Back in the fall of 1982 when Adam Yauch and Michael Diamond were first captured on film, it may have been difficult to convince others that the Beastie Boys would appear in several major motion pictures as well as a handful of straight-to-video releases. However, twenty years later the entire world knows who the Beastie Boys are and just how diverse and creatively competent they have proven to be.
Although Adam Horovitz was not an original member of the Beastie Boys, by 1984 he had replaced John Berry on guitar and was considering a possible acting career. The following year, he made his television debut playing "Ronny", a drug selling delinquent, in an episode of The Equalizer entitled "Mama's Boy." Initially the only place a Beastie Boys collector could go in order to find this rare Horovitz appearance was pay the people at the Edward Woodward (who starred in the Equalizer) fan club for a copy. Later on the cable network A&E began airing old Equalizer episodes and before long multiple copies of the "Mama's Boy" episode began circulating amongst tape traders. Approximately at the same time, Adam filmed his appearance with the Beastie Boys for Russell Simmons' hip-hop movie Krush Groove. Both The Equalizer episode and Krush Groove premiered in 1985.
In his autobiography, Russell Simmons tells the story about how Krush Groove came into being. "In the early '80s Kurtis Blow, Run, and a lot of the other artists I managed began expressing interest in acting. There had been a successful but exploitative movie about hip-hop dancers called Breakin' that had been shot in Los Angeles, and it looked to us, with all the talent around us, that we should make a movie, too." That movie ended up featuring a live performance of Beastie Boys 1985 Def Jam single "She's On It." A studio version of the song later appeared on the soundtrack along with a handful of songs by other artists with ties to Russell's company Rush Productions. "So to be involved in Krush Groove I was paid $15,000. Rick Rubin got $15,000 (he also played himself in the movie). Run DMC jointly got $15,000. Even though George Jackson's the guy who executive-produced the soundtrack, the cool records on it were all ours. I mean, we gave them a hit soundtrack."
Collectors will be thrilled to discover that Krush Groove related items sell for much less when compared to Beastie Boys eBay.com listings. The movie has not yet been digitally transferred to DVD, so for now picking up a used copy of the VHS for under ten American dollars is a steal. In addition to the movie, fans may also see Krush Groove posters and soundtracks regularly changing hands on the auction website. The soundtrack was available on vinyl as well as cassette, and as stated before contains the Beastie Boys song "She's On It."
The Beastie Boys next theatrical appearance in the movie Tougher than Leather has traditionally been dated as 1988. However, most Beastie Boys fans know that the band's business relationship with Rick Rubin and Russell Simmons was well on its way to ending by that date. So the year 1987, which is what Russell lists in his book Life and Def, is more accurate and correct. "For a $2 million budget it (Krush Groove) was good. But in the end Rick and I were frustrated that Krush Groove wasn't as edgy as we wanted. There were a lot of scenes that embarrassed us. They were too bubble-gum. So we decided to make our own movie...Jam Master Jay, D.M.C., Joey, Rick, and I split the cost five ways to make Tougher than Leather, a film about Run DMC being harassed by some gansta types; it also featured the Beasties, Slick Rick, Rick (Rubin) and myself."
In the movie the Beastie Boys perform the otherwise unreleased song "Desperado." In addition to their live stage performance, which depicts them at the height of their beer swilling period, the band members spend several additional minutes acting rowdy inside of a snobby restaurant. Wendell "DJ Hurricane" Fite also makes an appearance in the movie, but not as the Beastie Boys DJ. Instead, that role was filled by Sam Sever. When people ask what the overall feel of the movie is, Russell Simmons says it best: "Krush Groove was a heartwarming little Hollywood film, whereas Tougher than Leather was a fake street film. So those were my early Hollywood experiences. Both experiences were so much fun that I never wanted to make a movie again."
