MCA, R.I.P.: Remembering Adam Yauch and the Beastie Boys in Tampa Bay
Though the Beastie Boys haven't performed in Tampa since a 2004 show at the St. Pete Times Forum, their musical connection to the Tampa Bay area does go back well into the '80s.
In 1985, the Beasties opened for Madonna in her only Tampa Bay tour stop ever, at the USF Sun Dome. "Our job was to get the crowd riled up before Madonna went on," Yauch would later recall. "And we did it. And whether we got them happy or got them mad, we definitely didn't leave them bored."
But their most notorious connection to the area came two years later.
A February 1987 concert at St. Petersburg's Bayfront Center was, in the words of several St. Petersburg Times writers, "marred by obscene language, lewd behavior and post-show violence. ... It was the stuff happening during the concerts that really rattled parents and community leaders. In addition to all the swearing and generally lewd behavior, the Beasties featured several novelty acts: a bikini-clad go-go dancer and a 21-foot hydraulic phallus, which would rise suggestively from center stage."
Wrote David Okamoto on Feb. 24, 1987:
It seems clear the Beastie Boys stepped way over the line in February. The debacle, in fact, prompted the Pinellas County Council of PTAs (PCCPTA) to draft a letter, sent to the National PTA and the media, expressing its 'concern about rock music concerts.' The four-point advisory urges parents to investigate groups before letting their children attend concerts, check into the booking policies of local concert halls, determine seating arrangements at shows and insist that police be prepared to arrest performers who break the law.
As a result, local venues, including the Bayfront center, refused to book a summer tour by the Beastie Boys and Run-DMC -- that is, until the Florida State Fairgrounds relented, albeit with the warning, "For Mature Audiences; adult subject matter." (The band and their management was NOT happy about that.)
"Hey, we're not exactly angels; I mean we've done some hectic s--- in our day, but it's not like we're something to be scared of," Yauch would tell the Times in an interview. "It's not like we're some kind of satanic mission or something. We're just havin' a good time.
"We're just up there to play some music," he continued. "We're not up there to be the most outrageous group in the world. We're not the Sex Pistols. I think parents are just being too overprotective of their kids. But that's the worst thing they could do. They should just say, 'Go ahead and see the Beastie Boys, they're a bunch of idiots.' I mean, we are a bunch of idiots. We're not preachin' anything. But for parents to hide their kids from us and the world is wrong. It's sad."
MCA, comin' correct, as always. He will be missed.
-- Jay Cridlin, tbt*