Missing the BS

So, we missed the 2000 window by little over three months, but this live performance by quirky kings, BS 2000 was well worth the wait. Having grown up a Beastie Boys fan, I quickly began exploring any and all side projects by any and all members of the band. When BS 2000 released their second album (of two), 2000’s Simply Mortified, our hopes of a small, yet local tour were happily met with a rocket of anticipation. Seeing Ad-Rock (Adam Horovitz) and AWOL (Amery Smith) jam on a pair of keyboards and jumping around like fools was perfect for a much-needed mid-week show at The Rave in Milwaukee. This was 17 years ago now, but a handful of vivid memories from this evening will never be forgotten.

She’s Over It

ItWritten by Ad-Rock and producer Rick “Def Jam” Rubin, the 1985 soundtrack (or “sound track” as it’s listed on the cover) to the smash-bang-hit, She’s On It, is little more than an elaborate, mediocre, wave two Beastie Boys offering. There’s a reason She’s On It never appeared on a proper album, and that’s because it’s shit. I love the Boys Beastie, but I’m sorry. This song is terrible… and the video is even worse. But… this razor-edged opinion in no way prevents me from seeking out this release to round out the collection. 1985 Beastie Boys was a very sad, but ultimately necessary phenomenon… one that would be all but eclipsed with the dawn of a new era (wave three), ushered forth by the impeccable Paul’s Boutique. It’s okay to question your heroes… RIP MCA.

The $kill$ to Pay the Bill$

$KILL$Back in ’92, and a whole three years before the digital video disc was invented, LaserDiscs were considered, across the videophile nation, to be the best quality home consumer video format that money could buy. Leave it to the Beastie Boys to tackle this medium to promote a collection of their classic music videos, appropriately titled, The $kill$ to Pay the Bill$. Nabbing its title from the a bonus track to the So What ‘Cha Want single (release June 2nd, 1992), The $kill$ to Pay the Bill$ may very well be the best non-album track, aside maybe for Mullet Head, that the trio ever released, and is a fitting handle for this 12 video comp.

Bill$One of only two LaserDiscs that I kept after the great liquidation of 2012 (the other being the Criterion Collection release of Dr. Strangelove), The $kill$ to Pay the Bill$ is a perfect relic of early 90’s distinction. What’s a seemingly intentional snub to the fans, however, is the omission of the video from which this collection derives its name. Shameful punks!

’82

Stew1982 was a good year for several, obvious reasons. The Dukes of Hazzard saw a bit of a ruckus when Warner Bros. refused to pay actors Tom Wopat and John Schneider their due royalties. This resulted in the Duke brothers’ 17-episode hiatus / protest. Warner Bros. finally struck a deal which finally ended the Vance and Coy era (“cousins” filling the lead rolls left vacant by two smart actors speaking up when they weren’t being paid what was contractually theirs).

Let’s see, what else happened… Tron, E.T., Tootsie and Blade Runner were released… The stupid-ass St. Louis Cardinals beat the Milwaukee Brewers in game 7 of the World Series… Grace Kelly, John Belushi and Ingrid Bergman died… I moved from sunny Southern California to the frigid tundra of Wisconsin… OH! And the Beastie Boys released their first record, a hardcore EP titled Polly Wog Stew.

PollyBack8 tracks released on both 7” and 12” formats, the Polly Wog Stew E.P. would be the first, last, and only official release from the band as a hardcore unit, next releasing Cookie Puss which saw the Boys Beastie bow more towards a new form of hip hop (well, at the time).

Yeah, ’82 was decent, and oh so long ago.

W E F U N K

Mom ConnectionMake my funk the P. Funk… and not just because the King Ad-Rock brags and boasts in 1989’s 3-Minute Rule, the following unforgettable slew of syllables:

Mothership connection, getting girls’ affection

If your life needs correction, don’t follow my direction

(I was listening to the Beasties today, so I had to tie that in somehow…) Parliament, and their 1975 masterpiece, Mothership Connection need no introduction. The 4th album for the band featured the mighty George Clinton as Producer, Writer, and frontman vocalist, but again, this is all but painfully obvious for lovers of the Funk.

