Considering the commercial success the Beastie Boys achieved at the beginning of
their career with Licence To Ill in 1986 and after breaking through to the
mainstream again in 1994 with Ill Communication and most of the albums that
followed, it's hard to believe there was a time when the pioneering hip-hop group were
labeled commercial disappointments. While Paul's Boutique is now considered a
masterpiece, in the first few years after its 1989 release sales of the album paled in
comparison to what Licence To Ill sold. The Beasties reinvented themselves, not
only studio-wise, but also as a live act in the early '90s as they picked up their
instruments once more to create Check Your Head.
Check Your Head was eventually embraced by music fans spanning multiple genres
including alt-rock listeners thanks to the diverse sounds presented on the 20-track
effort. On May 20, 1992, at a time when the soon-to-be festival headliners were playing
venues holding about 1,000 fans, the Beastie Boys appeared on Hangin' With
MTV, a new cable TV program. Hangin' With MTV, which was beamed out live over
cable network each weekday afternoon, featured a pair of hosts introducing popular music
videos, presenting live performances and conducting interviews, all in front of a live
Many episodes of Hangin' With MTV were livened up with a house band which would
up to and out of commercial breaks, in addition to playing full songs for the broadcast.
Soundgarden, Phish, Faith No More and the Beastie Boys were among the acts to serve as
house band for an episode of Hangin' With MTV during its brief existence in 1992.
The Beastie Boys wound up performing nine songs during their visit to Hangin' With
MTV, though those at home only saw portions of most tunes. All but one of those songs
featured the Beasties on instruments with Mike D. on drums, Ad-Rock on guitar and MCA on
bass (plus DJ Hurricane, percussionist Drew Lawrence and Mark Nishita on keys). Video of
natives appearance on Hangin' With MTV has surfaced and is well-worth the watch for
the intense "Gratitude," the hardcore days throwback "Time For Livin'" and the flash and
swerve of "So What'cha Want." There's even a brief cover of "Iron Man" and a nifty
instrumental jam. Ch-ch-check it out:
So What'cha Want > Interview > Groove Holmes > Pow > In 3's > Instrumental Jam > Iron Man
> Hurricane Vocal Track > Gratitude > Time For Livin'