Beastie Boys’ Original ‘Fight For Your Right’ Revisited: Meet Ricky Powell

With 'Fight' short film set to premiere Wednesday (April 20), here's a look back at the beer-soaked history of the 1986 video.

You get the feeling that, back in their hell-raising License To Ill heyday, the [artist id="968"]Beastie Boys[/artist] derived some sort of perverse pleasure from blindsiding unsuspecting interviewers with profanities or non sequiturs. Or at least by dumping beer on them.

Sufficed to say, they’ve mellowed some in recent years (their vocabulary has improved , too), but back in the day, the Beasties lived to torment the media, and they did so by any means necessary.

Take, for example, this rather revelatory bit of tape shot on December 31, 1986, at MTV’s 6th annual “Rock ‘N Roll New Year’s Eve Ball” (a party so huge that both Brian Setzer and the Georgia Satellites were in attendance). In it, a poor MTV News field producer corners the Beasties and attempts to ask them about their plans for 1987 — plans that included a headlining tour and a new video to shoot for “No Sleep Till Brooklyn” — and gets doused by a Budweiser, making a valiant attempt to shield the microphone from a soaking, with little success.

And while it’s oddly compelling to watch a train wreck like this unfold, the reason we dug the tape out of our archives occurs just moments later, when the same producer, still wet with cheap beer, asks the MCs about their infamous “(You Gotta) Fight For Your Right (To Party)” video — the same video that serves as the inspiration for the band’s “Fight For Your Right Revisited” short film , which premieres Wednesday (April 20) at midnight on MTV2, mtvU and Palladia.

Specifically, the interviewer asks the Boys about casting “the geeky guys” for the video, which gives them the opportunity to introduce “the man who played the main nerd,” their photographer-friend Ricky Powell (presumably right around the time “your girl got di–ed” by him.) And then, they pour beer on his head, too. But not before Powell curses on-air and then professes his love for “Black women with blonde hair.”

So, yeah, it’s a pretty amazing bit of tape, even 25 years later. In celebration of just how far the Beastie Boys have come — and in anticipation of “Fight For Your Right Revisited” — we’re rolling it out for you right now. Enjoy — and wear a poncho!

Don’t miss “Fight for Your Right Revisited” on Wednesday (April 20) at midnight on MTV2, mtvU, VH1 Classic and Palladia.