Beastie Boys Honor Family, New York City At Rock Hall Induction Ceremony
The Beastie Boys’ Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction was appropriately raucous, although somewhat bittersweet: Although Ad-Rock (Adam Horovitz), Mike D (Michael Diamond) and their long-time DJ Mix Master Mike appeared at the ceremony, Adam Yauch (aka MCA) was unable to attend.
No reason was given for his absence; however, Yauch has battled cancer in recent years and has kept a low profile since his 2009 diagnosis.
Still, the attending Beastie Boys chose to focus on the positive—music, their families and their beloved hometown—during charming, rambling acceptance speeches. “We’re the Beastie Boys from New York City,” Horovitz said by way of introduction. “This is f—ing weird, everybody.”
He went on to thank artists such as Bad Brains, Run DMC and Jam Master Jay, along with his parents, wife Kathleen Hanna and his siblings—who, he said, turned him on to bands such as the Clash and Jonathan Richman.
Both Horovitz and Diamond praised the virtues of New York City—with the latter also giving a shout-out to Brooklyn—and recalled the people and places which helped inform the group’s music, including “DJ Double R,” aka early Beasties producer Rick Rubin. Yauch, in a heartfelt letter read by Horovitz, expressed similar sentiments in absentia.
With only two-thirds of the band in attendance, a performance wasn’t in the cards. However, in their place, a trio of musicians sporting matching green track suits—Kid Rock, Travie McCoy from Gym Class Heroes and the Roots’ Black Thought—rapped a medley of the band’s best-known tunes.
Backed by Mix Master Mike and the Roots’ musicians, the men patched together snippets of “No Sleep Till Brooklyn,” “The New Style,” “So What’Cha Want,” “Rhymin’ & Stealin’” and “Sabotage.” Guitarist Captain Kirk Douglas ably assumed lead vocal duties on the latter, although Rock dominated the song’s performance by screaming the wailing, post-bridge part as only he can.
Roots drummer ?uestlove also did his part to preserve the music’s flair, halting the performance by dropping the “Let me clear my throat” lyric from “The New Style” with perfect timing.
Rock, McCoy and Black Thought were obviously having a blast onstage; the three mugged for the cameras and joked around with each other during the performance. The backing musicians also clearly enjoyed paying tribute to the band’s inventive splicing of blistering rock and raucous rap.
Sousaphone player Damon Bryson, who stalked around the stage like a punk-rock marching band member, particularly channeled the Beasties’ playfulness.