ADRIAN BARTOS, HOST:
Hey, everybody. Just to let you know, this podcast may contain some adult or possibly offensive language.
ROBERT GARCIA, HOST:
No nudity, though (laughter).
BARTOS: (Laughter) Unless you're thinking about naked people.
MIKE DIAMOND: The first time we played a show - and we were so excited, we all wear Puma suits and do-rags. I don't understand how we did not get killed that night.
ADAM HOROVITZ: But we're trying to get through the crowd, and there's all these dudes calling us Menudo.
(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)
BARTOS: What's good, everybody? This is Stretch Armstrong.
GARCIA: And my name is Bobbito Garcia. Together we are the hosts of WHAT'S GOOD WITH STRETCH & BOBBITO. Today, we have the Beastie Boys.
BARTOS: The what?
GARCIA: The Beastie Boys.
BARTOS: The Beastie Boys.
GARCIA: We are joined by two of the members. Unfortunately, one of them passed away. Adam Yauch, aka MCA, in 2012, he died of cancer. And moving forward, Mike D. And Adam Horovitz, aka Ad-Rock, are releasing a book, the "Beastie Boys Book," and it commemorates their memories as a group, which include MCA.
I'm so excited to talk about the Beasties because, honestly, like one of my best friends in life, we connected because I was at a Wesleyan University dorm room. I didn't know who he was. He was a complete stranger. And he threw on a Beastie's 12-inch and then like, I was like, oh, he's cool. We can hang out. And then like, boom - I wound up becoming the best man at his wedding (laughter). Like, the Beastie Boys have been a conduit for a lot of friendships, you know, worldwide.
BARTOS: For real, yeah, my intro to the Beasties was more personal. My sister, who's a year and a half older than I am, she was hanging out with the Beastie Boys downtown...
BARTOS: ...In the early '80s. And she actually would bring them to our house uptown and got to meet them like that. One day, they came over with an actual record. It was "Cooky Puss," which is, of course, a sort of proto-hip-hop record. Like, you know, they were still a band, you know, making just noise.
GARCIA: It was bugged out.
BARTOS: A few years later, I was coming home from a party in a taxi. I'm in high school, hadn't seen those dudes in, like, three years, and I hear the Beastie Boys on the radio. I was like, wow, those guys really did it.
GARCIA: The radio.
BARTOS: And of course, they would continue to do it in huge ways for, you know, the '90s and beyond.
BARTOS: Before we get to the interview, we thought we'd do something a little bit different. We know how much the Beastie Boys mean to everybody, so we thought we'd give our listeners a chance to talk about what the Beasties meant to them, share their memories.
GARCIA: This is hilarious.
BARTOS: So we opened up the Stretch and Bobbito WHAT'S GOOD hotline.
GARCIA: I love it.
BARTOS: So we're going to dive into that montage right about now.
(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)
UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #1: I'm just a white dude in my 40s - love the Beasties. They've brought so much creativity to the picture, and it gave white people the ability to have flavor, which isn't easy to do.
UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #2: Listen; man, I'm 24-year-old black kid from North Philadelphia, recognizing the Def Jam logo as a young bull, trying to figure out why all these Caucasians are on the cover. All it takes is a listen and it answers all your questions for you, man. My father steered me in the right direction picking up the Beastie Boys.
UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #3: I am a feminist because of the Beastie Boys. I love them so much that I'm now in an all-female Beastie Boys tribute band called She's Crafty.
UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #4: I mean, I started listening to jazz and Latin music and punk and soul music because of them.
UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #5: When I was an impressionable 16-year-old, I went to my first Tibetan Freedom Concert. Fast forward some years, got involved with Students for a Free Tibet, and that further pushed me to go to law school. Still a lawyer today, and I like to tell people that the reason I'm a lawyer is because of the Beastie Boys.
UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #6: To me, the Beastie Boys are the shit because the whole mash-up of, like, thumpy (ph) white boys and hip-hop being more like of color, I always just thought that that was dope. So it's kind of like just New York. Like, that's what the Beastie Boys are to me. They're, like, timeless.
UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #7: Just wanted to say, much love to Adam and Mike, the Beastie Boys. And of course, Adam MCA Yauch. Much to love to him, as well. Rest in power.
UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #8: Thank you so much, Adam, Mike and Adam. Thank you for everything, and rest in peace, Yauch.
UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #9: I'm very grateful for what the Beastie Boys have done for the culture and for kids like me all around America.
UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #10: Much love to those brothers, Beastie Boys, forever.
GARCIA: Hope you enjoyed that as much as we did, and thank you for calling. We should do that more often, Stretch, I think.
BARTOS: We're going to do that.
GARCIA: Coming up, the Beastie Boys - Mike Diamond and Adam Horovitz.
(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)
BARTOS: I'd like to say something that I've wanted to say for over 20 years - we have the Beastie Boys, Adam Horovitz and Mike Diamond.
GARCIA: Word up.
HOROVITZ: Hi. Hi guys.
DIAMOND: Pleasure to be here.
BARTOS: I should say, welcome to WHAT'S GOOD...
GARCIA: WITH STRETCH AND BOBBITO. The two of you are aware of our show back in the '90s, but for some reason out of the 50...
DIAMOND: Yeah, we never went through, ever.
GARCIA: ...The 50 mutual friends that we had, like...
HOROVITZ: No, that's right. I'm not upset about it, that we were never on the show. Is that what you're getting at?
GARCIA: No, I'm not upset about it either (laughter).
HOROVITZ: No, no, no. I'm not - I'm not - I mean, are you mad at us, or are we mad at you?
GARCIA: No, no, no. Neither. It's just...
BARTOS: No, no, no.
DIAMOND: No, we're mad.
HOROVITZ: Yeah. I don't know why we didn't go on there. Why didn't we go on there?
GARCIA: Well, by that point, you would have been...
DIAMOND: We were probably like...
