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POP EYE

April 05, 1987|PATRICK GOLDSTEIN

AND WHILE WE'RE ON THAT SUBJECT: It's lonely--and weird--at the top. Remember how in the late '60s Beatles fans suddenly became obsessed with the notion that Paul McCartney was dead? It sounds pretty silly now, but Fab Four aficionados found all sorts of incriminating evidence--after all, if the Walrus was dead and the song said that the Walrus was Paul. . . . But now, perhaps as punishment for doing such an irreverent cover of "I'm Down," the Beastie Boys have fallen victim to the same sort of hysterical rumors. The reports making the rounds of local schoolyards (just ask your kid if you don't believe us) say that Beastie Mike D. has died of a cocaine overdose. Fans have been phoning local newspapers and TV stations, all wondering if the bad news about the Beasties is true.

"As soon as we come in to work each Monday, the phones light up with kids wondering if one of the Beasties has either OD'd or committed suicide," explained CBS publicity exec Shelley Selover. "It's a rumor that has a life of its own. But as far as we know it's completely unfounded."

However, something apparently did happen on the Beasties' recent tour, which sparked at least some of the uproar. Just what, however, remains a mystery, even to the Beasties' management, who in the past have gone out of their way to play up the band's irreverence and wild behavior.

"All I can tell you is that whatever happened, it wasn't drug related. It had nothing at all to do with drugs," explained Lyor Cohen, a Beasties management exec who claimed he didn't even know which band member was involved in the rumors. "Other than that, we're really not sure about the details. We know that everyone in the band is OK now. We've been trying to find out more, but you know as much as we know right now."

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