The Beastie Boys’s video for “Sabotage” is one of the all-time greats. Not only is the song itself one of the best from the group’s stacked catalogue, but Spike Jonze directing MCA, Ad-Rock, and Mike D as they run around in thick mustaches and aviators, playing pretend ‘70s cops, is an eternal delight.
Now, 25 years since “Sabotage” first premiered, writer Jeff Gomez has shared a free novella set within the rich fiction of the music video. Spanning four chapter-length acts and an epilogue, Sabotage: A Novel follows the Chief (“a detective who’s been around for years and knows all the angles”), the Rookie (“fresh from the streets and still getting used to not being in uniform”), and Cochese (“a dedicated cop on a frantic search to find his missing partner”) as they “uncover a conspiracy of drugs, death, and dirty cops” in 1978 Los Angeles. At long last, readers will learn the full story behind the pursuit of Sir Stewart Wallace; learn who, exactly, the enigmatic Bunny really is; and uncover the criminal plot that motivated the detectives to chase crooks across LA’s smoggy streets—and throw their bodies from high places.
While the past 25 years have given us the background of the song’s lyrics and a whole book following the Beastie Boys’ career, we’ve never experienced the madness of a writer penning such elaborate fan-fiction on one specific aspect of “Sabotage” before. Though the premise seems like an elaborate joke, the piece reads as a surprisingly straight-faced homage to both the music video and the ‘70s-era pulp Jonze and the Beastie Boys pulled from in the first place.
Now, let us wonder what Gomez is cooking up for the eventual “Intergalatic” anniversary. There’s still so much we don’t know about that kaiju battle and the three public workers dancing their way through its wreckage.
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