Always a gentleman and gracious to fans of the Beastie Boys, Cey Adams is perhaps best known for the work
he did creating the famous "old school" style lettering that spelled out Beastie Boys on the
album cover of the 1983 release Cooky Puss. Cey has had an enduring presence on Beastie
Boys merchandise for the last 20+ years. For those that own the 1987 Licensed to Ill Tour Book you can
page through it see that Cey was present on the Licensed to Ill world tour (1986-1987) and helped
to compile the images which comprise the book. Once that endless tour finally concluded, and the Beastie
Boys decided to take some time apart, Cey was one of the few people from the Def Jam days that the Beastie
Boys stayed in contact with. Even following the aftermath of Paul’s Boutique’s
commercial disappointment (1989-90), Cey remained close to the band members. “I would fly out
to Los Angeles often, splitting my time between their homes. I would stay with Yauch who lived in a real
log cabin, real wood I tell you. I would dive off the roof of Adam's [Horovitz] house doing cannonballs in
the pool or ride Mike's cool vintage bike collection.”
By profession, Cey is a graphic designer whose roots came from New York graffiti. Wall pieces that he
created are still viewable in New York City. After his graffiti days, he went on to work at a Def Jam
company called the Drawing Board. When asked to clarify exactly how the Drawing Board fit into the Def Jam
empire with Cey Adams said: “The Drawing Board Graphic Design (1986-1999) was a design firm
formed by myself and partner Steve Carr. We handled most of the creative needs for many top record labels.
Some of the artists I have worked with include Mary J. Blige, Run DMC, Public Enemy, De La Soul, Jay-Z, Stevie Wonder,
Kenny "Babyface" Edmonds, LL Cool J, Chris Rock, and Dave Chappelle.
The company began as a way for Def Jam to have more control over the visual image of its artists. In
addition to Def Jam we also designed everything for P Diddy's Bad Boy label.” More of Cey’s
creations can be seen on his website.
You may not have even realized it, but many of the Beastie Boys t-shirts that hang in your closet were
designed by Cey Adams. We at Beastiemania.com have made an effort to annotate our clothing archive to
reflect which garments Cey helped to create. In 2005 (around the time that Solid Gold Hits was
released), Cey Adams made a memorable post to the BeastieBoys.com message board asking fans to send high
resolution scans of their old Beastie Boys t-shirts to him. The intent here was to reissue some of the
1986-87 era t-shirt styles at a reasonable price through the BeastieBoys.com online store. Prior to this
fans had been paying $60-$100 to buy old t-shirts/sweatshirts on eBay.com. At Beastiemania.com we are
thankful for all that Cey Adams has done for the online Beastie Boys community, and wish him continued
success in all his endeavors.