Adam Horovitz was sitting on a balcony of the Chateau Marmont hotel in Los Angeles yesterday, contemplating the competing forces that motivate the Beastie Boys. "We think about music all the time and want to make records," Horovitz told Rolling Stone. "And we're also really lazy. So when desire and laziness clash, it just takes some time."
The latest result of that clash is Hot Sauce Committee Part Two, the Beasties' eighth studio album, released yesterday. While Horovitz – better known as Ad-Rock – smoked, his fellow Beastie Boy Mike Diamond (a.k.a. Mike D) ate chocolate mousse and explained the thinking behind the album. "We're not good at making plans," Diamond said. "But we do talk about ideas." Their goals for the album: vocals (2007's The Mix-Up was an instrumental album), shorter songs and "within any three-minute song, be willing to have it go six or seven different places before it ends."
"We don't have that many arguments," Horovitz said. "But lunch – the decision-making process takes forever."
Diamond sighed. "We labor a lot over the whole food thing."
Hot Sauce Committee Part Two was finished two years ago – but in 2009, the trio had started promoting the album in Europe when the third Beastie, Adam "MCA" Yauch, discovered he had cancer of the salivary gland. "That sent us all reeling," Diamond said, "both in terms of having your good friend and your bandmate diagnosed with cancer, and then also, oh, so our record isn't coming out. We'll just put this on hold and see where we're at in six months. And then 12 months."
The one silver lining: Stepping away from the album made them realize they weren't happy with the sound. They remixed the whole project with MC Solaar producer Philippe Zdar – and in the end, Diamond said, "We got to make a much better-sounding record."
Yauch was absent from yesterday's interview. "He's still doing treatment for cancer," Diamond explained. "Given the choice, he wouldn't be. He'd love to be freaking completely fucking done with it."
So the Beasties won't be touring anytime soon, but Yauch did write and direct the half-hour film Fight for Your Right (Revisited), which features Elijah Wood, Danny McBride and Seth Rogen as the Beasties circa 1986, and Will Ferrell, John C. Reilly and Jack Black as the Beasties of the future, challenging them to a dance competition. "Everybody gets really excited about Will Ferrell playing the cowbell in the video. But how badly did you want him and John Reilly to do shake-and-bake?" Horovitz said to Diamond. He shook his head, marveling. "Shake and bake."
So is there an age where the Beasties are too old to do what they're doing? The 44-year-old Horovitz snorted. "We passed that age awhile ago."