The Beastie Boys: All Growns Up (Relix Revisited)
Since 1990, the Beastie Boys have sold more than 15.2 million records in the U.S. alone, according to Nielsen SoundScan. Through all of that, they remain as tight as teenage buddies.
“I think it’s obvious to people that these guys love each other and enjoy each other’s company and working together in every way,” says Money Mark, (aka Mark Ramos-Nishita). “And that’s impressive to me. In order for their thing to work, there can’t be any attitude stuff. It would totally mess it up if these weird attitudes were clashing.
“With them, there’s this ongoing negotiation, and it’s cool to see when those guys are together. They each have their own shape in that triangle—and they fill it up. I think it’s subliminal at this point: When they’re backstage talking about an idea for this one riff that’s gonna go on this one part of a song, they’re all together.” Confirms Ortiz: “It’s a straight-up team. As much as they joke about basketball plays in interviews, they do that because they’re a team—that’s the way they think.”
That said, if they’re as close as brothers, they can bicker like them, too, says Mike D: “That bond enables us to keep going, but the fact that we do have a close relationship doesn’t mean that we always all agree or even get along. Not unlike any family bond, sometimes you’re not always going to agree. But disagreement or adversity is not such a bad thing.”
“It’s definitely more than just three guys coming into work and making songs so we can make our money,” Horovitz says, recalling the recording of The Mix-Up. “We’re friends hanging out, trying to one-up each others with these crazy outfits. That’s what really made this album fun.”
Having toured with the band for some 15 years, Money Mark says a staple of its live shows has become young faces in the crowd. Because of its rich, diverse catalog—and because of all those party tracks on License to Ill—the Beastie Boys continue to pique the interest of new generations, in the same way as The Sex Pistols or Led Zeppelin.
“During one of the last shows that we did in Philly,” he says, “Adam Yauch looked in the audience and said, ‘That must be our youngest fan.’ There was this little kid on the shoulders of this guy. He must have been five years old, and was wearing these big ear-protector things, and his dad was rockin’. To me, in my heart, that’s what keeps it alive.”
MCA: It reminds me of some of the first shows I went to, when I was a kid. It’s definitely cool when you see kids like eight or nine years old, but a lot of times, you see kids out there that who are 15 or 16, and it reminds me of when we were going to see hardcore shows. It’s good to see those kids, who aren’t jaded yet.
Mike D: If you had asked us over 20 years ago if we would we still be doing this 20 years from that point, I don’t think any of us would have taken you seriously, but we look forward to doing it. And we already feel excited about the next record.
Ad Rock: I still think it’s weird that people like our band—that we, or anybody, could make stuff and people would like it. Ya know what I mean? I think about how much I love bands, and how much I would love to go see whoever—Minor Threat or Bad Brains, or current bands—the fact that people have that same feeling toward the shit we make as I feel toward those bands is pretty amazing. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to fully get that. It’s just weird.
At the end of my follow-up phoner with Mike D, there’s a pause and he says, “So does this mean you’re not as upset at us now?” which of course makes me laugh. “I gotta say, you got the good shit at Hammerstein. What we’re doing now is like whatever, not really of value, just the straight answer. You got the good shit. You got the Geraldo Rivera-type scoop.”
All is forgiven, of course. And somehow I just knew that would happen. I mean, it had to. Of course it was going to.
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