Watch Rare Footage of Beastie Boys as a Punk Band


Think back to the dark ages before the Internet. Before anybody with a keyboard-playing cat and a video camera could captivate the world.
The amateur auteur’s only option for small screen stardom: public access television. It was the YouTube of its day, but fuzzier and far less respected. In early ‘80s New York, public access aired an uninspiring grab bag of shows by preachers, horror film fanatics, and Sprockets-like German graffiti artists.

That is, until December 1983, when a couple of twenty-something pop culture enthusiasts from Sheepshead Bay made low-budget TV history. That was the month they debuted one of the wildest music shows ever aired, a show that introduced public access TV to bands like Woofing Cookies and Half Japanese and featured, to give just one example, the acid-addled lead singer of the Butthole Surfers interviewing a mole on his own leg. And also, four young kids from Brooklyn — three guys and a girl, their drummer — who, as a trio, would soon be known to the world by their band’s name: the Beastie Boys.

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