Beastie Boys Story (2020) Script

-[man 1] All right. -[man 2] Okay. Hello.

[man 3] Stand by. We got speed.

-[man 2] You ready? -[man 3] Yeah.

♪ Now here's a little story That I got to tell ♪

♪ About three bad brothers That you know so well ♪

♪ It started way back in history ♪

-♪ With Ad-Rock ♪ -♪ MCA ♪

-♪ And me ♪ -♪ Mike D ♪

["Sabotage" playing]

[man] Who's your favorite Beastie Boy?

I sort of identify with bits of all of them really.

I guess MCA resonates.

[man 3] Mike D.

[woman] Ad-Rock is, like, big inspiration.

When you listen to a group for that long, you go through phases of who you feel you're more connected to at certain times in your life.

My favorite is Mike D.

He's really funny, but in, like, a subtle way.

Do you have a favorite Beasties video over the years?

Mine's actually an exercise video that never came out.

Call the number on your screen right now!

MCA, I feel like, was the leader of all of them. Kept them all together.

He's the one that comes up with all the crazy stuff.

[man] MCA definitely played a large part in the world.

Very influential man, a big heart.

I always thought that Ad-Rock kind of encapsulated the coolness.

It's a word that is not really used that much in these days, but I think it really suits me, as well as these guys.

It's "macho."

It's a macho that we have.

Because he's so honest. He's, like, brutally honest.

We're not very talented musically, so we figured we'd try all kinds of different realms.


Yo, I'd just like to say, "What's up?" to my grandma.

Because it's all about the bass guitar for me.

[song ends]

[cheering, applause]

Yo, hold up, wait up, just sit down for a minute.

It's not over yet.


[song resumes]

[man] Their music has just been so influential.

The soundtrack of my life, if you can call it that.

It's the soundtrack of our lives.

A lot of bands, they just break apart, and then they come back at the end.

But they stayed together the whole adventure.

♪ I can't stand it I know you planned it ♪

♪ I'mma set it straight, this Watergate ♪

♪ I can't stand rockin' when I'm in here ♪

♪ 'Cause your crystal ball Ain't so crystal clear ♪

♪ So while you sit back and wonder why ♪

♪ I got this fuckin' thorn in my side ♪

♪ Oh, my God, it's a mirage ♪

♪ I'm tellin' y'all, it's sabotage ♪

-[song ends] -[man in audience] Yeah!

[audience cheering, applauding]

[Ad-Rock] All right.

-[Ad-Rock] Yo! -[Mike D, indistinct]

[Ad-Rock] Oh!

[Mike D] What's up?


[Ad-Rock] Well, hi.


-Well... -[cheering quiets]

Hello, everyone.

-Well, hi, everyone. I'm Adam. -[woman] Hi, Adam.

And I'm Mike.

Also known as Michael Diamond or Mike D.

And we're Beastie Boys from New York City.

Now, tonight we're going to tell you the story of three kids that met and became friends and did all kinds of crazy stuff together for over 30 years.

[Mike D] The two of us will do the best we can, because one of us isn't here.

-Adam Yauch... -[cheering, applause]

...who you also know as MCA.

We lost him in 2012 to cancer.

And when Adam died, we stopped being a band.

Yeah, it just felt too weird to do the band without Yauch, because, well, I mean, the band was his idea in the first place.

So, although Yauch's not here with us, "What would Yauch do?" is always on our minds.

But trying to imagine what Yauch would actually do is pretty hard, 'cause he was very unpredictable.

He was a wild card, but we'll get to that later.

[female reporter] The Beastie Boys have arrived.

Always on the cutting edge of fashion.

When they're not on the red carpet, they are always at the shows in Paris.

Look at the white dreads.

The Beastie Boys are back after a six-year absence.

Guys, that's a long time.

What have you been up to? It's great to see you.

-[Ad-Rock] Hey! -Actually, I know it sounds kinda funny, but we were actually captured by Sasquatch.

[audience chuckling]

[man] What we're gonna do right here is go back.

Way back. Back into time.

[audio playing backwards]

Being a weird kid from, sorry, Mom, a weird family, is just kind of weird.

But it's also pretty lonely.

One day, I heard this band The Clash.

["Rubber Dub" by The Clash playing]

[song fades]

Not only did I love their music, but when I heard it, I knew there'd be other weirdos out there.

I just had to find them.

I found my first other weirdo at school.

His name is John Berry.

One afternoon, we saw an ad in the back of this free paper called The Village Voice.

It was for a band that we loved called the Bad Brains.


And the Bad Brains were playing this show down at this place called the Botany Talk House.

[playing "Pay to Cum"]

So we go down to the club and there's, like, maybe all of 15 people in the entire place, and they're all grown-ups.

But there was one other kid our age there.

And he looked really cool.

He had this long trench coat on from, like, a thrift store, he had combat boots, he had these homemade buttons on his trench coat, and his name was Adam Yauch.

[Ad-Rock] So I met Yauch and Mike and John Berry at a Misfits show in 1982.

It might have been Circle Jerks, but I like the Misfits more, so I'm gonna say that it was at a Misfits show.

Now, somehow, me and my two friends heard that there were a bunch of kids hanging out in a ladies' bathroom.

So we walked in there and we found a bunch of super cool-looking punk kids our age hanging out.

And I actually recognized one of them, Jill Cunniff, 'cause we were in fifth grade class together.

And so she was my in.

I also recognized one of the other kids in the group, Kate Schellenbach, 'cause we grew up in the same neighborhood.

[Mike D] Kate was just-- She was really cool.

She was also smarter than we were.

And she was into, I don't know, more sophisticated, European kind of music--

Just-- Sorry to interrupt, but just to say that she was smarter than us--

-I mean, Kate's very smart, but-- -Sure, it didn't take a lot.

-Not that it's saying that much. Okay. -But she was.

-Fact. -Correct.

So, she was into cool bands like Kraftwerk.

And she lived in this loft on 14th Street with her mom that was this big open old-style loft, and in the center of all of it was her drum set.

[Ad-Rock] My first punk rock friend was Dave Scilken. And he--

That's him on the left. And that's me on the right.

So me and my best friend in junior high school, we're playing basketball outside of school, and we see this crazy-looking kid with spiked hair and a trench coat walking down the street, carrying a synthesizer.

So we had to go over to talk to this kid.

He was younger than us.

He was in the sixth grade, and he was cutting school.

Now, let that sink in.

You're 11 years old in the sixth grade.

At that time, our main hangout was at John Berry's apartment on 100th and Broadway.

And that's where we'd play music.

In the early '80s, everyone in our scene was in some kind of band.

And Yauch kept pushing us to start a band with him.

Now he already had a name for it:

Beastie Boys.

The band originally was me, Kate, Adam Yauch, John Berry.

The name stood for Boys Entering Anarchistic States Towards Inner Excellence.

The acronym alone makes no sense because "boys" is already in the title of the band.

So the name is ridiculous and redundant.

And inaccurate, because there was a girl drummer, Kate.

So, our very first gig was at John Berry's house, up where he lived, on the third floor.

Yauch was turning 17.

And Yauch's like, "You know what, I'm gonna have a party, and we're gonna play at it."

["Holy Snappers" by the Beastie Boys playing]

And then, when we go up to play, somehow I got nominated to be the singer.

Now, I was a super shy type of kid.

I don't know why I ever agreed to this.

[song continues]

I guess the main thing I remember is probably, like, 10 or 12 kids in a room maybe 12 feet wide by 20 feet long or something, just kind of, like, jumping up and down and bumping into each other.

But it was all basically, like, friends having a good time.

-[song ends] -[audience cheering]

I wasn't in Beastie Boys back then.

But I joined in 1983.

John Berry wasn't into it anymore, and so he quit.

At that point, I was hanging out with Mike and Yauch and Kate all the time.

I guess since I was standing there, I'm the new guitar player.

[playing "The White Shadow"]

[song continues]

[Mike D] We were a hardcore band, but we kind of weren't.

I mean, we were like Monty Python as much as we were Black Flag.