GARCIA: ...In LA.
DIAMOND: We were on some LA stuff and on some, like - oh, you are a star now.
HOROVITZ: No, we here a hundred percent in New York. We were in New York because I taped your show, and then one of the tapes I sampled and we put on a record.
DIAMOND: Oh, OK. Fact, fact.
GARCIA: Lord Sear.
BARTOS: Lord Sear beatboxing, right?
(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "THE MOVE")
LORD SEAR: (Beatboxing).
BEASTIE BOYS: (Rapping) Yo, hello, yo - hello, hello, hello - yo, yo...
GARCIA: So thank you for taping our show.
HOROVITZ: Did you ever get any clearance for that? Or is that something that...
GARCIA: No, no one contacted...
BARTOS: No, no, no, no, no.
HOROVITZ: Pretty sure...
GARCIA: I don't think anyone had to contact us (laughter). I mean, whatever. We were geeked out that...
BARTOS: You credited the show, though. That was huge. That's all we wanted. Listen.
BARTOS: We weren't doing anything for money back then.
DIAMOND: We're not that bad.
BARTOS: We weren't smart. It was all free.
BARTOS: We were just - we were hip-hop volunteers in the '90s.
DIAMOND: It's a good technology story. Think of, like, Adam listening to the radio recording the show on cassette and then sampling that with, like, an SP-1200. And then that gets transferred to, like...
BARTOS: Two-inch tape.
DIAMOND: ...A 2-inch tape and gets on a record. It's like...
DIAMOND: ...A lot of steps of - I don't know, kids. I'm old. That's a lot of technology. I'm just saying.
GARCIA: Well, let's jump in. You know, Stretch and I, we're from uptown. But we were very foreign to the Brooklyn experience of the '70s and '80s. And there you both are, entrenched in multiple communities, including the punk community, which I think - I have to say - most of my friends that love the Beastie Boys, I don't even think they're aware of the era prior. So Michelle - our producer, she has a little clip that she's going to share with you.
(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "BEASTIE BOYS")
BEASTIE BOYS: (Singing) B-E-A-S-T-I-E, go. B-E-A-S-T-I-E, that's just what Beasties gotta be. Can't you see this is an emergency? Can you feel the urgency? B-E-A-S-T-I-E, B-E-A-S-T-I-E - with the hold of democracy...
GARCIA: So that's a little clip of the two of you...
GARCIA: ...In the early punk era. The punk group didn't include you initially.
HOROVITZ: Right. Me, Adam Horovitz.
DIAMOND: So it was - yeah, Adam Horvitz. So it was originally - Yauch was the one who, like, wanted to start Beastie Boys as a band. I actually was in another little side band. But Yauch was like, OK, let's do this. Like, hardcore started happening in New York. I was going to play drums, but then nobody wanted to sing. So I ended up having to do that. I still harbor resentment...
DIAMOND: ...For having to do that. Like, I think our first gig ever, this dude, Dave Parsons, who had a record store downtown called Rat Cage - so he came to the show at that place where we practiced. It was Yauch's birthday. And he was like - hey, what would you guys think about making a record? And we're like, you know. But keep in mind, record - that meant that we recorded on a four-track. I just want to make it clear; it was not a big accomplishment.
DIAMOND: I mean, it's big when you're 15.
GARCIA: Yeah, it is.
DIAMOND: It is kind of big. Right?
DIAMOND: But John Berry, whose place it was and who was the guitar player, he got basically tired of it. And then Adam had a band called The Young and the Useless. I always try to explain to people - in New York City, even though there's millions of people, it's like whatever you're into is actually the small scene, especially at that time. It didn't matter what you were into. Like, nobody's Snapchatting with each other like, hey, I'm going to do this.
DIAMOND: You had to go to the spot...
GARCIA: No doubt.
DIAMOND: ...Where the thing was happening...
GARCIA: No doubt.
DIAMOND: ...To find your friends that were also into the same thing.
DIAMOND: So actually, that record store - like, Rat Cage on that block was like - that's where we'd go to meet up to be like, OK, what's happening? And then you go to the show or the club or whatever. So anyway, Adam was, like, one of those people.
GARCIA: So what was your sensibilities for hip-hop as opposed to the punk in that space before you even splashed as a rap group?
DIAMOND: I guess, soon we started hearing rap 12-inches - like, the first, I think, mix show I ever heard was a tape from the "Zulu Beats" show.
GARCIA: Afrika Islam.
DIAMOND: Afrika Islam.
GARCIA: Yeah, sure.
(SOUNDBITE OF RADIO SHOW, "ZULU BEATS")
AFRIKA ISLAM: Afrika Islam in stereo. Next week listeners, we will be on from 1 to 3 o'clock on the dot.
BARTOS AND GARCIA: WHBI.
DIAMOND: Exactly. And it was literally mind-blowing. Right? And then - but coming from punk rock, it was kind of like, that was music that we could love that we knew nobody else would mess with. It is such a small circle of people. Like, think about the number of kids at that time that were into hip-hop or whatever. It's not some huge scene of thousands of people.
GARCIA: No, certainly not. And in a private school, probably...
DIAMOND: Yeah, exactly.
DIAMOND: In private school, we were the two kids.
BARTOS: Yeah. I've got really specific memories of first getting into hip-hop, like, the moment when I discovered it. You know, you mentioned HBI. And of course, mix shows were so important to all of our lives in terms of being exposed to new music in the hip-hop realm. How did you discover HBI? Like, who - was it like your man that knew about this mix show? 'Cause you were still pretty young at that point.
DIAMOND: Definitely. No. Yeah, I was really young.
BARTOS: I mean - I guess kind of...
DIAMOND: I remember it was a - it was this kid Raymond Rosado (ph) had it. He came in. He had a tape that he - kind of like a similar story - he taped it off the radio because you'd have to be listening at that time.
GARCIA: Was he Puerto Rican?
