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From the Reserve Library: Boys Entering Anarchistic States Toward Inner Excellence

Posted: Jan 26 2019

 

 

The Beastie Boys before Licensed to Ill : Teenagers running around to punk shows who had artists and intellectuals as parents that allotted (too much?) freedom, in early eighties New York City. Time Square is full of porn shops leaning hard on the seedy side, and the city itself is essentially a mix tape that changes tracks walking street by street. All of their time is spent around the hardcore scene and catching the next show to the point where Diamond, Horovitz, and Yauch decide why not try this ourselves. They cut a demo with a local record shop and hustle to get gigs with revered punk bands, and they open for Bad Brains at Max's on the legendary club's closing night.Then they get turned on to a new movement at a club in the East Village and it changes their entire approach. Afrika Bambaataa and Jazzy Jay spin the Beastie Boys epiphany that night at Negril: punk is loved but limited, hip-hop has endless possibility. A mesh of the two forms would be their shout.

The Beastie Boys Book is a fully enveloping conversation with Mike D (Michael Diamond) and Ad-Rock (Adam Horovitz) that covers any question you would have about the band's formation, music making, and New York City. It also covers every question you would never think to ask with comic strips, mix tape lists, and a recipe book as the answer. The chapters are a back-and-forth between Diamond and Horovitz who manage to be reflective of the past while also locking into it in order to tell stories of world touring, recording, and all other experiences that make up  Beastie lore. Interjecting into each other's chapters with  jokes and afterthoughts makes it seem like everyone is sitting around the same room reminiscing. Also included are takes from now-famous fans and collaborators such as Director Spike Jonze, critic and friend Luc Lante, and comedian Amy Poehler.

The 541 pager also serves as a tribute to their best friend and band mate Adam (MCA) Yauch who passed away in 2012 from cancer. The opening and closing chapters eulogize the guy that constantly pushed the band to be more and came up with some of their most well known bass lines. At its heart, the Beastie Boys Book is about three NYC friends that loved punk and hip-hop whose band took off and redefined music.

 

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