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Country Mike

Very few bands in the history of popular music have had the ability to cross genres and merge styles as effectively as the Beastie Boys. However, long time fans were still a little shocked when the news spread that the Beastie Boys had recorded the full length Country Mike’s Greatest Hits album. In the August 15th, 1998 Much Music television interview with the Beastie Boys prior to their performance in Barrie, Ontario Michael Diamond jokingly hinted that the possibility of a country album. “…We working on this country album with Garth (Brooks) because we figured inevitably this can only last but so long. But then…ok then…we can come with that...the country album with Garth and regain the status. The blow by blow procedure.” As is often the case when the Beastie Boys are having their way with the media, there was more than an ounce of truth mixed in with Mike D’s words.

At first only a few songs leaked out of the Atwater Village, California Grand Royal compound: "Sloppy Drunks", "Country Mike’s Theme", and "Country Delight." They found their way into the hands of a reputable Beastie Boys collector, and he then in turn began spreading the word that the country music recordings did indeed exist. Although he was on the cutting edge having the tracks nearly a year before anyone else, he had the titles slightly askew. Getting a hold of the mythical tracks "Country Delight", "Country Mike’s TV Theme", and "Sloppy Drunk" was suddenly all people in trading circles could talk about. The envied collector proved to be a difficult fellow, and it took the release of the Beastie Boys Anthology: Sounds of Science (1999) for others to get to listen to Country Mike croon. Even then many within the Beastie Boys online community were still envious of this now notorious collector, for he had spoke of three songs and only two had now been released.

Who in all of Nashville, TN would have ever dreamt that former NYHC (New York Hardcore) front man, Michael Diamond, would release the most sought after country record of the early twenty-first century. Approximately least nine months after the three tracks were leaked and also following the release of the Beastie Boys Anthology: Sounds of Science, vinyl copies of Country Mike’s Greatest Hits began to appear on eBay.com. Online bids were ranging from three to four hundred dollars for the single 12” record. Yet amongst the crazy bidding there were some who were cautious and held off on getting involved with the auction wars. Many wondered if these were just promotional albums and the commercial version would soon be available for less than twenty dollars through the Grand Royal online store. Fans were getting mixed singles from the band too. Adam Yauch, who was responsible for the liner notes regarding Country Mike in the Beastie Boys Anthology: Sounds of Science, said the following in a television interview conducted in Portugal (1998). “Well there is the country album. It is pretty much done. There’s actually one song that needs to be mixed. It was out but we recalled it. There was one song…there were no sleigh bells on this one song…so we need to record those sleigh bells and remix that.” Perhaps due to that remark message boards began to contain an occasional post with a person swearing that he or she had seen a phantom copy of Country Mike’s Greatest Hits in a record store. Since the album was never sent to record stores, but instead sent to friends and family as a holiday gift from the band , those sightings rate right up there with Loch Ness Monster, Big Foot, and Abominable Snowman encounters.

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