Profile of Beastie Boys Member Michael “Mike D” Diamond


Before becoming part of Bestie Boys, Michael “Mike D” Diamond was a founding member of the band The Young Aborigines in 1979. The band’s friend and supporter Adam Yauch, aka MCA, joined in 1981, and on the advice of their then-guitarist John Berry, they decided to alter their name to the Beastie Boys. When Adam Horovitz (Ad-Rock) joined the group in 1983, their punk style started to give way to hip hop.

The Beastie Boys continued to perform music with remarkable regularity. Their most varied album to date, Hello Nasty, which reached number one on the charts in 1998, included a heady fusion of hip-hop and rock as well as soul, bossa nova, and salsa. It won Grammy Awards for Best Rap Album by a Duo or Group and Best Alternative Music Album for the song “Intergalactic.”

The Sounds of Science, a Top 20 best-of album released in 1999, was to be followed by a tour with Rage Against the Machine and Busta Rhymes, but the Beasties were forced to withdraw due to Diamond’s terrible bicycle accident, which necessitated surgery and prolonged recuperation. During this time, he released Country Mike’s Greatest Hits (1999), a humorous country album that was distributed as Christmas presents to friends and family.

After making a full recovery, Diamond teamed up with Alanis Morrissette to plan a campaign to unseat J. Steven Griles was fired from his position as deputy interior secretary. Additionally, he was identified as the defendant in Newton v. Diamond, a significant court case addressing the appropriate use of musical sampling. James Newton, a composer, sought to file a lawsuit against the group for using a six-second flute part from his work “Choir.” 

After it was determined that the small excerpt, which had been approved by Newton’s label and paid for by the Beastie Boys, did not meet the criteria for being considered a major component of the original song and was consequently inadequate to support a claim for copyright infringement, the lawsuit was ultimately dismissed.


The Businessman

Michael Diamond went from being just another well-known singer to becoming a well-known business tycoon. One can observe firsthand how Mike D once had the “Midas Touch,” when it looked like everything he was engaged with turned to gold, with the rise and collapse of Grand Royal.

First, the musicians and performers he signed to the burgeoning Grand Royal Records company found success. Grand Royal Records became known as the “coolest” record company in the world thanks to the exceptional releases of Luscious Jackson, Ben Lee, Atari Teenage Riot, Sean Lennon, and At the Drive In. Then came Grand Royal Magazine, which was devoid of any junk and was everything a magazine ought to be.

Mike D seemed to be capable of anything after joining forces with Eli Bonerz and Adam Silverman to invest in X-Large Co. Additionally, he assisted Yauch in planning the Tibetan Freedom Concerts, after which the two toured the US and Europe to promote the CDs of the Tibetan Freedom Concerts.

Throughout the 1990s, the guy who worked the hardest in entertainment made a number of guest appearances. He made appearances on the Germs tribute album, U.N.K.L.E Psyence Fiction by Mo Wax, Bape Sounds by Nigo, and Ball-Hog or Tugboat by Mike Watt. Additionally, Mike D remixed a few tracks for other musicians. All of this was done in addition to the touring he undertook with the Beastie Boys throughout the latter part of the 1990s.

Since Grand Royal closed, Mike D has been working on a few side projects to keep himself busy. Mike D and Mix Master Mike have collaborated on a few concerts in 2001, and they frequently talk about starting a syndicated radio show that they would broadcast. The Latch Brothers, who produced the music for the videogame Jet Set Radio Future, also include Mike D as a member. Finally, we must bring up what is arguably Mike D’s most surprising side endeavor. Michael collaborated with Bhagavan Das to create an album of spiritual music just before Grand Royal went bankrupt. Although this CD was not produced in huge quantities, promotional copies are still available.

In August 2013, Diamond and Adam Horovitz released a remix of “Bad Dancer” by the Yoko Ono Plastic Ono Band on the internet. “Additional beats, programming, and other curve balls” are ascribed to the duo. Diamond said in October 2014 that he has been recording with the American rock band Portugal. Take Control, the second studio album by the English punk group Slaves, was released on September 30, 2016, and was produced by him as well. He is the host of the The Echo Chamber podcast on Apple Music.

Growing up

Michael Diamond performing in a concert

Michael Diamond was born in New York City to interior designer and art collector Hester Klein and art dealer Harold Diamond. He was surrounded by art while growing up on the Upper West Side, including works by Willem de Kooning, Mark Rothko, and Barnett Newman. He went to Walden School and Saint Ann’s School, both of which emphasize the arts.

He grew up in Central Park West and later resided in Brooklyn and Tribeca until moving to Malibu, California, in 2016.

Diamond wed the director of films, television shows, and music videos Tamra Davis in 1993; the two have subsequently taken formal separation. Davis Diamond and Skyler Diamond, their two children, founded the band Very Nice Person. They were Brooklyn residents of Cobble Hill.

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