The Beastie Boys: All Growns Up (Relix Revisited)
If they’ve done anything over a 25-year career, the Beastie Boys have definitely acquired “a certain feel” to their own “shit” as well. If the group began life as a punk band, its infant years found Diamond, Yauch and Horovitz gradually fusing the revolutionary sounds coming from the Bowery with those emanating from the Bronx. And while blending punk (if only in attitude at first) with rap seemed unusual or even unholy to some, it seemed natural to them.
“There was a commonality of energy and attitude in both musics,” says Mike. “It’s easy to look at the outward trimmings of each, and what people look like, and consider that they’re very disparate forms of music. But when we were growing up, going to punk rock and new wave-type clubs, they all played hip-hop records as soon as they came out, and it all seemed to fit together very naturally.”
With the Rick Rubin-produced juggernaut License to Ill (1986), the Beastie Boys became the first rap group to hit No. 1 on the Billboard album charts—with their debut album, no less. While songs like “Fight for Your Right” and “Girls” turned them into heroes for the younger generation, it also earned them something of a meathead tag. “There’s tons of stuff that we said and did on License to Ill where we were joking around and it was completely misconstrued and taken out of context,” says Mike. “We were joking around and unfortunately the jokes were too often lost. We sort of learned the hard way.”
Three years later, the band reinvented itself with the ambitious Paul’s Boutique (1989), their first collaboration with beat squad The Dust Brothers and producer Mario Caldato Jr. If respected for its musicality, the album was a commercial disappointment. Afterwards, the Beasties dropped out of site, using a label advance to build its own studio, where they would spend three years reinventing themselves through the songs that would comprise their resurrection, Check Your Head (1992).
“The record company people never asked what was going on, they never came to the studio,” says Caldato. “We recorded whatever we wanted to, edited a lot of stuff, listened to a lot of stuff—that’s why it sounds so different, because tracks were done months—or years—apart and it was a collection of three years of horsing around in the studio. We put our hearts into it and that came through.”
In that time, Yauch would travel to India, which would later spark him to create the Tibetan Freedom Concerts, Horovitz would dabble in film and Mike D built a house. The tour for the album—the group’s first since playing arenas on the License to Ill tour—marked a rebirth for the group, who packed small theaters and clubs. By the time of 1994’s smash follow-up, Ill Communication, and especially by the release of its follow-up, 1998’s Hello Nasty, the group was a commercial presence again, while baring little resemblance personally to the caricatures they became throughout the ‘80s.
Laughs Ortiz, “When I joined at the end of Ill Communication tour, I came in thinking that it was going to be a big party. But after the show, it was kind of like, ‘I’m going to my room, I’m going to chill.’ It’s like, ‘Wait a minute, nobody’s going out? Nobody’s going to the bar? Nobody’s going to go fuck shit it up?’ So I had to find that myself. To this day, it’s been that way.”
In honor of Umphrey’s McGee’s return to Summer Camp this weekend, we present the group’s Brendan Bayliss and Jake Cinninger performing this version of “The Pequod” from UM’s Anchor Drops.
Dame shares a song from her new EP Preventions of Heartbreak.
Golden Bloom stopped by Relix to perform a tune from their latest EP No Day Like Today.
The Chapin Sisters share an tune from their new album A Date With the Everly Brothers.
Minneapolis-based Night Moves share a song from their record, Colored Emotions, live at Relix.
Cloud Cult share a song from their latest album live at Relix.
The Giving Tree Band enjoy a spring day on the Relix rooftop, while performing a classic Grateful Dead tune.
Canadian singer-songwriter Hayden performs a duet with his sister-in-law Lou Canon. The song appears on Us Alone his first record on Broken Social Scene’s Arts & Crafts Productions.
The Milk Carton Kids share the first song from their new album, The Ash & Clay.
Here is the new video from Serbian guitar ace Ana Popovic. “Object Of Obsession” appears on her latest album Can You Stand The Heat.
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