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.

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