Beastie Boys’ Mike D & Adrock Publish Open Letter To Goldieblox [Updated]


The Beastie Boys recently found themselves in a war of words with Goldieblox, a San Francisco-area start-up that makes toys and games designed to encourage girls to learn about science and technology, saying they say did not seek the band’s permission to parody its song “Girls” in an online parody video. Mike D and Adrock have issued the following statement:

Like many of the millions of people who have seen your toy commercial “GoldieBlox, Rube Goldberg & the Beastie Boys,” we were very impressed by the creativity and the message behind your ad.
We strongly support empowering young girls, breaking down gender stereotypes and igniting a passion for technology and engineering.

As creative as it is, make no mistake, your video is an advertisement that is designed to sell a product, and long ago, we made a conscious decision not to permit our music and/or name to be used in product ads. When we tried to simply ask how and why our song “Girls” had been used in your ad without our permission, YOU sued US.

Update, November 28: Goldiebox has removed the song from its “Girls” video and has called off its bizarre legal action. Here is a statement issued on the company’s blog:

Dear Adam and Mike,

We don’t want to fight with you. We love you and we are actually huge fans.

When we made our parody version of your song, ‘Girls’, we did it with the best of intentions. We wanted to transform it into a powerful anthem for girls. Over the past week, parents have sent us pictures and videos of their kids singing with pride, building their own Rube Goldberg machines in their living rooms and declaring an interest in engineering. It’s been incredible to watch.

Our hearts sank last week when your lawyers called us with threats that we took very seriously. As a small company, we had no choice but to stand up for ourselves. We did so sincerely hoping we could come to a peaceful settlement with you.

We want you to know that when we posted the video, we were completely unaware that the late, great Adam Yauch had requested in his will that the Beastie Boys songs never be used in advertising. Although we believe our parody video falls under fair use, we would like to respect his wishes and yours.

Since actions speak louder than words, we have already removed the song from our video. In addition, we are ready to stop the lawsuit as long as this means we will no longer be under threat from your legal team.

We don’t want to spend our time fighting legal battles. We want to inspire the next generation. We want to be good role models. And we want to be your friends.


Debbie + Team GoldieBlox

Mike D and Ad-Rock Penning Beastie Boys Book


Michael Diamond (a.k.a Mike D) and Adam Horovitz (Ad-Rock), the surviving members of the Beastie Boys, have signed a deal with Spiegel & Grau, an imprint of the Random House Publishing Group, for a book celebrating the life and times of one of the music world’s most influential and groundbreaking bands. The book is as-yet untitled, but publisher is expected to be release the retrospective in the fall of 2015. Spiegel & Grau’s publisher Julie Grau told the New York Times that the book deal had been discussed with the group in the past but was tabled due to the third Beastie Boy’s Adam Yauch (a.k.a. MCA) diagnosis with cancer of the salivary gland, which sadly resuluted in his death last May.

“After Yauch died, I didn’t push them,” Mr. Janklow said, “but I think that Adam and Mike ended up realizing that it was the right time for them.”

In unrelated news, Mike D has been running a free food truck with friends feeding Hurricane Sandy victims in the Rockaways, serving over 19,000 meals to those affected by the storm six months ago.

Public Enemy’s Chuck D on Music, Politics and Inducting the Beastie Boys Into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

Public Enemy are celebrating their 25th anniversary and will be releasing two new studio albums later this year. The iconic hip-hop group have already embarked on an extensive world tour hitting Australia, the U.S. and Europe. The outfit’s frontman Chuck D, who founded and runs; a digital record label (, a social website for classic rap and hip-hop (, and a social platform for female rap artists ( Our Hugh Bohane spoke with Chuck D over the phone about a host of subjects prior to Public Enemy’s tour of Australia.

Hello Chuck?

Is this a good time?
Chuck D: Not really, but it’s the time. I am going to have to be multi-tasking while we do this. [Chuck D is pounding away at his computer, in less than ten days he will fly out to Australia on a tour with Public Enemy.]

Congratulations on an amazing career. What have been some of the best memories of your 25 something years in the game with Public Enemy?

To be able to have traveled the world and to have people come up to you and say “thanks.”

Why does it seem that there are now so few intellectually/socially/politically conscious rappers in the industry today?
There are many. Arrested Development and Heet Mob are just two, to name a few.

You are very outspoken about the unfair imbalance of female representation in hip-hop, who are some female rappers inspiring you at the moment?
That and the disappearing of groups, that’s also, hurt hip-hop a lot. Michie Mee, the female rapper from Canada. Check her out.

You have also cited M.I.A. as a female rapper who inspires you?
She is also very cool.

Many people in Australia have been angrily demonstrating against police brutality after two Aboriginal youths were recently shot in a stolen car by N.S.W. police. Is police brutality in the U.S. still a problem in your opinion?