[song ends]

Introduce yourself.

Yeah, yeah. So I'm Michael. I'm in the Beastie Boys.

My name is Kate. I'm a Capricorn, and I have lint in my pocket.

Now we're gonna get to an older, more mature member.

-Give us your name. -My name's Ad, but you can call me Adam.

And I'm just hanging out here on TV. You know, your basic stuff.

My name's Adam, as it says on my belt.

Get a shot of Adam's belt if you can.

How old are you? About 13, 14?

-About. -Yeah. Twelve, eleven.

So, we're getting a little older now.

We're no longer 15.

We're 16.

We were into all kinds of music.

We listened to soul and punk and rap and reggae.

Rap was hard to find back then 'cause there was only a few 12-inches out.

But we wanted to switch up our style.

So we were obsessed with this stupid commercial for this ice-cream store called Carvel.

[female voice] Hello, I'm a Carvel celestial person from outer space.

My real name is Cookie Puss.

[Ad-Rock] And someone had the smart idea to record a super stupid prank phone call song called

"Cooky Puss."

-[song playing] -[telephone line ringing]

-[record scratching] -[man babbling]

-[woman] Hello, Carvel. -[Ad-Rock] Yo, man. Cookie Puss there?


Cookie Puss. I wanna speak to Cookie Puss, man.

No. Nobody here by that name.

Cookie O'Puss then. Cookie Chick...

[Mike D] So, this guy Dave Parsons, he had this record store downtown called the Rat Cage.

We would cut school to go hang out at this place, right?

By this time, Dave started a small record label.

Put "Cooky Puss" out as a 12-inch, right.

And then something happened that we never thought would happen.

DJs started playing our record in clubs.

Then other people besides our 15 friends actually heard our music.

And one day, I went to visit a friend at some weird high school temp job she had.

And we heard that DJ Afrika Bambaataa was on a talk show or something on some other floor in the building.

And we got fuckin' psyched.

And we ran down and we snuck onto the TV set.

And this is what happened next.

[Ad-Rock] I was wondering-- There's a song I really like called "Cooky Puss" by the Beastie Boys. I was wondering if you ever heard of it.

[Bambaataa] Yes, I heard of "Cooky Puss."

I've gotten the record through the rock pool. It's tough.

[Ad-Rock] Okay.

Yeah, you like that-- Why do you like that one?

Yeah, it's just a really funny song. I heard it on the radio--

It's got scratching and work on it? Like that?

It has a little bit of scratching on it.

It's funky.

Chapter 2:

"All We Do Is Listen to Rap."

[hip-hop beat playing]

In 1984, a song came out that would change the course of our band forever.

"Sucker MC's" by Run-DMC.

♪ Two years ago, a friend of mine Asked me to say some MC rhymes ♪

♪ So I said this rhyme I'm about to say ♪

♪ The rhyme was def A-then it went this way ♪

"Sucker MC's" was everywhere in New York when it came out.

You heard it coming out of cars, out of tape decks, out of pizza spots, all over the city.

Run-DMC was the shit.

And we wanted to be just like them.

I mean, we studied every song, every lyric.

We were lookin' at every picture, tryin' to figure out their sneaks, their clothes, everything.

[Mike D] We would study and repeat all our favorite rap songs all day.

[Ad-Rock] Not that we felt we would ever be a rap group or anything.

But around this time, we started writing our own rhymes.

I think now we're gonna show a little example that shows kind of where we were at on the mic as MCs.

[man on PA] Wait, we're not there yet. You're jumping ahead there. Go back.

-[Mike D] Am I jumping the gun? -[Ad-Rock] Turn around, Spike.

-[Mike D] Really? Okay. -[Ad-Rock] All right. Time out.

See, Spike?

-We're definitely in the wrong place. -[Ad-Rock] The teleprompter...

[audience laughing, cheering]

-All right. That's what I thought-- -Okay.

-Here we go. -Hey, hey, hey.

We're back. We really-- We rehearsed this. We practiced this, like, for real.

I'm sorry. I fucked up the teleprompter. Sorry about that.

Teleprompter? I didn't even notice.


That's a good transition, you guys. "Anyways."

Around this time, we had this big show coming up at Studio 54, right.

Wait. The Studio 54. You know, with, like, Brooke Shields.

Okay. With, like, Baryshnikov, Halston, Donna Summer.

I didn't know if that was, like, a call and response thing.

-Yeah, no one really chimed in. -I don't know. Anyway.

Footnote about our show at Studio 54, it was a Battle of the Bands and we lost.

So, we had this show coming up at Studio 54, and we wanted to play our song "Cooky Puss."

Now we never did it live before, but we thought--

We had this idea to have a DJ do it with us.

Our friend told us that he knew about this NYU college kid that could DJ and wanted to be a rap producer and had all this DJ equipment and stuff.

But more important, he had a bubble machine.

Wait. Say what, Ad-Rock? A bubble machine?

Yo, homes. That's right, Mike D. He had a bubble machine.


So we went over to this guy's dorm room to meet him.

But when we get there, the door's opened by this long-haired heavy metal guy with these weird leather zip-up gloves, which totally freaked us out.

This couldn't possibly be him.

Now, he opens the door to this teeny dorm room, right.

And it's filled with, like, a huge PA and there's turntables and all these drum machines.

And yes, ladies and gentlemen, a bubble machine.

So what do we do?

We hired him on the spot.

And this is Rick Rubin.

[Ad-Rock] Now, at first, it seemed like a weird fit with us and Rick Rubin.

I mean, he's from Long Island and we're from New York City.

And also, Rick was into a bunch of other stuff that we weren't into.

Like wrestling and heavy metal.

And we thought that shit was kind of goofy.

Rick seemed way older than us and--

[audience laughing]


We gotta work on the timing of that photo.

-I mean-- -With the--

Do we comment on the cable box or no? I mean--

-Everyone's thinking about it, yeah? -Right.

That was some high-tech shit for the time.

They got the cable box, the multi-line telephone. I mean--

I mean, why can't it be like the old days, with a pack of Salems and a fucking filled ashtray next to your bed?

I mean, right?

Rick seemed way older than us, and he seemed kind of more mature than us.

And he had money to pay for things.

But most of all, it was his confidence.

Whatever he was into was the thing to be into.

And that could be infectious.

You couldn't hang out with Rick and not be excited about what he was excited about.

So we kinda got into wrestling.


-And we definitely got into heavy metal. -Oh, definitely.

-[softly] Definitely. -Definitely.

It only took a week for us to go from thinking that the guy with those zip-up gloves was goofy to thinking, "Wow. He's the coolest dude."

He became part of our full-time crew.

He kinda became, like, this weird, cool older brother.

And his dorm room became our new headquarters.

Like, our new Rat Cage.

And every day, instead of going to school, we'd go to Rick's dorm room to hang out.

And we'd listen to records. And then we'd go out to some club.

And then we'd go to Cozy Soup 'n' Burger to eat.

And then we'd talk all about the night and the music and all the music we were gonna make together one day.

After the Studio 54 show, we had a DJ.

So we're like, "Fuck it. Let's try to rap and do that as part of our show."

So Rick joined our band and became DJ Double R, of course.

Our first shows with Rick, we'd do, like, half as a hardcore band, and then we'd leave the stage and we'd do the other half as a rap group.

-♪ B-E-A ♪ -♪ S-T-I-E ♪

[Ad-Rock] ♪ We're the Beastie four Rock shockin' the scene ♪

-♪ I'm Master Adam Yauch ♪ -♪ And Slop the Rock ♪

-♪ With Mike D ♪ -♪ Katie Schellenbach ♪

♪ Now hip-hop, just don't stop ♪

♪ You rock to the beat Till it makes you drop ♪

[Ad-Rock] Okay, okay. I think, you know--

You get the, uh--

You get the idea.

Most rappers hold their rhymes in little pieces of paper, right?

Isn't that a thing?

It's one thing to hang out with your friends and rap "Sucker MC's" all day long.

But being on stage with an audience and rapping our own rhymes, well, that was different.

