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We know you’ve heard of them- The Beastie Boys are an American alternative hip hop music group from New York City—Brooklyn and Manhattan. The main members are Mike D (real name Michael Diamond), MCA (Adam Yauch) and Ad-rock (Adam Horovitz).

Beastie Boys was the first successful white rap group and one of the few acts from the early days of hip hop that still enjoy major success. Beastie Boys was formed in 1979 as a punk rock band called The Young Aborigines. In 1981, Adam Yauch (MCA) joined the group and changed the name to Beastie Boys. The name “Beastie” originally stood for “Boys Entering Anarchistic States Towards Inner Excellence.” They changed their music to hip-hop when they met Producer Rick Rubin and signed to Def Jam records. They released their first record in 1984. Beastie Boys were the last band to play the famed Max’s Kansas City in NYC, and they opened for Madonna on the 1985 US Virgin Tour. Their rock and punk-influenced rap has had significant impact on artists both in and outside the hip hop scene.

Their latest venture is “Awesome: I …Shot That,” a film made up of footage shot by 50 audience members at an October 9, 2004 concert at Madison Square Garden. The footage was assembled under the direction of Horatio Hornblower, also known in some circles as MCA, and in others as Adam Yauch, a member of the band. “Awesome” was first screened at the 2006 “Sundance Film Festival” where Dish caught up with the Beastie Boys. Here’s what they had to say:

"We were in discussions about doing this film, and the idea came up and somebody said, ‘New York is coming up.’ So that set the tone for the whole thing; every time we come to New York there’s always that vibe, that New York vibe. We love New York as New Yorkers, living in New York and being there."

“Awesome” is entirely shot by audience members. According to the band, “We went on our website and asked if people had tickets for the show, because the show was already sold out. We asked people to post on a message board if they wanted to do it, and we looked at a seating chart, and people were spread out all over the arena. So we chose people solely based on where they were seated. That was the only criteria, and also that you didn’t turn off your camera during the show. That was the cardinal rule.”

“We come out of the background of being a punk band and playing in real small clubs,” said Adam Yauch, “in rooms that are full of friends, or rooms with like 15 or 20 people in them, and in a way it’s really a weird thing to be in a huge arena. What I really like about the movie is that the people shot it, so it’s like the essence of hip hop and punk rock. It’s like these people made it; it’s like we all made it, and that’s what I like about the movie. The kids made it, we all made it together.”

“I kept wanting to see more about what was going on with the audience and that’s why I thought it was so cool with them filming it. As a performer, I’m never allowed to see that. I don’t have an insight into that world; I don’t really see what they’re up to or what their world is like while we’re performing so that to me is a really cool thing to have that represented.”

He continues, ‘This is very different than the MTV way of doing things, with the camera operators, and the booms, and the zoom shots and the tilt and all of that, because these people are really into it, and it shows.” And in case you’re wondering folks, all those cameras had to be given back, “and then we had to return them to the store.” The guys got a big kick out of imagining, “Some people may have the cameras from the film-yeah, and they’re recording their vacations on them.” (Lots of laughter)

For More Beastie Boys, Turn The Page / Issue 55 - September 2018
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