TALK: Money Mark

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The world of Beastie has been knee-deep in the film game recently. It was just a few weeks ago that Adam Yauch premiered his brand new basketball documentary, Gunnin’ For That #1 Spot, at New York City’s Tribeca Film Festival (which is set to hit theaters on June 27). Meanwhile, earlier this year, the Beastie Boys long-time keyboardist Money Mark was at SXSW, promoting the soundtrack work he did for the film Beautiful Losers.

(left: Money Mark welcomes you into the world of…Money Mark).

A short time ago, I tracked down Money Mark and we chatted about his work on the film, when his next solo album is going to drop, doing handstands on keyboards, and writing new songs with, you guessed it, the Beastie Boys:

Jim Shearer: How did you end up doing the soundtrack for the upcoming film, Beautiful Losers?

Money Mark: My friend Aaron Rose (director), called me a couple years ago, and said “I’ve got this thing that I’m working on, and it would be great if you could look at it and give me some ideas for music.”

Jim: How does that work for a film? Does he give you little snippets of the movie and say, “I want a happy song here and a sad song there”?

Mark: He gave me complete license to do whatever I wanted to do. It turned out really, really great, and I was so honored to be asked to do it.

Jim: Wasn’t your first film score for the movie Blow?

Mark: I did the happy parts before the movie got dark. I did a scene or two at a time, but I think people think I’m good for romantic comedies or something. I did Along Came Polly with Jennifer Aniston and Ben Stiller. Ben was a fan–maybe it came through him, “Yeah, let’s get Mark to do it.” I did about seven very Latin [influenced] kind of songs for that. I’ve done various other things, but I’m almost even uncomfortable to name drop–

Jim: Ah c’mon Mark, why?

Mark: I’m not the self-promoting type. Maybe you can look online or something.

Jim: How about the Napoleon Dynamite score? It sounds a lot like a Money Mark soundtrack to me.

Mark: On the actual Napoleon Dynamite Soundtrack CD one of my songs is on there, “Sometimes You Gotta Make It Alone.” The sound of that song was kind of mimicked–that’s a nice word–in the film. The sounds in that film sounded very familiar to me, and to a lot of my friends.

Jim: Didn’t a lot of your friends think that you actually scored the film?

Mark: [After they saw the movie] I got at least 100 text messages on my phone that read, “Great score!”

Jim: What was your response to these texts?

Mark: “Thanks–I guess. What movie are you talking about?” I guess at a certain point it goes beyond flattery. In my whole career, I listened to tons of records, and when the Beastie Boys hired me to join their group, all of the stuff that I wrote with them was from our favorite albums. Being a musician, I’m kind of half academic, like I would really get into the song and break it down to look at why a song made me feel a certain way, or what were the emotive parts of the music. Some of it was derivative, but none of it was copied.

Jim: Speaking of the Beastie Boys, you came to their camp because you were friends with Mario Caldato? Can we talk about Phase II and Jungle Bugs?

Mark: That was the moment when Mario decided, “I’m going to be the engineer/techy/producer guy.”

Jim: Are we talking Jungle Bugs now?

Mark: Yes–and then I decided, “Okay I’m going to be more the musician/song-writer,” being in more of the front part of the scene. The teamwork there helped us a lot on the Beastie Boys’ Check Your Head album. Even now I work with Mario on a bunch of stuff.

Jim: Everyone knows you as the long-time keyboardist for the Beastie Boys. During live performances of “Sabotage” you sort of flip yourself perpendicular to the ground. Have you ever injured yourself while playing keyboards?

Mark: No.

Jim: Never?

Mark: No. I practice that move a lot. In fact when I leave here I’m going to go practice that move.

Jim: How do you practice? Do you do it in a foam pit?

Mark: When I’m in a restaurant waiting for food, I just, like, move everything out of the way and do my handstand on the table.

Jim: Seems like you could really injure your wrists that way.

Mark: I’m actually pretty athletic. And believe me, on that song I’m only holding one note, the A-flat note, so I’ve got to do something. I can’t just stand there.

Jim: I saw the Beastie Boys not that long ago and during “Heart Attack Man,” you came to the front to the stage and began frolicking around.

Mark: Yes. I did my little one-man mosh pit.

