SonicNetHost: We are pleased to be talking to
Adam Yauch of The Beastie
Boys & Erin Potts
of The Milarepa Fund.
SonicNetHost: Who turned you on the cause of
the Tibetan people? What compelled you to act?
Erin: In general sense, when I was younger,
my favorite bands played at Amnesty International.
I then became a big fan of Human Rights. I then had a teacher,
David Brown who lived in a Tibetan Refugee camp for 7 years. He
really turned me on to the cause.
Adam: Well I first got interested in it from
some Tibetan refugees who had just escaped from Tibet. Shortly
after that I met Erin in Katmandu. Erin and her friend Sam were
the first people who really began to teach me to tell me about
what was going on in Tibet.
SonicNetHost: Tibet has been getting a lot of
media exposure lately. People know about it now more than ever.
How do we turn this knowledge into action?
Erin: That a really good question. Action is
the key to getting things to happen. There's a lot of
organizations like Students for a Free Tibet and
others, where people can join and find out what's going on.
Adam: Students For a Free Tibet.
I think its very important for people to find out that whether
there is an SFT chapter at their school if their
isn’t they should start one. If there is it would be great
if they would get involved with it. I think that we cant under
estimate letter writing campaigns, boycotts and demonstrations
have over corporations. All of those tools have a very strong
SonicNetHost: I was just wondering how much
you guys think the public actually learned from the shows, or if
it was just more of a showcase for music? What if any action has
resulted from the shows?
Erin: We have one campaign where we're
sending 1.2 million messages to President Clinton asking him to
set up negotiations between China and Tibet. And you can all
check out the Web site at http://www.milarepa.org. The shows
definitely increased awareness. Before last years shows in San
Francisco , there were only 80 chapters of Students for
Free Tibet, now there are over 350 and growing every
Adam: A lot of people did come to the shows
but I think out of those people any of them did learn quite a bit
about what’s happening in Tibet and took something positive
away with them. But I think that even for the people who just
came there to hear the music although they made not have gathered
very much, they are at the show. It may have been the door for
them to learn more later.
SonicNetHost: When you're dedicating your
time and effort for a good cause, do you get frustrated by
Erin: Since the concert in San Francisco, we
launched a boycott of Holiday Inn. After 4 months of boycotting,
Holiday Inn left!
Adam: No I don’t get at all frustrated
by it. Its very natural. In fact I think that that is the main
obstacle in what we are trying to over come here. I think as we
begin to overcome that we will also be able to over come the
Chinese government's oppressive policies.
SonicNetHost: With the current trend of
"Buddhism chic" that seems to be sweeping over some of
this country (especially Hollywood) Do you see the
religion/philosophy become trivialized or trite?
Erin: The media says there's a lot of apathy,
but I actually think people aren't as apathetic as the media
says. People should participate in what they believe in. That's
Adam: No I thinks its image may appear more
trivial. To the general public. But I think that the principles
that its based on, are very solid. If anyone takes the time to
really look into the Dharma by great teachers
such as the Dali Llama , you’ll find that the teachings
themselves are in no way trivialized at all.
SonicNetHost: Given the recent talks between
Clinton and Chinese President Jiang Zemin's semi-recognition of
past mistakes in terms of human rights abuses in China, are you
all optimistic about the plight of Tibetans (and others seeking
freedom from persecution)?
Erin: Yes, I'm really optimistic about the
situation in Tibet. The situation inside Tibet is getting a lot
worse, but outside awareness has grown tremendously. When
President Jiang came to the US he saw the overwhelming concern
for Tibet from the American People.
Adam: Yes I am extremely optimistic about it.
I think that the fact Jiang recognized Tibet at all is a sign
that the pressures that we are putting on are working. If not for
the demonstrations, letter writing campaigns and films concerts,
all of the work that people in the Tibetan movement I don’t
even think that we would hear Bill Clinton or the Chinese premier
mention the word Tibet.
BAD_RELIGION_ : Hey Adam: What's your biggest
impetus to put on this Tibetan Freedom Concert?
Adam: Well it was two things, on the one hand
there is a tremendous amount that we can do as American citizens,
to help end the suffering of the Tibetan people. Which is one of
the things we were hoping would be a result of the concert. The
other side of that is that there is a great deal that Tibetan
culture has to offer the rest of the world. I believe that the
insights that Tibetan culture posses into non violence and
compassion are things that our society desperately needs.
Brian817 : Hey Adam, been a fan since ILL,
and I think what you're doing is a great and a great cause. Who
would you say is your biggest inspiration, musically,
politically, or otherwise?
