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Gig Info:
Performance Date: 8 April 1987

Country: United States
City: Bethlem
Venue: Stabler Arena

Other Bands/Artists at the Show:

  • Public Enemy
  • Murphy's Law


Licensed to Ill Tour
Not Available
Morning Call, April 3, 1987
By Len Righi

"None of us has anything to say, but we keep on talking," proclaimed the Beastie Boys' King Ad-Rock between the belches and bad language that punctuated a recent telephone conversation.

Leaving aside the truth or falsity of the youngest (19) Beastie's quip, the white rap 'n' rock band from Manhattan has received the E.F. Hutton treatment: when they talk, a lot of people listen. Pop culture vultures just can't seem to get enough of King Ad-Rock (Adam Horovitz), Mike D. (Michael Diamond, 20) and MCA (Adam Yauch, 22)'s foul-mouthed funnies and antagonistic antics. The Beasties' No. 1 single, "Fight for Your Right (to Party)," has become an MTV staple, and the band's debut LP on Def Jam, Licensed To Ill, is No. 1 on Billboard's pop album chart, was a hit on the black music chart and has sold an estimated 3 million copies. The band, which performs Wednesday night at Stabler Arena, Bethlehem, was a presenter at this year's Grammy Awards show, and has been written about, dissected and analyzed by the likes of The New York Daily News, Village Voice, The Los Angeles Times, and Time, Newsweek and People magazines. And still the interview requests come in.

So, are the Beasties beginning to feel hemmed in and perhaps overwhelmed by their image as obnoxious, drug-taking, beer-drinking, sex-obsessed, macho slobs? "Yes, sometimes, maybe," King Ad-Rock replied without missing a beat.

Well, how about the ill will the Beasties' anti-social behavior has fostered within the industry? The celebrated run-in with Dick Clark; the chilly relationship with Columbia Records; the verbal threats against Michael Jackson for nixing their version of the Beatles' "I'm Down" and keeping it off their LP, and being banned from a major hotel chain in England - aren't industry types just waiting for the Beasties to fall on their derriere?

"There are a lot of bull---- artists and yes men in this industry and they are meaningless," replied King Ad-Rock. "Whatever they think doesn't matter to me. People want to have a good time. That's what we stand for. I didn't try to get where I am now, so I'm not worried about falling back to where I was." So what's the story with Dick Clark? Are the Beasties really banned from "American Bandstand" for insulting Clark's wife? "We never even saw his wife," said King Ad-Rock. "He said we stole a telephone from his office. I think I can buy a $10 phone on the street, so why would I have to steal one from his office?"

The Beasties, King Ad-Rock said, were unhappy that Clark edited "Fight for Your Right" when they performed the song on "Bandstand." "We had to (perform) to a tape (of the song). We couldn't play it live, so we threw our mikes on the ground and wrecked them."

And Michael Jackson? After all, it was King Ad-Rock who made the widely circulated quote, "If I ever meet Wacko Jacko, I'm gonna punch him in the head."

"Naw, I don't wanna punch Jacko," said King Ad- Rock. "I used to like him actually. He was cool when he was little. In the Jackson 5, he was def. But once he went off on himself, around the time of 'Ben,' he went downhill."

The Beasties began their unlikely climb to the top in 1979 as a hardcore punk band formed by Mike D. and MCA and two other friends. King Ad-Rock, who was a member of another hardcore band, The Young And The Useless, joined up when the Beasties' original guitarist quit. But that arrangement didn't last long, and the group broke up. In 1983 Mike D., MCA and King Ad-Rock regrouped and began experimenting with hip hop and rap. The result was "Cookie Puss," which featured a rhythm track and King Ad-Rock placing phone calls to the toll-free number for Carvel ice cream and giving the operators a very hard time.

The Beasties blend of rap and rock earned them an invitation from Madonna in 1985 to open her 35-city Material Girl tour, and last summer they were part of the Raising Hell tour featuring Run-D.M.C., Whodini and L.L. Cool J. This current go-round began more than two months ago, and probably will extend another three months and include stops in Europe and Japan, making it the longest trek yet for the Beasties.

King Ad-Rock said the grueling schedule and demands that come with being this moment's sensation haven't fundamentally changed him. "If anything, I've gotten worse. I've gotten more bitter. But we've also become more ourselves. We realize the only way we're gonna make it is to be ourselves.

"What makes me mad is these feminists who get mad at us for making fun of women. We make fun of everybody . . . Our album is filled with inside jokes, most of them about ourselves.