Jim: Do you do that just for “Heart Attack Man,” or are you allowed to frolic whenever you “feel” a certain song?

Mark: I have license to just walk on the stage and be goofy anytime I want to. It’s fun.

Jim: When you are making a Money Mark album, how do you determine if you put words to it, and how do you determine if it is just instrumental? I think right now you are at 50/50, right? You have got two instrumentals, and two vocal albums.

Mark: That is a good question. It is just whenever I get inspired, you know? And sometimes I just say, “Wow, this sounds great, the music is great and I’m just going to keep it this way.”

Jim: Have you done a YouTube search recently on Money Mark?

Mark: No I haven’t.

Jim: There is a rapper called Money Mark and he has a ditty in which he sings, “Now Money Mark, now Money Mark.” So I was wondering if you planned on filing a lawsuit any time soon?

Mark: I think we sent a letter to somebody–

Jim: Because if it takes off, today’s generation will know that Money Mark rather than this Money Mark.

Mark: I think there has been other Money Marks. So I don’t know. I’m not all that concerned with that–yet.

Jim: Phase II is also the name of a hip-hop group?

Mark: Oh, okay, well. In Japan there’s a group called the Beastie Boys. There’s an island called Beastie, spelled differently though, and they’re the boys from that island.

Jim: Have you ever been to that island?

Mark: No I haven’t.

Jim: Let’s talk carpentry.

Mark: Ah hah.

Jim: Do you still have skills?

Mark: Yes, I still do that at home every once in a while. That’s kind of how I met the Beastie Boys and how we became friends. When they moved to Los Angeles I was making record shelves for them and whatever.

Jim: I know, there’s the famous lyric, “Give him some wood and he’ll build you a cabinet.”

Mark: That’s right.

Jim: So if I gave you some wood today would you have the kindness in your heart to build me a cabinet?

Mark: Sure, later on. I have my tools in my hotel room, but that is where the name [Money Mark] came from, in that song [“Finger Lickin’ Good”]. A few seconds from that line is, “Keyboard Money Mark, you know he ain’t havin’ it.”

Jim: Are you guys writing stuff for the new Beastie Boys album?

Mark: Yes. Every once in a while we will get together and do something. It is not very intense at the moment.

Jim: Can you prognosticate when this album will come out?

Mark: No, no, no. I would be out of line to say anything about it. I don’t know.

Jim: What about Money Mark? I know you got the Beautiful Losers Soundtrack, but when will we get a new solo album?

Mark: Working on that right now. So far I have a kick drum and a guitar (mimics playing them simultaneously).

Jim: You play both at the same time?

Mark: Uh huh, I’m doing Meg White and Jack White at the same time. I’m starting there, so I don’t know what it will end up being.


New Nasty

Whips, Chains and Hand Sanitizer

Turn On The Full Season Of Neurotica At IFC's Comedy Crib

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Jenny Jaffe has a lot going on: She’s writing for Disney’s upcoming Big Hero 6: The Series, developing comedy projects with pals at Devastator Press, and she’s straddling the line between S&M and OCD as the creator and star of the sexyish new series Neurotica, which has just made its debut on IFC’s Comedy Crib. Jenny gave us some extremely intimate insight into what makes Neurotica (safely) sizzle…


IFC: How would you describe Neurotica to a fancy network executive you met in an elevator?

Jenny: Neurotica is about a plucky Dominatrix with OCD trying to save her small-town dungeon.

IFC: How would you describe Neurotica to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

Jenny: Neurotica is about a plucky Dominatrix with OCD trying to save her small-town dungeon. You’re great. We should get coffee sometime. I’m not just saying that. I know other people just say that sometimes but I really feel like we’re going to be friends, you know? Here, what’s your number, I’ll call you so you can have my number!

IFC: What’s your comedy origin story?

Jenny: Since I was a kid I’ve dealt with severe OCD and anxiety. Comedy has always been one of the ways I’ve dealt with that. I honestly just want to help make people feel happy for a few minutes at a time.

IFC: What was the genesis of Neurotica?

Jenny: I’m pretty sure it was a title-first situation. I was coming up with ideas to pitch to a production company a million years ago (this isn’t hyperbole; I am VERY old) and just wrote down “Neurotica”; then it just sort of appeared fully formed. “Neurotica? Oh it’s an over-the-top romantic comedy about a Dominatrix with OCD, of course.” And that just happened to hit the buttons of everything I’m fascinated by.