Now we didn't realize it, but as time went on, the more we were hanging out with Rick and starting to act like Rick, the less we were hanging out with Kate.

And maybe even more so, the less Kate was hanging out with us.

I think our friends were very confused as why we were hanging out with Rick all the time.

[audience laughing]

Well, you know, a band's gotta eat.

So around this time, Rick was producing his first real rap song, "It's Yours," for a rapper named T La Rock.

[song intro]

[Mike D] Up until then, music for rap records was mostly played by a band.

It was played to sound, like, funky and smoothed out so it would get on the radio.

But "It's Yours" was just a rapper and a drum machine.

It was raw and punk in sound.

So one night, Rick told us that he's gonna go meet this guy, Russell Simmons, at Danceteria.

We didn't know what Rick and Russell were meeting about, but we are just psyched to spy on them talking at the bar.

'Cause this Russell guy was not only Run-DMC's manager, but he was also DJ Run's brother.

[Ad-Rock] It wasn't like he was some guy that, like, knew some guy that knew somebody connected to rap.

Russell was rap.

He was at the center of the business of rap.

Now when Russell left, we were so psyched.

We ran over to Rick and we were like, [high-pitched voice] "Yo, yo, yo, yo, Rick. You gotta tell us, like, everything.

What did this Russell guy say to you?

You gotta tell us everything you guys talked about."

[normal voice] Well, I mean, that's-- We were excited.

That's pretty good.

And that's what we sounded like when we were, like, 16.

So Rick told us that Russell couldn't believe that not only "It's Yours" was made by someone he'd never heard of, but it was made by a white guy.

And Rick said that they hit it off and they hatched a plan to start a record label, Def Jam.

Wait a minute, wait a minute.

Pay attention, hang up the phone and watch this.

Jam means record.

Def is short for definitive.

Definitely the best records you could buy today.

[distorted voice] ♪ So def, so def, so def It's a def jam ♪ And somewhere in those plans, Rick told Russell about us.

[Long Island accent] "Hey, I got these three white rappers.

They're still in high school.

I mean, they're punk rock, but they love hip-hop even more.

I mean, all they do is listen to rap."

Russell Simmons immediately saw the possibility in managing a white rap group.

And within days, we went to his office to meet with him.

We think he's gonna have this huge fancy office, but we go up there, it's just, in reality, two small rooms.

But what's kinda cool is, in one of the rooms there's fucking Kurtis Blow, the King of Rap, right?

And he's in Russell's office trying to learn to break-dance.

He's trying to spin on his head for some reason.

And not only that, I don't know if--

Does anybody in here know this crew Full Force?

[scattered cheers]

Well, he's surrounded-- He's surrounded by the dudes in Full Force, who are watching him learn to break-dance.

I mean, it was a crazy fuckin' scene, is what we're trying to tell you guys.

So when it came to confidence, Russell was even more next-level than Rick.

If you were in his orbit, you couldn't help but believe all the awesome shit he said was gonna happen.

In 1984, no one cared about rap music.

I mean, it was barely on the radio.

But everywhere Russell went he'd be selling to everybody.

[imitating Simmons] "Run-DMC is gonna be the biggest artist of our generation."

-[audience laughing] -Oh.

"Rick Rubin. He's gonna be the Phil Spector of rap.

Beastie Boys?

They're white B-boys and they're gonna be the biggest group in the world."


All right.

Let's slow things down for a minute.

We had just started rapping.

I mean, we were mediocre at best.

But Rick and Russell believed in us, and that gave us confidence.

[song intro]

And so they hooked it up for us to go record our first rap song.

It's called "Rock Hard."

[song continues]

I don't know. It's not our finest moment on the mic, okay.

But you gotta understand, we love rap music and we wanted to be rappers so bad.

We wanted to be Run-DMC so bad.

"First white B-boys, we don't regret.

There's nothing wrong with your TV set."

[song continues]

Russell Simmons wrote that line.

And he kept telling us we had to say it 'cause it was great and how B-boy it was and punk and all this other stuff.

He also really wanted us to say, "I can play the drums, I can play guitar.

Not just B-boys, we're real rock stars."

And we went along with it.

I mean, [chuckles] you're the legit dude in rap, man.

You got fucking Kurtis Blow popping and locking in your office and shit.

I mean, if you think saying that's gonna be fresh, fly, wild and bold, well, all right. Turn me up in the headphones.

♪ Mike D, Ad-Rock, and MCA ♪

♪ Not before long I could hear you say ♪

♪ In a way, these boys got juice ♪

♪ They're goin' off You know they love to get loose ♪

♪ Get loose, get loose ♪

♪ Poose ♪ Now I would love to blame Rick and Russell for the quality of the song, but that's all us on the mic.

We wrote and said the rest of the lyrics on that song.

They wanted us to be a cartoon rap version of an '80s metal band, but instead with Adidas shell toes and tracksuits and shit.

And we were all in.

-[Mike D] Oh, hell, yes. -[Ad-Rock] Right?

For real.

But it was decided at some point that we had to kick Kate out of the band because she didn't fit into our new tough rapper guy identity.

Now how fucked-up is that?

When Beastie Boys began, the majority of our friends were girls.

Like, the coolest girls.

And it's really embarrassing to think that we let them down.

I mean, shit, maybe Kate would've quit the band eventually, but it's just shitty the way it all went down.

See, up until then our band was just more of a joke, you know?

Something to do 'cause it was fun.

Our big goal was to make each other laugh.

But now we're with these Rick and Russell guys, and they got big plans for us.

It's like, if Rick was the cool older brother, then Russell was, like, the crazy-ass uncle.

And we started hanging out every night, all the time together.

Going out to clubs. Drinking screwdrivers, brass monkeys.

And it was like this fucked-up fun family.

Now, when you're young and drunk and Russell Simmons is telling you that you're gonna be the biggest rap group of all time, well, I guess you hear it enough, you just start to believe that shit.

And then some crazy shit happened.


[Spike] Oh, I'm sorry. Sorry about that. There's supposed to be a cue here where--

It was actually a bad joke anyways. Keep going.

It's gonna happen or it's not gonna happen?

Not tonight.

This is the last show. When is it supposed to happen?

We didn't load it into the machine.

W-W-- Maybe we'll get it before the end of the night.

I'll-- I'll get it. I'll get it.

Well, it's a voice that goes, "Crazy shit."

And there's, like, a whole animation. My friend Max Tannone did the-- Anyway.

Hey, did you guys know that we opened for Madonna on her very first tour?

Well, we did. And the story of how we opened for Madonna--

[man] Crazy shit.

[Spike] I got-- I got it.

[Ad-Rock] At any rate.

So one day Russell Simmons gets a call from Madonna's manager, Freddy DeMann.

He calls and asks if Run-DMC would like to open for Madonna on her first ever tour.

And Russell said, "Yes, they get 20 grand a show."

Madonna's manager said, "Thank you, no."

Madonna's manager calls Russell Simmons back a couple hours later and he's like, "Hey, Russell. Do the Fat Boys wanna open for Madonna on tour?"

And he said, "Aw, man. The Fat Boys are busy. They just can't do it."

Russell never managed the Fat Boys.

"But," he said, "I got these guys Beastie Boys, and they'll do it for 500 bucks."

And the next thing you know, we're in Seattle, Washington at the Four Seasons hotel, getting ready to open for Madonna on tour.

[softly] Remember that?

So, before the tour, we came up with a brilliant plan.

What could we do that would make all these people remember us?

It certainly wasn't gonna be our microphone mastery at the time.

I mean, our big idea was that we should be as rude and as awful as possible on stage.

Yo! You better look out, Detroit, Philly, Cincy, LA!

We're coming to your town!

[Mike D] I mean, if we just went up there and we just played the two songs that we knew, and that's all we had at the time, and we just said, "Thank you, everybody. Good night," who would care?

Instead, we'd be memorable.

Memorable fuckin' jerks.

We're real rock stars.

I mean, everyone's there to see Madonna, and they for sure don't give a fuck about us.