DIAMOND: So - I'm going to implicate him as being a Puerto Rican.
BARTOS: You see the importance of the Boricua connection...
GARCIA: That's right.
BARTOS: ...In the Beastie Boys' history.
GARCIA: I'm stamping it, you know?
HOROVITZ: My older brother heard a record and bought a 12-inch when we were kids, called "The Adventures Of Super Rhyme" (ph)...
BARTOS: Jimmy Spicer.
HOROVITZ: ...By Jimmy Spicer.
(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "ADVENTURES OF SUPER RHYME (RAP)")
JIMMY SPICER: (Rapping) Yes, I'm one of a kind. I'm Super Rhymes, and I'd like to say hello. And since I'm on the mic and I'm ready to rock, this is how it goes. Yes, I rock so good. I rock so well. I'll ring-ding-dang-a-ding-ding-a-dang, baby. I'll ring your bell. Yes, I'm...
HOROVITZ: And we used to just listen to it all the time. And...
GARCIA: That was a long record, too.
HOROVITZ: Real long - like, two sides of just rapping...
BARTOS: Twelve minutes.
HOROVITZ: ...And they fade him out rapping.
HOROVITZ: He just fades out still rapping.
HOROVITZ: And so we would just go to a record store on 8th Street. And any new 12-inch - like, that's when - you know, I'm not saying it doesn't now, but record labels were a thing, where it was like a 12-inch - like if Sugar Hill had a new 12-inch, you'd get the new one just because it was Sugar Hill or Enjoy or whatever the labels were. And so that's how we got into it.
BARTOS: I met you at the "Roxanne Roxanne" premiere. And when I spoke to you, I got a chance to tell you that I actually - I remember you coming to my house when I was in eighth grade because you guys were friends with Lisa Kirk and my sister, who's Justine Bartos. And you brought "Cooky Puss" to the house one day.
BARTOS: And I stole the record from my sister because I was obsessed - I was playing drums. I was obsessed with music. And...
GARCIA: Wait. Was that a regular occurrence that you'd just drop off your 12-inch to friends of yours?
BARTOS: No, this was the day...
GARCIA: Or you were trying to kick it to his sister?
HOROVITZ: You know, it was like a marketing thing that I would go...
HOROVITZ: ...From apartment to apartment.
DIAMOND: I'm sure you know.
HOROVITZ: You know?
DIAMOND: We had a street-level promotions company at the time.
BARTOS: As I remember it, that was the day the record came out. And you guys were excited about. Right?
DIAMOND: Yeah. No, come on.
HOROVITZ: Very excited.
DIAMOND: You know, when you're 16 or - how old were we?
HOROVITZ: Give or take.
DIAMOND: Seventeen - sixteen, 17 - you're in high school, and your record comes out - you're, like, so excited. You carry that shit with you everywhere. It's like...
HOROVITZ: I probably had boxes.
DIAMOND: ...You it over your head on the subway, you're so excited.
BARTOS: Yeah. I mean, for me, though, as a music-obsessed kid playing drums and whatnot, buying records - like, to know actual human beings that made an actual record was like just colossally huge for me. I mean, you guys are the first people I ever met that actually made music to sell in a record store. Anyway, the record was "Cooky Puss"/"Beastie Revolution."
(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "COOKY PUSS")
BEASTIE BOYS: (Singing) My sister's name was (record scratch) - scratch - cooky puss, cook, cook, cook, scratch, scratch...
BARTOS: That record is so quirky and bugged out. What went into the making of that, and what was your mentality? What were you trying to do with that record?
HOROVITZ: Well, what had happened was...
GARCIA: Dot, dot, dot...
HOROVITZ: No, we went...
BARTOS: I mean, you weren't rapping on it yet.
HOROVITZ: No, no, no. We...
BARTOS: But there were signs of things that were coming.
HOROVITZ: We - Adam Yauch's family friend had - worked at his recording studio, and he let us come into the studio for two nights for - I thought for free, but Mike had pointed out it was a hundred dollars.
DIAMOND: No, I think we had to pay him some cash - or pay somebody some cash money something.
BARTOS: Some 16-year-old dollars.
DIAMOND: Yeah. No, but that's like a lot - I remember, like, bringing an envelope with money. And I'm not - you know, it's not like - I was, like, nervous - you know? - especially - and the studios was in midtown. I'm like nervous walking around with an envelope with money.
GARCIA: No doubt, yeah.
HOROVITZ: I love a kid with an envelope of money just for me. I like that.
HOROVITZ: But - so we went to record these songs, and we - they were like - we recorded them quickly. And they were bad - like, pretty bad.
DIAMOND: No, I'd say really bad.
HOROVITZ: They were really bad songs - like, kind of punk, kind of like - they were goth. I don't even know what it was. They just - they sucked.
DIAMOND: Yeah, we didn't know what. We did this thing of like, we were a hardcore group, and we knew we wanted to do something different. But we didn't know what we would do. And really, we loved hip-hop, but we weren't - like, we didn't know how to make hip-hop yet.
HOROVITZ: Oh, it's in the book, this book that we have coming out - I'm plugging the book...
DIAMOND: Oh, Look at that. Professional - ding.
HOROVITZ: ...October 30. When you're a kid, at least at that time in New York - but New York kids, you can't really, like, embrace something too much. You got to be kind of laid-back and cool about it, like, no matter how much you love it. Like - so we loved rap music, and we loved reggae music. But like, we wouldn't actually try to do it. We would just try to, like, make fun of it in this - not make fun of it but, like, do it in a funny way.
And so after we recorded these songs that were like kind of terrible - we loved this song called "Buffalo Gals," the Malcolm McLaren song. We loved that song, but we wouldn't want to make something like that. So we made fun of that song instead of being like...
HOROVITZ: ...Oh, we like it...
DIAMOND: Well, also, "Buffalo Gals" was, like, one of the hip-hop songs that somehow actually you'd hear it on the radio, like outside of a mix show.