"We don't make records for 'fans,' whatever 'fans' means. Making a record (the way) the Human League (does), that's bull----. We're just doing what any (expletive) kid is doing. We're not making records for 'a fan,' but a friend."

So who are the fans that are coming to see the Beasties? "We get some crazy, weird audiences, people from 6 to 52. Skinheads, parents, college kids, b boys . . . It's not just a group of people there to compare hairdos."

King Ad-Rock complained that writers rarely ask the Beasties about their music, so he volunteered the following information: The idea for "Fight for Your Right" came from MCA. "It was a thing we used to just run around and say," said King Ad-Rock. "(MCA) wrote the chorus and I wrote the words."

His favorite song is the doo wop/rap "Girls," whose sexist sentiments have earned condemnation from many quarters. "It was fun writing it, and because it causes so much controversy, even though it's just fun." Then, he added, "It's my father's favorite, too." Why? "Because he's stuck in the '50s."

King Ad-Rock described "The New Style," "Time to Get Ill," and "Desperado" as "a montage of life itself," and "She's Crafty" as "the Beasties version of 'Norwegian Wood.' My girlfriend gave me a copy of 'Rubber Soul' and I realized the Beatles copied us."

So much for songcraft. How about pet peeves?

"Two things bug me," King Ad-Rock said. "First, people think a lot of drugs and s--- and sexism and rock 'n' roll are a bad influence on kids. But kids can make up their own minds. Why is it all right to have Mick Jagger and Keith Richards to look up to and they come down on this?

"The other thing is, that we're (thought of as) somebody's puppets. We're not. We've been in this thingso long. We started rapping long before it ever left New York City."

The Beastie Boys, Public Enemy and Murphy's Law perform Wednesday at Stabler Arena, Bethlehem. The show begins at 7 p.m. Tickets are available at Ticketron and the usual area outlets. For information, call 821-0906.

Morning Call, April 4, 1987
By Carrie Stetler:

He calls himself a "non-stop rhythm rock poetry sayer," but you can call him Chuck D. Chuck. The lead vocalist of the rap group Public Enemy, has one of more eloquent voices in hip-hop at the moment, and though he's outspoken about a lot of things, he refuses to reveal his real last name.

Public Enemy, which will open for the Beastie Boys Wednesday night at Stabler Arena, Bethlehem, extrapolates not only about themselves (the favorite subject of most rappers), but about political and social issues as well. Comprised of Chuck D., his sidekick Flaver Flave, and DJ Terminator X., Public Enemy tries to promote pride and self-awareness within the black community.

"A lot of our lyrics try to teach pride to black kids across America, try to get them to learn about their history and make them aware of things that go on which affect them. We have a lyric sheet with our album to get our message of positivity across," Chuck D. says.

On Public Enemy's Def Jam album, "Yo! Bum Rush The Show," produced by Rick Rubin (who's credits include Run-D.M.C. and the Beastie Boys), the group also raps about more mundane topics, such as their cars, their mouths, their friends and their turntables.

The music which backs their raps is minimal and almost avant-garde by hip-hop standards. They dub their voices over a variety of sounds: heavy breathing, funk bass lines, heavy metal guitar, and occasionaly, a noise that sounds like a dentist drill. The effect is chaotic, witty and danceable.

Manhattan natives Chuck D. and his crew started out DJ-ing rap radio shows five years ago. "When we first started there weren't enough rap records around to play so we made some tapes of our own and they got more of a response then the records," says Chuck D.

Rick Rubin enjoyed the tapes so much that he kept bugging Public Enemy to do an album, but they didn't want to get in to the record business because they thought it was "cut-throat." A lot of rappers had already been disillusioned with the Sugar Hill label (the Motown of rap), but Rubin and many others were so persistent that finally, Chuck D. relented and made the record.

The group chose the name Public Enemy because they believe that many people find rap music threatening. "We're young, we're black, we're loud and we're proud," says Chuck D. "And of course that's going to pose a threat - especially to white America. Whenever anyone speaks out against a repressive system, it's going to be threatening. I don't mean to threaten anyone but a lot of rap is on the aggressive end. It's an aggressive form - it's like playing basketball."

The Beastie Boys, Public Enemy and Murphy's Law perform at 7 p.m. Wednesday at Stabler Arena, Lehigh University, Bethlehem. Tickets are available at Ticketron and the usual area outlets. For information, call 821-0906.