Make your Tuesday evening an untamed mass of street-talkin’, booty-rockin’ Supergroovalisticprosifunkstication (track 1, side 2).

A Recipe to Die for!

RecipeDirected by Nathanial Hörnblowér (MCA aka Adam Yauch’s behind the camera alias), the Body Movin’ video, a farcical exploration into the fascinating, yet nonsensical action-adventure-thriller, was the 2nd single off the band’s 1998 Hello Nasty album, as well as the follow up to the widely received radio smash, Intergalactic. The B-Boys have long been known for their outrageous music videos (1989’s Hey Ladies comes to mind), but in my opinion, nothing tops the grandiose scale of a ninja Ad-Rock sword fighting with a monocle sporting, P-Jam wearing MCA for a diabolical fondue recipe. Anyway, it’s worthy of a watch, so here goes… happy Wednesday!

RIP MCA

Did You Know?

DJ001Did you know that Adam “Ad-Rock” Horovitz of Beastie Boys fame wrote L.L. Cool J’s first single, I Need A Beat? Did you know that it was released in 1984, a full two years before the obnoxiously dominating full-length debut Licensed to Ill? Did you know that L.L. Cool was only 16 when he recorded this single?

Def JamDid you know that I Need A Beat was the debut record for the now prolific Def Jam Recordings, and is the owner of the coveted DJ001 catalog moniker? Did you know that this single, as well as L.L. Cool J’s 1985 full-length debut, Radio was produced by Rick Rubin? Did you know that Def Jam headquarters began and was run out of Rick Rubin’s NYU dorm room?

Well, now you do.

Post #250: Three Albums, One Island

Paul'sIf you were stranded on a remote island (that conveniently harbored electricity, speakers and a bomb-ass turntable), and you were only allowed to pick three albums with which to spin for your remaining, ocean-gazing days, what three albums would they be?

For me, the first two albums were no-brainers. Paul’s Boutique by the Beastie Boys, and The Kinks Are the Village Green Preservation Society by The Kinks. Choosing the proper versions, both albums are double LPs (1998’s Grand Royal reissue and 2011’s mono/stereo split), so you’re already a leg up on the island dwelling competition. The third and final album requires much more, overanalyzed thought. Do you play it safe and pick Abbey Road? What about The Beatles, also known as the White Album? Or, do you skip the 12” format altogether and grab your favorite song, which just happens to be a post-hardcore thrasher by the obscure Wisconsin band, Defacto Oppression? Certainly NOT an easy decision to make (in this overly voluptuous hypothetical), second-guessing is sure to follow after the inevitably dreadful decision is (finally) made.

Village GreenBruce Springsteen’s Nebraska garnishes some thought, but would probably be far too depressing… after all, these three albums will help feed, or deter the fact that you are, after all, stranded on a remote island. Emergency & I by the Dismemberment Plan is a considerably strong candidate, but would immediately be my number four pick. Bizarre Ride II (The Pharcyde), In Case You Didn’t Feel Like Showing Up (Live) (Ministry), This is Tim Hardin (Tim Hardin… duh), and Circa: Now! (Rocket from the Crypt) are all, exceptional lily pads on this thought pond, but none of them make the distinct cut.

London Calling (The Clash), Double Nickels on the Dime (Minutemen), Singles – 45’s and Under (Squeeze), Energy (Operation Ivy), Appetite for Destruction (Guns N’ Roses), which would easily be my number five pick, Black Monk Time (The Monks), and Fresh Fruit for Rotting Vegetables (Dead Kennedys) all lay floating in the salted sea of “never to enjoy again.” Damn, this post is depressing.

RefusedAnd the winner goes to… The Shape of Punk to Come… the quintessential soundtrack to my evasive youth wins the number three spot, and with little hesitation, I might add. Refused’s best, and another double LP, this top three has quickly turned into the top six, and would respectfully demonstrate, and/or adequately demolish my headspace for the rest of my delusional life. To pick three out of 2,800 is certainly NOT an easy gesture… if asked again tomorrow, I’d have a completely different roster. Oh, the joy, and immediate pleasure of viable options.