DIAMOND: Like, you'd hear it daytime. Like, dudes would be walking down the street playing Kiss-FM, BLS, whatever. So outside of Mr. Magic or whatever, you'd hear...
(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "BUFFALO GALS")
MALCOLM MCLAREN AND THE WORLD'S FAMOUS SUPREME TEAM: (Rapping) First buffalo gal go around the outside, round the outside, round the outside - you know it.
DIAMOND: I don't even understand how this English guy made this - had this and just, like, comes over, goes to somebody - who was it? It was like...
BARTOS: Finds World's Famous Supreme Team. Right, yeah.
DIAMOND: ...Freddy or Michael Holman - I forget who it is - that takes the credit for taking him up to the Bronx to...
BARTOS: Oh, right. Right, right.
DIAMOND: ...Something. And he's like, OK, I'm going to make something here. But - and usually - like, it should be all wrong. Like, he should have made a record that sucked - right? - because he's this English guy who comes over, and he's just seeing all this cool stuff. And it should be - it should be wack. But he makes an incredible record.
HOROVITZ: So we made that crazy record just - it was like, we had all this time 'cause we had recorded these bad songs quickly. So we're like, we're here. Let's record some other stuff. So we, like, basically just made some music. And it was like we made prank phone calls and - I don't know - just fucking around. And that dumb fucking around stuff was way better than the stuff we meant to record. So we're like, well, let's put this out.
BARTOS: Well, then it's such a short amount of time, though, when you're now mastering drum machines, making beats for LL and then of course coming out, you know, as the Beastie Boys on Def Jam. So how did that transformation take place?
HOROVITZ: Well, you know, if you think about it - when you're our age, you know, two years is nothing. Like, it just - you're like, oh, shit - that was two years ago? But when you're 16, two years - you know, it's forever. And you obsess over everything you do. Unfortunately, like, homework and school wasn't the thing that I was obsessing over. It was, you know, music and making music and how to like - and drum machines. And we met Rick Rubin, and Rick Rubin had a drum machine. So I would just cut school and go to his house - his dorm room...
DIAMOND: Yeah, it wasn't even a house. It was a dorm room at Weinstein dormitories at NYU.
HOROVITZ: ...And just figure it out.
Oh - and that song, "Cooky Puss," I was at a friend's house - at a friend's apartment back then, and I heard that B-side of "Cooky Puss" on TV. It was a TV ad for British Airways, and they just used our music.
(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "BEASTIE REVOLUTION")
BEASTIE BOYS: Good evening, and welcome to Beasties' Chinese Restaurant. (Singing) Bim, bim (ph)...
HOROVITZ: And so we got a little money from that. And from that money, I went...
DIAMOND: No, that was the first money we ever got...
BARTOS: Oh, it was back then they licensed it, oh.
DIAMOND: ...Like, as band.
HOROVITZ: Back then - it was on fucking TV in 1983.
GARCIA: That's crazy.
GARCIA: And so we each - you know...
HOROVITZ: ...We got a little - yeah.
HOROVITZ: Exactly. You hear that on TV. OK.
GARCIA: Another envelope with cash.
GARCIA: (Laughter) Teenagers walking around...
HOROVITZ: And so I took an envelope...
DIAMOND: A bigger envelope. Then we were like, oh, wow.
HOROVITZ: No, I took an envelope of cash...
BARTOS: They sent a check.
HOROVITZ: ...To the used music store 'cause I wanted to buy this Rickenbacker guitar. And next to the thing, next - like, on the counter was a drum machine for 250 bucks, the same money that I had in my pocket in the envelope for the thing, the guitar. I was like, you know...
DIAMOND: Wait. Wait. Which drum machine, Adam? - to illustrate for the people.
HOROVITZ: No, I was like, fuck it. I have a guitar already. I'm going to get this drum machine because it looks really cool. And I don't know anybody - I hadn't met Rick yet. I was like, I don't know anybody who has a drum machine, so I bought the drum machine. And it was an 808. And so I bought that in - whenever it came out - '83, '84 for 250 bucks.
HOROVITZ: And then that drum machine was the in-house drum machine for Chung King and for our records and...
DIAMOND: Yeah, but all his records, like, not just our record, but, like, "Peter Piper," all the Def Jam...
DIAMOND: ...808 records.
GARCIA: Well, it's like the foundation for so much music now, too.
DIAMOND: Like "Paul Revere," "New Style" - yeah, exactly. It's still - 808, interestingly, is still foundational.
GARCIA: I'm curious - you're crossing out of these spaces - the punk community, your private school education. And you're coming into hip-hop space, which, you know, in the mid-80s is predominantly people of color - African-American, Afro-Caribbean, Latino - certainly, not a lot of white kids. What was your interest to sort of, like, you know, become a part of this space?
HOROVITZ: Our talent and skill as rappers, clearly.
BARTOS: Oh, my God.
HOROVITZ: It's the first thing that you notice.
HOROVITZ: I don't understand the - that's a laugh button?
HOROVITZ: What's going on? I don't know. I don't know what we were thinking. We just really loved rap and wanted to be rappers. Is that weird?
BARTOS: No, not at all. We all wanted to be...
HOROVITZ: Well, like you love - like, we love...
DIAMOND: I think it was weird. But it just didn't cross our minds that it was weird. Then I think when we started to make rap music, we first made - like, our first record with Rick, which was not very good...
(SOUNDBITE OF BEASTIE BOYS SONG, "BEASTIE GROOVE")
BARTOS: "Rock Hard."
DIAMOND: ..."Rock Hard" and "Beastie Groove."
BARTOS: "Beastie Groove" is crazy.
DIAMOND: I mean, I'm really - I'm doing myself a disservice by even mentioning it. But...
BARTOS: I love "Beastie Groove."
HOROVITZ: I don't even remember how it goes.
BARTOS: Adam's about to cough up his cappuccino.
