Grand Royal Magazine  > Beastie Q & A > HistoryHome  
Questions and Answers:

History of Beastie Boy's Grand Royal Magazine

When word spread that the Beastie Boys had put out their very own magazine, newsstands and bookstores were swamped with requests for a title they had previously never heard of: Grand Royal. The very first issue of the magazine was indeed a Beastie Boys production through and through; all three members had contributed to what would become the very sought after premier issue. By issue number six, the magazine had become more of Mike D's venture than that of the two Adams. Adam Horovitz went so far as to actually have a disclaimer printed inside the pages of the sixth issue. "I was a fashion (I mean, super model) in the first issue of Grand Royal. But since then I've had nothing to do with the magazine. So not only are my views and opinions not expressed, but I don't agree with everything in the damn thing." Yet even without Adrock's input, the publication grew from a limited initial print run (1993) to a worldwide phenomenon by the time it was all said and done (1997).

According to Chris Johnsen (Head of Sales, Marketing & Promotion at Grand Royal 1993-2000) "We manufactured only 7,500 of Issue #1 and it sold immediately. With the long awaited Issue #2 we printed 50,000 and ended up sitting on 10's of thousands left over... With issue one, only 7,500 were made, approx 1,000 were given away and roughly 6,500 were sold directly to retail stores and we shipped many out to newstands through a distributor who never paid us a dime and told us most of the magazines he had shipped for us didn't sell, could not be returned to us due to cost issues and were subsequently destroyed by the newstands he sold them to. It's realistic that perhaps only 3-4,000 actually survived."

In what is perhaps the best published account of the once great Grand Royal empire, Mike D explained to Select magazine (June 1997) how they came up with the idea to publish the magazine. "We didn't sit down and think, Hey, lets make a magazine. It was more pathetic than that. We had all of these people writing to us (using the address listed within the Check Your Head liner notes) about the band and we weren't getting back. We had this simple ambition of a newsletter, but then we saw a couple of other bands' fanzines and they were just like, This is what the band is up to now and this is what they'll be doing. We were like no way! So we made it into a proper magazine."

Pathetic or not, the magazine met with huge consumer demand and soon potential advertisers were lining up to get their name splashed across the magazine's glossy pages. However things got sort of sticky for Grand Royal editors when the magazine would continually miss release deadlines. Issue number two, which is considered by many to be the War and Peace of "generation X" culture, took an extra year before it finally hit store shelves. Perhaps the ongoing deadline battles was what prompted Grand Royal to have what seemed like a revolving door of editors. Jamie Fraser, who was the Associate Publisher long after Bob Mack left, explained to Select magazine that the wait was part of the magazine's appeal. "Oh yeah, they (advertisers) can get pretty irate, but that's part of the allure. You can advertise in any magazine that comes out on time."

Although the lack of a predictable release schedule weakened Grand Royal's ability to sell subscriptions, the end of the print magazine was not a result of waning interest. As former editor Eric Gladstone recounts, "the staff at Grand Royal realized selling and fulfilling subscriptions was really a big pain (without a fulfillment service, which is how most magazines do it, it's a lot of work!), and that selling the magazine through record stores and newsstands worked much much better. It was through these venues that the final issues sold well. The latter issues were its best sellers, and we held to very tight budgets. The cessation of Grand Royal magazine was entirely a creative decision on the part of the group." The inevitable happened and the publication went to strictly an online 'zine. At first fans were excited because new features were being added to the site almost weekly, but soon the novelty wore off and the masses longed for their favorite pound of pulp.

Sadly, we now live in a post-Grand Royal world. With the fall of the record label came the end of the website and thus the end of the magazine in any format. Fortunately for us the content in the old issues of Grand Royal magazine are as fresh as the day they hit the stands. It is amazing how the magazines hold up nearly ten years after their creation. Mike D often would compare the magazine to a fine wine saying, "each issue is designed to age gracefully, with mellow undertones, and a fruity finish."

So to conclude, if you don't own the magazines it is time to make your way over to and pick them up. Or as Mike D said, "this is an extremely collectable magazine. All the time I hear about people going to other people's houses and reading it. It's phenomenal! Its shelf life is just huge!" (June 1997, Select).