IFC: How would you describe Ivy?

Jenny: Ivy is everything I love in a comedy character – she’s tenacious, she’s confident, she’s sweet, she’s a big wonderful weirdo.

IFC: How would Ivy’s clientele describe her?

Jenny:  Open-minded, caring, excellent aim.

IFC: Why don’t more small towns have local dungeons?

Jenny: How do you know they don’t?

IFC: What are the pros and cons of joining a chain mega dungeon?

Jenny: You can use any of their locations but you’ll always forget you have a membership and in a year you’ll be like “jeez why won’t they let me just cancel?”

IFC: Mouths are gross! Why is that?

Jenny: If you had never seen a mouth before and I was like “it’s a wet flesh cave with sharp parts that lives in your face”, it would sound like Cronenberg-ian body horror. All body parts are horrifying. I’m kind of rooting for the singularity, I’d feel way better if I was just a consciousness in a cloud.

See the whole season of Neurotica right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib.


The ’90s Are Back

The '90s live again during IFC's weekend marathon.

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Photo Credit: Everett Digital, Columbia Pictures

We know what you’re thinking: “Why on Earth would anyone want to reanimate the decade that gave us Haddaway, Los Del Rio, and Smash Mouth, not to mention Crystal Pepsi?”


Thoughts like those are normal. After all, we tend to remember lasting psychological trauma more vividly than fleeting joy. But if you dig deep, you’ll rediscover that the ’90s gave us so much to fondly revisit. Consider the four pillars of true ’90s culture.

Boy Bands

We all pretended to hate them, but watch us come alive at a karaoke bar when “I Want It That Way” comes on. Arguably more influential than Brit Pop and Grunge put together, because hello – Justin Timberlake. He’s a legitimate cultural gem.

Man-Child Movies

Adam Sandler is just behind The Simpsons in terms of his influence on humor. Somehow his man-child schtick didn’t get old until the aughts, and his success in that arena ushered in a wave of other man-child movies from fellow ’90s comedians. RIP Chris Farley (and WTF Rob Schneider).



Teen Angst

In horror, dramas, comedies, and everything in between: Troubled teens! Getting into trouble! Who couldn’t relate to their First World problems, plaid flannels, and lose grasp of the internet?

Mainstream Nihilism

From the Coen Bros to Fincher to Tarantino, filmmakers on the verge of explosive popularity seemed interested in one thing: mind f*cking their audiences by putting characters in situations (and plot lines) beyond anyone’s control.

Feeling better about that walk down memory lane? Good. Enjoy the revival.


And revisit some important ’90s classics all this weekend during IFC’s ’90s Marathon. Check out the full schedule here.


Get Physical

DVDs are the new Vinyl

Portlandia Season 7 Now Available On Disc.

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GIFs via Giffy

In this crazy digital age, sometimes all we really want is to reach out and touch something. Maybe that’s why so many of us are still gung-ho about owning stuff on DVD. It’s tangible. It’s real. It’s tech from a bygone era that still feels relevant, yet also kitschy and retro. It’s basically vinyl for people born after 1990.


Inevitably we all have that friend whose love of the disc is so absolutely repellent that he makes the technology less appealing. “The resolution, man. The colors. You can’t get latitude like that on a download.” Go to hell, Tim.

Yes, Tim sucks, and you don’t want to be like Tim, but maybe he’s onto something and DVD is still the future. Here are some benefits that go beyond touch.

It’s Decor and Decorum

With DVDs and a handsome bookshelf you can show off your great taste in film and television without showing off your search history. Good for first dates, dinner parties, family reunions, etc.


Forget Public Wifi

Warm up that optical drive. No more awkwardly streaming episodes on shady free wifi!



Internet service goes down. It happens all the time. It could happen right now. Then what? Without a DVD on hand you’ll be forced to make eye contact with your friends and family. Or worse – conversation.


Self Defense

You can’t throw a download like a ninja star. Think about it.


If you’d like to experience the benefits DVD ownership yourself, Portlandia Season 7 is now available on DVD and Blue-Ray.