Nine months ago, the Beastie Boys shocked fans with news they'd be putting their studio work and festival dates on hold so Adam Yauch (a.k.a. MCA) could fight salivary gland cancer. Yauch is continuing treatments and feeling "pretty good," Mike Diamond tells Rolling Stone, and the New York trio hope to have Hot Sauce Committee Pt. 1 in stores this fall.
"We've been letting it age," Mike D says, comparing the album to a fine wine. "The writing is the growing of the grapes, and we've already macerated, and at this point, it's been living in a barrel and being stored in bottles in the cellar, and hopefully by September, we will uncork."
But before the Beasties are ready to let their fans soak in their first full album of new, non-instrumental material since 2004's To the Five Boroughs, they're doing "some tinkering." "It will be messed with," Mike D says, noting the "massaging" will mostly come into mixing and mastering.
The title of the album will stay the same, including the implication that there will eventually be a Hot Sauce Committee Pt. 2, even if the sequel is "set aside for much later." The pastoral cover art, featuring Ad-Rock, Mike D and MCA (carrying a cat) crossing a bridge from the city to the woods, "could be changed." And the songs — 17 at last count — "might be shuffled." "Maybe 16 of the songs will survive, and one will get cut, or get a substitution," Mike D says.
"Hopefully it's gone from being a very good wine with a lot of promise to being a fully refined and fully developed wine for consumption. The finest French Burgundies only get better in time, and only show their real selves and real complexity with a great deal of time, so we can only hope that time will tell [for Hot Sauce]."
Of course, the proposed fall release is still contingent on Yauch's health. "We make plans and change those plans based on what Adam's got to do," Mike D says. "Our real priority is for him to heal."
In the meantime, Mike D has big plans for this weekend, when he'll team up with Andrew W.K. to host a massive, kid-friendly guitar jam as part of the Tribeca Film Festival and the Church Street School's street fair. Andrew W.K. will hold up flash cards announcing the chords for songs like Deep Purple's "Smoke on the Water," the Beatles' "Yellow Submarine" and Jason Mraz's "I'm Yours," and the crowd will attempt to play along. "My hope is that there are tons of kids with guitars, some with amps and some not, and it'll be like School of Rock meets Glenn Branca, like organized cacophony," Mike D laughs. "It could be a disaster!"