Backstage Adventures

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The Adventures of Zoë

Rap Group the Beastie Boys Adam Horovitz, Adam Yauch, and Mike Diamond with Dj Hurricane
The Beastie Boys
r) Adam Horovitz, Adam Yauch
and Mike Diamond, with DJ Hurricane

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Chapter 4 -

In which Zoë butts heads with the Beastie Boys

"Man," Zoë thinks as she walks through the metal detectors into the 15,000-seat Shoreline Amphitheatre for the Run-D.M.C./Beastie Boys show, "this sure is different from the way things were the first time I encountered the Beastly Boys. Today, I'll just be sitting out there on the lawn, passively watching the show so I can write a show review, whereas last time..."

An assignment had come in from a big Canadian magazine for Zoë to arrange for a photographer to get shots of the band. "No prob," Zoë thinks, "I'll just call their reps at Def Jam and make the arrangements for everything when they appear at Wolfgang's here in San Fran. With an assignment from this mag, there should be no hitches." 

Wrong.  Days later, after making innumerable phone calls, being put on permanent hold, calling the photo editor in Ontario (Canada) to intercede (and him getting put on permanent hold), they were both so pissed off it was decided Zoë should go for the session by whatever means she could manage. "OK," she promises, "usually I do everything by the book but this time I'm really angry.  If they won't treat me with respect, then then they don't deserve me being a good girl, either. So here goes..."

"Meet me at Wolfgang's at 2 o'clock," Zoë tells Mark, her  photographer, "We're gonna shoot the Beastie Boys." Having counted on being well-enough known and trusted, they walk into the club without being challenged, just before sound check time.

"Go ahead and start setting up your porta-studio, Mark, while I...."  Suddenly, there's Toni Isabella, the club's manager heading their way. "Oops," Zoë thinks, "OK, just brazen it out..."

"Oh, Zoë," Toni wails. "I've had the most god-awful time dealing with these assholes, I was crying in the shower before I came in today!"

"Whew, no questions about what I'm doing here now," Zoë mentally wipes her brow. 

Mark looks dubious, but Zoë just thinks: "Too late to back out now."  And tells Mark to keep setting up. "Yeah, I know what you mean," she says, turning back to Toni. "Why, the troubles we had getting this set up! You wouldn't believe it.  By the way, where's the tour manager...?"

"Oh, he's still at the hotel with the band," Toni says, and hands Zoë the phone number.

"Cool!" Zoë thinks, "This never happens—isn't supposed to happen, but maybe it means I'm gonna pull this off after all."

Beastie Boys c Mark Leialoha/Artist Publications

Beastie Boys
Wolfgang's, San Francisco, CA, 2/2/87

photo © Mark Leialoha/Artist Publications

Emboldened by this piece of good luck, she calls the number she's been given, and since Toni had inadvertently mentioned the tour manager's name during their mutual bitch-fest about Def Jam, pretty soon he's on the line.

"A photo session? When? Shit, nobody told me! Oh, all right, we'll be there at 3:00." Poor man, he'd figured since Zoë had his name and hotel number she must be telling the truth and someone back at the record/management company just screwed up (goodness knows, it happened all the time)....

"It worked, it worked!" Zoë exults. And Mark smiles, reminding himself why he pays Zoë such a large commission.

"Oh, geez, I wonder what the shoot is gonna be like when they get here," she can't help but fret, "if indeed they even cooperate long enough to actually get in front of the camera. All the stories about the Beastie Boys have been so horrible, and goodness knows you can never count on an interview or a photo session until it happens, no matter what someone in management promises."

Then, wonder of wonders, it's the tour manager—a pale, frazzled-looking dude—approaching. And even trailing the Boys, albeit whining all the way: "Why are we doing this? We said we weren't gonna do any more of these..."

"Oh, come on, guys, just one more. Pleeese," wheedles the tour manager.

"But we don't wanna!"

"Oh, but it won't take long, it'll be OK..."

"Dazzle 'em, Zoë, dazzle 'em," she thinks to herself as she goes into full female charm mode. "Oh, c'mon guys, I've gone to so much trouble to be here for you, you're not gonna disappoint me now, are you?" (Bat those eyelashes, Zoë....)

"Oh, all right, then," they pout, and flounce onto the set of the portable studio Mark has so painstakingly erected.  Then, for the next hour they sweetly pose. And pose. And pose some more! And when they're done, they turn to Zoë and say, "Sorry we were so difficult!"

"Wow, it just goes to show, you never know what to expect, reputation or no reputation. Kinda reminds me of the Ramones," Zoë remarks as the photographer starts breaking down the equipment before the audience floods into the small club.

'Cause, you see, when the Beastie Boys had been booked into Wolfgang's, which only holds a few hundred people, it was before "Fight for Your Right (to Party)" had hit big on MTV, and they were not at all pleased about being held to their contract. Toni, though, had been determined.

And so were the hundreds, maybe thousands, of kids swarming about outside.

In fact, they were far worse than the Beastie Boys themselves had been. "Yeah," Zoë reminisces as she looks for a nice spot on the lawn, "I was almost trampled to death that night when a bunch of them managed to break through the steel locks and Herculean guards posted at the backstage loading doors. Not at all like today: so orderly, so safe. So boring."


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