Kate Schellenbach is a musician who was an original member of the Beastie Boys
(from 1981 to 1984) and two Beastie Boys side projects, the Young Aborigines and Triple Sly Crew. Schellenbach has been in a
number of her own bands as well, the most notable one being Luscious Jackson.
Although Schellenbach's time as a member of the Beastie Boys was short, her
contributions to the band are significant. Schellenbach was the drummer for Beastie Boys in its earliest
incarnation as a hardcore band. She recorded the songs on Polly Wog Stew (1982), Cooky Puss (1983), and Some Old Bullshit (1984) with Adam Yauch, Mike Diamond, and John Berry.
Before Beastie Boys formed as a hardcore band, Schellenbach was a member of the Carcinogens from 1978 to 1979. In the later
part of 1979, the Carcinogens pared down into a band called Skiples, and then formed the band Toxic Shock
in 1980. She was also a member of the X-Patriots and Nagasaki Newsboys.
Schellenbach got involved in the downtown music scene first as a fan. She would
attend nearly every show staged downtown. It didn't take long before she went from being a fan in the
crowd to being a performer on stage. Her skills set her apart as one of New York's premier drummers and as
things began to take off, Schellenbach found herself touring outside of New York with the Beastie Boys.
When Adam Horovitz replaced Berry on guitar in
1983, Schellenbach was still an active member of the band and remained so well into 1984. However, as Rick Rubin's influence on the band increased, the
band's image changed and ultimately lead to Schellenbach's departure.
In a September 1998 interview with Spin, Beat Brothers member Thomas Beller explained the
circumstances under which Schellenbach left the Beastie Boys. "No one ever actually said, 'Kate you're
out,'" said Beller. "She went away for a weekend, and Rick [Rubin] bought the other three members matching
Adidas sweat suits, red and black warm-ups, and sneakers. They were at the Manhattan club Area dressed up
like a trio, and Kate bumped into them...by accident. She just started crying because it was obvious that
there was not going to be a woman in a band that's, like, going to have an inflatable penis on stage."
In an interview with Beastiemania.com, Dave Parsons remembered Schellenbach in the early
1980s as being the girl in the downtown music scene whom everyone admired and followed around, including
Yauch and Diamond.
Parson shared that Schellenbach had an artistic gift of reproducing venue entrance
stamps on the hands of her underage friends. "Kate would be at every show, literally every show, all over
downtown," said Parsons. "She used to carry a pouch full of colored pencils, markers, and such. As soon as
someone would go into the club and come back out, she would duplicate whatever the stamp design was for
that night, and then everyone would get into the club. She could do any stamp design. Back then they had
some interestingly complex ones, but she was quite an artist."
After Parsons opened the first Rat Cage Records store, he got to know Schellenbach
better. "There were groups of girls that would all hang out around the store and at shows...the Moppy
Scuds and the Snotty Teens. Kate was one of the ring leaders, and all the other little girls followed her.
Adam Yauch and Michael Diamond came into the scene later on. I stress here that almost none of the
downtowners knew much about those two until they started proving themselves at shows--Michael with his
guts and enthusiasm and seeming vulnerability and Adam with his honesty, good naturedness, and
musicianship. Before that it was like, 'Kate, who are these guys?'"
After leaving the Beastie Boys, Schellenbach achieved success with Luscious
Jackson, who performed as a band from 1991 to 1999. After Luscious Jackson broke up, Schellenbach drummed
for Dusty Trails, the Indigo Girls, the Lunachicks, Ladies Who Lunch, and the Kostars.
Schellenbach is currently working in television as a producer for The Ellen