DIAMOND: Hit the button, though.
BARTOS: Y'all killed that record "Beastie Groove" - my opinion.
DIAMOND: Wait. When he does the speed rapping part?
(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "BEASTIE GROOVE")
HOROVITZ: (Rapping) A B-E-A-S-T-I-E, well, everyone knows me. You know that I can surely be the number one in frequency. I'm hip, I'm hopping, I tick and tock for everyone that's on my jock. You know that I can surely rock. I like to talk, I take the time. Turn it in, I turn it out.
BARTOS: Chill (laughter).
HOROVITZ: I probably said the word chill about a thousand times.
HOROVITZ: That's how bad it is.
BARTOS: Chilly chill.
DIAMOND: But I was thinking, like, then that was - the first time that we went up, like, Adam was talking about this earlier, we went - we played a show and - at the Encore, opening up for Kurtis Blow - the Encore in Queens. And...
BARTOS: Wow (laughter).
DIAMOND: We didn't know. We were like, OK. We - this is what we love doing. We're so excited. We all wear Puma suits and fucking do-rags.
DIAMOND: And we go, and people in The Encore are looking at us like - I don't understand how we did not get killed that night.
DIAMOND: I really don't because if I were in the audience, I would've killed us.
DIAMOND: Like - it's like, really?
BARTOS: So you were excited to do the show, but did you get onstage and that excitement turned to horror?
HOROVITZ: We pulled - we pull up - we go there in a limo in matching Puma suits with do-rags...
DIAMOND: The limo was Rick's idea. I'm blaming that on Rick Rubin.
HOROVITZ: ...Because, you know, big timers, you know, drive in limos. And we get out, and there's, like, a hundred kids out front. And they'd already, like, ripped the gates off the place. It was some crazy thing - small.
DIAMOND: Yeah. They had like, you know, the metal gates down because people had already bum-rushed the doors.
HOROVITZ: But we're trying to get through the crowd. And there's all these dudes calling us Menudo.
HOROVITZ: And they're just saying all this shit to us.
HOROVITZ: And then - and we get on stage. And then right as we do our little song, they turn all the house lights on, which were fluorescent, supermarket lights.
DIAMOND: After that, we realized, like, all right. The puma suits went away. Like, we realized there was - somehow, we realized, like, all right. We got to just find our own thing. We loved rap music, but we had to find our own thing within that if we were ever actually going to do it. So...
HOROVITZ: We're not going to be Run-D.M.C. It's just not going to happen.
DIAMOND: But in failure, we got somewhere.
BARTOS: So then you were part of the illustrious Def Jam family at a time when Def Jam was, like, you know...
GARCIA: Let's put it in context.
DIAMOND: Yeah, '85.
GARCIA: Their first four...
BARTOS: Of course. Of course. Radio...
GARCIA: ...Releases - LL, Beasties...
BARTOS: '85, excuse me. Yes.
GARCIA: ...Slick Rick, Public Enemy.
BARTOS: Public Enemy.
DIAMOND: Public Enemy, yeah.
GARCIA: Each group is, like, breaking records, platinum. You know, Def Jam was, like, as big as you could imagine.
BARTOS: Sure. So what was it like being a part of the Def Jam family during that time?
DIAMOND: I look back at it in terms of I'm grateful to have been part of the excitement of LL puts out "I Need A Beat." Then LL, like, starts working on his first album, working on our record. And all of a sudden, Rick starts working with Run-D.M.C., who at that point, were like our favorite group of all time because in terms of hip-hop, they were the only ones who made, like, a stripped-down, hard, real rap record with "Sucker M.C.'s." So it was like...
DIAMOND: The fact that we were even around all this - and all of a sudden, we were going in the studio. We could see Run-D.M.C. record. We, like, made "Paul Revere." And Run comes running up and he's like, I got this idea for you. I got this idea for you. You know, like the fact that that was all happening, it was like a crazy dream.
HOROVITZ: With Rick and Russell, I mean, we - you know, we were punk rockers really. And, you know, we could say negative things about Rick and Russell and our relationship and all of that stuff. But really, for us at that time, you know, we were making, like, prank phone call records and shit. Do you know what I mean? Like, meeting them - and they took it real serious. And Russell had, like, a global plan for everything. And Rick was dead serious about music and polishing certain sounds and all that stuff. And we fed off of that. I mean it was, like, exciting. You know what I mean?
DIAMOND: We did feed of that. Everybody was making some - there were so many good records being made so close to each other that if you're not on your game, then you're out. You can't be part of that and not be on your game.
BARTOS: So we've alluded to the book. But let's formally get into it. It's called the "Beastie Boys Book." Why now?
HOROVITZ: Well, you know, on the fifth moon of the seventh month of...
BARTOS: (Singing) When the moon...
BARTOS AND GARCIA: (Singing) Is in the seventh house...
HOROVITZ: Oh, you guys are not taking me seriously. And there's no mute button for this.
HOROVITZ: Why now is because it was due, like, two and a half years ago.
HOROVITZ: And so we're two and a half years late.
HOROVITZ: And so that's why now.
DIAMOND: And so literally, actually, we...
BARTOS: You on rapper time.
DIAMOND: We started...
BARTOS: Still a rapper.
HOROVITZ: We're on our time.
BARTOS: Still a rapper.
DIAMOND: And literally, we started on the idea - I think, conceptually, Yauch was still alive. Like that's when it - 'cause Yauch had this, like, idea or vision of - he was always obsessed with the movie The Who documentary "The Kids Are Alright." And it was like he wanted to make a film like that. And then we started talking about, like, oh, we should do a book also, you know?
And then obviously - whatever. And Yauch passed. It was such a tremendous loss, and we were so sad. It was not something we were going to focus on for quite some time. And then we finally got around to it. And then, like everything, it took us a crazy...
DIAMOND: ...Long time to actually get it done.
