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The launch of the recent Beastie Boys x Spike Jonze capsule through Girl Skateboards celebrates a creative relationship dating back to 1991 when Jonze was working for the shortlived yet pioneering men’s fashion magazine Dirt. In many ways, Dirt was a precursor to the Beasties’ own print mag, Grand Royal, with its off-kilter culture takes, homages to underground legends, and a pastiche of nostalgia, humor, and wit. While Jonze is often credited as the bridge between the Beastie Boys and skateboarding, it was actually an innocent theft of intellectual property that led to the lasting bond between the two.
In 2018, Girl Skateboards co-founder or whatever title their celebratory coin-flip determines, Mike Carroll detailed the pivotal moment to High Snobiety in 2018:
“I got an advanced copy of the album (Check Your Head 1992) from Lance Dawes at Slap Magazine. When it came time for the video (Plan B Questionable (1992) we used the music from that advanced copy – I didn’t think anything of it, because the album wasn’t even out yet. So yeah, we didn’t get the rights and the album didn’t even come out for two weeks after Questionable. It’s pretty fucked up. [laughs] We were recently on a Lakai trip in Japan and Tony Hawk actually asked us if we got permission to use those Beasties tracks. Years ago he was snowboarding with MCA and Tony asked him if Plan B had gotten permission. MCA told him we didn’t but said it didn’t matter because he thought the video was ‘sick,’ well… he used some other words, but getting that sign off was all that mattered.”
As legend and several interviews with Jonze and Carroll have detailed, the Beasties, saw it fair and symbolic to respond to the appropriation by asking Plan B to provide footage for their Time For Livin’ video, resulting in a sizzle reel for Questionable’s pioneering tricks along with the band bashing out a tribute to the early New York City hardcore scene that birthed the band. The synergy and volley between the two camps continued in 1994—the year that Girl Skateboards released their debut video Goldfish (often miscredited as 1993) and the Beastie Boys released the Jonze directed video for Sabotage. The campy footage of 1970s wigged cops barging the streets in lead sled vintage automobiles were prevalent in both, with most seeing the Beastie’s breakthrough single copping the aesthetic first but as Carroll told the Nine Club, Jonze had filmed the schtick for Girl first—a bit of a screen test for Sabotage.
We have a small selection left of the Girl Skateboards X Beastie Boys X Spike Jonze capsule available on Parade.
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