But this is where Rick's wrestling thing would come in.

He wanted us to be those wrestling villains screaming into the camera at the side of the ring, like this:

The only reason that we haven't done a video yet is because as soon as we do, they're gonna have to change it from MTV to Beastie TV.

'Cause that's all they're gonna show all day long, all night long.

"The Beastie Boys. One of the finest groups in music today." Right there.

I think I'm wasting my breath a little bit.

Maybe I'm talking over your head.

I think the interview's over.

-Thank you very much. -Me too.

[cheering, applause]

And so--

And so every night on the Madonna tour, I would go out, front and center, and I would do a speech like this.


I'm the King Ad-Rock.

And I'm the fucking king of the Kings Theatre.

And we're the Beastie Boys, and we're here tonight to crush all competition.

After we leave tonight you can burn this motherfuckin' place down.

'Cause y'all motherfuckers ain't shit.

-[drumbeat stops] -[cheering]

Just keep in mind that this is who Adam was cursing out.

[audience laughing]

It was, like, a love-hate relationship type thing.

You know, we hated them, they hated us. It was, like, love.

So we come home from tour, and the very first thing we do is we go up to everyone and anyone that'll hear it, and we're like, [high-pitched voice] "Yo, yo, yo. We were on tour with Madonna."

It was the fucking most awesome thing ever.

And now we get home and it's official.

We're a rap group.

-Whoo! -[laughing]


-High five? -Yeah.

Yeah, it's coming back, Adam. It's coming back.

One night, Russell gets us a gig at this club called the Encore, opening up for Kurtis Blow, the King of Rap.

So we were both-- We look at each other and we're like, [high-pitched voice] "Yo, we're opening up for Kurtis Blow? That's def."

-Now-- -That's a direct quote, by the way.

-Just so you know. -Yeah. It is.

Now the Encore is an all-black rap crowd.

And we're the only white guys in this place, right.

And somehow, we decide it's a good idea to go out there in a limo dressed like this.

[audience laughing]

What's so funny?

Yes, those are do-rags on our heads.


So when we got on stage at the Encore to play our song "Rock Hard," they turned on all the lights, right, in the house.

Like, fluorescent lights, like a fuckin' supermarket.

And all these dudes in the audience started screaming at us.

"Yo, yo, Menudos. What's up?"

"Menudo, I love y'all."

Yeah, they called us "Menudo."

Actually, I think it was "Menudos," like, plural.


So yeah, we dropped this look real quick.

Chapter 3:

"The Song that Changed Everything."

So we started writing songs in a different way.

It wasn't just on a guitar, like, verse, chorus, verse, chorus.

Fucking around became our creative process.

It would go something like this.


We'd be walking down the street.

[audience laughing]

This is how--


This is how we'd walk down the street.

-How you doing? -Oh. What's up, man?

We rehearsed.

We'd be walking down the street, right.

And we'd just start going back and forth with little bits of records and stupid shit we thought was real funny, right.

Like, one of us would say a random lyric from a song we loved like...

[man 1] Hold it now.

And then another one would be like, "Yo, that should be a song, like, he should say, 'Hold it now,' and then we should have Slick Rick go"...

[man 2] Hit it!

And then another one would be like, "Oh, it should go"...

[man 3] Hey, Leroy!

And that's the song.


And then we'd go into the studio with that simple and stupid of an idea.

And we'd make a song out of it.

-[hip-hop song playing] -[man 3] Yo, Leroy!

[man 1] Hold it now. Hold it now, hold it now.

[man 2] Hit it!

Like, Adam would be there and he'd be tapping away, obsessed, on the pads of his DX drum machine.

And when he was really psyched, he'd take the headphones and he'd rip them off of his head, throw them to the side, and he'd be like, [high-pitched voice] "Yo, yo, yo, guys. Check this out."

No, no, no. That's you, Mike.

[low-pitched voice] I was like this.

Well, anyway, he made this--

Honestly, I'm giving you props, Adam.

He made, like, this hot go-go, swing-type beat.

But when Yauch and I heard that, we were like, "Oh, shit."

But when that got layered with this 808 beat, that changed everything.

[man 1] Hold it now. Hold it now, hold it now.

-[man 2] Hit it! -[song continues]

[Mike D] So, the three of us were left to our own devices and making music and loving it.

Instead of trying to act and sound like somebody else, like how we did on "Rock Hard," now we were just being ourselves.

Or at least a fantasy version of ourselves.

Rick came by the studio and we played it for him.

And he kinda flipped the fuck out. He was like, [Long Island accent] "Hey, you guys. Don't change anything.

It's great. I want to play it for Russell.

We need to just put this out."

So, we're surprised, but we are psyched.

Rick mixed it, making it sound bigger and more professional.

He made that 808 sound crazy.


-Like that. -Like that.

You could hear it rattling the rear glass on cars up and down the East Coast.

It also detonated many a PA.

We figured out how to piece together different elements that we loved, like beats, samples, scratches, and turn them into a song.

Into a new style.

Most importantly though, we found our voice.

♪ Now I chill real ill When I start to chill ♪

♪ When I fill my pockets With a knot of dollar bills ♪

♪ Sipping pints of ale Out the window sill ♪

♪ When I get my fill I'm chilly chill ♪

♪ Now I just got home Because I'm out on bail ♪

♪ What's the time? It's time to buy ale ♪

[Mike D] So Russell and Rick put "Hold It Now, Hit It" out on Def Jam.

And then it starts getting played on all these mix shows and in clubs, which is a big deal to us.

Our song was getting played next to songs like LL Cool J's "Rock the Bells,"

Run-DMC's "Peter Piper," songs that we loved.

[MCA] We got this gig going to Philly.

And we went on and we just dropped the record.

I remember we put "Hold It Now" on, and the whole place just went crazy, like, the whole club.

And that was a pretty amazing feeling. I was like, "Damn."

[Ad-Rock] So, I'm 19 years old.

I got a little money in my pocket.

Rappers know who I am.

We're getting into clubs for free.

We're getting drink tickets. We're talking to girls.

-We're getting drunk. -"Ooh, Ad-Rock."

We're fuckin' around. We're writing lyrics on napkins.

We're cracking each other up.

And then we go to the studio and make a song out of all that shit.

Next night, next song.

♪ Four and three and two and one What up! ♪

-♪ And when I'm on the mic the suckers run -♪ Word! ♪

♪ Down with Ad-Rock and Mike D And you ain't ♪

♪ And I got more juice Than Picasso got paint ♪

♪ Got rhymes that are rough And rhymes that are slick ♪

♪ I'm not surprised you're on my dick ♪

♪ B-E-A-S-T-I-E... ♪ So we're recording all the time, making songs.

And Russell would just keep putting them out as singles.

-We put out "Paul Revere." -Smash hit.

We put out "The New Style," this song.

Smash hit!

And at a certain point, Russell came into the studio and he was like, [imitating Simmons] "You guys are the greatest rap group of all time.

You're gonna be making a full-length album."

So, while we're doing that, Adam and I, we're still living at these shitty apartments.

You know, like you do when you're 19 years old.

But Yauch moved into this nice new apartment in Brooklyn Heights.

Now, he lived there for free because he was the superintendent of the building.

[audience laughing]

-[Mike D] It's true. -Yeah.

So if your radiator broke, Yauch would come up to fix it.

I mean, he had zero qualifications for the job, but he could do just about anything on instinct.

But late one night, me and Mike stopped by the apartment, and he had this tape deck set up on a table in the kitchen.

But it wasn't a cassette deck.

It was a quarter-inch reel-to-reel tape deck, which I didn't even know he had.

And I'm there and I'm studying this, trying to figure out what this whole thing is.

I mean, he's got the tape from the one reel.

And instead of just going to, like, the other reel, like it usually would, it comes out the one reel, it's going around a mic stand, and then it goes around another mic stand.

And then it goes around a chair.

And then back into the second reel.

I mean, Adam and I are looking at this thing and we're like, "This is like a fucking magic trick, right?"

And then Yauch gets up and he presses play.


