Co-presented by Create Digital Music.
"Whether you’re waiting for the Beastie Boys’ new album, the tour to follow or some combination of the two, the hype surrounding one of the most-anticipated albums of the year is already underway.
From radio-station contests to late-night infomercials, the pioneering punk-rap B-Boys and their following are putting out the word that they are back and up to no good.
Taking a less traditional avenue to drum up sales for Hello Nasty, the Beastie Boys have begun airing a half-hour parody of infomercials on cable stations in Northern New Jersey; Los Angeles; San Francisco; Chicago; Detroit; Minneapolis/St. Paul; Manhattan, N.Y.; Cleveland; Portland, Ore.; Philadelphia; Houston; and Washington, D.C.
The infomercial, directed in low-budget splendor by Tamra Davis (director of the feature films “Gun Crazy” and “CB4″), is a parody of various well-known, half-hour commercials that appear on late-night television. It features Beasties Mike D (a.k.a. Mike Diamond), MCA (a.k.a. Adam Yauch) and Ad-Rock (a.k.a. Adam Horovitz) taking on roles to shill everything from the services of phone psychics to get-rich-quick scams to a food processor that plays songs from their upcoming LP, Hello Nasty (July 14).
Calling the number displayed throughout the parody leads viewers to Grand Royal’s ordering line, allowing them to buy Hello Nasty and have it delivered to their door on July 14.
A Grand Royal telephone operator who only wanted to be identified as Laura said Thursday afternoon that the infomercials were doing their job so far. “It’s been pretty busy when the infomercials have been airing,” she said, adding that some callers, however, weren’t sure whether to take the ad seriously. “Some people have been like ‘Are you just going to go out and charge up my credit card?’ And I’ve just been telling them, ‘No, this is legit.’ ”
Meanwhile, with just two weeks until the release of the Beastie Boys’ eagerly awaited new album and less than a month before their tour kickoff in Seattle, fans in that Northwestern city are getting some help in psyching up for the funky rap-rock trio’s summer excursion.
The cross-country jaunt, which kicks off on July 31 at the Key Arena in Seattle, is being hyped by local alternative-rock giant KNDD-FM (107.7) with an unusual contest. Instead of the usual call-in method of awarding concert tickets, the station has been asking fans to wrack their brains a bit.
“The people who call in have to recite some lyrics to the songs we name, or we recite some lyrics and they have to tell us what Beastie Boys song they’re from,” said Aubbie Beal, promotions director for the station.
Like many stops on the so-far 16-date tour — more dates are expected to be announced — the Seattle show will be in the round, with the stage located in the middle of the 17,000-seat arena. Rappers A Tribe Called Quest and Beastie affiliate Money Mark will open the shows on the tour.
The Beastie Boys’ infomercial was placed on local-access stations around the country by On Tour Video, a company that has done similar work for such bands as Megadeth, Tonic and Blur.
According to Greg Pond, programming coordinator at TCI San Francisco (TCI is the parent company of SonicNet), this isn’t the first time that his cable system’s local-access channels have been used to promote a well-known group of musicians. But the Beasties’ ad certainly is the most original, he added.
“We aired half-hour spots for Tricky and Pulp a few weeks ago,” Pond explained. “But those were just videos and information about the artists. They were nothing like the infomercials the Beastie Boys produced.”
While the infomercials may have caused some confusion among viewers, the phone operator contacted said that she had not heard of any callers seriously ordering such advertised items as a polish that works on silver, cars and hair. “I haven’t seen the infomercial yet,” she said, “but I understand that it is very funny.”
As the infomercial airs nationwide, Beal said excitement for the Seattle show, the Beasties’ first gig in that area in several years, has been reaching a fever pitch. “We were getting calls about the show two, three, four weeks before it was announced,” Beal explained. “People are really psyched.”