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Boys Keep Swinging
Ahead of their Electric Picnic shows, The Beastie Boys talk about Politics, the influence of punk on their sound and explain why Ireland is one of their favourite places to play
Karl O’Keeffe, 03 Sep 2007
Somewhere in New York it’s the morning after the night before, and a surprisingly quiet and reticent Adam Yauch is no doubt looking for some respite from a summer that's been punishing by the standards of even the most hard-living bands on the planet.
As one third of The Beastie Boys – arguably the most block-rocking, body-moving and rump-shaking act to be found anywhere in the cosmos – Yauch, aka MCA, and his partners in crime, Adrock and Mike D, have been leaving their inimitable mark on festivals across Europe all summer.
At the end of this month they’ll be heading to the Electric Picnic for a penultimate festival appearance, before heading to London for some sold-out shows, and finally wrapping up proceedings at Bestival on the Isle of Wight. It’s been a long trek by anyone’s standards, and the question isn’t so much "Are you ready for The Beastie Boys?" as "Are The Beastie Boys ready for you?"
Yauch is clearly in recovery mode, sounding tired and drained after a slew of homecoming gigs in their native New York. The question is begging to be asked, so with buttock-clenching embarrassment I ask him when was the last time he got no sleep ‘til Brooklyn?
“Well we just actually did get to sleep. We played in Brooklyn this last Thursday, and it was the first time we’ve actually played there after a lifetime of not sleeping,” says Yauch, seemingly as surprised at that fact as many of us will be. “I’ve been asleep the last couple of nights. It’s been amazing.”
Priorities have changed drastically for The Beastie Boys in recent years: still as provocative as ever, but by their own admission, without the obnoxiousness for which they became known in the mid-’80s, The Boys have become men. Family men (Yauch relates how nice it is to have his wife and daughter on tour with him). Sophisticated men (they take to the stage these days in sharp suits). Wiser men (the hair is beginning to betray a little greyed erudition, and the eyes tell the stories of a lifetime of late nights). If anything though, the music is getting fiercer, and the impact of the live shows is getting more incendiary than a pyromaniac in a fireworks factory.