[Ad-Rock] So the intro drumbeat to Led Zeppelin's "When the Levee Breaks" starts playing.

But instead of the whole song playing, it was just the intro beat over and over.

I'd seen DJs do it with two records and turntables.

But I'd never seen it done with reel-to-reel tape.

The sound and the visual were so magical to us.

Yauch told us that he'd heard about Jimi Hendrix and Sly Stone doing tape loops and he wanted to try it.

Where did he hear about that?

There was no YouTube or Google back then, right?

We took Yauch's creation to the studio, and we made a song called "Rhymin' & Stealin'."

[song playing]

♪ Ali Baba and the forty thieves ♪

♪ Ali Baba and the forty thieves ♪

♪ Ali Baba and the forty thieves ♪

♪ Torchin' and crackin' And rhymin' and stealin'... ♪ So while we were writing and recording what would become Licensed to Ill, Rick Rubin was also producing Run-DMC's new album Raising Hell.

Now, their version of the Aerosmith song "Walk This Way" was a massive mainstream radio and MTV hit, right?

And Run-DMC fuckin' blew up all over the world.

They went on tour that summer in '86.

Russell had us open for them.

[Ad-Rock] Beastie Boys' function in the Raising Hell Tour is to get everybody pumped up to check out the shows.

So we figured we'd raise a lot of hell on stage.

And we'd just, sort of, you know, get the audience going.

They were so large by the time their tour got to Miami, the promoters upgraded their venue from basketball arena to baseball stadium.

[song playing]

[Mike D] Joe Perry and Steven Tyler from Aerosmith were flying down from Miami just to do the one song with them.

And it was bound to be a fuckin' spectacle.

♪ She starts swingin' With the boys in tune ♪

♪ And her feet just fly up in the air... ♪ Cut to the big moment, when Aerosmith is about to hit the stage to join Run-DMC to play the number one song on the entire planet.

They walk out and the crowd goes wild.

But now there's some other guy on stage.


[song continues]

[Mike D] Yauch happened to have a bass with him.

And Jam Master Jay from Run-DMC thought it'd be funny for him to play bass with them and Aerosmith for the big song, on stage, in a baseball stadium, in Miami.

And Yauch fucking delivered majestically.

The look on the Aerosmith guys' faces was fantastic bemusement.

"Who's this dirty drunk guy on stage?

And-- And why is he playing bass with us?"

Throughout the whole song, Yauch kept trying to go back-to-back guitar-player style with fucking Joe Perry, who was having none of it, right?

And it's like--

It ended up with Yauch chasing him around the stage running backwards.

And all of us were on the side of the stage, watching, screaming, laughing and loving it.

[cheering, applause]

And not only was it really fucking fun being on tour and hanging out with Run-DMC, but we learned so much watching them night after night.

I mean, it was like we were at rap finishing school.

♪ Yes, yes, y'all, we don't stop Keep it on, shockin' the place ♪

♪ Well... ♪


♪ Got nothin' to prove ♪

♪ Pay attention My intention is to bust a move ♪

♪ Drinkin' quarts and cans And bottles and sixes ♪

♪ Between the turntables Keep the... ♪ [indistinct]

[Run] ♪ My name's Run I got the deuces wild ♪

♪ Listen to the rhymes I'm bustin' the style ♪

♪ Name's DMC and he's by my side ♪

♪ So take the mic... ♪ [indistinct]

[Mike D] But when we got back home, we found out that Rick had gone and mixed and finished our whole record.

It was weird that he just went and did it without us knowing.

I mean, Yauch was always into the technical aspects of recording, so I'm sure it must've bummed him out or pissed him off.

But what Rick did was pretty incredible.

He took our weird rap songs and he made them sound clean, and big, and polished, and ready for the radio.

They are more like real anthems and less like a joke.

-[song playing] -[no audible dialogue]

♪ Brass Monkey, that funky Monkey ♪

♪ Brass Monkey junkie That funky Monkey ♪

-♪ Brass Monkey ♪ -[song stops]

Chapter 4:

"Earlier We Had Mentioned a Song That We Thought Had Changed Everything.

And It Had, In a Way.

But This Is Actually the Song That Changed Everything."

[guitar riff plays]

So, fun fact, we were almost done with our record Licensed to Ill, but Russell said it wasn't long enough and so we needed just, like, one more song.

And Yauch and his friend Tom Cushman had a side band called Brooklyn.

And they had this song called "Fight for Your Right (To Party)."

And Yauch was like, "Why don't we use that Brooklyn song and use it for Beastie Boys?"

They made that song as a joke.

Like, a kind of fake anthem making fun of party bros and frat guys.

Now, we had never actually met a party bro or a frat guy.

But we thought that shit was hilarious to make fun of.

So our big idea was to take a little bit of this.

[audience laughing]

A little bit of that.

A little bit of this.

Whoo! And then about half a cup of that.

And then you mix all these things together.

And what you get is...

♪ You gotta fight for your right ♪

♪ To party ♪

[Mike D] Shit starts happening really fast.

I mean, it felt like the next day, our record comes out.

Then the video comes out.

It's everywhere.

I mean, I'm just at home eating my Fruity Pebbles.

And I'm watching it play, like, five times an hour on MTV.

[Ad-Rock] Everybody watched MTV back then.

And we were on that shit constantly.

Our homemade video that we made at our friend's apartment is now playing in between fuckin' Michael Jackson, Prince and Tina Turner videos.

I mean, that was some crazy shit.

So, we went from being famous in--

-Crazy shit. -Come on.


We went from being famous in, like, a 14-block radius to being known in the underground hip-hop scene to being recognized walking down the street after Licensed to Ill came out.

I mean, everywhere I went people would start yelling like...

"Yo, Mike D."

"Oh, what's up, homeboy?"

Same thing with me and Yauch. We'd be walking down the street, someone might recognize us, and they'd be like...

"Yo, Mike D."

[audience laughing]

True story.

So, we were really feeling ourselves.

And about two months later, Russell sends us out on our first big headlining tour of America.

[Ad-Rock] So what did we do?

We brought Dave Scilken and Cey and DJ Hurricane and all our other friends with us.

[Mike D] Our record was selling like crazy.

And that's when things started to feel really different.

[Ad-Rock] Being famous in our city was one thing.

But being famous in a mall in Missoula, Montana is something else entirely.

So before the tour started, Russell Simmons had us meet with some weird dude to talk about what we wanted on stage.

So just to fuck with this guy, we were like, "Uh, yeah, homes, you know, we want a fuckin' ten-foot six-pack of Budweiser for a DJ riser."

-"Check." -"We want a fuckin' go-go dancer cage."

-"Check." -"We want this big box with a 25-foot dick coming out of it at the end of the show, right?"

-"That's easy. Yeah. No problem." -Right?

And the next thing you know, we get to Missoula, Montana for the first show, and there it is.

-[rock song playing] -[audience cheering]

Oh, Mike D, wop it up, wop it up, wop it up.

We were-- We were wopping it up. We were pretty excited.

Now, we had no idea who was gonna show up to see us play.

We definitely didn't think that the party bro frat dudes that we were making fun of were gonna come.

But turns out that they loved "Fight for Your Right (To Party)."

And you know what? We liked being loved.

So fuck it. Pass me a 40. Let's get fucked up.

Now, everything that Russell had said would happen was actually happening.

He'd show up all the time in some random city on tour and remind us. He'd be like, [imitating Simmons] "See, I told you motherfuckers.

Y'all gonna be bigger than Cap'n Crunch."

The shows kept getting bigger and bigger.

A thousand people one night, 2,000 the next.

-Chicago, Atlanta-- -Miami.


-Uh... Munich. -Munich.

-[chuckles] -Houston.

[Ad-Rock] Shows, hotels, after-parties, after-after-parties.

Now we were having the fucking times of our lives, and shit was blowing up.

-[song lyrics playing] -["No Sleep Till Brooklyn" intro]

[Dick Clark] Licensed to Ill has been certified as the fastest-selling debut in the history of their label.

-These are... -The Beastie Boys.

