8 THE “81’ 9—23 Jul 1998
It wasn't cool for respectable, white, Jewish kids to rap until the Beasties came along. At best it was cultural tourism; at worst it was Vanilla Ice.
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painful memories of Live Aid — and the way in which some of the bands who played at that event were accused of performing only to boost their own careers — then Yauch is painfully aware of the pitfalls.
‘I felt really uncomfortable when I first started doing it.‘ he states in an unusually serious voice. ‘We grew up looking at a lot of rock stars out there preaching and professing things that I knew we were all kinda offended by. We just looked at these people like “Who the hell does this person think they are?" It always came across as seeming like they were really egotistical. The more we've done it. the more comfortable I‘ve gotten with doing it. Now I feel a little bit more comfortable trying to be a spokesman for something that‘s part of me. Maybe I look like a jerk doing it.‘
Maybe. Maybe not. Either way it doesn‘t really matter. The Beastie Boys have carved a career from making borderline jerkdom look cool. It wasn‘t cool for respectable. white. Jewish kids to rap or to create their own version of hip hop until the Beasties came along. At best it was cultural tourism: at worst it was Vanilla Ice. The Beasties broke the mould. As a rule. men in their mid-thirties don‘t ride skateboards and chopper pushbikes: they don't throw shapes and they certainly don't blether shit about potato fucking croquettes. The Beasties do all of this and somehow make it cool. Except the croquettes. of course.
Part of the Boys‘ appeal is that they do things their own way and bugger the consequences. Getting them to explain why they do what they do is. however. a whole different ball game. Let‘s try a simple one. Was it a conscious decision to use less guitars on Hello Nasty?
‘lt's a pre-decided thing against guitars.‘ begins Horovitz in a convincing display of rationality. ‘We kinda abolished guitars from rock 'n‘ roll music.‘
‘Yeah. we went to all guitar manufacturers to see if they would all give us a lot of free guitars and pay us a lot of money but they said no.‘ lies Diamond wistfully. ‘So we said “OK. that‘s it" It was kinda like a UN thing; we had a big meeting at a round table and when we said “It's gonna cost you. like. millions of dollars if you want us to use guitars" and they said no. so we said “OK then. we‘re gonna take them off'. That‘s it.‘
Buddhists and bullshit. businessmen and goof-off merchants. Have the Beastie Boys grown up‘.’ Yes‘.’ No‘.’ They don’t know.
The Beastie Boys play the Main Stage at T in the Park on Sunday 12 July. Hello Nasty is out now on Grand Royal.