Last week Sunny Bak held the opening for her new show at the Ivy Brown Gallery on Hudson Street in Manhattan, about eight blocks from her old studio, where her friends the Beastie Boys filmed their video for “Fight For Your Right (To Party)” (add 876 Broadway to the walking tour). The show, Solid Gold Hits: A Tribute to the Beastie Boys, is a collaboration with Cey Adams, who did a lot of the band’s design and artwork, one of the first being the lettering that spelled out Beastie Boys on the album cover of the 1983 release Cooky Puss. The opening party for their show was held on May 3rd, and sadly, at 9 a.m. the next morning, Adam “MCA” Yauch succumbed to the cancer he’d been battling for three years.
Below Bak shares some of her photos and talks about the old days with the Beastie Boys… though when she first met them, they were called The Young and the Useless.
When and how did you meet the Beastie Boys? I met them in the early ’80s through my City As School intern Dave Scilken, who was in The Young and the Useless with Horovitz. Adam Horovitz, Dave and I had all gone to CAS (along with Jean Michel Basquiat). They were the guys who came along with sweet little Dave. Dave, who we lost too soon, another death I am not over…
Do you have any favorite memories from those early days? I have so many memories of the early days, hanging in my studio, Milkbar, Palladium, the street, Chung King studio sleeping on the floor till dawn, walking up from Chinatown with them, Rick Rubin asking me to shoot the guys at the hemisphere in Flushing forLicense To Ill, on the road in the tour bus in the drive thru liquor store outside Cleveland, mothers pulling their young daughters out of the venue because the boys had young dancing girls in go-go cages with hardly anything on, Adam on the huge speakers in Detroit, Dave as the “trim coordinator” [Editor’s note: Scilken got a shout out for this in the Beastie Boys’ “Lookin’ Down the Barrel of a Gun.”], the Beasties bbq-ing at my mom’s apartment in LA and the letter from the board complaining about the noise.
Rodney Dangerfield in the Sunset Marquis and the guys being so excited about it and calling him on the phone (the gatefold pic on Solid Gold Hits), so many softball games (that was just last week). So many years of memories…. No favorites they’re all my favorite.
How did the “Fight For Your Right…” video come about to be shot in your studio? The video was shot at my studio because I probably had the biggest place. It was low budget so all our friends were in it. I didn’t want a pie in my face so I wasn’t in it. I had whipped cream in my bathroom carpet forever though. And all my photos are in the video. Little known fact is my photos of supermodel Carol Alt, Village People cowboy Randy Jones, Eric Clapton, and ballet dancer Rudolf Nureyev are all in the video.
The current show opened just prior to Adam’s death. Did you get to reminisce with him at all before he passed? Adam Yauch and Cey Adams did get to see all the photos before I selected them a few years back when I pulled them out after 25 years… It was a walk down memory lane. He did not get to see them blown up. I miss him.
Ivy Brown Gallery is located at 675 Hudson Street, #4N. The show runs through June 21st.
In honor of the Beastie Boys being inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame last week… I thought it’s finally the right time to do a Beasties mixtape. It’s something I’ve wanted to do for a long time… something people have asked me to do for a long time, actually… but I wanted it to mean something. Now, it’s finally the right time.
I present to you Grand Royal. 80 minutes of my favorite Beastie Boys rarities, remixes, demos, live versions, out-takes, and more. If you’re a Beasties fan, I guarantee you find something new and exciting on this mix!
Being that this mix is so important to me, I wanted to make it extra special. Something beyond just an audio experience. I called my friend Jonathan Mannion, the legendary photographer (8 Jay-Z albums, 3 Eminem albums, Lil Wayne, Nas, Aaliyah, the list goes on and on), and we decided to re-shoot the iconic cover from the Beastie’s 1989 classic Paul’s Boutique.
In fact, the mix download is filled with all sorts of extra photos and bonus content provided by Jonathan Mannion (aka Jonathan Hörnblowér) and his design partner, GoodThingYoureHere.com.
I also collaborated with my friends at Homage to do a limited-edition tee for the release… with portions of the proceeds going to Adam Yauch’s favorite cancer charities. Support the tee here!
01. Beastie Boys – Mick Boogie & nVMe Intro (0:56)
02. Beastie Boys – The Skills To Pay The Bills (Original Version) (2:20)
03. Beastie Boys – The Vibes (2:52)
04. Beastie Boys – Time To Get Ill (Live Remix Version) (1:55)
05. Beastie Boys – Sure Shot (Nardone/Large Professor Remixes) (2:37)
06. Beastie Boys – Jimmy James (Original Version) (2:10)
07. Beastie Boys – Four Fly Guys (Feat. Hurricane) (3:14)
08. Beastie Boys – Intergalactic (Original 94 Version) (1:39)
09. Beastie Boys – Root Down (Free Zone Mix) (3:02)
10. Beastie Boys – Get It Together (Buck-Wild Remix) (3:44)
11. Beastie Boys – In A World Gone Mad (Original Mix) (2:55)
12. Beastie Boys – Negotiation Limerick File (Handsome Boy Modeling School Mix) (2:41)
13. Beastie Boys – Alive (2:47)
14. Beastie Boys – Hey Ladies (Paul Nice Remix) (3:18)
15. Beastie Boys – Dope Little Song (1:46)
16. Beastie Boys – Shake Your Rump (Madlib Remix) (2:11)
17. Beastie Boys – Stand Together (Live At French’s Tavern, Sydney, Australia) (2:18)
18. Beastie Boys – The Maestro (Live Version) (3:07)
19. Beastie Boys – The Sounds Of Science (1:32)
20. Beastie Boys – Gratitude (Live @ Budokan) (3:13)
21. Beastie Boys – Pass The Mic Part 2 (3:48)
22. Beastie Boys – Stop That Train (3-Way Mix) (2:08)
23. Beastie Boys – Spam (Feat. Milk Dee) (3:22)
24. Beastie Boys – So What ‘Cha Want (Butt Naked / Soul Assassin Remixes) (3:45)
25. Beastie Boys – Sabotage (Live Version) (2:48)
26. Beastie Boys – Beastie Revolution (3:31)
27. Beastie Boys – Honky Rink (Previously Unreleased) (2:00)
28. Beastie Boys – Benny And The Jets (Live Feat. Biz Markie) (3:57)
29. Beastie Boys – Netty’s Girl (3:18)
R.I.P. Adam Yauch (MCA)
Never forget you ‘n Elvis dropping mad ollies off the stage at the Powerstation back in ‘92. Chill as ice, no egoshit whatsoever. You were a fun guy to hang with, a deft hand with a spraycan. Thanks for showing me that the people on my TV and in my speakers were still people like me, that helped my confidence a lot. Blaze one with the buddha son! PEACE