You got it.

[song continues]

[no audible dialogue]

♪ Foot on the pedal Never ever false metal ♪

♪ Engine running hotter Than a boiling kettle... ♪ In 1987, the Beastie Boys are gonna be taking over America!


♪ On location Touring around the nation ♪

♪ Beastie Boys always on vacation... ♪ How'd you all three get together? Juilliard?

[studio audience laughs]

♪ Ain't no fakin' Your money I'm takin' ♪

♪ Going coast to coast To watch all the girlies shakin' ♪

♪ While you're at the job Workin' 9 to 5 ♪

♪ The Beastie Boys at the Garden Cold kickin' it live ♪

[Mike D] But something weird was happening during all of this.

We morphed from making fun of party bros to actually becoming those dudes.

Let's bang our heads together!


Yo, what's up, MTV?

-We're the Beastie Boys! -Yeah!

So songs that we'd written as a joke took on a whole new light.

For example, we had a song on our first record that was supposed to be this, like, stupid and ironic joke, but, understandably, it wasn't that funny.

Now I'm gonna tell you the lyrics to that song.

"Girls, to do the dishes.

Girls, to clean up my room.

Girls, to do my laundry.

Girls, and in the bathroom. Girls."

-[laughing, cheering] -[exhales]


We didn't know what was a joke and what wasn't a joke at that time.

I mean, shit got really blurry.


[Mike D] The lines just got kind of blurred for us.

Like, I have a break from tour, but then I didn't even call my friends because I just didn't know how to relate to them anymore.

I mean, I just didn't even recognize the person that I had become at that point.

I remember one specific time I saw Kate Schellenbach at a deli, and I didn't say hi.

Maybe she didn't see me. I-I don't know.

But if she did see me, she definitely would have seen a very different version of me.

I remember I was in the back of the store by the coolers, and she was up front paying for something, and she was just laughing and having fun with her friend.

And I guess I didn't say hi 'cause I was embarrassed thinking about how much I'd changed.

Also, speaking of change, I'd like to take a quick sidenote to apologize to my brother, Matthew, for that time I kept calling him "money" when we were just trying to have a serious conversation.

I was like, "Yo, money. I don't know, money."

And he was like, "Yo, what the fuck are you doing? We're just talking."


Matthew, I'm sorry. That was a dick move.

Which brings us to Chapter 5: "Dicks in a Box."

Our record was selling like crazy, and the shows were getting crazier.

A lot of booze and a lot of cursing.

Now, in the South, they were trying to ban us for lewd behavior.

We would literally have to sneak off a stage after a show and into a van and get across state lines so we wouldn't get arrested.

The British press were around at the time, and they were writing all these stories about us.

And so by the time we got to England to go on tour, they made up all of these stories about us and put them on the cover of the actual newspapers.

There was this weird expectation for us to be fucking maniacs.

We really did not do that. Just as a sidenote, that just did not happen.

[scattered laughter, clapping]

Seriously, I do like it though. They say, "'Horrible' Horovitz."

-I really like that. But-- -Yeah.

You know, it's too bad that didn't stick.

-"Horrible" Horovitz? -Yeah, it's a good name.

There was an actual meeting of Parliament to decide whether they should let us into the UK or not.


With each city we went to on the tour, the crowd developed a

[British accent] "you motherfuckers ain't shit compared to us here" type of vibe, right?

So by the time we got to the last show of that tour in Liverpool, the punters went berserk.

Right into the first song of our show in Liverpool, the crowd started chanting these football chants and throwing shit at us.

And then it turned into a full-on hailstorm of beer can--

Jesus Christ, Mike. Come on.

A full-on hailstorm of beer cans and bottles.

So mid-show, we broke the fuck out, and we drove back to London.

After all this, you think we would've taken a break for a sec, right?

You know, just to let things calm down a little.

But we didn't.

We went straight from all of that to tour Japan.

Then after the tour of Japan, we came back to the United States and toured that shit all over again.

No breaks.

[Mike D] We just didn't stop.

Russell was like, "You're going back on tour.

You're gonna make a lot of money. And you're gonna be happy rock stars."

"All right, Russell. Whatever you say."

["Fight for Your Right (To Party)" playing]

I mean, he was the manager.

If he's like, "You're going out on tour," well, then that's what you do.

We didn't really question it so much.

We felt like we had to be out there doing this.

But we weren't really mature enough to be able to express that we started to not like our own songs.

Which is a really shitty feeling.

[Ad-Rock] Yauch was the first one to start showing signs of not wanting to be there.

I mean, it's not like we weren't having fun as friends.

It's just, the show started to become just that.

A show.

A fucking gimmick.

I mean, we were all tired.

We missed our families.

We missed being home.

We missed things like just going to the deli to get a sandwich.

We missed being the people we used to be.

All the dumb shit we were saying and the go-go cage and the fucking beer and the dick in the box... the whole thing was just getting fucking embarrassing.

We were burning out.

[Mike D] In a flash, Beastie Boys went from being the funny, tipsy guy with the lampshade on his head to the ugly drunk dude that people were trying to get out of their apartment.

[Ad-Rock] It's like that Bill Murray movie Groundhog Day.

You know, where he keeps living the same day over and over.

But in our movie, it was the fucking dick going up in the air at the end of every show.

The problem was, we built the fucking box, and we're the dicks stuck inside the box.

It became, "How can we get through the show fast enough so the stupid dick can get back in the box and we can get the fuck off stage."


What ever happened to the Beastie Boys?

In late 1986, they released Licensed to Ill, one of the most successful debut albums of all time.

But they've yet to record a follow-up and have gone their separate ways since their tour with Run-DMC ended last fall.

These days, Mike D and MCA are playing in bands around New York.

As for Ad-Rock, he's been in Los Angeles making his movie debut.

[insects chirping]

[car door opens]

[car door closes]

You just transferred to Sherman, didn't you?

Yeah. Moved here last summer.

Like, to this great house.

[buzzes lips] Do you wanna help me wash this car?

-[sighs] -Now?

-[gasps, moans] -[girl laughs]

[audience cheering]

[Ad-Rock] Okay.

Okay, so...

That was a movie I was in right after the Licensed to Ill tour.

It's called Lost Angels, and it's awful.

Please don't go look it up, okay?

Please don't look it up and watch it.

Please don't.


The last 12 months of touring felt like a tornado had ripped me out of my apartment in New York, spun me barfing all around the world, and dropped me on my head in Hollywood.

And that's when I got cast to do that movie.

I was 22 years old, and I did not know what the fuck had just happened.

I hadn't talked to Adam or Mike for a couple months.

We didn't have a fight or a falling out or anything, but it was, like, the first time we didn't really wanna hang out with each other.

I guess we just needed a break to go our separate ways for a minute.

Yauch was in New York, and he was really into his other band, Brooklyn.

And I was in LA doing that movie.

And Mike was, um...

-Mike, what were you doing? -Oh, um--

Honestly, I was just experimenting with a lot of drugs.

-[audience laughing] -Right, right.

So as for me, I was running from all kinds of things.

My mom had just passed away, right before Licensed to Ill came out.

And the chance to escape into becoming a different person couldn't have come at the more perfect time.

So after the tour, I continued to run away from anything I was feeling.

One day after filming, I got back to the hotel I was staying at, and someone at the front desk said that there was a package waiting for me in my room.

I get in my room and there's this huge box, and it's from Yauch.

I open the box, and inside the box is another box.

And then another box, and another box, and another box.

And then there was this big ziplock bag with coffee grounds in it.

So inside of that mess was a cassette tape.

It was the demos for his band Brooklyn.

It's weird to go from talking to someone every single day for years to all of a sudden not hear from them for a couple months.

So it was really cool that he sent me this tape of his music.

Like, he did it so we could be connected as friends.

But it definitely made me pause for a sec.

Like, maybe that's just what he's doing now.

Maybe he's done with Beastie Boys, and we're not a band anymore.

Well, turns out we kind of weren't a band, because Yauch quit.

I mean, he didn't tell us about it until a couple years later.