Approximately about the same time (1987) on the heels of Licensed to Ill's popularity, Def Jam in conjunction with CBS-FOX video released the Beastie Boys self-titled home video. Advertisements for the videos bragged, "Don't Fight It! Beastievision has arrived!" The home video featured music videos as well as live footage and even gave fans a taste of the group's off stage exploits. For those that were disappointed by the fact that Beastie Boys Video Anthology DVD did not have any of the Def Jam era videos on it, this out of print home video will fill those gaps in nicely. Perhaps, Def Jam will eventually bring back this title and give it the DVD treatment that it deserves. Fans would likely race out to purchase a revamped version if it contained a commentary track by either Rick Rubin or Russell Simmons.
Adam Horovitz would begin filming his 1989 movie Lost Angels almost immediately following the end of the Licensed to Ill world tour. Diamond and Yauch stayed behind in New York for awhile playing in side-project bands such as Big Fat Love, Brooklyn, and Flophaus Society Orchestra. However, when it became apparent that the band would be leaving Def Jam, all three members relocated to Los Angeles, CA. Home to the film industry, Los Angeles provided the Beastie Boys with a change in scenery and also a change in sound.
During the release week of May 5th, 1989 Lost Angels was reviewed very positively by film critics and even had Siskel and Ebert touting Horovitz's performance reminiscent of a young James Dean. For those who have not seen the movie, Adam Horovitz's portrayal of a troubled youth in Lost Angels was similar to the role he had played a few years earlier in the episode of the Equalizer. The movie was not a box office block buster, but it did take in a gross of $1,013,619.00.
Lost Angels provided collectors with several items depicting Adam Horovitz; the movie's posters are probably the most popular. There were two different styles of theatre posters which usually sell for less than $10.00 on eBay. For completist collectors, similar posters also were created to promote the movie in video stores. Also in addition to the VHS tape, fans may want to pick up the Laser Disc version of the movie since a DVD release does not seem very likely.
The rarest and most unique Lost Angels promotional item to have turned up on eBay sold for less than $3.00: a pair of promotional slides which were sent to theatres prior to the movie's release. Press kits which include 8" X10" black and white photos of Adam Horovitz and the rest of the movie's cast are a fairly common occurrence on eBay. If you watch for Lost Angels items, be forewarned that the movie's soundtrack does not feature any music related to the Beastie Boys.
With the disappointing sales of the Beastie Boys 1989 release Paul's Boutique, the band decided not to tour; this opened the door for Adam Horovitz to pursue other acting jobs. Although it was not a lead role, he did lend a memorable performance to the 1991 Matt Dillion movie A Kiss Before Dying (it opened on April 26th 1991) and went on to make $14,769,755.00. If you know your Beastie Boys timeline, you will probably realize this movie was in theatres at about the same time that the Beastie Boys were in the studio assembling their 1992 release Check Your Head.
A Kiss Before Dying posters and other promotional items are relatively inexpensive on eBay, but for collectors they are a constant disappointment. None of the movie's promotional items ever seem to mention Adam; his name was left off of the poster's list of credits and the movie's press kit does not come with any Horovitz photos. Instead, most items revolve around the movie's two main stars: Matt Dillion and Sean Young.
1992 saw the release of the Beastie Boys' Check Your Head album and the return of instruments to the band's live performances. To showcase the music videos made for Check Your Head as well as older music videos from Paul's Boutique, the band released The Skills to Pay the Bills home video in late 1992. The Skills to Pay the Bills video has since been surpassed by the Beastie Boys Video Anthology DVD, but in its day it was a fan favorite. For those who want digital, a Laser Disc version of The Skills to Pay the Bills has been known to appear on eBay.com.
One of Michael Diamond’s appearances that you might have missed was that which he made in the 1995 documentary The Legend of Dolemite. This feature consists primarily of Rudy Ray Moore’s spoken word performances mixed with a few contemporary interviews from the likes of Mike D, Eazy E, Ice-T, and Eddie Griffin. Michael’s comments are brief, but if you are a purist, who has to have it all, this might be a release worth tracking down for your collection.
