Fuck the chickens, I don’t like milk
Fuck the chickens, I don’t like milk
Yup, let it be known that over here at 1537 I’m not afraid to tackle the music that takes on the big issues in life; you tell them chickens Mike! With my first ever, honest to goodness, pay packet after university* I bought Beastie Boys Polly Wog Stew EP, I saw it in the window of a second-hand shop on my way home – I’d never seen it before, or spotted it since; can’t remember how much it was, about the price of a new LP-ish. Released on Rat Cage records in 1982, it was their first release from way back when they were a full-on NYC hardcore band, scraping around picking up opening gigs for the likes of Reagan Youth and Bad Brains. At the time their line-up was Mike D (or just plain ‘Michael’ here) on vox, John berry on guitar, Adam Yauch on bass and Kate Schellenbach on drums**.
You know what you’re getting here 8 blasts of short, sharp hardcore just like your grandma used to bake. if they sound like a bunch of crazily wired kids, that’s because they were mostly surfing the 17/18 border when they put this together for no money in some Godforsaken rat hole. I really like the super snotty ‘B-E-A-S-T-I-E’ chant on ‘Beastie Boys’, the ode to get totally baked that is ‘Jimi’ and their magnum opus ‘Egg Raid on Mojo’ (AKA – the one with a bit of a tune); the latter of course they later exhumed and smuggled into Paul’s Boutique to great effect. The wonderfully incompetent country into to ‘Michelle’s farm’ gets them extra 1537 bonus points too.
I like this, not only for the fact that I’m a nut-job collector who wouldn’t be able to sleep if I didn’t own it (although that is probably 37.8% of the reason why), but because even with only 2/3 of the Beastie’s present there’s enough of their personality to make this entertaining and fun, I love hardcore and I love the fact that at 2:06 ‘Jimi’ is 30 seconds longer than anything else here.
Next up was Cooky Puss 12″from 1983, which came from the same record shop a year later and cost a lot less, the inner sleeve is a bit beaten up, but I don’t care. This was their first rap effort-ish, featuring a four piece line-up still with Kate Schellenbach. ‘Cooky Puss’ is basically a series of silly verging on unpleasant prank calls to various bakeries asking the female answerees if they could speak to Cooky Puss, tiny excerpts from the song ‘Beastie Boys’, a snippet from a comedy record and various Beasties muttering ‘I’ll kick your ass bitch’ and about how ‘pussy crumbs’ make them itch. Nice. We were a long, long way down the road from concerts for Tibet and ‘Sure Shot’s’ later shout-out,
To all the mothers and the sisters and the wives and friends / I want to offer my love and respect to the end
Actually I think Flight of the Conchords are far better on this point,
My rhymes are so potent that in this small segment
I made all of the ladies in the area pregnant
Yes, sometimes my lyrics are sexist
But you lovely bitches and hoes should know I’m trying to correct this.
But I digress, the backing beats and sounds here are already good and strong-sounding, showing the way forward for them. We get a remix called ‘Bonus Batter’, which adds more snare, dub effects and disco toms for some reason best known to the band. Worst of all and by some distance the worst thing they ever recorded is ‘Beastie Revolution’ on the B-side. Wow. The fact that one or more of the band are attempting to impersonate a Chinese Rastafarian is by some distance the best thing about this Nugget of Absolute Awfulness (NOAA, for short), it is just weapons-grade shite.
Clearly this wasn’t a band about to go anywhere, or ever do anything ever again, consigned forever to the Bin of Moronic Novelty (BOMN, for short^).
Anyway, when they had become by some distance the best, hippest and trendiest band on the planet in 1994 they consolidated both these releases on the 10″ Some Old Bullshit, which I picked up the day I saw them at the Astoria in London – pretty much the best gig of my life, but that’s another story – anyone want me to tell it? someone’s trying to sell a copy of this for $99 on Bay at the moment, surely it can’t be worth that?!
Adding a nicer dog cover (the dog only being on the inner label of Polly Wog Stew EP before), a four page inner booklet with loads of good new photos and fanzine articles along with a wry re-telling of their tale by Mike D, this was good value for money. Just in case you didn’t find the earlier versions spiky enough there are demo versions of ‘Transit Cop’ and ‘Egg Raid on Mojo’ from 1981, along with wildly over-enthusiastic DJ Tim Sommer introducing them.
Did you know that the Beastie bit of the band’s name was an acronym?
Word up, it’s true. Some Old Bullshit was an excellent way to wrap up the band’s earliest origins for those who have too great a sense of financial priorities / better things to do with their lives than track down and pay loads for the originals.
Remember, Mike D doesn’t like milk; unless he’s sold out totally somewhere along the line and is glugging back the white stuff as we speak.
P.S – still not entirely sure why the chickens had to get it, because he didn’t like milk. That’s potentially evidence of a pretty damn poor farming knowledge deficit situation thing.
*my ability to write detailed, nuanced and sympathetic analysis of various 17th and 18th century poets and/or my in-depth knowledge of the history of political thought, qualified me to unload containers in a warehouse in Leeds for 12 hours a day, 7 days a week. Remember that bit in the Conan film where he starts off pushing that wheel as a boy and the camera cuts several times to show the passing years, until he has transformed into the Cimmerian we all know and love? that was me – went in one door a gangly youth with longish hair and out the other, a muscle-bound, shaven-headed nutter.
**later of the brilliant Luscious Jackson, of course.
^ I really dig acronyms.