He was sick of being the drunk guy at the party.

Yauch said that Russell wasn't trying to hear him and he kept trying to convince him that it was all fine and that he should just get back on tour and put water in a beer can and splash it all around and a whole bunch of other clown stuff.

That was enough for Yauch.

So he told Russell, "I quit."

So during all this madness, we stopped being paid royalties.

We made money for playing shows, like, big shows, like, Madison Square Garden shows.

But zero dollars for the multiplatinum smash hit Licensed to Ill.

The fucking record that a group of friends made together, had intense and real fun making together, spent hours and hours laughing at coffee shops and clubs and studios, dorm rooms, taxis, and parties...

But now, for whatever reason, the record label decides that they should not fucking pay us.

Rick and Russell. Our friends. Def Jam.

[Mike D] We'd been there with them from the beginning.

We felt that Def Jam's success was success for us and vice versa.

'Cause we were all friends.

Allegedly, Russell said that we were in breach of our contract because we hadn't started recording a new record for Def Jam yet.

I mean, Russell wanted a "Fight for Your Right (To Party) Part 2" now.

[Mike D] When Russell signed us, we thought that he believed in us in some bigger way.

But in hindsight, he just needed three white rappers to get on MTV.

I mean, we could've been anybody.

Anyways, back to me. Los Angeles.

[clears throat]

So I'm out there, and I'm working on this project--

Oh, actually, Spike, just indulge me.

Can we see that clip where Adam goes into the pool?

-[Ad-Rock] No, we can just-- -Can we see that again?

-[gasps, moans] -[girl laughs]

But play it, like, a few times in a row.

Just a few times.

-[gasping, moaning] -[girl laughing]

Now, I've never driven a car into a swimming pool.

-Yeah. Clearly. -Okay.

But I'd like to think that if I were to do that, and when I felt the car going into the swimming pool, my reaction wouldn't be some kind of, like, sexual, orgasmic experience.

[gasps, moans]

I don't know, you guys. It's pretty fucking hot.

I don't know what else to say.

Anyways, I was out in Hollywood.

-[gasps, moans] -All right, all right, all right.

So, I'm out in Hollywood, and I was at this big Hollywood party, right?

And I'm hanging out by the pool, as you do at Hollywood parties.

And so I hear this awesome music playing from somewhere.

[hip-hop song playing]

"What is that?" So I'm trying to figure out where this music's coming from, so I'm walking around the party trying to figure it out, right?

-Champagne, sir? -Oh, thank you, Mike D.

This is how I walk when I walk through Hollywood parties.

Donnie Wahlberg? Hey. What's up?

Are you done with that?

[chuckles] So, I'm following the sound to try to figure out where it's coming from, and I get to a cassette player.

And at the cassette player is this guy Matt Dike and these guys the Dust Brothers.

And they said that they'd made this music.

It was so awesome that I called Adam and Mike the next day, and I was like, "You guys should come out to Los Angeles, and we should meet with these guys."

And they came out.

Now, I didn't know what it was gonna be like when they came out, because we hadn't seen each other for a few months.

But when they got there, it felt like how it was supposed to be.

We hung out, we listened to this music.

So, like, any of this other stuff we were doing was fine, right?

Yauch's band Brooklyn, me in the movie, Mike being Mike.


But it reminded me the Beastie Boys is what we should be doing with our lives, right?

For me.

And we made a very conscious decision moving forward.

No manager, no producer, no record label would call the shots.

It would be just the three of us.

[cheering, applause]


There's not that many times in your life when you realize you're in a new chapter.

Chapter 6: "A New Chapter."

The music the Dust Brothers was making was incredible and totally inspired us to want to make another record.

But the reality is, to continue being a band, we had to meet with some new record labels.

One of them was Capitol Records.

So we go up to meet the big-time president guy and he was like, "You guys didn't do anything on Licensed to Ill. Let's be real.

Rick and Russell did all that shit.

You're, like, their creation."

But the same time, they're willing to bet on us, even though it's a long shot, that we just might give them a "Fight for Your Right (To Party) Part 2."

Now, we're embarrassed about that song, but we're not so embarrassed that we won't use it to get a record deal.

Right? So we get the record deal, but now we need a manager.

And so we pick a manager for maybe not the smartest reasons ever.

We picked this guy because he managed Kenny Rogers and Lionel Richie.

And we thought that shit was funny.

Sometimes dumb jokes aren't always the best things to guide your financial future.

All right?

Also, we had this big idea.

Like, okay, if we all live in a house together, we're really gonna get a lot of stuff done.

So we took all this money from our new fat record contract and we rented a super-expensive fancy house up in the Hollywood Hills.

[Ad-Rock] But not just any house in the Hollywood Hills.

This house was like a '70s museum.

It was like Hart to Hart combined with The Love Boat combined with, like, the Regal Beagle from Three's Company.

My man, Hart to Hart was just a great callout right there.

That was awesome.

Anyway, this house was owned by Alex and Madilyn Grasshoff.

-Exactly. -Small detail.

Now, inside of this house there's a locked closet.

And so, you know, when you're, like, in your 20s and you're curious and super high, and there's a locked closet, what do you do?

You fucking kick that closet open, right?

You wanna know what's inside.

Inside the closet is all of Madilyn Grasshoff's awesome ensembles from the '70s.

I mean...

Yeah. Yeah.

Like, we're talking suede patchwork duster coats.

[Ad-Rock] I mean, like, fucking satin jumpsuits.

Everything transplendent and wonderful.

[Mike D] Like fur hats. I mean, special vests.

You guys, would you rather go have breakfast, you know, like, in your Oscar Madison clothes?

Or would you rather go have breakfast like this?

This is the house that we stayed in, right? That's Mike.

You look wonderful.

[Mike D] Oh. Thank you, Adam.

If you have a swimming pool and you don't have a bridge over it, you're fucking up.

But listen. So my room wasn't in the house.

It was, like, this weird side room that was, like, over here.

And in the swimming pool was this little window that looked right into my room and from the room into the pool.

And every couple days, at 6:00 in the morning, I'd hear this loud banging noise, and I'd wake up and see this.

It was Yauch saying, "Let's go get breakfast."

So our daily routine was to wake up at this crazy Grasshoff house, go have some breakfast, and then we'd go meet Matt Dike and the Dust Brothers at the studio.

[drumbeat song intro]

Matt Dike was a DJ, and he had thousands and thousands of records piled all over his apartment.

And he was just-- He was just cool.

I don't know. We wanted to know what he knew about.

The Dust Brothers were computer science students at Claremont College.

EZ Mike was a DJ.

John was, like, this computer wiz.

And shit, we'd never even seen a computer in a recording studio before.

And we went sample crazy.

-[song continues] -♪ It's the joint ♪

[Ad-Rock] The Dust Brothers opened up a whole new creative world for us.

We were just layering and layering and layering, making each song as dense as possible with lyrics and samples and jokes.

We're taking two things, three things.

We're blending them in and out so the song is like a whole collage.

We thought we were on some next-level shit.

♪ So like a pimp I'm pimpin' I got a boat to eat shrimp in ♪

♪ Nothing wrong with my leg Just B-boy limpin' ♪

♪ Got arrested at the Mardi Gras For jumping on a float ♪

♪ My man MCA's Got a beard like a billy goat ♪

♪ Ooh, ooh, is my disco call ♪

♪ MCA, I'm gettin' rope y'all ♪

-[song stops] -Ooh.


I remember one night, up at the Grasshoff house, Yauch was playing mixes of what we were working on super, super loud.

And we were looking out all over the twinkling lights of Los Angeles below, and, well, we were pretty stoned at the time.

And Yauch turns to me and he goes, "Yo, this is dope."

And I elegantly replied, "Yeah, this is pretty special, dude."

[Ad-Rock] I mean, it was, actually.

I mean, because around this time, Yauch got loose creatively.

Now, without Rick and Russell around, we were doing everything ourselves.

See, a band's got a lot more to do than just write a song and put it out.

Like photo shoots, press photos or whatnot.