SonicNetGuest: Well, probably musically
politically together would have to be Bob Marley. I think it is
amazing when someone is able to use music to create positive
change in the world
Hatmosh : Do you think it is good or bad that
Hong Kong is back to being communist?
SonicNetGuest: I think there are good and bad
aspects to it. The bad side is that some people who have gotten
accustomed to some levels of freedom in HK may find that those
freedoms are being taken away from them. But on the upside, uh
some of those ideas of freedom and human rights may be filtering
into mainland China through Hong Kong.
Erin: On the one hand, it was a British
colony, now it's communist so now people are losing a lot of
their freedoms. We'll just have to see how it plays out. We
support the people of Hong Kong in their efforts to retain their
C.a.s.h.069 : Adam, what do you think about
the impact you had on rap and hip hop in the 80s?
Adam: I think some of it was good. But I also
think that some of it was destructive. There were times that we
said things joking around about taking drugs like smoking dust or
being involved in violence or negativity towards women that
people may have taken a bit too seriously. I think I learned a
lot about how putting ideas out into the world really does affect
the world. So now I'm a little more careful about what I'm
putting out there.
Aardvark76 : Are the Beastie Boys going
to continue to use samples in their music? Where did they find
Jimmy Smith's "Root Down" (and get it)?
Adam: Yes, I'm sure we'll always use samples,
these days we've mostly been sampling our own music sometimes we
jam for a while & then sample it. I think that Jimmy
Smith’s was one of Adam's.
Yubie : Will Pearl Jam be involved w/
Milarepa in the future?
Erin: I hope so. Eddie was amazing!
Adam : How do you feel about music
Adam: Uh...I don't know.
Inzaney : Do the Chinese suppress all
Adam: That's a tricky question. But Chinese
people and Tibetan people in general don't have the basic
freedoms that we enjoy. They don't have freedom of speech or
freedom of religion. So it's not so much that they oppress
Buddhists as much as they oppress everyone.
Erin: There's definitely China being a
communist country. Communism believes that religion is the opiate
of the masses. So there's repression against all religions
including Christianity and Buddhism.
Kaething : Erin (and Adam) I read that you
guys met while living in Tibet. I was thinking about taking a
month to travel through the country. Any recommendations on what
to do/where to go/what not to do/where not to go?
Adam: Actually we met in Katmandu. Erin can
probably tell you more because she lived there. I was just
Erin: Try and go everywhere! But as far as
what not to do, be very careful where you speak to the Tibetans
about politics. In fact, only talk about politics when you are
Adam : If you could jam with anyone living or
dead, who would it be?
Adam: I would like to say Hendrix, but it
sounds too obvious. George Washington, because he had a rad
Punkrockqueer : Where does the name Milarepa
Adam: Milarepa is the name of a Tibetan saint
who used to play music.
Erin: Milarepa was a Tibetan Saint who lived
1000 AD. And he gained enlightenment in one lifetime after being
a really bad person. After he gained enlightenment, he taught
others through music. It's a good example of how people can
change themselves to be more positive no matter what they've done
in the past.
Sdaddy_Mack87 : MCA, how do you reconcile
being a well-known musician with Buddhism?
Adam: I don't know that the two conflict at
all I think that the most important thing about being a Buddhist
is trying to benefit other people & to try not to do anything
to harm anyone else.
Jamrage asks: Will there be concerts every
year, and will they be released on CD?
Adam: Yes, there will be a concert next year
& I don't know if we will do another CD This one (that is out
now on Grand Royal/Capitol) seems like such good document that
maybe we should just leave it alone.
Erin: I would say, although Adam would
probably disagree, that we probably won't do it every year. And
since we just did a CD, we probably won't do it again.
VWESTfaLiA asks: Paul's Boutique
is my favorite B-Boys album. What would you
consider to be yours Adam?
Adam: I know this sounds like a cheesy stock
answer; but anyway I think it's true. They all represent the
period of time which they were made. Back to the
"record" question. There will probably not be another Tibetan
Freedom Concert record. Not Beastie Boys record.
WizeMunkey asks: This Tibetan Freedom,
is it really helping? Are we having an impact?
Adam: Definitely, um but we need to escalate
the work that is being done. I think that the next couple of
years will be a crucial time. This is where we will really see if
the movement is able to succeed so it is crucial that everyone
Erin: Yes! We now have a special coordinator
at the State Department helping to achieve Tibetan freedom since
the concert. And the only reason this position was created was
because of the people's support..
Ruiner97 asks: Where did you come up with the
idea for the song "Crafty?" Did it really happen to
Adam: Nope. I was just sitting around bored
one day writing some rhymes, but me and Mike D did used to live
in a house together and I was sitting in that house and that's
what inspired me.
