Profile of Beastie Boys Member Adam “Ad-Rock” Horovitz


Adam Keefe Horovitz, more popularly known as Ad Rock, is one of the three-man hip-hop group Beastie Boys. In his teens, Ad-Rock was first a member of the Young and the Useless, a punk band from New York City. For him then, a career in music was unthinkable. It was only a means of passing the time and a justification to hang around and get to know others who shared his interests. 

The Beastie Boys, a punk band that at the time included Horovitz’s pals Adam Yauch, Michael Diamond, John Berry, and Kate Schellenbach, would frequently open for The Young and the Useless on gigs. Berry quit the Beastie Boys in 1982 when they transitioned from punk to hip-hop, and Horovitz, at sixteen, took his place.

The Beastie Boys’ music shifted when Horovitz joined the group, moving away from their hardcore punk roots and toward hip-hop. In 1986, the group’s debut album, Licensed to Ill, was released through Def Jam. Six hit singles were produced from the album, which had tremendous commercial success. By 2010, the Beastie Boys had sold 40 million records globally and 22 million in the US after releasing seven further albums.

Adam is a competent player of the drums, keyboards, and bass in addition to playing guitar with the Beastie Boys. It is acknowledged that about 80% of the songs on the album “Hello Nasty” were written by him. Under the moniker 41 Small Stars, Horovitz also remixes various songs for other artists in addition to his work with the Beastie Boys. He plays bass in Bridget Everett’s backup band, The Tender Moments, a cabaret act from New York.

Ad Rock

Movie stint

Horovitz pursued acting in the late 1980s and early 1990s, frequently landing roles as disturbed, brooding young men – in James Dean style. He has appeared in a number of films and television programs as Tim ‘Chino’ Doolan in Lost Angels (1989), Sam in Roadside Prophets (1992), and Repulski in Godspeed (2007).

Horovitz became friends and started dating American actress Molly Ringwald in the late 1980s while on the set of The Pick-up Artist set. In 1992 to 1999, Horovitz was married to the actress Ione Skye whom he dedicated in part in the song “Get It Together”.  They however separated in 1995 and got divorced in 1999. He then started dating riot grrl artist Kathleen Hanna and were married in 2006. The Punk Singer, a 2013 documentary on Hanna’s life and career, featured Horovitz significantly and he even directed certain scenes.

Horovitz and the Beastie Boys received their Rock & Roll Hall of Fame induction in 2012. He and ex father-in-law Donovan were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on the same night.

In 2014, Horovitz made a film comeback in Noah Baumbach’s film “While We’re Young” playing the role of Fletcher. The filmed starred Ben Stiller who played a mid-career documentary director and Naomi Watts played his wife, a film producer. When they meet a young Brooklyn couple, played by Adam Driver and Amanda Seyfried, who bicycle everywhere, make gourmet avocado ice cream, and prefer VHS tapes and typewriters to digital files, their personal and professional life are completely flipped upside down. Josh, played by Mr. Stiller’s character, is brought back to reality by his friend, played by Horovitz.

In 2017, Horovitz also appeared in Golden Exits (2017) as Nick while in 2020, he was highlighted in the documentary Have a Good Trip.

Beastie Boys Square

In September 2023, the Beastie Boys were given official street corner naming rights in the Lower East Side of New York City.

Over thirty years after the crossroads was shown on the band’s 1989 album Paul’s Boutique cover, the Beastie Boys Square sign was unveiled at the intersection of Ludlow and Rivington.

In 2014, a proposal to rename the neighborhood in honor of the three was rejected by a vote of 24 to 1, but eight years later, the New York City Council accepted the name.

The award was given more than 11 years after Beastie Boys member Adam “MCA” Yauch passed away in 2012 at the age of 47 following a three-year struggle with cancer. It also comes after multiple events marking the 50th anniversary of hip-hop, which were held last month as the genre and culture commemorated the important landmark.

Since MCA (also known as Adam Yauch) passed away in 2012, the Beastie Boys have not released any new music, however Horovitz has confirmed plans to release previously unreleased Beastie Boys songs and hinted at releasing solo music he is working on. Horovitz has stated in many interviews that the band has “a lot of music” that has not yet been released. Discover more of New York’s Famous peoples. Visit Learn About Andy Warhol’s Lasting Impact on Society and the Art World

His roots

Adam Horovitz is the son of Doris O’Keefe, an artist and painter, and Israel Horovitz, an actor, director, producer, and writer. His mother, who was of Irish heritage, was Roman Catholic, and his father was Jewish. He was raised in a secular home. Although he was born in New Jersey while his mother was a visitor, he was raised in Manhattan, where he currently resides. Film producer Rachael Horovitz is his sister and actor Matthew Horovitz is his brother. While he was in his teens, his mother passed away from alcoholism-related reasons.

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