In Memory of Director Ric Menello

(Beastie Boys, LL Cool J)

(You Gotta) Fight For Your Right (To Party)

Last week, we mourned the passing of music video director Ric Menello, who helmed several important hip-hop videos for Def Jam at their inception; he most famously co-directing the Beastie Boys’ “Fight For Your Right (to Party)” and “No Sleep Til Brooklyn”, and LL Cool J’s “Going Back to Cali”. Menello connected with Rick Rubin when Menello was a desk clerk at Rubin's NYU dormitory.

Ric Menello Beastie Boys CameoCo-director on many of these videos Adam Dubin, who gave Menello credit for many of the little touches that made “Fight For Your Right” so great, including casting his own parents and putting a pie in his mom’s face at the end. He also created the Beasties’ couch moment during the first chorus.

Menello told the following story to The Wandering Corpse blog when he was promoting Two Lovers, a James Grey film he co-wrote. 

“We shot the video for “Fight For Your Right (to Party)” at the photographer’s studio and damn near wrecked it. She was a talented young Japanese American woman. At any rate, two older men who were Japanese came to observe the shooting. When it was done, they came up to me and one guy said, “You are a very great director.” Then he leaned in an added, “Do you also do porno?” I should’ve said yes. I could’ve maybe gone to Japan and done Pink movies or Roman porno – two genres which are quite respected among critics.”

Ric Menello

In recent years, Menello had been a prominent resident in Ditmas Park, Brooklyn, with a sandwich named after him at local eatery Vox Pop, and having created “That Menello Show” for YouTube...

Stephen Pitalo also curates The Golden Age Of Music Video blog, which covers the best and most prominent videos from the '80s and early '90s...

Adam Durbin, Director