The Making of (You Gotta) Fight for Your Right (to Party!)
Beastiemania.com was curious about what went into the creation of the "(You Gotta) Fight for Your Right to Party" music video. Never before has the story been told, so we are delighted to be a part of this first.
In the words of Adam Dubin, who along with Ric Menello, directed both the "No Sleep Till Brooklyn" music video as well as the "(You Gotta) Fight for Your Right (to Party!)":
"Fight for your Right" came about this way Rick Rubin was a year ahead of me at school (New York University). While he was working on the Licensed to Ill recording during the spring of 1986, I was finishing my senior thesis film at NYU. I wrote, produced, and directed a film entitled My Pal Satan. Rick liked it and provided me with some Slayer music as well as some Beastie Boys music for the film's soundtrack.
In the fall of 1986 I was working with Rick Rubin, who was busy directing Tougher Than Leather. The single for "Fight for Your Right" was going crazy on the radio in New York as well as in other markets by November of 1986. I have no doubt that if he had been free, Rubin would have directed the video. He was too bogged down finishing the Run DMC film though and MTV was screaming for the video. Therefore he called Ric Menello in to direct the video. Menello, who is just an incredible film historian, had gone to NYU film school about ten years before Rick and I had attended there.
When we first met him, Menello was working the front desk at Weinstein dorm from midnight to 8am. Menello had studied film history at NYU film school in the 70's. On many a night while eating food from Cozy Soup and Burg on Broadway, Rick Rubin, the Beastie Boys and I would sit with Menello and get a first class film history lesson. So when it came time to direct the video, the Beastie Boys wanted Menello to do it. The problem was that Menello didn't know how to produce a video and Rick Rubin wasn't putting up a lot of money to do it. That is where I, Adam Dubin, entered. They all knew me, my film My Pal Satan, and they knew that I could pull it off for very little money. So the next thing that I knew, I was producing and co-directing the video. The next challenge was that Rick Rubin dictated that we had to pull it off the very next weekend, which was Thanksgiving weekend, or else no video.
I started doing everything that I could in order to pull together the video shoot. It is tough getting crew people on a holiday weekend, because most people were traveling so that they could be with family. The concept for the video came from us just batting around ideas between the Beasties, Menello and myself. It just sort of came up that there would be a party that the Beastie Boys would invade. Menello and I definitely came up with the pie fight in the end, because we are such silent movie fans. We modeled the video after the party scene in the great movie Breakfast at Tiffany's. We just threw in every gag in the book.
Rick Rubin gave us $20,000, which was not much for a two day shoot. In order to get it done, we had to beg, borrow, and steal everything that we could. We used Sunny Bak's studio, because she was a friend of the Beastie Boys. All of the people in the video were friends of the band. The television set that Adam Yauch smashes with a sledgehammer is my family's old TV. I remember that when shooting the smashing of the TV, Adam Horovitz, Mike D, and I all hid behind Menello, so that the shattering glass didn't hit us.
Ric Menello's folks are the parents you see in the beginning and then again at end of the video. Ric had to hit his own mother in the face with the pie at the end. The pie fight was fun because everyone just went nuts and threw pies at everyone else. However it was over far too quickly and we just didn't have enough footage of it. This is why we had to reuse the footage over and over. The Beasties all wanted to be the ones to throw the pie in Rick Rubin's face on camera. Everybody pulled together, pitched in, and it all worked out. I can still remember cutting the back of the guitar, so that it would explode when they smashed it. But it was Ric Menello's idea for that great shot that everyone remembers...where the Beasties are on the couch singing the first chorus.
The "No Sleep 'till Brooklyn" video was sort of the same thing, but we had more money because of the success of first video."No Sleep 'till Brooklyn" was shot in January of 1987. The concept was that the video would be a series of gags set in the world of Heavy Metal. Ric Menello played the club promoter in the beginning of the video. I was in the gorilla suit doing the guitar solo until Kerry King from Slayer pushes me out of the way. Ric and I felt great with the success of the two videos. It allowed us to go on and do other videos. I moved on to work with Metallica, which was incredible.
I think that the "Fight for Your Right" video did the best thing that a video can do....it gave an identity to the band. Who are the Beastie Boys? This is the Beastie Boys. They are the kids that would invade a boring house party, wreck the place, and leave with the beer and the chicks. End of story. It was great to see these guys who we had known as just guys around the way, blow up to be huge stars around the world. It was hilarious.
I think that the reason the "Fight for Your Right" music video holds up today and continues to be on those top video lists is because it is a great song and a fun video that captures the artists in the right way. I have no idea why those videos were left off the Beastie Boys Video Anthology DVD. I suspect that it is because of who owns the copyrights. It is too bad, because I wish all the videos were available on DVD set. The gags were good and it makes you laugh. It was designed to be a classic comedy and it works that way. It is like the Beastie Boys version of the Beatles' A Hard Days Night.