In 1998 when Sean Lennon made a handful
of talk show appearances to promote the release of his long
anticipated Into the Sun album on Grand Royal Records,
he was often asked why he chose Grand Royal over some of
the larger and more widely distributed labels. More times
than not his reply was that the Beastie Boys were his friends
and that there was not the pressure to have a "hit"
record with Grand Royal that there may have been had he
opted to sign with a larger label. In fact at the time when
the Beastie Boys first suggested putting it out there, Sean
was very modest and was somewhat surprised that they liked
his music well enough to consider releasing it.
The album had a built in audience
of Beatles fans that would buy the album on name value along,
just as we Beastie Boys fans would if Yauch's
daughter had her own release. Yet, it did not take long
for Sean to develop his own fan following. Having toured
off and on with his girlfriend in Cibo Matto, Sean was no
stranger to the road. He toured small clubs to promote the
Into the Sun album, but it was not until the June 1998 Tibetan
Freedom Concert that Sean played to an arena sized audience.
Following the two day concert event at RFK Stadium in Washington
DC, Sean brought his guitar along to the capitol lawn protest
that Adam Yauch and Erin
Potts helped to organize in order to gain political
attention for their Free Tibet movement. At the protest,
Sean seemed very comfortable playing with classic rock legends
like David Crosby of Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young.
In addition to his solo releases,
Sean has made numerous guest appearances on other Grand
Royal releases. For example, he played bass on Money
Mark's "Hand in Your Head" from Push the
Button (1998). Two years earlier Sean played some background
music on the Butter08 album Butter (1996), as well
as keyboards on the Butter08 song "It's the Rage."
Then in 1999, Sean lent his vocals to the Ben
Lee song "Sandpaperback" off of Breathing
Tornados, yet another Grand Royal album.
The Beastie Boys - Sean Lennon connection continues on.
The band has been known to record on occasion at Sean's
home, which features an intimate studio. Sean has often
been spotted at Beastie Boys concerts and benefit events
in the New York area, so it is not much of a stretch to
speculate that their friendship has weathered the demise
of Grand Royal Records.