Issue #1
76 pages.
Intro Page
Up Front - Russell Simmons is carphoned, Coxsone Dodd is Perliched, Q-Tip is Q&Aed and the Tibetan dilemma is outlined.
Top Tens - Food, fueds, snaps, beats, misleading album covers, tape tips, taking the skunk out of bud and the Bests of the Month.
Grand Royal News - Beastie Boys bulletins, Luscious Jackson action, on the DL with DFL, and the happening with Tha Hurra.
The Real Deal - Real Deal producers R.D. Bone and Lawrence Hubbard are interviewed and a sample of their genius provided in "Jabbo the Blind Pimp."
The Pharcyde - Stoned, stoopid and down on Rufus, the Pharcyde talk to Mike D. and Trendy Days.
Comics Page - Reas and Ione sketch it up.
George Clinton - An update by Marisa Fox. The center-spread features four color artwork by the colorblind Clinton.
The Great Gap Conspiracy - Dress nice or be iced.
Pal Joey! - Joey Buttafuoco Fashion, dressed to maim.
Bruce Lee - The legendary ass-kicker, wise-cracker and wisdom weilder.
The Kompleat Kiss - Inside a KISS convention, lunch with the band, and the guy who paints a sillouhette of the Destroyer album cover on everything.
Columns - The '71-'72 Lakers, My Winter Vacation, The '92-'93 Knicks, My Crisis with Flannel, Sound Advice, and the Captain's Beefs.
Reviews - What you need, and what got Z-Listed.
The Back Page - Stamps we'd like to see.
Issue #2  "Long Awaited, Much Anticipated, Grossly Outdated"
140 pages.
Includes a Biz Markie 7" Flexi.

Letters From And To The Editors
Bob is all apologies
"Free Slick Rick!" as per Captain's orders
Yauch yaks to the best of the letters
Bob and Pete irresponsibly respond to the rest
Ms. Hanna and Ms. Wilcox play Mr. Diamond (final score: KRS:1, Mike D:0)
Restauranteur Russell Simmons and wrong number victim Russell Simins confront their homonymphobia
Former Ultimate Fighting Champion Royce Gracie drops his guard
Allison Anders echoes parklife sentiments
Ben Davis on the evolution of his Super Ape
Wilma Wilcox shares final thoughts on her late husband Weegee
Humourist Henry Alford reconnects the hip bone to the funny bone
Top Tens
Ricky Powell premieres his All New Snaps and recollects his days s a substitute teacher
Glen E. Friedman dams his old school skate yarns
Thurston Moore notes that the best things in life are free and all that jazz
Tokyo Rosenfeld's subscription drive jive weeds out the competition
Eric Gladstone on being single and seven inches
Eugene Futterman's Rule interpreted by Nathan Brackett
Noel Yauch's Frugal FRitata recipe shared by his son Adam
DJ Fruze's Chef-B-Boyerdee Bouillabaise uncanned by Spence Dookey
Vanilla Trainwreck! - Yuppie conqueror Bob Mack goes out on a limbaugh to upset archer-nemesis Ted Nugent in an excerpt from the forthcoming double-live "Don't Call Me Whitey, Whitey!"
Number One With A Mullet! - Our impassioned plea for all peoples to stop doin' the do that's hair, there, and everywhere
Real Deal - And now, the illing conclusion to Jabbo the Blind Pimp by R.D. Bone and Lawrence Hubbard
Murder Can Be Fun? - Mathew Horovitz brings the Noyes on the Short Unhappy Life of Charles Guiteau, the visionary who shot President James A. Garfield in 1881
Planet Of The Super Ape! - The supe duper 24-page Compleat Lee Perry Primer, including essay, timeline, interview with the magical man himself, e-z-to-read discography, various testimonials, plus a special 4 page 4-color insert. And that doesn't even begin to Scratch the surface!
Bad Trip! - You can't spell "ACID" without "CIA"
Hibernation Under A Groove - RJ Smith unearths Charles Wright, the available recluse behind NWA's "Express Yourself", rock concert t-shirts, and Randy Newman's love of L.A.
Grand Royal News
Maps To The Stars, Holmes! - Adam Yauch's Road to Enlightenment paved with good intentions by Adam Yauch with Evan Bernard

Issue #3  "Often Wrong, Never In Doubt"
140 pages.
Includes a 'Grand Royal' iron-on transfer.

Editorial - A message about this blessed mess
Pool Skimmer - Spike Jonze's guide to dipping
Don't Touch That Dial - Graffiti Rock and Future Shock
Brushes With Danger - Evel Knievel
Ricky Powell - leads a hectic life
How To Read A Horse - and other essential trackside info from Pavement's Nastanovich
Prescription Strength - Doctor Octagon's discourse on trash cinema
Those Mettling Kids - The chic of metal ic back and uglier than ever
The Man With The Van - Bass master Mike Watt 
Air Bag Jacking - and other crimes are brought to light via Virge
Globetrotting Legend - "Pearl Powell" faces off with Geese Ausbie
Activate - Yourself with violence
After-Hours Olympics - At the Tonga Room
Yauch Delivers - the Dalai Lama
Mark Gonzales - with the latest in eyebrow hair removal
Yankovic, Yasoo and Yoko - Mike D and Russell Simins plug Yankovic, Yasoo and Yoko in the mix
The Sounds Of Science - Come together in 32 pages of analog boogaloo, including:
Bob Moog - and the machine that rocked the world
Island Of Electronicus - Dave VanKoevering
Mike D's Top 10 - Moog-infested records
Walter Sear - A tuba salesman who helped launch the Moog
Synthesizer Stockpile - Audities and the Synthesizer Stockpile
Food For Thought - From the pages of the Moog Cookbook
Keyboard Money Mark - The Fort Knox of loose grooves
Step-By-Step - Instructions on how to build a non-operative theremin
Stereolab - A slab of blab
Prog Rock - The ten-step program
Dick Hyman - Moog maestro gets to to meet Eric Bonerz
The History of Adidas - Three stripes and you're in
On The Good Foot - With Jesse White, dancin' outlaw
Spray It Don't Say It - With human beat boxing
Biz's Beats
Vintage Camera - New developments on the Vintage Camera tip
Street-Lit 101 - With Halloway House Books
Chuckle - A critical essay and deconstruction
Bob Mack Runs Amok - While impersonating Mike D at a golf tournament
In Memoriam
Issue #4  "Nature, Science, Space, the Funk, Leisure Spectacular"
114 pages.
Includes a "Turntable, A Visual History" pullout poster

