Mike D Producing Spiritualist's Album While Ad-Rock Tours

Ad-Rock's BS2000 wrap tour of Japan, Hawaii next week; Money Mark joins Mike D on Bhagavan Das record.

While Beastie Boy Ad-Rock is on the road in Japan with his BS2000 side group, bandmate Mike D continues to work on another non-Beasties project — producing a solo album by religious guru Bhagavan Das.

Das has been working on and off with Mike D — and frequent Beasties collaborator and keyboardist Money Mark — on the album for the last six months. Money Mark has described the album as an Eastern version of Moby's Play.

According to a source close to the project, Mike D has been producing and playing drums on the Los Angeles recording sessions with Das, an American spiritualist, born Michael Riggs, who was converted during a pilgrimage to India in 1964 and has studied Hindu and Buddhism.

After a seven-year stint in Eastern Asia, much of which was chronicled in "Be Here Now," the 1971 tome by Richard Alpert, a.k.a. Ram Dass, Das returned to the U.S. and struck up friendships with beat poet Allen Ginsberg, counter-culture experimentalist Timothy Leary and Grateful Dead frontman Jerry Garcia. Das penned his autobiography, "It's Here Now (Are You?)," in 1997.

Since the launch of the Tibetan Freedom Concerts in 1996, Mike D has expressed an interest in Buddhism. "The Path of Emancipation," a book by Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh, was one of several volumes Mike D read while recovering from shoulder surgery last year (see "Beasties' Mike D To Undergo Shoulder Surgery").

Money Mark said the motivation for a Bhagavan Das studio album came in early 2000, right after Mike D asked him to help remix a track off Moby's Play for a U.K. single.

"It really is inspired by Moby's record," said Money Mark, who played keyboards on the as-yet-untitled Bhagavan Das album. "I think it was born out of the idea when Mike called me to help him remix a Moby song ['Natural Blues']. Then I think Mike took the idea and [went from there].

"Moby's record is based on the Lomax field recordings," Money Mark added, "and Mike actually met someone [Bhagavan Das] who is basically a walking encyclopedia of lots of old Eastern and American vocal pieces, and music was added to those vocals."

Reps for the Beasties classify the Bhagavan Das album as a project that's "continuing to evolve," and they added that there were no firm plans for the album's release yet.

As for Ad-Rock, BS2000 just issued a new album, Simply Mortified, which Ad-Rock recorded with Beasties touring drummer Amery "AWOL" Smith.

BS2000 are slated to wrap their tour of Japan and Hawaii on February 22 in Honolulu, after which the band plans to mount a U.S. tour, starting on April 3 in Minneapolis.

BS2000 are slated to wrap their tour of Japan and Hawaii on February 22 in Honolulu, after which the band plans to mount a U.S. tour, starting on April 3 in Minneapolis.

Dates for BS2000's U.S. tour, according to Grand Royal Records' Web site:

  • 4/3 - Minneapolis, MN @ Ascot Room - Quest

  • 4/4 - Milwaukee, WI @ Rave 2

  • 4/5 - Chicago, IL @ Metro

  • 4/7 - Detroit, MI @ Magic Stick

  • 4/8 - Cleveland, OH @ Beachland Ballroom

  • 4/10 - Pittsburgh, PA @ Beehive

  • 4/11 - Philadelphia, PA @ TLA

  • 4/12 - New York, NY @ Bowery Ballroom

  • 4/13 - Washington, DC @ 9:30 Club