St. Petersburg Times, February 20, 1987:
Critics have called the Beastie Boys obnoxious, snotty, lewd, thug-like, abrasive and obscene. And those are the good reviews. This
hard-rappin' New York trio has won over big-city rock critics and
small-town grade-schoolers alike with the raw blend of heavy metal and
rap music on their controversial debut LP, Licensed to Ill. Propelled by the MTV hit, "Fight For Your Right (To Paaaarty)," the album has
climbed to No. 2 on the Billboard charts. Love 'em or loathe 'em, the
Beasties--their names are Mike D, King Ad-Rock and MCA--are packing
arenas on their national tour, which stops at the Bayfront Center
Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $13 in advance and $14 the day of
the show at Select-a-Seat outlets. Expect the rafters to shake, beer
to spill and obscenities to fly. If you're brave enough to show up, be
sure to arrive early to catch special guest Fishbone, whose wild
mixture of ska, funk, rock and rap has already led to college-radio
stardom. Opening act Murphy's Law is a hardcore-punk band. You've been
St. Petersburg Times, February 24, 1987
By David Okamoto:
The Beastie Boys, with opening acts Fishbone and Murphy's Law, in
concert Wednesday at 7:30 at the Bayfront Center. Tickets are $14 plus
a service charge at all Select-a-Seat outlets.
Adam Yauch of the Beastie Boys is speechless. "How did you find this out?" the deep-voiced Beastie blurts out.
He was asked if it's true that the hard-rock rap trio's contract with
concert promoters specifies that a "rainbow assortment" of condoms
must be stocked in their dressing room. Yauch seems surprised, even though this is just the sort of hype one can imagine a publicist dreaming up to fuel the group's street-punk
"Yes, it does say something to that effect," Yauch admits, noting that
the rest of their backstage demands and perks are pretty ordinary. "We
got a lot of beer on the (contract) rider. And a bottle of Jack
Daniels. A bottle of tequila. I think there's like a case of Heineken,
two cases of Bud in bottles and two cases of Bud in cans.
Cheese-filled Combos is on it, or 'other cheese-flavored snacks,' if I
"We purposely asked for no potato chips and no cold-cut platters,
because it made us all sick on the last tour," Yauch adds. "No
Last year, the Beastie Boys were merely the unknown opening act for
friends Run-D.M.C., dismissed by most industry watchers as three
obnoxious white kids from New York trying to sound black. Today, they're still obnoxious--but Yauch (MCA, age 22), Mike Diamond (Mike D, 20) and Adam Horovitz (King Ad-Rock, 19) also happen to be the hottest thing to hit MTV since Duran Duran, thanks to an
uproarious video for their latest single, "Fight For Your Right (to
Their debut LP, Licensed to Ill, is No. 2 on the Billboard charts and sold 1-million copies in less than two months. And their tour, which stops at the Bayfront Center Wednesday, is selling out all over the country.
The Beastie Boys are cleaning up right where Run-D.M.C.'s hit version
of Aerosmith's "Walk This Way" left off, presiding over a shotgun
marriage between the cocky rhymes and rhythms of rap and the grinding
guitars of heavy metal. The result is as intoxicating as it is
irritating. Such raunchy workouts as "Brass Monkey" (the next single), "Time to
Get Ill" and "The New Style" ("Some voices have treble/some voices
have bass/ we have voices that are in your face") have even received
raves from big-city rock critics.
"The wisecracking arrogance of this record is the only rock 'n' roll
attitude that means diddley right now," Robert Christgau observed in
the Village Voice.
On stage, the Beasties flail around, body-blocking each other while
ranting and raving, microphones in one hand and a bottle of beer in
the other. Accompanied by a disc jockey, pre-recorded backing tracks
and a gyrating dancer, they look like plastered pledges staggering
home from an all-night frat party.
Bay area concertgoers got their first look at the Beasties in 1985,
when they opened for Madonna at the USF Sun Dome. Needless to say,
they were lewd, rude and booed.
"That was the whole point," Yauch recalls by phone from his hotel room
in Corpus Christi, Tex. "Our job was to get the crowd riled up before
Madonna went on. And we did it. And whether we got them happy or got
them mad, we definitely didn't leave them bored."
With their glorification of alcohol, drugs and sex, the Beastie Boys
have emerged as every parent's newest nightmare.
"They're basically looking for a way to condemn the new form of music
that their kids are listening to, just as they did with rock 'n' roll
and when Elvis Presley shook his hips," Yauch explains.
More soft-spoken and articulate than his thug-like stage persona
suggests, Yauch claims the Beastie Boys are party animals, not threats
"We basically do whatever we want to do and have a pretty good time
about it," he says. "And if we end up breaking anything, we pay for
it, because we make enough money now. A lot of adults are worried that
we're doing crazy, terrible things. We're actually not doing anything
terrible. We're just having a good time."