Oh, the Summer of 1998

IntergalacticMy fondness for the summer of 1998 stands unmatched (as far as late 90s summers are concerned). I’d spent the bulk of my high school years blasting Beastie beats (much to my parents’ dismay), and that summer’s theme song, Intergalactic, would prove to be the first Beastie Boys single in nearly four years (a streak of lifetimes when you’re between the ages of 15 and 19).

I distinctly remember listening to the radio (an extremely rare thing at the time, and a practice exclusively unheard of today), waiting to hit play + record on my cassette player in the hopes of capturing this new, legendary song. The single was released in mid-May, but in Madison, Wisconsin, if you weren’t present when ANY Beasties single was displayed, your chances of obtaining one were next to nil. This was 1998, before the internet as we now know it, and a full year before Napster. Back then, if you wanted music, you had to hunt, and often times, you came home empty handed.

It’s sad to admit, but I’ve all but disowned Intergalactic now, along with its album, Hello Nasty. However, I’ll never forget the perpetual excitement that stuck to my early adulthood (not unlike Midwestern humidity), and this cover, above all others, transforms a weary man in his mid 30s back into a wide-eyed, overly vocal, and optimistic young man. Oh, the summer of 1998.

Your Eyes Deceive You, Don’t Trust Them

AglioDo you own Aglio E Olio (pronounced ahl-yo ay ohl-yo) by the Beastie Boys on wax? If you don’t, discontinue reading and go here. If you do, have you ever noticed the subtle misconception with the record? It’s not a wrong impression so much as a blatant deception. Allow me to briefly explain.

EHere is the record, right? Nothing out of the ordinary, at least at first glance. It plays, doesn’t skip, everyone is happy. With me? Ok, good. So, for years I thought this was an ordinary record. I’d purchased it new, kept good care of it, saw that it wasn’t colored, only the basic black, would play it from time to time, and that was it. It wasn’t until about 10 or so years later that I discovered (thanks to Beastiemania.com) that the record wasn’t black, but instead an excellently executed bit of trickery by the band.

Olio 2If you hold the “black” record up to the light, you’ll discover that it’s actually very dark translucent brown, made to look black. Needless to say, this blew my feeble mind upon immediate discovery.

I’m 99.9% sure every Aglio E Olio record is translucent brown, so if you own this album, and you haven’t heard of this before, check it out. While you’re at it, Check Your Head.

Ma, What Are They Givin’ Me?

Ma10 inches of Hip-Hop infused, fits of 1994 aggression! That’s what they’re givin’ you, kid! So sip your juice, spin your licorice disc, and leave your poor mother alone! Also, if you ever decide to grow a mullet, you will be disowned!

Any album containing the rapid fire fury of Mullet Head is worth owning, and this UK 10″ is no different.

November 20th, 1982

Polly Wog Stew CoverBefore the Berlin Wall fell, before Cookie Puss and Professor Booty. Before Return of the Jedi. Before Lost, Seinfeld, Moonlighting and Breaking Bad. Before the Challenger exploded. Before Full Metal Jacket, the Hubble Telescope, and Mullet Heads. Before The Clash broke up. Before I’d survived my first Wisconsin winter. Before the World Wide Web, Flash and MP3s. Before Mad Cow, Def Jam and Netty’s Girl. Before the Dust Brothers and the Chemical Brothers. Before Cheers closed. Before Jimmy James, Country Mike and the Nervous Assistant. Before Nintendo, Powerpoint and CD-ROM. Before Johnny Ryall, Brass Monkey, BS 2000, the Tibetan Freedom Concert, Grand Royal, and the prequels. Before Ad-Rock…

There was Polly Wog Stew.

Released on November 20th, 1982 on NYC’s Rat Cage Records. Listen here.

RIP MCA

Polly Wog Stew BackPolly Wog Stew Label