Editorial - Make sure tray tables are in locked position.
Kojak - Zen warrior or the White Shaft? A tribute.
I Am Not Beck - Pete Relic, celebrity imposter.
Booty Call - Giving the boot; Getting the boot--the parking violator's lockdown.
Cute Van Alert! - the Demolition Doll Rods.
Aaron Burr - a Real American Badass.
Run in Place - get your zen-on with earl.
Kid Rock - "I've always been a little too late."
The Retarded Life - the only life for Ed Templeton.
The Importance of Chill Time - by Mike D.
Pinball Whizzer - Champ Lyman "Silk" Sheats isn't deaf, dumb, or blind, but he rocks Member's Only.
Pinball Fantasy Land - Inside the World where bells bumpers and balls play on.
Leisure Spectacular - Work hard, play hard.
Power 106 - L.A. FM at its best, by Zoe, our six-year-old media consultant.
East Coast/West Coast Noodlz - Greg Shewchuk vs. Miho Hatori in the Ramen/Soba Debate.
Supermodels - our own Hobby Squad uncovers the model building underground.
Mutant Low Riders of the Apocalypse - East Coast/West Coast bike fiends.
Llucha Libre! - Mexican Wrestling combines drama, humor, and full head masks.
Rinx Records - not just an indie label, but a way of life.
The Turntable: A Visual History.
Vacuum Records - Japan's resuscitators of the portable turntable.
Invisibl Skratch Piklz - guide you through the higher art of turntable scratching acrobatics.
WU-hah gotcha all in check! The warriors of WU in the WU-TANG CLAN expanded tribute section - Virgin Gambino on the set of their latest video. Shaolin get Down - RZA kickin' facts with a Shaolin master in the Wu Manor. Squigtones in the Chamber of Death - A Wu-Wear fashion spread throwdown--the Lenny & Squiggy revival starts here! and WU Activity Page - Test your knowulege!
Burt's Back - the Reynolds wrap-up.
Neil Hamburger - the elusive indie-comic genius.
Sara Jacobson - Tamra Davis talks turkey wit the anti-establishment filmmaker.
Break Out Of the Big House - Cool Duk 7 and Sleazy G Guide your thru in this photocomic exclusive.
Vince on Vince - master of his domain, by the man who knows him best.
Mike Watt's Knees - A wrenching saga, by the man who knows it best.
Fired Magazine - Bob Mack, America's Least Employable.
Legacy - Carl Sagan
Issue #5  "Strictly Off The Hook"
116 pages.
Includes a "Grand Royal Bass Jeep" cardboard cutout to assemble.

