INTERVIEWING a Beastie Boy who would rather be holidaying is no mean feat - and it seems the band's reputation for occasionally being the somewhat beastly Beastie Boys may be well deserved. When Adam Yauch (aka MCA) is finally tracked down somewhere in Australia (where he has been on a snowboarding holiday), and after several aborted interview attempts, he seems nonchalant and bored when it comes to explaining the ideology of these three metal-fiends cum rappers. His responses come in quick staccato bursts, which is an obvious contrast to the outspoken and outrageous performer of the mid-'80s when the band's Licence to Ill album was dubbed the fastest-selling record in CBS Records' history.
While its biggest Australian hits to date have been the quirky and anthemic Fight For Your Right (To Party) and No Sleep Till Brooklyn, the newest album from The Beastie Boys features less novel tracks which reflect many varying styles. Check Your Head features a mix of rap and instrumental blues influences and hard-core metal sounds.
According to Yauch, who doesn't speak much during interviews, the album reflects the casual recording style of the band and is a result of spontaneous "jamming".
"Hey man I don't think we planned on doing anything radical - we just had different influences and they all just came together." he says. "What we do comes pretty naturally .. . we listen to a lot of different music."
Although the band's international hell-raising legend began with the release of its metal/rap crossover single Fight For Your Right (To Party) in 1987 the Beasties started in 1981 as a punk metal band which added a DJ to scratch its records during live performances. Soon the threesome began to light-heartedly dabble in rap. The rap/metal fusion became the best received part of its live performance and by the time the DefJam label began in 1984, the band had developed a strong rap edge. During its peak in the late '80s, the band played with industry heavyweights such as Public Enemy, RunDMC and Public Image Ltd, while cultivating a party-animal reputation which saw it banned from a chain of hotels and an airline.
The live performances became notorious, too. In England it was accused of being a threat to the nation's moral fibre and its trip finally culminated in the arrest of Adam Horovitz (King Ad-Rock), supposedly inciting a riot.
Although The Beastie Boys has taken a lower profile in Australia in recent years, Yauch says its concerts will still be "hyped".
"They (Australian audiences) should plan on a hyped show. We do instrumental stuff, use turntables and rhyme as well as a percussionist and keyboard player," he says.
The Beastie Boys will perform at The Old Lion tonight.