HOW BEASTIE BOYS EVOLVED
As far as the band were concerned, their image circa Licensed to Ill was a massive joke about fratboy boorishness, with stage shows featuring girls dancing in cages and, infamously, a giant hydraulic penis. But as Horovitz says in the book, “we got so caught up in making fun of that rock-star persona that we became that persona.”
Gradually, however, they became deeply uncomfortable with that image, and started to speak out about sexism - in 1994’s Sure Shot, MCA rapped “I want to say a little something that’s long overdue/The disrespect of women has got to be through.” But perhaps their most pointed critique of misogyny took place at the MTV Awards in 1999, when, while accepting an award, they spoke out about the sexual assaults that had recently taken place at the Woodstock ‘99 festival.
“It had just happened and we were live on MTV so we figured we should say something,” says Horovitz. “And all the bands who had played that thing were going to be there and were watching, so, I figured I should say something.”
“And I think also for us, at that point it was weird going to these awards things,” says Diamond. “We love making music and we love playing music but this is not really what we’re doing it for. So we were like, ‘how do we actually make this useful in some way? How can we be of service?’
“[IT]did not play well in the room, I’ll tell you that much,” says Horovitz.
“It was like, ‘really? Why are you doing that here?’” says Diamond. “It wasn’t until afterwards that people were saying ‘thank you so much, that meant something to me.’”