Fans of the Beastie Boys will never need to worry about hearing “No Sleep Till Brooklyn” in a DayQuil commercial or “Brass Monkey” in a spot for Brass Monkey. The last will and testament belonging to founding member Adam “MCA” Yauch — who died in May after a battle with cancer — reportedly contains a clause that bars advertisers from using his music, likeness, or any art he’s created in connection with hawking products. We hope this means no commercials where he’ll be dancing with a vacuum (like the decade-passed Fred Astaire in 1997) or praising diet cola (like the 20-years-dead Louis Armstrong somehow did in ’91), and certainly no shoe ads like the ones that featured Kurt Cobain, Joey Ramone, and Joe Strummer a few years ago. It’s unclear, though, whether his bandmates could supersede the clause.
“Notwithstanding anything to the contrary, in no event may my image or name or any music or any artistic property created by me be used for advertising purposes,” reads a copy of the will, according to Rolling Stone. The phrase “or any music or any artistic property created by me” was reportedly added in handwriting.
The will also reportedly stipulates that the artist is leaving $6.4 million, earned from his work with the Beastie Boys and his indie film distro Oscilloscope, go into a trust for his wife, Dechen, and 13-year-old daughter, Tenzin. It also names Dechen the executor of his estate.
The news about advertising is particularly timely, though, considering the Beastie Boys are currently going head-to-head with an energy drink company who put together a 24-song mega mix for a viral campaign.
In 1984, an airline company sampled the song “Beastie Revolution,” off the group’s “Cooky Puss” single, earning them a reported $40,000 in court. Doug Pomeroy, who engineered the single, recalled in an interview, “The Beasties gave me one fourth of the award, since I gave the lawyers a tape which absolutely proved British Airways had used the Beastie’s recording. I put the commercial on one channel of a cassette tape (heavily edited), and the Beastie’s record on the other track, and synchronized them perfectly.” The band used their earnings to rent an apartment in New York at 59 Chrystie Street, an address immortalized on their album Paul’s Boutique.