Beastie Boys’ ‘Sabotage’ was written about an annoying recording engineer
The Beastie Boys have revealed an amusing anecdote about one of their most famous songs, explaining how ‘Sabotage’ was actually written about an annoying recording engineer.
No matter how much of the Beastie Boys‘ back discography you’re familiar with, you would’ve undoubtedly heard ‘Sabotage’ at some point. With that amazing bassline, hilarious music video, and powerful vocals, it was a rap/rock crossover hit that saw the New York City trio further their status as musical legends.
But have you ever wondered who it was written about? Did you ever wonder who Ad-Rock was referring to when he screamed the words “I can’t stand it/I know you planned it”? Well, the group’s new book has all your answers.
Earlier this year, the surviving members of the Beastie Boys announced the release of a career-spanning memoir.
Now, ahead of the release of Beastie Boys Book, the group have announced an audiobook adaptation as well, including appearances from the likes of Steve Buscemi, Elvis Costello, Snoop Dogg, Will Ferrell, Bette Midler, and members of Public Enemy, Sonic Youth, Wilco, and Pulp.
One segment has now been released, featuring Saturday Night Live alumni Tim Meadows explaining the recording process of their 1994 record, Ill Communication, and describing the frustrating experience of working with engineer Mario Caldato Jr.
“We’d been in the studio every night for so long making Ill Commincation and Check Your Head, and we were totally indecisive about what, when, how and why to complete songs. Mario was getting frustrated,” Ad-Rock said (via Tim Meadows’ soothing voice).
“That’s a really calm way of saying that he would blow a fuse and get pissed off at us and scream that we needed to just finish something, anything, a song. He would push awful instrumental tracks we made just to have something moving toward completion.”
While ‘Sabotage’ was reportedly the last song on the album, it also went through several incarnations, much to the frustration of Mario Caldato Jr. As a result, Ad-Rock felt that “it would be funny to write a song about how Mario was holding us all down, how he was trying to mess it all up, sabotaging our great works of art.”
“So one night I went to Mario’s house and he recorded me screaming words into a microphone over that track,” he explained. “All about some mysterious thorn in my side, the ubiquitous biters and the haters.”