Brooklyn-born bassist Adam Yauch is now in his fourteenth year as a member of the band the Beastie Boys. The band’s music—a combination of hip hop, hardcore punk, and funk—is provocative and unapologetic, and its concerts have sometimes turned into riots. Since 1980, the group has sold over seven million records in the United States alone. Its last four albums, including the recently released Ill Communication (Grand Royal/Capitol), have all gone platinum.
Last summer, the Beastie Boys sponsored the Namgyal monks of Tibet to join them on Lollapalooza, a contemporary music tour with politically conscious concerns. The Namgyal monks performed purification rituals and sacred dances before the beginning of each day’s performances by bands such as Green Day, the Pharcyde, and Boom Poetics. The Beastie Boys also sponsored a booth at Lollapalooza to educate fans about the plight of the Tibetan people, and proceeds from two of their songs are being donated to the Milarepa Fund, a not-for-profit foundation the band established earlier this year “to promote universal compassion through music. ” This interview was conducted on August 5, Yauch’s thirtieth birthday, by Carole Tonkinson, Senior Editor of Tricycle Books. Photographs by Sally Boon.
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