ASK FOR JANICE
by Jim Mahfood
This will sound pathetic but I firmly believe that I’m the only person I personally know who likes the Beastie Boys. Obviously, not a news flash, but
considering my background and friends, it’s a bit of a shocker. I remember a 2008 road trip to APEcon in San Francisco and the reaction I got when ‘Hey Ladies’ popped up on my mp3 player that was hooked up to the car stereo. It wasn’t
pretty. Must have been the ‘Fight For Your Right To Party’ stigma, I guess.
I didn’t care for their first record either…still don’t….but when I first heard Sure Shot in the early 90’s, I was interested and have ended up with most of their output since. So how did the Beasties go from the juvenile/frat boy rap my friends despised to a level of respect that not many saw coming? The missing link lies with their
1989 LP ‘Paul’s Boutique’.
I’m not going to explain the how and why here because someone did the tedious job for me. I’ve been a big fan of the artist Jim Mahfood (Stupid Comics, Bad Idea) for a long time and so it was a trip to find out that he made a zine about the Boutique, one of my favorite records.
Named after a track, ‘Ask For Janice’ is Mahfood’s condensed history of this record: the set-
up, the list of players, the recording. the initial commercial failure and the revaluation and
resurrection in the next decade. The last half is for the hard-core only: it’s a track by track
breakdown of the labyrinth of unlicensed samples, cultural references and in-jokes. All
flanked by Jim’s fine loose graffiti style that matches the record’s vibe.
This one shot is out-of-print, but Jim
Mahfood is still in action. His web site is HERE.
(left, the back cover of my copy of the Janice zine I bought from Mahfood at A. P. E., complete with autograph and sketch)