I have always been a fan of the Beastie Boys since Licensed To Ill. I saw them live, early on, opening for Run DMC. I knew they were on the verge of being huge and influential. They were respected in the rap world, they came from punk rock, and when they eventually started playing instruments on Check Your Head, I became hugely influenced by their direction and fearlessness.
I was friends with Mario Caldato Jr., who helped produce and engineered the Beastie Boys and it was Mario, who introduced me to the Beastie Boys at G-Son studios in Los Angeles. He also introduced me to the great Mark Ramos Nishita aka Money Mark. Mark played on a few records I did but we remained friends over the years and he has recorded and played in many of the projects I've been involved in. Once upon a time, at a recording session, Mark came by the studio to say hi and he brought me a pedal to check out. It was the fuzz/distortion unit Yauch used live for songs like Sabotage and Gratitude.