Soundtrack Of My Life: Beastie Boys’ Ad-Rock On Daft Punk, Loving Wham! And Living Forever

Adam Horovitz is a man who needs no introduction, but here goes anyways. As one-third of trailblazing Brooklyn rap tour de force The Beastie Boys, the history of hip hop would look very different without ‘Ad-Rock’ Horowitz. Not only were the Beasties instrumental in taking rap mainstream, while simultaneously paving the way for future white rappers, the Jewish Brooklyn trio were responsible for one of music’s first rap-rock hybrid in the shape of 1986’s ‘No Sleep Till Brooklyn’, merging their hardcore punk teenage tastes with their new knack for fiercely spat rhymes. Evolving from novelty party punks in the mid-’80s to the early 1990’s hippest rap act to production pioneers later on, for more than 25 years now Ad and the Beasties have done nothing but put out consistently great music. Recently seen dipping his toes into acting in Noah Baumbach’s James Murphy-scored film While We’re Young, here’s the great man on the records that have shaped his life so far.

The first song I remember hearing
The Beatles – ‘Sgt Pepper…’: “It has to be something from ‘Sgt Pepper…’, ’cos my dad used to play that and I would literally scream along with it. That and ‘Rubber Soul’. I used to listen to that album every single day. The Beatles are great for everybody – they write the songs that made the whole world sing. You should look into them! Google them!”


The first song I fell in love with
Kiss – ‘Detroit Rock City’: “I have older brothers and older sisters, so 45s were a big part of my childhood. I remember when I was eight years old we used to go at lunchtime to the sandwich place around the corner from school. My two favourite songs were ‘Detroit Rock City’ by Kiss and a song called ‘Dazz’ by a band called Brick. I used to stand on the little stage there and do my dance performances.”

The first album I ever bought
‘The Rocky Horror Show’ OST: “I frickin’ loved it! I probably got it from Crazy Eddie’s, a chain store in Manhattan. I was eight or nine. I had one album already: my dad stopped his car to get a sandwich and when he came out he said, ‘Here, you should have this,’ and gave me The Rolling Stones’ ‘Out Of Our Heads’ album. I have no idea why he bought that for me. I’ve never heard my dad listen to The Rolling Stones. I guess he wanted me to start collecting records.”

The band that made me want to make music
Ramones: “It was probably Bad Brains or The Clash… You know what, it was probably the Ramones. Me and my two best friends went to see the Ramones in 1979 and two weeks later I was like, ‘We’re starting a band, that’s it.’ We were in the very last row doing Whip-Its [nitrous oxide]. It was fantastic.”


The song I can no longer listen to
The Jam – ‘English Rose’: There’s songs you listen to at really heavy times and you associate those songs with being depressed. ‘English Rose’ by The Jam, I can’t listen to – it’s just too heavy for me. ‘Julia’ by The Beatles, too. That popped up the other day and I had to skip to the next song. They’re both really awesome, moving songs, but I can’t listen to them.”

The song I do at karaoke
Wham! – ‘Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go’: “I’ve only done karaoke twice in my life. The first time I did it, Kathleen [Hanna, his wife] hosted a karaoke night when she lived in Olympia, Washington. Her friend Slim challenged me to a karaoke-off. I was like, ‘OK, pick any song’, and he picked Sir Mix-A-Lot’s ‘Baby Got Back’. He knew every single word and I knew the chorus and that was it. It was a battle and I shamefully lost. The other time was at Kathleen’s birthday and me and my best friend sang possibly ‘Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go’, but I can’t remember.”

The song that makes me want to dance
Daft Punk – ‘Around The World’: “It came on when I was in the store the other day – it’s great! Do I have a trademark dance move? Man, it’s been so long that I’ve forgotten a lot of the names of my most popular dance moves. One of my dances is called The Creep At The Supermarket. I like to shorten it to just ‘The Creep’.”

The song I wish I’d written
Keith Murray – ‘The Most Beautifullest Thing In This World’: “It’s just a really good rap song. Oh, and ‘Beat Bop’ by Rammellzee and ‘Where Eagles Dare’ by the Misfits.”

The song that reminds me of forming Beastie Boys
World’s Famous Supreme Team – ‘Hey DJ’: “That was the hit of the summer right at the time when I joined the band. I remember being at this New York club Danceteria, and that was the big one. Hearing it always brings me back to that time.”

The song I want played at my funeral
“Wow, that’s a tough call, I dunno, ’cos things change so much. I don’t know if I’ll want it to be a crazy rap song or if I want it to be something background. Actually, I’m happy that I haven’t thought about it. And I’m never gonna die, so what’s the point?”