Skip to main content
Beastie Boys members Adam Horovitz, Adam Yauch, and Mike Diamond

Beastie Boys, Filmed in Concert: 'I... Shot That!'

You may know them as Mike D, MCA, and Ad-Rock. Or as Michael Diamond, Adam Yauch, and Adam Horovitz. Or simply, the Beastie Boys. For their new concert film, Awesome; I... Shot That!, they gave cameras to their fans in the crowd.


Other segments from the episode on March 29, 2006

Fresh Air with Terry Gross, March 29, 2006: Interview with Beastie Boys; Commentary on guitar players Richard Leo Johnson, Dominic Frasca, and Jonas Hellborg.


TIME 12:00 Noon-1:00 PM AUDIENCE N/A

Filler: By policy of WHYY, this information is restricted and has
been omitted from this transcript

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Profile: Rock historian Milo Miles describes guitarists Richard
Leo Johnson, Dominic Frasca and Jonas Hellborg

After the British invasion, the guitar reigned as the king of pop instruments.
Music critic Milo Miles reviews three guitar players he says are innovators
who have their roots in rock.

Mr. MILO MILES: There is a number of reasons the guitar remains the people's
choice as an instrument. It's relatively easy to learn. It's portable, even
with a small amp, and you can sing while you play it. But I think the
overwhelming reason these days is that generations of players grew up hearing
so much intense guitar, especially in rock, but also in folk and blues.

All three of the inventive players I talk about here started out entranced by
rock or rock-related styles, which helps explains why they are all, well,
believers in the possibilities of guitar.

(Soundbite of guitar music)

Mr. MILES: Richard Leo Johnson is an Arkansas native who first came to
attention through several albums on the jazz label Blue Note starting in the
late '90s. He is entirely self-taught. He says that when he was just
starting out, a friend gave him an unmarked tape of Leo Kottke and John
McLaughlin, and Johnson assumed it was the work of a single guitarist. Like I
said, possibilities.

Johnson's latest album is "The Legend of Vernon McAlister," which was inspired
by a 1930s' steel-bodied guitar with the name Vernon McAlister scratched on
the back. Johnson made up a whole history of Vernon McAlister that suggests a
story out of Harry Smith's "Anthology of American Folk Music." But the story
is forgettable, especially since it suggests "The Legend of Vernon McAlister"
is merely a re-creation of the mountain music and blues of the '30s. The
music is too weird for that.

(Soundbite of guitar music)

Mr. MILES: Johnson's skill is that he constantly suggests blues, bluegrass,
jazz and folk picking without ever quite settling down into any style but his
own. The echoes he captures of all the other modes keeps you intrigued and
off-balance. He occasionally wanders into rootless territory that has only
the empty prettiness of New Age. But more often, he's a deft impressionist,
sketching down a dream of Depression era twang.

Like Johnson, guitarist Dominic Frasca does a lot of percussive tapping on his
instrument, but there is a dense, driven quality to Frasca's beat, which is
not surprising for a player who started out under the influence of AC/DC and
later became as impressed with Steve Reich and Philip Glass. On his debut
album, "Deviations," Frasca plays a custom 10-string guitar with both nylon
and steel strings in the sort of expanded minimalist style associated with New
York's Bang on a Can group. But his rock passions are still down there, and
he shows a lot more flesh and blood, menace and drama than pure classical

(Soundbite of guitar music)

Mr. MILES: "Deviations" also includes several fascinating miniature numbers.
But on the extended pieces, Frasca becomes a muscle minimalist who combines
raw power arpeggios with harmonic slow burn. He says he's inspired more by
ensemble works than solo guitarists, and he does sound like a whole band.

Sweden's Jonas Hellborg also feeds the same need for energy, speed and
dexterity, though he plays bass. He came to prominence playing behind John
McLaughlin, but Hellborg has often shown more affinity for earthy rocking than
McLaughlin, particularly when it comes to fusions with Indian music. And
Hellborg has never led a more voracious Indian fusion set than his latest
"Kali's Son." The trio includes Hellborg's longtime collaborator, V.
Selvaganesh on Kanjira drum. But the key player is Niladri Kumar and his
modified sitar that he calls a "zitar." And, yes, most often, it sounds like
an electric guitar.

(Soundbite of guitar music)

Mr. MILES: On some "Kali's" soundtracks, Kumar plays regular sitar and they
have a more traditional ragga jam feel. The best advertisement for the
unifying effect of a rock and jazz fusion background is that there is no sense
of strain on this album of mashing styles and traditions together. The
players like big bad rave-ups, like the finale "Brightness," for Hellborg
dances as quickly and lightly as Kumar, and they know how to get crazy without
self-consciousness. The guitar heroes of yesterday showed the way.

GROSS: Milo Miles lives in Cambridge. He reviewed new releases from Richard
Leo Johnson, Dominic Frasca and Jonas Hellborg.


GROSS: I'm Terry Gross.

We'll close with a track from Ray Davies new CD "Other People's Lives." We'll
feature a new interview with him next week on FRESH AIR.

(Soundbite of Ray Davies)

Mr. RAY DAVIES: (Singing) "Hey, my friends. You can't run away from time.
They say you can't fight fate, time won't wait. You can't run away from time.

And time is the avenger. But why should we just surrender to it? Why go
through it?

Run, run, run, run, run, run, run away. Let's run away from time. Run, run,
run, run, run, run, run away.

Girl, you and me, we've got to set ourselves free this time. We must try to
escape because it's never too late, liberation is ours to find."

(End of soundbite)
Transcripts are created on a rush deadline, and accuracy and availability may vary. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Please be aware that the authoritative record of Fresh Air interviews and reviews are the audio recordings of each segment.

You May Also like

Did you know you can create a shareable playlist?


Recently on Fresh Air Available to Play on NPR


Daughter of Warhol star looks back on a bohemian childhood in the Chelsea Hotel

Alexandra Auder's mother, Viva, was one of Andy Warhol's muses. Growing up in Warhol's orbit meant Auder's childhood was an unusual one. For several years, Viva, Auder and Auder's younger half-sister, Gaby Hoffmann, lived in the Chelsea Hotel in Manhattan. It was was famous for having been home to Leonard Cohen, Dylan Thomas, Virgil Thomson, and Bob Dylan, among others.


This fake 'Jury Duty' really put James Marsden's improv chops on trial

In the series Jury Duty, a solar contractor named Ronald Gladden has agreed to participate in what he believes is a documentary about the experience of being a juror--but what Ronald doesn't know is that the whole thing is fake.

There are more than 22,000 Fresh Air segments.

Let us help you find exactly what you want to hear.
Just play me something
Your Queue

Would you like to make a playlist based on your queue?

Generate & Share View/Edit Your Queue