The problem [in the U.S.] is that people are policing in areas that they don’t belong in.

How effective is the NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People) today?

They have been trying to enlist good people. You know, an organization is only as good as the people in it.

What are your thoughts on Obama’s administration thus far?
Obama is a good driver in a bad car.

What did you think of the Occupy Wall Street movement last year?

I think people need to follow-up on that and pay attention.

What are your thoughts on Julian Assange?
He reminds me of Sean Fanning from Napster but this guy [Assange] is doing it right now, right here in the real world. I gotta admire him for that.

Can you tell us about your work as a board member on the TransAfrica Forum (a forum that works for the right of Africa, Caribbean and Latin American issues) and the issues you are working around?

I want to do more with it. I just haven’t been able to be as active with it as I would like to be.

What are some solutions for Africa moving into the future
Africa can’t consolidate without Europeans fucking with it. When all those European countries when in to break up Africa… Africa is still recovering from that.

Tell us about the two new studio albums Public Enemy are releasing this year?
These two albums are statements about how we can now make art without constriction, compared with 15 years ago. These two albums talk to each other. Most of My Heroes Still Don’t Appear on No Stamp will be released in June and Evil Empire of Everything will be released in September. These albums will emerge off our own area label of distribution, called SpitDIGITAL.

How was it inducting the Beastie Boys into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame recently?
It was incredible; they transcended and took things to the next level. I admire them for that.

How were your recent tours?
The tours were great. In 10 days we will be going down to your homeland, Australia. That’s going to be a situation. Come down and see the shows. We are also going to be touring the US and Europe later in the year.

How are Flavor Flav and the rest of the crew doing?
They’re all doing great.

What advice would you give to young artists starting out?

Try to create your own company and learn the history. Try to learn the guidelines of what you should and shouldn’t do in the industry.

Special thanks to Chuck D and his management for making this interview happen.

Live review: Bonnaroo 2009


It’s no secret that after eight years the Bonnaroo Music Festival is a Southern style free-for-all and camp-out that kicks off the summer. In fact, it has become an institution, drawing loyal fans much like mardi gras and NASCAR. But what keeps Bonnaroo fresh and important is the venue — a 700-acre farm in Manchester, Tennessee — that allows fans and bands to let it all hang out and defy the norm. This year once again brought together newcomers and legendary headliners Tennessee’s largest music venue.

If you never been to Bonnaroo, it’s somewhere between Coachella and Burning Man. Great performances are simultaneously going on around the clock. It’s impossible to see every band; I can only mention what I saw.

The photo pit at Passion Pit’s set was quite a scene. It was early on Thursday night, but the band with the most buzz going into the festival delivered by throwing down a high-energy. After dodging crowd surfers and the giddy press corps, I stumped a good few fans by asking them to describe the band. I heard everything from ‘80s music to pop. Nonethless, the synth-poppers got down and the festival got off to a great start.

After getting a bit of sleep, I made sure to see Animal Collective and Santigold on Saturday afternoon. Santi’s official name change from Santogold to Santigold was still fresh news, and made no difference to the screaming crowd, who seemed to know all the lyrics. “You’re the best crowd in the States!” Santi White belted out. It was definitely one of the best shows all weekend. The antics at the Of Montreal set included a gas mask and what appeared to be a Christmas celebration. Of Montreal drew an excited and surprising reaction from the fans. Later that night, Public Enemy got plenty of love from the ‘Rooskis, as did the late-night sets from Paul Oakenfold and Pretty Lights.

Keeping it fresh on the farm seems to be a goal of the festival’s organizers, and they did it quite well. The effort to evolve included an iPhone app for tech-hungry fan,s and increased recycling and composting as a general rule of the thumb was a definite positive. But the greatest addition may have also been the festival’s greatest critic, Triumph the Insult Comic Dog, who made his inaugural visit. He definitely gathered some material deep in the “tent territories.”

DJs did gain some well-deserved prominence this year. Money Mark played the enormous What Stage prior to the Beastie Boys’ set. The Scratch DJ Academy setup a tent and brought out New York City turntablists willing to educate cadets looking for a diploma. The solar powered Solar Stage held performances all weekend by the Hunab breakdancing crew, with DJ Brett Rock in the mix. The Xbox360 sponsored arcade/discotheque and Silent Disco provided the late-night dance floors, where DJ Quickie Mart and Motion Potion played multiple sets.

The love of music new and old is central to Bonnaroo’s ideology and helpful in fully appreciating the weekend. Otherwise, Bonnaroo 2009 served was one of Nine Inch Nails’ last US show, and the first time I’ve ever seen MGMT. Both were exciting and a bit disappointing, but fun nonetheless. It wasn’t the best of times or the worst of times, but it was well worth the trip.

Words & images: Blake Becker