip-hop video with their Intergalactic single at the MTV Video Music Awards.
It had been a tough year for the Beasties but it wasn't over yet. 23rd of November 1999 was the release day for The Sounds Of Science, a two disc Anthology with a 84 page booklet with comments written by themselves about every song on the Anthology. It featured rarities, misses, hit songs and three previously unreleased tracks. Live Wire, a song written by Adam Horovitz dedicated to his friend David Scilken who past away in the begining of the 90's, Twenty Questions, a song which was actually written before the Hello Nasty era but was never added, and Alive, a brand new rap song and video which was also the only single from the Anthology. But there was more. You could also make your own Beastie Boys Anthology on the Internet. By choosing from almost all their songs including misses and rarities but except the Licensed To Ill songs, you could also decide your own name for it. The idea was so good that it raised their sales with 30 percent.
In July 2000 the Beasties announced that they would do a Tour with Rage Against The Machine, kicking off in the begining of August. Although about five days before the kick off in Toronto, Mike D had a bicycle accident. He hit a pothole on his way home from rehearsal and injured his left shoulder. Due to the accident, The Beastie Boys and Rage Against The Machine had to postpone the Rhyme And Reason Tour. Just a couple of months after the incident The Rhyme And Reason Tour was cancelled. Rumors say that the actual cause of this was that Zack De La Rocha - Rage Against The Machines frontman - didn't have the motivation since he wanted to start on his solo album project.
While Mike had been working on the label and Adrock on his solo project BS2000 with AWOL, Yacuh had not just had a vacation. He had been working on a Beastie Boys Video DVD Anthology which would feature 18 of the band's videos with multiple remixes and video angles to every video. Plus interviews with the Beastie's video directors such as Tamra Davis - as known as Tammi D - Spike Jonze and Nathaniel Hornblower. This amazing two disc DVD was released on November 14, almost a year after the Beastie Boys Anthology.
The following year, 2001 would become a quiet year for the Beastie Boys fans. With a cancelled tour behind them and unclear plans in front of them things were just very uncertain. The only thing that managed to change things around was the 11th of September attacts against the US. Just a week after the attacks the Beasties appeared on MTV for the first time in over a year. Just weeks after they announced on New York City radio station K-ROCK that a two day benefit concert would be held at the Hammerstein Ballroom in New York City featuring artists such as The Roots, Cibo Matto etc etc. The concerts had been named New Yorkers Against Violence Concert. The money raised from the shows were donated to different women's organizations and other organizations focused to help the victims' family and friends.
And here we are in the end of the summer 2002. Almost a year after the New Yorkers Against Violence Concert. And so far there are still no true signs of a new Beastie Boys album. At least not for the coming months. But most fans are patient from experience.
That's just a brief of the story so far but it seems like there will always be a continue.