Of course, their idea of a good time includes stunts similar to last
week's incident in St. Louis, when Yauch and his cohorts invited a
woman on stage to remove her shirt and then proceeded to pour beer on
Yes, where Beasties go, trouble follows. The Parents Music Resource
Center (PMRC) hasn't demanded warning stickers on their album ("I
don't think they've figured out who we are yet"), but the group was
barred from Columbia Records' offices. That is, until the LP went
Now the door is even opened for them. "These are people who wouldn't
even speak to me up until recently," Yauch says, launching into his
imitation of a squeaky-voiced executive. "And they say, 'You know,
Adam, I just really wanted to get on the phone with you and
congratulate you. I think it's just so wonderful.' And I thought,
'Shut the f--- up. You wouldn't even let me in your office a week
But wait, there's more.
Hotels are canceling their reservations before the band even gets to
town "because they read in Newsweek that we trashed a hotel room,"
The University of California-San Diego canceled a scheduled Feb. 8
concert when they heard rumors that the Beasties were throwing beer
into the crowd and spray-painting their dressing rooms. Michael Jackson, who owns the Beatles' song catalog, refused to let
the Beasties release an irreverent cover of "I'm Down" (although a CBS
sampler cassette handed out at last year's New Music Seminar features
the track and has turned into a collector's item). And a fiesty Joan Rivers surrendered her Late Show set to them during
a recent appearance, which ended with MCA sitting behind her desk and
Ad-Rock sitting on it. "How'd you all three get together?"
Rivers asked. "Julliard?"
"It was cool," Yauch recalls. "... I've always hated her watching her
on TV. But meeting her, she was all right."
Yauch and the Beasties clearly are enjoying their bad-boy reputations.
But his tone turns serious when discussing the controversial stigma
that rap music has been saddled with since the 1986 Run-D.M.C. tour.
Those shows drew numerous, and some say exaggerated, reports of crowd
disturbances and arrests after 42 people were injured during a Long
Beach Arena show near Los Angeles.
"The violence everyone talks about went on at one concert," Yauch
says. "I was on that tour for four months and there was no other
violence on the entire tour except for this one show in L.A., where
two gangs showed up and got into a gang war ... which was completely
irrelevant to Run-D.M.C. It's a problem L.A. has with their gangs. A
lot of people got hurt. But I never saw a person even get hit on the
whole rest of the tour."
There is a potential for violence at any type of youth-oriented
concert, he adds. "There's less of it at rap concerts than any other
kind of music. And 90 percent of the messages in rap music are all
positive--'stay in school' and stuff like that."
Yauch says the Beastie Boys' most outrageous antics are taking place
behind the hotel-room door. The details are not fit for a family
"We're talking about things that Led Zeppelin only dreamed about
doing," he brags. "All the cruel stuff that you'd imagine rock 'n'
roll bands make up and pretend they do, we decided we're actually
going to do. And we do, but nobody hears about it."
St. Petersburg Times, February 28, 1987
By Wilma Norton:
ST. PETERSBURG - After a rock concert at the Bayfront Center on
Wednesday night, some teenagers who were leaving the concert were
punched and robbed by some other teenagers who were waiting outside. Some concert-goers lost necklaces and souvenir T-shirts they had
purchased, and some who resisted the robbers were assaulted, police
said Friday. At least 100 people were involved in one of the fights,
and there were scattered smaller scuffles.
Reported injuries included loose teeth, black eyes, bruises and cuts.
Six people were treated around midnight in the emergency room at
Bayfront Medical Center. Two juveniles were arrested, police spokesman George Pinckney said.
The melee followed a concert by a group called the Beastie Boys, a
rock group with appeal largely among adolescents. More than 4,600
people attended the concert. Police Lt. John Tallon, who was in charge
of off-duty police officers providing security at the concert,
estimated the average age of the crowd at 13.
The Beastie Boys have a reputation for raunchy and obnoxious behavior,
on- and off-stage, but a Bayfront Center official said the band
members were pretty well-behaved.
"I was pleasantly surprised," said Vernita Batchelder, acting director
of the center.
It was after the concert that some young people without concert
tickets were milling around outside the center, Lt. Tallon said. Just
before the show ended, a group of 30 to 40 "in their mid-teens and up"
threw rocks at a side door and were escorted from the property by
police and told not to return, Tallon said. As the doors opened to let the crowd out, 60 to 80 youths from outside
ran in one set of doors, ran through the lobby and out doors on the
other side, spreading around the building.
Six to eight police cars were called about 11 p.m. in addition to
about 20 off-duty police and 41 private security officers hired by the Bayfront to handle crowds and traffic at the concert. Police split into groups of three or four and began trying to get the
crowd to leave the parking lots as quickly as possible, Tallon said.
One large group reassembled at Fifth Avenue S and First Street and was
scattered by police. It then moved to the parking lot of the vacant Uncle Ed's Restaurant,
where some youths began chipping up concrete and throwing bricks, he
said. Five to six officers again broke up the group, and there were no
Tallon said the disturbance began and ended swiftly. "It was all over in about five minutes," he said.
Some parents complained that police would not take reports. Tallon
said officers tried to take reports, but their main concern was
dispersing the crowd before the situation became more serious.