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Gig Info:
Performance Date: 12 May 1992

Country: United States
City: Minneapolis, MN
Venue: First Avenue

Other Bands/Artists at the Show:

  • Basehead


The Skills to Pay the Bills Tour

Beastie Boys rehearsed at Prince's Paisley Park Studios before performing in Minneapolis.
Not Available
Star Tribune, May 8, 1992
By Jon Bream:

The Beastie Boys are back. And you've got to fight for the right to party with them Tuesday at First Avenue if hip-hop is what you expect. The Beasties' new album, Check Your Head, goes way beyond the hip-hop tip as the trio, playing instruments, journeys into hard-core rock, grunge rock, Jimmy Smith-like jazz, 1970s soul, James Brown grooves, Funkadelic-like funk-rock as well as rap. The music begins at 5:30 p.m. with Basehead and fIREHOSE. The show is open to all ages. Tickets cost $15 in advance, $18 at the door. Call 338-8388.

Star Tribune, May 11, 1992
By Jon Bream:

Superstardom for rap stars is short lived.

Run-D.M.C, the Beastie Boys, Tone Loc, Young MC, M.C. Hammer, Vanilla Ice and Digital Underground were rappers who made big splashes in pop and sold albums by the millions. The followup album for each of these stars was, by comparison, a flop.

"Rap is definitely an area where people really like new stuff," said the Beastie Boys' Adam Yauch, who is better known as MCA. "In rock, like with the Rolling Stones, it's one of those things that the longer you've been around, the more people want to know about you."

Rap is embraced primarily by young people, whereas some rock appeals to both young and older music lovers. But Yauch, 27, doesn't believe that explains why rappers don't stay on top for long. He said it has more to do with a sense of discovery.
"It's just fun to hear somebody you've never heard before," he said last week before a rehearsal at Paisley Park Studios, where the Beasties were preparing for a tour that will bring them to First Avenue Tuesday.

The Beasties' Licensed to Ill was one of the biggest albums of 1987. It sold more than 5 million copies, spent seven weeks at No. 1 and yielded the smash single "(You Gotta) Fight for Your Right (To Party!)." The rap trio's followup, Paul's Boutique, didn't include a hit single, failed to sell 1 million copies and peaked at No. 14.

"A lot of record companies look at the numbers and they'll be like, 'Your first record sold 5 million and your second record sold only 800,000. What happened? You guys fell off,'" Yauch said. "I think the band all feels that the record (Paul's Boutique) did really well. Most musicians I grew up playing music with would probably shoot me if I ever complained about selling 800,000 records. It's definitely not a number to sneeze at. Almost everyone I run into who did buy it tells me how incredible they thought it was."

In retrospect, Licensed to Ill seems like a novelty record, the first prominent foray by young whites into rap, a genre spawned in the black ghettos of New York City. Three upper-middle class guys thrust rap into the mainstream by simultaneously emulating and satirizing black-urban culture and melding it with their childhood favorites, punk-rock and Led Zeppelin. One critic called this frat-party album "snotty genius."

Three years later, the Beasties followed with Paul's Boutique, which, in retrospect, seems like art-rock. Underrated, the album was an artful, elaborate, dizzying, hodge-podge collage of pop-culture references and 1970s soul rendered with the studio technique known as tape looping. "Hey Ladies," one of the songs from Boutique, ended up on Broadway in the play "Park the Car in Harvard Yard," which was written by Israel Horovitz, father of the Beastie Boys' Adam (Ad-Rock) Horovitz.

After the premature closing of Paul's Boutique, the Beasties relocated to Los Angeles. When Yauch, Horovitz and Michael (Mike D) Diamond began work on a third album, they decided to make an all-instrumental recording. (All three had played in punk-rock bands before they started rapping in the Beasties.) Serious collectors of vinyl albums, they made the decision to go instrumental because they had been listening to old-school jazz-funk by the likes of Jimmy McGriff, Groove Holmes and Jimmy Smith. With Yauch on bass, Horovitz on guitar and Diamond on drums, the Beasties began to jam in their L.A. studio. They ended up with more than 100 hours of music on tape.

As the recording progressed, the Beasties began listening once again to rap records by the likes of Q Tip, Cypress Hill and Public Enemy. And they decide to add some raps--and even singing--to Check Your Head, which was released last month.
Musically, Head is all over the spectrum, embracing old-school rap rhymes, punk rock, grunge rock, Funkadelic funk-rock, jazzy '70s soul, James Brown grooves, classic organ-propelled jazz and off-the-wall, hip-hop sampling of snippets from a Bob Dylan record (they went through one of Dylan's sons to get permission), from an ad for Blue Nun wine and of TV comedian Jimmie Walker shouting "Dyn-o-mite."

Critics have been widely divided over the new recording, which features 20 tracks and 53 minutes of music. The Village Voice, a weekly New York arbiter of culture, called it a masterpiece, and New York Newsday, a daily newspaper, called it an "instant rock and rap classic." The Los Angeles Times said the album "sounds as if it were recorded in a single afternoon, with time out for beer."

In concert, the Beastie Boys will play most of the material from Check Your Head. That means they will be playing real instruments for about half the show (along with two extra musicians). A drum technician will sit in for Diamond when he raps or sings.

"It is possible to play (instruments) and rap at the same time," said Yauch. "But we haven't perfected it yet."

While rehearsing at Paisley Park, the Beasties have been playing basketball and skateboarding on the sound stage's curved walls, which are used for special effects for shooting TV commercials.

"You can ride the walls in Prince's spot," said Yauch of the rappers' skateboarding. "But don't let the management catch you. Do you think those walls are really pretty strong? Because we've been skating on it and they've been getting really uptight with us. But it's like so much fun to skate on it. They say it's delicate and it's gonna break. I don't think it's gonna break."

You can take the Boys out of New York (or Los Angeles) but you can't take the Beastie out of the Boys.