|Sunday Herald Sun (13 September 1992) - P. Stewart:
At first glance you might not think New York trio The Beastie Boys
have much in common with Elvis Presley!
However, both took a predominantly black music form, gave it a white
face and made millions out of it.
In the case of The King it was taking rock and roll in the fifties,
while The Beastie Boys paved the way in the mid-'80s for the now huge
white acceptance of rap music with their album Licensed To Ill and its
classic single Fight for Your Right to Party.
According to Beastie Mike D, who tours here soon with the outfit, the
trio just happened to "luck in".
"We all grew up living in Manhattan and hated most of the mainstream
music we were hearing. We loved punk and reggae and then when rap came
along we were immediately impressed by what it was saying and its
groove," he said.
"There were heaps of other white kids doing it at the same time, but
we got the break and not many followed through. To us it was a huge
surprise that it was successful as it was." Unfortunately, their next
album Paul's Boutique failed to match the huge sales of their debut,
which was always going to be hard given the hype that surrounded
Licensed To Ill.
Recently, the band launched a new album Check Your Head which once
again has made them the darlings of rock critics and, more
importantly, record buyers and concert goers.
"You could say it was about our eighth life," said Mike D who
interrupted the conversation to tell a Beastie Boy in the background
to buy him some yellow hair dye for his Australian tour.
"Not many people know this but we started out as a hard core rock act
in 1980 so this band has gone through a lot of stages and style
changes." Mike D said Melbourne audiences could expect a "radical"
stage performance when The Beastie Boys appear at The Palace, St Kilda
October 3. But be warned, they won't be performing Fight For Your
Right To Party.
Herald Sun (1 October 1992) - N. Te Koha:
The album Check Your Head, an awesome fusion of thrash, funk and hip
hop is one of the most innovative and ground-breaking sound
experiences you're likely to enjoy this year.
It also catapults its makers, the Beastie Boys, way beyond the
creative lull rap music seems to be wallowing in at the moment.
Check Your Head is more than progression. It's almost like a complete
change in direction. Well-hard, is downright funky, loaded with
attitude and with distorted vocals from hell.
Here, the Beastie Boys, King Ad-Rock (Adam Horovitz), Mike D (Mike
Diamond) and MCA (Adam Yauch) return to their punk roots, pick up
their instruments and create some of the most '70s grooves in, say, 22
Every track was pumped through outdated valve equipment and the
vocals deconstructed into something incomprehensible for the grittiest
stuff to be released on CD.
Still, the vital hip hop ingredients are there: the occasional scratch
and cut from DJ Hurricane and the faithful 808 drum machine filling
out the bottom end.
Commercial radio in this country won't touch it, giving it even greater appeal.
MCA said Check Your Head was recorded over a period of two years.
"Going back to our instruments and getting a live feel seemed like the
logical thing to do," he said. "We were all into playing, so it was
kind of natural.
"We had all been listening to a lot of funk and jazz while looking for
samples for Paul's Boutique, and we were all just blown away by the
musicians and the way they played.
"It inspired us to pick up what we had and just create that sound
ourselves." Ad-Rock insists Check Your Head is not a rap album, but a
document of different ideas colliding.
Flick through the tracks and understand that nothing can be safely
categorised. The fuzzbox thrash/rap of Stand Together jumps
immediately into an organ grinding groove, P.O.W.
Rap tracks, Finger Lickin' Good, So Watcha Want and Pass The Mic sit
nicely alongside the slow, stoned Namaste.
"I wouldn't regard it as 100 per cent rap," Ad-Rock says."Everything
is there. We just put a load of two inch tape on and jammed, and
turned those jams into songs.We recorded it live because we wanted it
to be fat in sound and attitude." The newest adopted Beastie Boy is
Keyboard Money Mark, a master carpenter hired to build their studio,
who turned out to be a whizz on the Hammond organ.
"I don't know how he got into the group," Ad-Rock laughed. "He just
snuck right in there. By the way, if anybody in Australia wants any
cabinets made, Keyboard Money Mark is coming to your town. Get in
early. He's good." Ad-Rock's thoughts on commercial rap and alleged
racist lyrics by black rappers?
"There are good rappers coming out and there are definitely some
embarrassing groups around. But generally, the outlook for rap music
looks good. I agree with a lot of things the black rappers say, but we
really wouldn't come out with a track that tries to argue or say
anything for or against what they say.
"The Beastie Boys just do our own thing. We're not hardcore or
commercial. We're the pop side, definitely," he laughs.
The Check Your Head tour features a live band with Mike D on drums,
MCA on bass, Ad-Rock on guitar and Keyboard Money Mark. DJ Hurricane
also spins the beats for earlier material.
"I'm really excited about being in Australia. Back home, I met up with
this hippy guy who said Australia was all about surfing, swimming and
going up into the mountains to smoke pot.
"I'm with that." The Beastie Boys play the Palace tomorrow, all-ages
show at Chevron on Saturday, and club show at Chevron on Sunday.
Temple will host the Beastie Boys for a private party at 7.30pm
Herald Sun (3 October 1992) - P. Anderson:
Rebellious rap trio The Beastie Boys are back after a three-year break
from the big time.
The mischievous white teenagers from Brooklyn were one of many groups
to cash in on the blossoming rap scene in 1986, a time when hip-hop
rose from the American ghettos into the mainstream.
Hard-core hip-hop acts like Run-DMC, LL Cool J and to a lesser extent,
the Beastie Boys, lead the overseas revolution that stormed Australian
The Beastie Boys hit the big time first in the US and then in
Australia with their hit singles Fight For Your Right and Hold It, Now
Hit It from the Licensed to Ill album.
Their music may not have carried messages to unite the oppressed but
it inspired teenage rebellion. The Beastie Boys - Ad-Rock, MCA and
Mike D - revelled in the turmoil they created.
But after their successful debut, the Beastie Boys retreated to the shadows.
Other rap acts took their place as hip-hop became a powerful sub-culture.
There were some like Public Enemy, Ice T, 2 Live Crew and Eric B and
Rakim, and there were others like Rebel MC, Young MC, MC Hammer and
But the Beastie Boys have returned to the scene, a scene now vastly
bigger than the one they left, with a new album called Check Your
And they've ventured our way for a couple of shows. They took on the
Palace last night and this afternoon play the Chevron nightclub in an
all ages show.
The action kicks off at 1pm with support act Sound Unlimited Posse.