GARCIA: How do you determine enough time has passed to mourn and to say, OK, let's revitalize this idea and get on it?
DIAMOND: No - I don't know. I mean, I don't remember any, like, single event. Like, we also went through a couple of false starts of like - first, we started, like, interviewing characters around the band, like - especially Adam and I figured like, OK. Maybe that's a way to tell a story. And I think at that time, we were kind of, like, afraid to get into it because it was going to be too sad for us or whatever, so that was a way to do it.
And - but then we realized, that's not the book that people are going to want from us. And then mourning people you love is a weird thing. Like, if you get to a point where - there was, I think, a nice opportunity for us, like, Adam and I, to work together and then think about this person that had been such a big part of what we all did together and kind of try to make his voice be part of the whole project, you know?
GARCIA: Do you feel over his passing yet? I say that respectfully.
HOROVITZ: Yeah, yeah, yeah. I mean, what are you going to do? You know, you have to continue with your life.
HOROVITZ: You can't not do that.
HOROVITZ: You know? And certainly, not to make light of it, but, you know, like, we're people. And we've been through - Mike lost his dad when he was very young. I lost my mom when I was young. And not to make light of Adam, you know, it's very different.
And so you just - you know, you - hopefully, you have people in your family that you love that you can, you know, lean on. You have your friends that you can lean on. You need to keep people around you. And so part of this book maybe was helpful for us to continue to hold onto Adam in some sort of way. I don't know.
DIAMOND: Well, it was interesting just timing wise for us that we - it was like we could embrace his voice and not have it be - I don't know. You know, look. We're still going to miss him. We still love him. We still miss him. And that's - I don't know that you can ever change that dynamic. But you can get to a point where it's like, I - look. I'm so grateful for the times we had more than being sad for where I'm at now.
GARCIA: Word. Word.
DIAMOND: You know?
HOROVITZ: It's a very weird relationship, though, because, you know, the three of us were together so much. Like, you think about when you're with your friend, and you hang out with your friend. And then you go do whatever you're doing, your life. You know, and then you see your friend again.
But for us, we were friends that we would be together and then we would go to work, which was us still again, so we were always together. And so it definitely was, you know, a long time, and still is, to think about, like, you know, wake up in the morning, be like, oh, OK. So what do we do now?
BARTOS: I know there's - I know the book is chock-full of stories. But is there like a quintessential Yauch moment that either one of you can share?
HOROVITZ: I mean, there's so many.
DIAMOND: Yeah. I know. I was going to say, how do you narrow it down?
HOROVITZ: Just the first thing that came to my mind is the first time Yauch ever came to my apartment, so I'm like 15 - 14 or 15. And we go to the deli across the street to get snacks before we go up to my house. I get like Wise chips and a Coke or something, and he gets Clamato and cottage cheese.
HOROVITZ: I'm like what the - who the - what - wait. What?
HOROVITZ: And you're 15 years old.
DIAMOND: Yauch was the only kid I knew to eat...
HOROVITZ: That's gross.
DIAMOND: Like, I couldn't stand the sight of cottage cheese. Yeah.
BARTOS: So it wasn't like...
HOROVITZ: And he definitely was the only person to take that clam juice, tomato juice thing off the shelf, you know...
BARTOS: Blows the competition between Brass Monkey and cottage - sorry - and Clamato.
HOROVITZ: There's a big...
BARTOS: I can't even say it.
DIAMOND: Cla-may-toh (ph) or...
DIAMOND AND HOROVITZ: Cla-mah-toh (ph).
DIAMOND: I don't even know.
HOROVITZ: I say cla-mah-toh. It sounds like an illness.
DIAMOND: I was going to say...
HOROVITZ: No, no, no.
DIAMOND: ...Sexually transmitted disease. But...
HOROVITZ: Yeah, yeah (unintelligible). No, no, no, Brass Monkey and the clam juice thing are very similar because you think about it, like, if you're, you know, at the store...
DIAMOND: Wait. How are they similar?
HOROVITZ: Well, no, 'cause you look - you know, you got to look down and there's, like, Mad Dog and then there's, like, Manischewitz, you know, depending on the store.
DIAMOND: Neighborhood, yeah.
HOROVITZ: And then there's Brass Monkey, and there's the Long Island - like, all those bottles of booze at the bottom of the floor. Back in the '80s, like, any shitty thing with some booze in it at the bottom of the deli, you'd grab. And we just grabbed Brass Monkey for some reason.
BARTOS: So there's not going to be any Beastie Boy music? - or could that change? It just depends on...
HOROVITZ: There - no, no new Beastie Boys music.
DIAMOND: Yeah. There's a lot, you know, like any band - but probably, actually, more so than a lot of bands because we would spent a lot of time in the studio and also smoke a lot of pot. There's a lot of stuff that's made that might not have been as good or focused as it should have been (laughter) laying around.
HOROVITZ: We - basically, what he's saying is we had a studio in LA for a few years. And so we would record everything - everything. And so we have, like, a hundred hours of, like, stoner jams.
HOROVITZ: And in between those, it's like - you can hear us playing basketball or you can hear someone playing guitar with people playing basketball or someone ordering food while the other people are talking about other stuff. And it's just hours and hours of music and bullshitting. And so at some point, we're going to put that out - some of that out.
GARCIA: With no rhymes, just jam sessions.
HOROVITZ: Pretty much, I think, unless we find some other - there's...
DIAMOND: I mean, there's also stuff with rhymes that never got - whatever. I guess the point is there's a lot of stuff that hasn't been released that, at some point, could. But, you know, there's not like there's any plan in terms of that.
HOROVITZ: But me and Mike are going to make, like, a new Beastie Boys record. But we do have several projects...
GARCIA: Wait, why is Mike laughing?
HOROVITZ: Because we actually have nothing - absolutely nothing.
GARCIA: Mike, your children are in their teens?
DIAMOND: Yep, teenagers.
