Word out, yo!
By Joseph Barracato
No samples. No scratches. No words. After giving fans a nibble on "Check Your Head," "Ill Communication" and the cult-hit compilation "The In Sound From Way Out!," the Beastie Boys are ready to serve up a full course of fresh instrumentals with "The Mix-Up," out Tuesday
Their seventh studio album finds N.Y.C.'s beloved sons - Mike "Mike D" Diamond, Adam "MCA" Yauch and Adam "Ad Rock" Horovitz - drawing from one of the primary weapons in their musical arsenal: unlike most hip-hop artists, they actually play instruments. Diamond is the dummer, Yauch plays bass and Horovitz handles guitar duties. They're joined by longtime collaborator Money Mark on keyboards and percussionist Alfredo Ortiz.
So, what inspired the trio to go rap-less after 28 years?
"A lot of different stuff. It's not like any one specific thing that we put on the record and said 'Oh, let's make some s - - t like this,' " says Ad Rock, the group's guitarist. "I think a lot of the stuff we've listened to over the past 20, 30 years all kind of comes in there somehow. I also think there are some influences from dub records and jazz records we listen to - or even funk. Probably some stuff from the early '80's like [the] Specials, [the] Clash and [the] Slits. Stuff from early punk."
"Early punk" was what originally inspired the Beastie Boys to form a band. And it's the sound that defined their first record, 1981's "Pollywog Stew."
It's only when they added a major jolt of rap, for "Licensed to Ill," that they became stars.
Now the group is exploring a host of different styles. When the mellow "Freaky Hijiki" kicks in, the Boys might as well be in a jazz club. "The Cousin of Death," meanwhile, is a classic-rock throwback, complete with machine-gun snares and a ripping guitar.
The follow-up to 2004's politically heavy "To the 5 Boroughs," comes with a question the hip-hop community is already salivating over: Are they planning to bring in artists to rhyme or sing over the 12 tracks?
The group themselves would only offer, "We're talking to people about it," before flashing their typical immaturity and mentioning names like Billy Joel, Paul Simon, Boston and Fleetwood Mac.
"They might bring in some gypsies to sing. They are the wildest rap group ever - black or white," offers pioneer Ice T, an admirer of the situation. "They're always doing something creative. Nothing would surprise me."
"I would love to spit on a track and be a part of history," adds famed producer Swizz Beatz, another fan.
Regardless of what they decide, the Beastie Boys will be playing at several European festivals throughout June and July, including Live Earth at Wembley Stadium on July 7.
They return to the U.S. briefly to invade Summerstage on Aug. 8, before making an appearance at McCarren Park Pool in Brooklyn the next day. Both shows sold out in less than two minutes.
These outdoor dates will be what the band is referring to as "regular" shows, complete with the Boys in all of their hip-hop glory. But, according to their Web site, the Beasties will be playing some all-instrumental sets - referred to as "gala" shows - along the way at intimate clubs.
The group's extremely charged about choosing which songs to feature each night, especially now that they can draw upon a new well of sounds.
"We have more artillery," explains MCA, "and more firepower."
Sunday, June 24, 2007
From the New York Post: