The Parents of the Beastie
Television reporters to message board users
seem to, at some point, mention the Beastie Boys all came from
"upper-middle class" families. This is an attempt to
respectfully speak about the parents of Adam
Yauch, Adam Horovitz,
and Michael Diamond. There
has been very little printed about the Beastie Boys' families
so much of this piece is composed of excerpts from interviews
that were conducted in 1987 for an article published in the February
1st, 1987 issue of the Los Angeles Times.
Adam Horovitz was born to Israel Horovitz and Doris Keefe Horovitz.
They underwent a divorce when Adam was three years old and he
was raised primarily by his mother, which may explain why he listed
his name as Adam O'Keefe on the Young and the Useless Real
Men Don't Floss release. Following the divorce, Israel Horovitz
married Brit Gillian Adams, who is a notable marathon runner.
Israel Horovitz is a very successful playwright and screenwriter.
When Israel has been interviewed about the Beastie Boys' success,
he has always comes across as being very proud of his son. In
the February 1st, 1987 issue of the Los Angeles
Times Israel Horovitz was quoted: "I am delighted beyond
description. It's like a kid taking over the family store. You
just sit back and try not to show too much excitement because
you don't want to deter him from what he is doing. But I have
enormous respect and admiration for what he has done. If people
can't see the humor and satire in the record (Licensed to Ill),
I don't know what to say to them. It's all so obvious. I think
the thing that makes the record so good is that it shows a real
understanding of people; maybe not an understanding of 49-year-olds,
but certainly one of 17-year-olds. Adam Horovitz, Adam Yauch,
and Michael Diamond are very serious about what they do. They
are not irresponsible kids. Just as I try to touch people with
a play and bring some type of comfort through understanding, their
album reaches out to kids and gives them a type of comfort. Everything
about the album is on the side of the angels."
For more on Israel Horovitz check out his company: Gloucester
Stage. Another web page worth looking at is a feature which
focuses on Israel Horovitz's thoughts about the
September 11th terrorist attack on New York.
Although we at Beastiemania.com aren't
100% sure of the date, many magazines have said that Doris passed
away in 1986, just prior to the release of Licensed to Ill.
If you look closely at the liner notes of that album you will
notice that the Beastie Boys most successful album to date was
dedicated to her. She was an artist in New York and from all accounts
was nothing short of an absolutely amazing person. When the late
Dave Parsons fell upon hard
economic times in 1984, Doris and Adam invited him to stay with
them. In an August 2002 Beastiemania.com interview with Parsons,
he recalled they generously put him up for six months before he
moved into a place on 11th Street. The August 6th,
1998 issue of Rolling Stone magazine touched on that piece
of Beastie-lore and relayed the story how Doris bought Adam Horovitz
his first guitar for his 12th birthday. The article stated that
Doris was "a painter who also ran a thrift store in the West
Village." As you probably are aware both Hello Nasty
era songs "Instant Death" and "Live Wire"
were written by Adam Horovitz and address the loss of his mother
and his friend Dave Scilken,
a former the Young and the Useless band-mate.
Michael Diamond was born to Harold Diamond and Hester Diamond.
Harold Diamond was a renowned New York art dealer and his wife
Hester Diamond worked as an interior designer in New York.
In that same February 1st, 1987 Los Angeles Times
article where the Israel Horovitz was quoted, Hester Diamond said
the following: "I saw the punk scene as ugly. But I'm not
one of these parents who forget how they were when they were young.
If Michael had been my oldest child; I think I would have died
of anxiety. But when he is your third child, you have a different
point of view
you understand there is a curiosity to explore
and that they will eventually grow up. Besides, they are solid
kids. They never got out of control."
Harold Diamond passed away on November
20th, 1982. However, his name made news again in November
of 2004 when Hester Diamond decided to auction off six pieces
from their modern art collection through Sotheby's. The pieces
which she parted with had an estimated value of sixty million
dollars and were paintings by Pablo Picasso, Wassily Kandinsky,
Piet Mondrian, Fernand Léger and a sculpture by Constantin
Brancusi. Charles Moffett, Co-Director of Impressionist and Modern
Art at Sotheby's, was quoted in an artdaily.com
news piece as having said the following, "these six Modern
masterworks from the collection of Hester Diamond rank among the
best to have appeared on the market in the last 30 years. Together,
Ms. Diamond and her late husband, Harold, had an unerring eye
for quality. They focused their collecting on only the finest
examples by any given artist." If you are curious as to why
she sold the pieces, it is because she is now focusing on furthering
her collection of 14th, 15th, and 16th
century Renaissance art works. Those of us who collect rare and
expensive Beastie Boys records can relate (admittedly on a much
smaller scale). We know what it means to sell one record so as
to have enough money to afford another.
If you would like to read more about Hester Diamond's art collection
please check out here
Adam Yauch was born to Noel and Frances Yauch. Noel worked as
an architect in New York and his wife worked as a public school
administrator. The Los Angeles Times had a great quote
from Noel Yauch (when he was 56 years old) about his feelings
regarding the Beastie Boys. "The funny this is, when I was
Adam's age I came to New York to be an abstract painter and my
parents didn't have the foggiest idea of what I was trying to
do with my life. They thought I was nuts. I look at Adam now and
the whole thing seems like history repeating itself. The words
that want to come out of my mouth are the words my father was
saying to me
and I'm trying not to say them."
Adam Yauch's mother had the following to say (in the February
1th, 1987 Los Angeles Times article) about the
Beastie Boys and their 59 Chrystie Street residence: "I understand
how parents sometimes worry when their kids listen to some extreme
forms of rock, but it doesn't seem to really change them. It certainly
didn't make Adam a different person. I've always had faith that
he knows the difference between good and bad
they have been
on their own for some time now. They have been earning money from
gigs and their records lately, but the apartment for a couple
of years in Chinatown was the worst thing you ever saw in your
entire life. It was not to be believed
I was afraid to even
walk in the building." The place that Frances Yauch is talking
about is the 59 Chrystie Street loft that the Beastie Boys rented
with the money they were awarded for winning their lawsuit against
British Airways. The lawsuit was filed because British Airways
had used a portion of the Beastie Boys song "Beastie Revolution"
(from the Cooky Puss 12") in a television advertisement
without asking for permission. For those who are not familiar
with stories of the Chinatown loft, it is the place where they
lived and rehearsed around 1985. To this day many fans still make
a pilgrimage to that address to see the place.
Today Adam Yauch and Michael Diamond are parents themselves and
the aforementioned family members are now grandparents. It would
be interesting to hear what each parent thinks of the band's longevity
and cultural impact. We at Beastiemania.com want to thank parents
of the Beastie Boys for giving their children the creative freedom
to explore new musical horizons which over the years has blossomed
into one great album after another.