Erin: I heard it was a girl at my school..
FullOfCode asks: Hey Adam! When is the movie
is going to be making the rounds and do you have any confirmed
acts for the '98 show in DC? Thanks so much!
Adam: The movie should be out soon. Cross
your fingers and we do have a bunch of confirmed acts for next
years concerts. But I'm not allowed to answer them, cuz I'll get
Erin: We're hoping to have public
distribution early next year. Keep checking our websiteundefined
Yubie asks: Sabotage, a great video. Who's
Adam: It started out just as a photo shoot,
then somebody thought of the idea of doing it as a video. But I
don't remember who.
Keving_98 asks: Adam, when did you become
Buddhist? What prompted you to join the religion?
Adam: Well I studied different religions from
about 1988 until 1992. When I first met some Tibetan people in
Nepal at that point I got specifically interested in Tibetan
Buddhism and began to study that after going to a lot of
teachings and reading a lot of books. It made so much sense to
me, that I decided to become Buddhist; but that was only about a
year & 1/2 ago.
Mixx3 asks: How do I know the money I
contribute to Tibetan charities actually gets there?
Adam: I'm typing to you from my private
helicopter which I bought from absconding funds from all of the
charitable events that I've been involved in. I'm sure that Erin
can vouch for that as she is typing from her "private"
Erin: I can personally assure that money that
is sent to the Milarepa Fund to be sent on to other organizations
is personally accounted for. We do the "white glove
SonOSam asks: I love " Lookin' Down The
Barrel Of A Gun!" Is it true that you don't play that song
in concert anymore?
Adam: We do sometimes.
AdamK asks: What does your family think of
Adam: My mom loves the Beastie Boys. You
didn't see her out at the mosh pit at the Tibetan Freedom
Concert? She was the lady with the five mohawks and the
Chuckie1138 asks: How far are you willing to
go in the quest for Tibetan freedom?
Erin: All the way!
Adam: The Full Monty!
AWOL17 asks: Are you really leaving the band,
Adam: We're all leaving the band; but each of
us is starting a new version of the Beastie Boys
and right now we're in litigation over the name. If anyone would
like to audition to be my new ADROCK, I've already cast Mr. T as
Mike D. They can send their applications to: www.pampers.com.
AdamK asks: Have you ever been abducted by
Adam: Not that I know of, but they might've
caught me when I was sleeping this one time. One of them tried to
come in the studio and abduct all of us. But I crouched down
behind him and Adrock pushed him over my back!
AureanaRaine asks: Can you describe the
Tibetan concert in 3 words?
Adam: Buy The CD.
Erin: I'll leave that one to Adam.
AdamK asks: If you weren’t in a band,
what would you be doing right now?
Adam: If you weren't doing whatever you are
doing what would you be doing?
MissJ_320 asks: What do you feel you are
getting out of your efforts to free Tibet? Why has it become so
important to you? Adam, do your other "B-Boys"
share your same contributions?
Adam: I feel really honored to help the
Tibetans in any way that I can. I think it is the greatest sense
of fulfillment I've ever had. The other B-Boys
may not spend as much time as I do; but they definitely have my
back and feel that it is an extremely important worthwhile cause.
Erin: I guess there's a certain amount of
learning in any job. But doing this, fighting to free Tibet, is a
lot more rewarding than anything .
Lovlei1 asks: Is Screech from saved by the
bell Mike D’s brother?
Adam: I'm in the studio with Mike D right now
and that's the most asked question. It might be true. But if is,
Mike doesn't know about it. Maybe it's Mike's long lost brother
that was put up for adoption. Does the kid have any beats or
rhymes? Maybe he could audition as the Mike D for my new version
of the Beastie Boys.
Erin: Thanks all of you for coming to this
chat. If you're interested in learning more about the Milarepa
Fund, call us toll free 1-888-MILAREPA or check out the website
Adam: Goodbye. I would just like to thank
everyone whose involved with the Tibet movement. I think it is an
extremely important cause & will have an affect on the
evolution of humanity... Because the Tibet show was based on
nonviolence, I think it's come to symbolize a way of thinking
that we can all aspire to backtrack. Because of the Tibetan
struggle is based on nonviolence. I think it's come to symbolize
a way of thinking we can all aspire to. I think that if Tibet
succeeds and gains their freedom then that will show that
humanity has begun to work towards world peace and if we allow
Tibetan culture to be wiped out, then I think that will symbolize
humanity heading in a more destructive direction . I encourage
everyone to get involved in this. Because I believe that
ultimately it will affect all of us for generations. Bye.