Back in 1990, I was just a semi-innocent Miscreant when I saw the film Pump Up the Volume for the first time. Besides being a great and inspiring flick, it featured a quick snippet of an unreleased track by the Beastie Boys, and per the film dialogue, "the song was so controversial that it couldn't be released on their first album". Although not necessarily groundbreaking as it sounded like an interpolation of Schoolly D's PSK, What Does It Mean, it was still something that I needed to track down and hear in it's entirety. Since the modern internet was still in the fetal stage, searching for this song was limited to record stores, word of mouth, or antiquated DOS based bulletin boards. Suffice to say, my searches always came up empty handed.
Fast forward several years later, I recall finding and downloading the song via Napster, but after the nearly three hour download, I was quite disappointed with the end result. The quality was absolutely horrid and it sounded like a 3rd generation mix that was soaked in reverb, which was nothing like the version played in the movie. Unwavering, I found and downloaded a different version of Scenario, and again, the quality was just as bad. I kept trying off and on over the years, but kept finding the same crappy version wherever I looked.
I was just about to give up, when I happened to come across a so-called Beastie Boys demo CD at my local record store which featured Scenario, as well as alternate takes of Rhymin' and Stealin', No Sleep Til Brooklyn, and Fight For Your Right. I was SO psyched to get home and play the CD that I could hardly contain myself! I remember racing home, opening the jewel case, and loading the CD with such excitement and anticipation, however after skipping forward to Scenario, it turned out to be another case of extreme disappointment. Just like the numerous downloads before, the CD version was soaked in the same goddamn reverb which made it practically unlistenable.
Since that time, various bootlegs have been released which contained the track, but as to be expected, the quality was piss poor. Curiously, a lot of these bootlegs had Scenario labeled as a demo track, and it wasn't long before rumors abounded that a clear and proper version of this song existed, yet it never seemed to materialize anywhere on the internet despite intense scouring. I was convinced that a master tape, or at least a better version was out there, but I had finally come to grips with the fact that I would be forced to listen to the crappy 3rd generation reverb mix for the rest of my life...
As the result of a completely random occurrence, on a warm December night in 2012, twenty-two years after first hearing Scenario and turning it into something of an obsession, I inadvertently secured the elusive and seemingly non-existent clean version of the track. It's definitely not a proper master tape, and its likely a second generation cassette recording, but at least it's not soaked in reverb which makes it extremely listenable! If I had to grade the quality, I'd say that it's between 75% and 80%, whereas I'd grade the quality of the reverb soaked version at 45%, and that's being extremely generous.
For a lot of Beastie fans, I know that a proper release of Desperado is something of a Holy Grail, but for me, it's always been Scenario just as it was heard in 1990's Pump Up the Volume. It's now safe to say that I can cross that off my bucket list, and if you would like, you can share my excitement and download the 320kbps MP3.
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