Editorial / Masthead - Who does what and why
Hot Letters - Readers write long and right wrongs
The Link To The Kink - And evolution of whitey's afro
Grand Royal Reports - Kenny Rogers' Roasters by Supergrass and Jay Babcock
More Legends Of Chicken - Staring the ill-fated Muhammad Ali's Rotisserie Chicken and too successful Roy Rogers
Obsolete But Still Dope Dept. - The Polaroid Land Camera
A Gallery Of Polaroids
Henry Dreyfus - Designer of modern Polaroids
Charles Eames - Polaroid visionary
Othar Turner - Last of the fife and drum men
Judah Bauer - On Othar's reluctant jam session
Sound System Stylee - A Kingston tradition updated for Lafayette St.
Ricky Powell's Music To Get Busy To - And other people's, too
Welcome To Planet Bass - By Mike D
Indiana Ticket In The Temple Of Boom! - Party hearty with AfroRican / High Town, DJ Derrick Rahming and DJ Laz in Hiami and Lauderdale
Professor Booty - The history and mystery of Miami Bass, by ave Tompkins
DJ Shadow: What Miami Bass Means - To the west coast scene
A Page Of Props - To Miami Bass
Bass Tech 101 - In which The Dust Brothers get the how-to from Bass producer Tony Mercedes
Bo & Luke: The Dukes Of Bass - In which Luke (Skywalker) and PanDisc's Bo Hanson duke it out for the kingdom of Bass. The Ref: Dan C
Lost TV: When Tribe 8 Played Luke's Peep Show - Oh yes
Your Own GR Booty Buggy - Designed by Evan Mack
Rollin' In Hotlanta With So So Def's Lil' Jon - And Dave T
Miami Spice! - Ubiquitous Virge shows you how to bring that boomin' bass to your boring Borth of the Border existance
Hobby Squad's Ian - Rocks the Beats in the Jeep through the Street of SoCal. Wacky hijinks!
The Cars That Go Boom - Inside the IASCA competitions with Dan Catalano
Maggotron's Brain - Be he bastard of Bootsy and Sun Ra or just his own creation?
Booty Call - Lori Denman talks to the booty models
Magic Mike - Turntable terrorist tells it to Tompkins
Real American Badass: Carl Fischer - "Creator" of Miami Beach
The Hitchcock Of Hootchie - Luke's video director, Jeff Kenedy
How To Do Da Dip - With scenes from the original Dip video
Messages From The Soul Sisters - Two feminist perspectives
Body Rock - How low end frequencies actually affect the body by Mark Driver
Kid Rock's Miami Bass Quiz - Now tell us what you're learned
Star Wars Breakbeats - Bumpin' with the other Luke by Jake Fogelnest
Avant Garde Magazine - A tribute by Geoff McFetridge
Leave Your Egos At The Door - The second annual Tibet freedom concert as seen by Ian and Zoe Rogers. Exclusive shots by Cheryl Dunn and others
Top Ten Reasons The Beasties' Album Isn't Out
Legacy - Jacques Cousteau
Issue #6  "Ignominious And Proud"
116 pages.
Includes a Grand Royal Demolition Calendar for 1998.

Masthead - The names to blame
Editorial - Living the story
Grand Royal Reports: Longboards for 1998 - Tested by our crack team of fearless technicians
The All Girl Skate Jam - Portraits and account by Susanna Howe
The Hobby Squad Exclusive Atari Teenage Workshop - You can either program your own vintage Atari-style video games, or you can get a life - Ian explores both options
Why They Didn't Put Out "Ladies And Gentlemen The Fabulous Stains" - Sarah Jacobson's behind the scenes story of a lost cult classic
Do You Wanna Be A Professional? - Closet Stains fans sound off
Thee Funky Drummers - A small tribute to the mighty slappers of skin
Busta Rhymes Vs. Dolemite - The Grand Royal co-interview
Demolition Man - By Mike D
In The Pit - Who's Who on Team GR
At The Starting Line - Team GR's first meeting
Why Spike - By Mike D
Into The Deep - Lori points us in the right direction
Choose Your Weapon - Bryan Ray and Carl find the car
Popsicles And Crescent Wrenches - And everything else Bryan Ray and Carl needed to get the car derby-ready in seven days
The Man Behind The Wheel: Mr Spike Jonze
A Moment Of Prayer + How To Customize A Derby Car - By Evan and Camille
Journey To Tulare - Team Leader Ian picks up the car and the story
Milk, Magic & More - Mark D's undercover expose of the Tulare County Fair
How To Win At The Tulare Jockey Club
Jim Pidgeon, Founder Of The Tulare County Association Of Destruction Derby Drivers - The Grand Royal interview
It's On!! - The play-by-play, by Team Leader Ian in the pit, Eric G in the stands, and Spike in the driver's seat
Driving To Destroy - By Spike
Crash With Eyeliner - Lori interviews the winner of the women's "Powder Puff" derby
Bringin' It On Home
Finding A Demo Derby You Can Enter
Demolition Genesis - How it all began
Moments In Demolition History - A Grand Royal timeline
We Salute Evel Knievel - At the World's Greatest Demo Derby
The Malachi Crunch - Neil G remembers the legends of TV demolition
Demolition 2000 - ZZ Top's Eliminator man, Tom Hunnicautt gives us his future vision
School's Out - Christen Powell, 18 years old pro drag racing girl
The Grand Royal Test Drive - Nina separates The Fluff from The Stuff
Demolition Bait - Ubiquitous Virge's 10 (+1) worst cars ever
Combustion Is For Chumps - The future of autolocomotion
The Atwater Basketball Assoc. 97/98 Season Yearbook - Russell Simins on why the NBA is whack.
Their Royal Highness - Ricky Powell's tokin' players
Court Reporters - A basketball biography breakdown
World B. Free - The Grand Royal interview
WNBA: The First Season - By Kate Shellenbach
Evan Bernard's Top Ten Basketball Films
Related Links: