At Adam Yauch’s apartment in Los Angeles — where he lives alone in a funky, old Deco-style residential hotel — the Beasties are together to try on costumes and plan a video shoot for Ill Communication’s second single, “Sabotage,” which is to be directed by Spike Jonze. It’s a takeoff of plainclothes-cop shows from the seventies like The Streets of San Francisco and Starsky & Hutch. Everyone seems to be sporting a beeper, a portable phone, or both.
A black girl with dyed platinum-blonde hair, camouflage T-shirt, and a British accent is fitting the band members in an ever more ridiculous series of seventies outfits and wigs. The Boys are watching old Streets episodes on videotape, trying to ape Karl Malden’s hand gestures, figuring out with L.A. street is hilly enough to approximate an actual street of San Francisco, and who should sit where in the car for maximum parodic authenticity.
“The captain wouldn’t be driving,” Mike D thinks out loud. “He has to ride shotgun so he can jump out fast. And the rookie has to sit in back so he can jump out and get us coffee and shit.”
The next day they start shooting the video in various locations around East L.A., winding up around lunchtime in front of Yauch’s building to shoot a scene where Yauch, Diamond, and Horovitz jump out of the car in hot pursuit of a perp. Usually, video shoots for major-label bands are grandiose affairs, with countless hair and makeup types, personal assistants, and flunkies. But the “Sabotage” crew is so bare-bones that an unsuspecting passerby might mistake it for a student film. Except for the part where Ione Skye shows up for lunch.