In May of 1985, I was photographing Madonna. The opening act was a bunch of kids jumping around on stage and rapping. They were called the Beastie Boys, and boy did they suck! I didn’t bother talking any pictures of them. When I went to my car after the show, they were sitting on the hood of the car next to mine. I asked them to pose for a few pictures and they immediately jumped on their car. I took a few photos and left.
A few years later, in March of 1987, I got a call from my friend Steve, a New York publicist. He asked me to do a shoot with the Beastie Boys. Budweiser had asked them not to use their beer on stage, as they thought the band was not an appropriate vehicle for their fine brew. So Steve wanted me to photograph them “auditioning” a new beer for the tour. I showed up at sound check, set up in the balcony, and waited for the guys. When they arrived, I asked them if they could possibly direct the spray away from my camera equipment. Bad move!! They proceeded to shake up and open about 50 beers, aiming most of them directly over my head. My lights and camera smelled like beer for about a year. Loads of fun!!!
By the time 1992 rolled along they were not a party band any more, but a serious politically motivated band when I did my last shoot with them.
My last contact was a year ago. Someone from Oscilliscope Laboritories contacted me. They said that they were a documentary film production company, and their president had found a portrait that I had taken of William S. Burroughs many years in the past. He loved the photo and wanted to use it is the packaging for a documentary they were releasing. We agreed on terms, I sent them a scan, and a month later one of the most beautifully designed DVD packages I have ever seen arrived in the mail with my image spread across two pages in the center of the fold out package! The owner of that company was Adam from the Beastie Boys.
Adam Yauch of the Beastie Boys lost his battle with cancer this week.