Feeding off of the popularity of Ill Communication, on July 13th 1994 the Recording Industry Association of America (R.I.A.A.) certified the Skills to Pay the Bills home video with its own gold sales award. As was the case with the 1987 self-entitled home video, The Skills to Pay the Bills home video promotional materials were limited to posters. The double-sided posters were sent out to music shops, and very likely many have been lost or destroyed over the years. From time to time though, a The Skills to Pay the Bills advertising poster does come up for auction on eBay.com and usually receives a winning bid of less than $10.00. The Licensed to Ill era home video poster sells for slightly more and due to its age is often found in less than mint condition. It should be noted that the Beastie Boys (1987) home video also earned an R.I.A.A gold sales award on February 17th, 1988.
As a flood of fans rediscovered the Beastie Boys in 1992, a few fans followed the film exploits of Adam Horovitz and made it a point to see his 1991-1992 movie Roadside Prophets. Although MTV did its best to promote the movie, Roadside Prophets did not do well commercially and earned only $147,724 in the United States. The 16mm print of the film saw a very limited distribution when New Line Cinema originally released it, so both dates 1991 and 1992 are used depending on the source. The official non-theatrical release date was August 15th, 1992.
Lack of interest in collectable Roadside Prophets pieces has kept prices on eBay.com low just as the case was with Lost Angels. Laser Discs and VHS tapes of the movie are on eBay.com nearly every week and often sell for less than the postage will cost. Posters for Roadside Prophets appear from time to time as do press kits, but neither bring the bids that they are capable if had the seller listed the items using Beastie Boys as keywords. As a potential buyer it pays to take advantage of an eBay sellers ignorance, search for Horovitz and you will likely find several of his films for less than you would pay to rent it. For fanatical collectors the ultimate would be to obtain this film, as well as Lost Angels on 16mm film. One could expect to pay anywhere from $150.00 to $500.00 for such a rare find. For the less fanatical, owning one of the films 16 mm trailers should cost less than $15.00. Getting into collecting 16mm is a challenge unto itself, 16mm projectors and films are expensive and since they are being snapped up by film historians and collectors the hobby is very competitive.
Following the 1992 Check Your Head tour, the Beastie Boys went back to California and recorded Ill Communication which came out in May of 1994. That release date was perfectly timed, since Sabotage went on to be the song that defined that summer. As co-headliners on the Lollapalooza tour the Beastie Boys brought their brand of funk and hip-hop to across the United States and Canada. Even though Sabotage and Sure Shot were still in heavy rotation on MTV, rabid fans raced out to pick up the Sabotage home video the day it went on sale.
The Sabotage home video was as much about the bands 1992 tour as it was about the music videos from their 1994 album. The combination of raw live performance footage and polished studio produced shorts was the perfect companion piece for what has become a legendary record. By enlisting the help of Ari Marcopoulos, the Beastie Boys put out an hours worth of video excellence that was worthy of the DVD treatment, even though it initially only saw a VHS release. As fate would have it the Sabotage home video has recently been released on DVD. It should be noted that the Sabotage DVD does not contain any extra footage that was not already available on the VHS version.
Cityscrapes Los Angeles, in which both Adam Horovitz and Ione Skye appear, also made its debut at the Sundance Film Festival in 1994. The independent movie starred Horovitzs friend Max Perlich who had also been in Lost Angels, and immediately made its way into the hands of collectors following its broadcast on the Sundance Channel. For those who are not interested in getting a high generation VHS copy through trading, the entire movie may be downloaded from cinemanow.com.
Promotional items from Cityscrapes Los Angeles are extraordinarily rare compared to those from Horovitzs other movies. For those trying to complete a collection of theatrical posters, the Cityscrapes Los Angeles one-sheet is next to impossible to locate. Hopefully as time goes on some will appear on eBay.com. The auction site has proved to be helpful time and time again for hungry collectors with deep pockets. Considering the attention Cityscrapes Los Angeles has obtained among Beastie Boys fans, it would be interesting to see just how fierce the bidding wars would become if movie props were to surface.
