And he also found time to play with the Google Moog Doodle!
My first concert with the Beastie Boys was in New York City. They were a punk band back then. They released a great punk single, “Polly Wog Stew”. I imported it to the record store in Copenhagen, where I worked. We probably sold around 20 copies.
Then they made a record called “Cooky Puss”. Back then, we still used landlines (and I used a telex machine to order the vinyl records from around the world!). And telephone calls often showed up in songs. This track was especially good. Both entertaining and funky, I personally pushed this record hard in Copenhagen in the eighties. We probably sold a couple of boxes of the 12″ single.
Then they got signed to Def Jam. And Def Jam had a deal with Columbia Records (CBS in Europe). The underground days were over. Their first single for Def Jam was “Rock Hard”. Heavy beats and snotty rap. I don’t think the record company had any idea what to do with it. Initially, it was not released in Europe. I imported the American 12″ single. Sold a couple of boxes of that. Then all hell broke loose.
The first album came out and it was a blockbuster. Now, the record company got interested. It went to number 1 on the Billboard charts. But of course the artist did not get payed. They never made an album for that record company again.
The next single was “She’s On It”. It was a mix of their old punk rock days and their new found hip hop stardom.
I remember seeing The Beastie Boys live again in London at a big event in Brixton. It was a double concert with Run DMC. It was the biggest thing in London that year. All the famous people were there. I remember drinking beer – a lot of beer! – with the actor Matt Dillon [check this movie scene!] in the VIP room. It was fun times. It was good times.
Then came all the hit singles, “Fight for your right…” and so on. The Beastie Boys were huge and a teenage phenomenon.
Then came the “difficult” second album. It turned out to be their masterpiece. “Paul’s Boutique” was a landmark album. Not only in hip hop, but in modern pop music. Again, the new record company Capitol Records (EMI) had no clue. But at least they stuck with the band and continued to release their music. And paying them, I guess. Also, financially supporting their upcoming own label, I think.
Later in life, the Beastie Boys made their own record label, Grand Royal Records. They released the first album by one of my favourite artists, Sean Ono Lennon. Here is the first single with a music video directed by Spike Jonze:
Here is a moving tweet from Sean.
Adam Yauch. You will be missed. R.I.P.
Levon Helm’s second album for ABC was cut in the summer of 1977, at Cherokee Studios in Hollywood and Muscle Shoals Sound in Alabama. Produced by master bassman Donald “Duck” Dunn (from the Blues Brothers Band and Booker T. Jones’ MGs), the album ended up as a mixture of New Orleans funk, like Allen Toussaint’s “Play Something Sweet” and country-soul balladry as in the version of Tony Joe White’s “I Came Here To Party”. The overall impression of the album is that there are too many songs unsuitable for Helm’s distinctive vocal style, the exception beeing the wonderful version of the Cate Brothers song “Standing on a Mountain Top”, with Earl and Ernie Cate howling soulfully along with Levon. [Source]
Exactly 18 years after the suicide of Kurt Cobain, The Fix unveils five of his original artworks. A dark look into the mind of a tortured heroin addict, they’re also ground zero in a battle between Cobain’s widow and his publishing company. [Source]
Morrison Hotel Gallery presents Jesse’s amazing Kurt Cobain photographic collection at our SoHo Gallery on April 5th. While earning a degree in economics at the University of Michigan, Jesse Frohman picked up a camera and never put it down. When he returned to New York, he had no formal training or experience, but he did have a portfolio of platinum prints, which caught the interest of legendary photographer Irving Penn, who hired Jesse to manage his studio. It was an incomparable apprenticeship. To the techniques and aesthetics he learned from Penn, Jesse added his own sensibilities of strength, dignity and quiet energy, all of which are evident in his pictures. Jesse has photographed countless celebrities and still lifes. In addition to his work for magazines, advertising, and recording companies, he has been commissioned to create two award-winning books. His work is also in many private collections. [Source]