GARCIA: Stretch had told me, he was like, I can't imagine a world where someone thinks the Beasties are uncool, but your...
DIAMOND: Oh, in my house - come over to my house, for sure.
HOROVITZ: I don't think they think the band is uncool. They just think that Mike is not cool.
DIAMOND: Actually, that is true. They actually think you're a lot cooler than me. When I say like, oh, like Adam is coming over, or I'm working with Adam or something, they're like, oh, cool. Like, they like you.
HOROVITZ: His kid, the first thing - I hadn't seen him in a while, and he comes up to me on a fucking hoverboard, and he's like, dude, you got old.
DIAMOND: Like, my kids was like - I love them, they all love me, but it's like, yeah, I'm definitely not cool.
BARTOS: I feel like you guys were able to remain cool but become role models, disavowing the values or lack of values you espoused during "Licensed To Ill."
DIAMOND: Let's not get crazy - role models.
HOROVITZ: No, but role models is like - more than anything else, like within our group of friends, like, you really got to check who your circle of friends are, you know what I mean? And especially for, you know - we all can relate to this sort of thing, like public figure - a lot of times you push your - your actual friends kind of fall by the wayside because you want to go with these kind of people that will be like, you know, you're the shit and blah, blah, blah, and they, you know, feed your ego and all that stuff.
And so we were lucky enough - me, Adam and Mike - to sort of be able to reflect on the dumber things that we said and did. I don't know how it happened, but we just did. And it was important to us to be - to check each other, the three of us.
DIAMOND: For sure.
HOROVITZ: And so within our group, some of those friends fell by the wayside that needed to fall by the wayside. And we were strong for each other, and we wanted to be role models for each other. There was no time where we were like, we got to say this stuff to teach these people about that or whatever. It's like, we got to - we have to do - play our part to try to make things better in the world.
BARTOS: So we mentioned Def Jam earlier, which was co-founded by Russell Simmons who, of course, is the subject of multiple allegations of sexual misconduct, assault. Now, of course, there's a lot of history here, but how do you reconcile that relationship with men that have these allegations around them?
HOROVITZ: It's an educating moment. It's a very important moment because it's also an educating moment like, oh, that dude is just - he's crazy. He does this crazy stuff. And you know, if you actually figure out what the crazy stuff is you're like, well, that's not just crazy stuff. That's illegal stuff. Like, you can't fuck around with that. And so you really have to - now there's a clear, like, line in the sand. Do you cross that line or you don't cross the line, you know what the line is now.
And you need to put your friends and your family up to that test, you know what I mean? You need to put each other up to that. And if somebody - if you want to be on that other side of the line, then that's up to you. But I don't want to. And I think it's fucked up, and I'm going to stay on this side of it, and I'm going to make sure that my friends and my family and people I love try to do their best.
BARTOS: And of course, your father...
BARTOS: ...Playwright Israel Horovitz, there were allegations against him...
HOROVITZ: Oh, yeah.
BARTOS: ...And you were very public and definitive in your defense of the women. You really chose to stand behind them.
BARTOS: It was obviously a difficult place to be.
HOROVITZ: My dad, obviously, is a lot more difficult (laughter) because he's my dad. I love my dad. But, like, in terms of me personally, it's difficult to find a balance of where you stand in it, what you accept, what you don't accept, how you process it all - it's very difficult, very intricate and very tricky. And you know, I love my dad, but I can't - I can't deal with that. That's not me. I don't know how else - I mean, how else do you say it?
BARTOS: Well, I know that's not an easy thing to talk about, so thanks for sharing.
BARTOS: We will be right back, after this break, with the Beastie Boys and the Impression Session.
GARCIA: Bong, bong.
(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)
BARTOS: And we're back. Oh, and we're hearing the drums. That means it's time for the Impression Session.
GARCIA: It's pretty simple. We're going to each play you a track, and you react, and that's that. Cool?
BARTOS: Whatever you want.
GARCIA: I feel like you always go first, so why don't I go first this time?
BARTOS: Do it.
GARCIA: Cool? All right.
BARTOS: Put the needle to the record.
GARCIA: Michelle, can you play my song, please?
(SOUNDBITE OF TANIKA CHARLES SONG, "SOUL RUN")
HOROVITZ: (Vocalizing) Uh, uh, ooh - uh (ph).
(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "SOUL RUN")
TANIKA CHARLES: (Singing) Once lived my life on the prairies, not by choice. He told me we gon' to get married - ha. I was high. I was low, left behind kitchen doors, got a woman feeling bagged and weary. Cooking that crab meat, drinking Labatt Blue in a trailer full up of black flies - flies on the window, feels like that...
HOROVITZ: Are we supposed to be talking right now?
GARCIA: If you want.
HOROVITZ: Keep going listening?
BARTOS: You could rap.
(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "SOUL RUN")
CHARLES: (Singing) I'm on the road, on the road again. I could...
HOROVITZ: You know, is this a old record?
GARCIA: That's Tanika Charles, "Soul Run"...
GARCIA: ...And - Canadian singer.
GARCIA: Yeah. But it's not new. It's...
DIAMOND: It's like a Dap-Kings thing or something, or what...?
GARCIA: Not Dap-Kings. But you know, it's on Record Kicks. It's an Italian 7-inch label. And...
HOROVITZ: Because the groove sounded like - on the Bambaataa, that long "Death Mix" record. You know that - it sounded like it was one of those things that he played on there.
GARCIA: The reason why I thought to play that for you for the Impression Session is that, you know, when you kind of came out of the '80s, and you were sampling "Root Down" and starting to really, like, expose people to - as other hip-hop producers were doing as well, like the Jungle Brothers and De La Soul - some really obscure, like, heavy funk, raw funk records. And I heard Tanika Charles, and it just reminded me of that Beastie Boys sort of, like, deep funk, you know, raw soul era. And I anticipated that you would both like it.