The first annual Tibetan Freedom Concert was held in San Francisco, California during June of 1996, but it was not until a couple of years later in 1998 that the motion picture Free Tibet finally made its way to screens in a limited theatrical release. The Free Tibet movie is entertaining and educational at the same time. During the summer of 1998 the film actually toured around North American movie theatres and then later was released on DVD complete with an Adam Yauch commentary option. On August 15th, 1998 Much Music interviewed the Beastie Boys prior to their performance in Barrie, Ontario. Yauch was asked about the documentary and he said the following: "The name of the documentary is Free Tibet and we just signed a deal with Shooting Gallery to distribute it. So it is going to be playing all around, so people should look out for it...it is just going to do some limited showings. They are likely going to tour the print, so it will probably just play one night around here." As an added bonus on the Free Tibet DVD, fans can watch the Beastie Boys Tibetan Freedom Concert "Root Down" music video which does not appear on any other video or DVD release.
Hello Nasty was released in July of 1998, and even though the band made three music videos for songs on the album, they did not release a home video to compliment the album as they had done in the past with previous releases. The band did however release the Beastie Boys Anthology: Sounds of Science the following year (1999) and fans enjoyed the handful of new songs that the double disc set offered up. Following the success of the career spanning audio anthology project, Adam Yauch spearheaded an effort to create a Beastie Boys video anthology. It was a DVD only release because it wouldn't be feasible to release the tens of VHS tapes necessary to hold all the possible audio and video combinations.
For many fans the Beastie Boys Video Anthology DVD was a dream come true. Yet others found the double disc collection disappointing. Those who were enthralled with all of the various onscreen options found themselves soaking up hours of previously unreleased remixes and commentary. The largest complaint though was that the DVD collection should have been three discs long and contained videos from the Licensed to Ill period. Another complaint was that although they were rarely shown on MTV, fan favorites such as Jimmy James, "Root Down (Tibetan Freedom Concert version)," and the remix video made for the Soul Assassin's version of "So What'cha Want" were all left off of the video anthology.
As with previous releases, there were a few promotional items for the Beastie Boys Video Anthology DVD, T-shirts and posters perhaps being the most common Also, press release packets for the DVD have fetched unexpectedly high bids. Perhaps the nicest promotional item created was the promo-only DVD, which featured the Intergalactic music video and its extras condensed onto one disc.
After the Beastie Boys departure the Def Jam Recordings label, it was believed that their interaction with Rick Rubin was nonexistent. Then Jay-Z released the Fade to Black DVD, which changed our perspective. It turns out that there is a scene in this concert documentary where Mike D is over at Rick Rubin’s house/recording studio in Los Angeles listening to Jay-Z lay down the vocals for “99 Problems.” Although the scene only lasts a few minutes, the DVD is definitely worth buying or renting. In addition to a great concert performance by Jay-Z, you are given an opportunity to look into an alternate universe and see what it would be like if the Beastie Boys had never left Def Jam. Even though you only see Michael in the film, it is not a stretch to imagine Yauch and Horovitz still working along side of Rick Rubin today.
In the summer of 2006, the Beastie Boys released the Awesome I Fuckin’ Shot That DVD. Although some fans “in select cities” had already seen the concert film in a movie theater, for most this was their first opportunity to view it. The film feature the Beastie Boys performance at New York’s Madison Square Garden back in October of 2004 on the To the Five Boroughs Pagent Tour. As you likely know, the concept of the film was to have 50 people, who were positioned throughout the audience, film the concert. Then, once everyone’s footage was collected it would be edited down into a feature film. Thus giving the at home viewer a taste of what it was like to see the Beastie Boys perform live.
Since the release of the DVD, a few Awesome I Fuckin’ Shot That promo items have surfaced on eBay. Perhaps the nicest of the lot is the black AIFST t-shirt. Also popping up fairly regularly on eBay are AIFST postcards and posters. None of these items have grown too expensive yet, so now may be the time to snatch them up.