2002 The Year in Review
Working behind the scenes for a few months with the ever looming self-imposed deadline, the core Beastiemania staff hurriedly collected and compiled information, came up with site designs, coded screens, chatted constantly over goals and views until finally on the 30th of July 2002, the new Beastiemania.com was re-launched. With (thankfully) very few teething problems, a new site was on the scene. The site has been well received by visitors who have been kind enough to send us fresh information, correct errors, and suggest changes. It's been 5 months since the launch and we are still constantly updating the site every few days bringing fans what they want to see and read.
Of note in 2002 was the lawsuit brought against them by James Newton for the Beastie's use of his composition, "Choir", in the song "Pass the Mic." Newton maintained that the Beasties never sought his permission to license the sample and he asked for 1.8 million dollars in damages. The lawsuit was filed in 2000 and the verdict was handed out in June of this year. The Beasties were declared not guilty because the sample was "unoriginal as a matter of law." In order to recoup their legal fees, the Beasties then filed a motion (that was denied) to force Newton to pay roughly $500,000. James Newton continues to fight for an appeal.
2002 was certainly the year of the Vinyl Bootlegs. It started with the mysterious abundance of Country Mike 12"s appearing on ebay which luckily contained enough differences from the original to help prevent the discerning collector from handing over the usual $100+ for an original rarity. That was simply the start of the avalanche however with another five 12"s being released soon after all trying to imitate the original legitimate pressings (Cookie Puss, She's On It, Fight For Your Right, No Sleep Till Brooklyn and Frozen Metal Head). These ranged from the quite poor reproduction to near identical duplicates. A very interesting bootleg surfaced during the year simply called "Beastie Acappellas" which, as the name suggests, contained a number of Acappella versions of Beastie Boys tracks. With 6 of the 8 tracks being unreleased - this was a must have for the DJs, but with the number of copies pressed being unknown and the fact that the market (ie ebay) wasn't flooded with copies, the few copies that did make it out to the general public were generally sold for quite high prices. Just before the close of the year saw the release of a 12" bootleg that contained a number of remixes from the DVD Anthology. With less than 500 copies pressed, and due to the fact that the tracks had not been released on vinyl (or CD) before, these were snatched up fairly quickly, and was a welcome addition to many fan's collections.
Surprisingly 2002 brought forth a handful of Beastie related concert recordings. From the soundboard CBGB benefit that Ratcage Records released to a few uncirculated audience recordings, fans were given the chance to listen in on some amazing performances. With broadband connections becoming more common, the recent trend in the Beastie Boys online community has been to share mp3 files using ftp servers and websites like streamload.With nothing new coming out of the Beastie camp this year (that wasn't a bootleg), it was up to Mix Master Mike to come up with the goods for the fans, releasing "Return Of The Cyklops". This 17 track album featured tracks found on the original "Eye Of The Cyklops", "Suprize Packidge" and "Valuemeal" releases, which was a great chance for fans to listen to some of these rare tracks. "30 Minute Massacre" was also released showcasing Mike's skills at mixing and demonstrated why he is considered one of the best DJs in the world.
Mix Master Mike took his skills on the road with Guns N' Roses in the final two months of 2002 intent on converting masses of rock fans into hip hop fans. Mike was partially successful, given that half of the gigs were cancelled.
Lastly, a hip hop pioneer and Beastie mentor, Jam Master Jay, was shot and killed in a studio on November 09, 2002. Jam Master Jay, Run, and DMC were quite influential to not only the Beasties, but also the whole hip hop community. He will be missed.
Online Beastie News
Although the Beastie Boys have not released a new album in several years, the online community is still quite strong.
Beastie Boys related discussion can still be found at the .com message board and the alt.music.beastie-boys usenet group. We would like to encourage you to get active and join us in our Beastie discussions.
A popular Beastie fansite, "The Beastie Plaza" closed its doors this year, because the webmaster, Martijn Huijgen, could no longer find the time for the website's upkeep. The Beastie Plaza will be missed and we wish Martijn the best in his future endeavors.
Finally, the official website has had some interesting changes this year. Ian has given the reins of the site to Minton and dannyt for an indefinite amount of time. We are pleased with the positive changes that have happened. Minton has put the chat back in working order, dannyt has overhauled the discography and given the A/V page some lovin', and tpk is in the process of redoing the lyric section.
With just under 500 releases in the Beastie Boys Discography alone (and another 125+ in the Related Projects Discography), the Beastiemania discography continues to grow and has become the most comprehensive listing ever.
The Gigography has grown immensely since the sites re-launch, with it showing information on 470+ Beastie Boys shows and another 230+ for Luscious Jackson, BS2000, and The Young & The Useless.
We have had the chance to chat with some truely interesting people connected with the Beastie Boys, from sceners like Campbeln, CJ Hood, ThunderD, and Martijn Huijgen to remixers and collaborators like Dave "Day-Z Daze" Parsons, B-Real (of Cypress Hill), Eric Bobo, and Peanut Butter Wolf.
So what do we have planned for next year? Well, we have a few surprises up our sleeves. If something does get released by the Beasties in 2003, you can be guaranteed we'll be on the case keeping you up to date, and even if nothing is officially released, we have enough in store to keep you all entertained and hyped for that elusive new album.