DIAMOND: Yeah. But also, just one quick thing - what I like about it - you mentioned the '80s, like, it's - there's something about it, like, it was a more soulful, refined. There's, like, a - something a little bit like ESG. Like, I actually thought, when I was hearing it, that it was a record that, like, predated ESG. And ESG were like, oh, we're going to make something like this, you know, and ended up making their own version.
GARCIA: Oh. (Laughter) Yeah, yeah.
BARTOS: That's what's up.
GARCIA: Word up.
BARTOS: Drop it, please.
(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "AS THE RHYME GOES ON")
HOROVITZ: I've heard this before.
HOROVITZ: (Rapping) Pump it up, homeboy.
RAKIM: (Rapping) Knowledge will begin until I finish this song because the rhyme gets rougher as the rhyme goes on. You sweat as you step, about to get hype, or should you just listen to the man on the mike? You're physically in this with me, but how could you tell if it's meant to be hip-hop if you're not mentally as well, ready to absorb the rhyme that I just poured into the mike? So unite, and this won't be so bored. If you just keep kicking, listen to the mix and think you'll sink into the rhyme like quicksand.
HOROVITZ: Wait. All right, what is this? Hold on, hold on. Seriously, though, am I crazy? Is that Rakim? What is that? No, I'm dead serious. I'm like, what is that?
BARTOS: (Laughter) You're playing me.
HOROVITZ: I'm dead serious. I'm spaced out. I might be high, I don't know.
BARTOS: It's from "Paid In Full."
HOROVITZ: It is.
BARTOS: Yeah, "As The Rhyme Goes On," yeah.
HOROVITZ: But that's not - is that the actual mix?
HOROVITZ: No, it's not.
BARTOS: Yes, it is.
HOROVITZ: "Paid In Full" came out before we did that song, though.
DIAMOND: No, no, no. Wait...
HOROVITZ: Is it on the B-side of (laughter) the album?
BARTOS: No, (laughter) that's on the album. It's on the original...
HOROVITZ: That song, I haven't heard since 1986. Dead serious. I haven't heard that...
BARTOS: I think it came out in '87.
HOROVITZ: That actual song?
DIAMOND: "Paid In Full" came out as an album in '87? No, wait. I'm trying to think.
BARTOS: Yeah, yeah.
DIAMOND: Well, "My Melody" - like, "Eric B. Is President" and "My Melody" was definitely earlier.
BARTOS: That's '86, but the album came out in '87.
HOROVITZ: That actual song that just played? I haven't heard that since whenever. It sounded to me like it was a weird remix. I was like, wait. Barry White is on this?
DIAMOND: Yeah. No, it's true. But there's something...
HOROVITZ: Like, I don't know...
BARTOS: I'm bugging right now. Well, I picked the song - right? - because your voice is sampled in it.
GARCIA: It's got to pump it up, homeboy.
HOROVITZ: Right, but I've heard that exact same intro on, like, seven different songs with the same kind of thing. I don't remember my voice being on "Paid In Full." I'm dead serious. I don't know what to tell you.
BARTOS: Someone needs to cut you a check. It was clearly not...
HOROVITZ: Yeah, tell me about it. I'd say - yeah.
GARCIA: We should get a lawyer to give me, you and Lord Sear a check from the Beasties album.
BARTOS: And we'll take a commission on this one.
DIAMOND: Yeah. You've got a lot of legalities in this show.
BARTOS: But, Adam, the reason I picked that was because I thought it was fascinating that Rakim, as a - as someone who followed the Five-Percent Nation...
HOROVITZ: It's a little odd.
BARTOS: ...Which has some controversial ideas about race and whatnot, I just loved that there - it was your voice prominently sampled on the beginning of that record. Clearly, you don't really remember this record (laughter).
HOROVITZ: I remember it.
BARTOS: So I was going to ask you what that meant to you back then.
HOROVITZ: You know, "My Melody" and...
DIAMOND: "Eric B. Is President."
HOROVITZ: ...That single, for me, was the thing. And I had that album, and I listened to the album. That pump it up, homeboy, is - someone played me - they were like, yo, this guy just put out a single. You got to check this out. And they gave me the single with my voice on it, that pump it up. Some dude named Ice-T, in LA, is a rapper.
HOROVITZ: And he just made a single with your voice on it. And so back even before that, like, that - there's a bunch of records with that, so it's definitely weird. But it's weirder that I don't remember that (laughter) Rakim and Eric B...
DIAMOND: I think what's weirder to me is hearing that record - and I haven't heard it in so long. I knew it was Rakim's voice. And then - but then I was like, this sounds like a backpack rap track. Like, they were actually ahead of their time.
GARCIA: Yeah. Ten years.
BARTOS: Rakim is actually a guest on this show this season. I mean, I also really love that record. I think it's just phenomenal. So I'm glad you haven't heard it in a long time.
HOROVITZ: But that - the - for me, at least, the single that came out before the record was, like, game-changing, life-changing. That was - it meant everything.
BARTOS: Of course. What's up?
GARCIA: All right, fellas. Yo, thanks so much for being on our show.
HOROVITZ: Thanks for having us, you guys.
BARTOS: Yo, seriously, it's been a long time coming, and we really appreciate you taking the time to hang with us. And pump it up, homeboy.
DIAMOND: Just don't stop.
GARCIA: Word up. Rest in peace, Adam Yauch.
(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)
BARTOS: That's our show. This podcast was produced by Michelle Lanz, edited by Alexander McCall, Jordana Hochman and N'jeri Eaton. Our executive producer is Abby O'Neill.
GARCIA: And if you Doug E. dug the show, you can hear more at npr.org, plus bonus video content on Spotify on Fridays. While you're at it, please go to Apple Podcasts and rate, review and subscribe. That's how we know (singing) you are listening.
BARTOS: And if you want to keep track of us via social media, our Twitter is @stretchandbob and our Instagram is @stretchandbobbito.
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