Here’s a little story they’re about to tell…Coming April 24 to Apple TV+, Mike Diamond and Adam Horovitz share the story of their band and 40 years of friendship in a live documentary directed by friend, collaborator, and their former grandfather, Spike Jonze.
IMAX theatres release date: April 3, 2020
Apple TV+ release date: April 24, 2020
Cast: Beastie Boys, Michael Diamond, Adam Horovitz
Director: Spike Jonze
The Beastie Boys were an American hip hop group from New York City formed in 1981. The group was composed of Michael “Mike D” Diamond (vocals, drums), Adam “MCA” Yauch (vocals, bass) and Adam “Ad-Rock” Horovitz (vocals, guitar, programming).
The Beastie Boys were formed as a four-piece hardcore punk band, the Young Aborigines, in 1978 by Mike D (vocals), MCA (bass), John Berry (guitar) and Kate Schellenbach (drums). They appeared on the compilation cassette New York Thrash, contributing two songs from their first EP, Polly Wog Stew, in 1982. Berry left shortly thereafter and was replaced by Horovitz. After achieving local success with the 1983 experimental hip hop single “Cooky Puss”, the Beastie Boys made a full transition to hip hop, and Schellenbach left the group soon after. They toured with Madonna in 1985 and a year later released their debut album Licensed to Ill. It was followed by Paul’s Boutique, Check Your Head, Ill Communication, Hello Nasty, To the 5 Boroughs, The Mix-Up, and Hot Sauce Committee Part Two.
The Beastie Boys have sold 26 million records in the United States and 50 million records worldwide, making them the biggest-selling rap group since Billboard began recording sales in 1991. With seven platinum-selling albums from 1986 to 2004, the Beastie Boys were one of the longest-lived hip hop acts worldwide. In 2012, they became the third rap group to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. In the same year, MCA died of cancer. In 2014, Mike D confirmed that the Beastie Boys had disbanded.
Prior to forming the Beastie Boys, Michael Diamond was part of a number of bands such as the Walden Jazz Band, BAN, and The Young Aborigines. The Beastie Boys formed in July 1981 when the Young Aborigines bassist Jeremy Shatan left New York City for the summer and the remaining members Michael Diamond, John Berry and Kate Schellenbach formed a new hardcore punk band with Adam Yauch called Beastie Boys. In an interview on The Tonight Show in October 2018, Mike D stated that the Beastie name is an acronym. It stands for “Boys Entering Anarchistic States Towards Inner Excellence”. The band supported Bad Brains, the Dead Kennedys, the Misfits and Reagan Youth at venues such as CBGB, A7, Trudy Hellers Place and Max’s Kansas City, playing at the latter venue on its closing night. In November 1982, the Beastie Boys recorded the 7″ EP Polly Wog Stew at 171A studios, an early recorded example of New York hardcore.
On November 13, 1982, the Beastie Boys played Philip Pucci’s birthday for the purposes of his short concert film of the Beastie Boys, Beastie. Pucci held the concert in Bard College’s Preston Drama Dance Department Theatre. This performance marked the Beastie Boys’ first on screen appearance in a published motion picture. Pucci’s concept for Beastie was to distribute a mixture of both a half dozen 16 mm Bell & Howell Filmo cameras, and 16 mm Bolex cameras to audience members and ask that they capture the Beastie Boys performance from the audience’s own point of view while a master sync sound camera filmed from the balcony of the abandoned theater where the performance was held. The opening band for that performance was The Young and the Useless, which featured Adam Horovitz as the lead singer. A one-minute clip of Beastie was subsequently excerpted and licensed by the Beastie Boys for use in the “Egg Raid on Mojo” segment of the “Skills to Pay the Bills” long-form home video released by Capitol Records. “Skills to Pay the Bills” later went on to be certified Gold by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA).
Berry left the group in 1982 (later forming Thwig, Big Fat Love and Bourbon Deluxe) and was replaced by Horovitz, who had become close friends with the Beastie Boys; Schellenbach left the band in 1984 and was not replaced, with Diamond filling the role of drummer. As of that year, the Beastie Boys band made a full transition to hip hop, and was composed of three young Americans of Jewish descent: “Mike D”, “MCA”, and “Ad-Rock”.
The band also recorded and then performed its first hip hop track, “Cooky Puss”, based on a prank call by the group to a Carvel Ice Cream franchise in 1983. It was a part of the new lineup’s first EP, also called Cooky Puss, which was the first piece of work that showed their incorporation of the underground rap phenomenon and the use of samples. It quickly became a hit in New York underground dance clubs and night clubs. “Beastie Revolution” was later sampled for a British Airways commercial. The Beastie Boys sued them over the use of the song, earning them $40,000 in royalties.
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