Like, after Licensed to Ill came out, the last thing we wanted to do was some weird photo session with some stranger we didn't know.

So Yauch had this idea. He's telling us, "We'll do the pictures ourselves.

You take this little, like, squeezy thing and you connect to the camera, then we take our"--

This here, right?

I love that picture of you, Mike.

[Mike D] Thank you.

So then we had to make a record cover. Of course, Yauch's like, "Oh. Simple. We're gonna use this camera that takes a 360-degree picture and that's gonna be the album cover."

Okay, here's the thing. We're together every single day, always.

So, like, Yauch would just know about all these things and we're always like, "Oh, that's cool."

"How the fuck does he know about that? That's just so weird."

[Mike D] Again, usually when you put out a record, the fancy record company assigns you to a big-time fancy director.

But, of course with us, like, we were pretty paranoid at the time.

We didn't trust anybody, so Yauch was like, "Oh, no, no, we're gonna get my uncle, the legendary Swiss filmmaker Nathaniel Hörnblowér.

He's gonna come over, he's gonna help us out, and he's gonna direct all of our videos."

[Ad-Rock] Yauch's humble about this. He credited his uncle for a lot of the experimentation and for the direction.

But, like, Yauch was the driving force.

[song playing]

[MCA] Actually, in the "Looking Down the Barrel of a Gun" video, that stuff is just really us wearing Madilyn Grasshoff's clothes.

That was one day that we just put on a bunch of her clothes and just went and drove around and videotaped ourselves.

So thanks, Madilyn, for the solid.

[song continues]

♪ Steal from the rich And I'm out robbing banks ♪

♪ Give it to the poor And I always give thanks ♪

♪ Because I got more stories Than J.D.'s got Salinger ♪

-♪ I hold the title ♪ -♪ And you are the challenger ♪ Hörnblowér was around a lot at the time, which was kinda cool 'cause he was Yauch's uncle, but like, he was a fucking drunk, Mike. I don't know how else to say it.

He liked his wineskin, yeah.

So we're all doing our thing and then there's, like, this weird old Swiss guy just crashed out on the couch.

Look. This is what we used to have to deal with, with Yauch's uncle.

[Swiss accent] Yeah, this is a little strange for me, because I'm not used to being on this side of the camera.

I'm-- I'm preferred to be behind it.


[woman] You're certainly dressed for the part.

This is our traditional clothing from where I'm from.

And you may joke about it, but I may joke about you walking around in a business suit someplace, and maybe that's silly to me, okay?

Maybe I'm laughing at you right now.

[audience laughing]

Somehow, between the weed, the breakfast, the parties, we finish the record and the artwork and we hand it all in.

[song intro]

[Mike D] Like this.

[Ad-Rock] So, we were excited.

We finished this record we were really proud of.

People were gonna buy it and hear it and see that we were more than just those

"Fight for Your Right (To Party)" guys, right?

You think we would've been humbled by the falling out with Def Jam.

-No. -But no.

We were on top of the world.

Yo, what's up? It's the Beastie Boys for Yo! MTV Raps.


♪ Girl, you know it's true ♪

-Ah. -♪ Mike D is in love with you ♪

[Ad-Rock] In the lead-up to the record release, we were doing loads of interviews.

I mean, shit, we were ready to play Madison Square Garden and blow the fuck up.

And Capitol Records were all in.

They were maybe even more amped than we were.

[man] The Beasties are not... concept masterminded by someone else.

And the extraordinary success of their first album, Licensed to Ill, was no fluke.

Word on the street from respected rappers, from Eazy-E to MC Hammer to Public Enemy, is that these guys are real indeed.

The music is stupid fresh.

They have the stuff.

So enough talk.

Let's raise the flag up the pole.

Batman, watch out.

The Beasties are gonna be in your face this summer.

And then, on July 25th, 1989...

With the entire world waiting...

Our new record, Paul's Boutique, comes out, and...



[cricket chirping]

Chapter 7: "Crickets."

No radio was playing the new songs. No MTVs playing the new video.

No shows. Nobody gave a shit.

They all moved on.

It felt like we were a haircut that they got in the seventh grade and thought was really cool, but now they were embarrassed about it and just wanted to pretend it never happened.

I remember being really surprised that Paul's Boutique didn't do better than it did when it came out, because I kept feeling while we were working on it like it was so much better of a record than Licensed to Ill.

When we were working on Paul's Boutique, I just kept thinking, "Wow, this sounds so much better.

I would imagine this is gonna do, like, much better than that."

So when it didn't, then I was kinda like, "Well, you never know."

So now I don't even try and guess these days.

[Mike D] Nobody cared that we had a new record out.

No one, that is, except for our dear old friend Mr. Don Cornelius.

Beasties, Beasties.

How you doing, gentlemen?

-What's up, Don? -All right.

-Hi. -Hey, Don.

-Yo, what's up, man? -What's up?

-What's up, Don? -All right.

-Yeah. Okay. -Peace.

To you too, brother.

Hey, man, what is "the Don Cornelius"?

-Don Cornelius. -You made it up, man.

-You're the man. -Don Cornelius.

Yo, but seriously, we just wanna say we've been on the show before, whatever, but we've been watching this show since--

You know, a lot of people don't realize, since whatever, since we were kids.

That's how long.

You know, I got the Soul Train albums here.

[Cornelius] Whenever you're in town, you know, always make this a stop, okay?

-All right, man. -All right.

The Beastie Boys!

You threatened Don Cornelius. You got right in his--

Can we show that again?

You know, I got the Soul Train albums here.

[Ad-Rock] Why, Mike?

[Mike D] I'm wearing, like, some kind of blouse, dude, okay?

It looks like you don't even know how to wear a shirt.

We look like four different people in four different bands.

Now, I just want to point out, Adam, not to go in too hard, but it looks like you're about to throw up on DJ Hurricane's shoulder right there.

You're not doing too good.

I think I was either about to fall asleep or cry.

And I have to apologize right now to Mr. Don Cornelius, because obviously I'm being very unnecessarily aggressive towards him.

I guess whatever I smoked is, like, the stuff that makes you, like--

I don't know, look at your best friend and just, like, punch him in the gut and then knee him in the nuts.

Like the mad, aggressive strain.

Christ, Mike. It's very-- It's very specific.

I smoked-- I think the one I smoked, it must have been called Steven Seagal.

You guys.

Footnote: In, like, 1988, we went to see Jimmy Cliff play.

And-- And, uh-- And we're super stoned in the back of the thing, and in the middle of the Jimmy Cliff show--

It's like summertime, outdoor show. Stops the song, and he's like, "Right now, I wanna bring out to the stage a great, great actor.

Mr. Steven Seagal."

He was a little more like, [Jamaican accent] "Right now, great, great actor!"

You had to do the Jamaican accent.

And fucking Steven Seagal comes out, in like a full ninja outfit, and starts banging on the timbales and then leaves.

Yup. And you know what, Adam?

That was some crazy shit.

[overlapping] Cra-Cra-Cra--

Crazy shit.

-[chimes tinkling] -[harp glissando]

[echoing] Crazy shit.

Crazy shit.

Is that just not funny? I don't know what-- It's not funny.

[Spike] I think we were right to cut it.

Yeah, yeah. I think so. We'll cut it.

All right. So we clearly were a mess right at this point, right?


So putting all your efforts, your time, your excitement into something and hearing crickets...

I was a little crushed.

I mean, we're all ready to have Paul's Boutique blow up.

And it came and went, and it was kind of sobering.

[telephone bell ringing]

-[clears throat] -Oh.

Yo, what's up? Mike D here, what's up?

Oh, hello, my friend.

It's Bill Harper, your accountant.

Oh, shit. What's up, homes? How you feeling?

I need to discuss some things with you.

As it turns out, your financial picture has changed a bit.

Seems you guys don't really have any money anymore.

Wh-- What?

You see, my friend Mike D, you guys went to LA, you moved there, you rent this crazy house with a fucking bridge over a swimming pool, you get these crazy expensive cars, you spend millions of dollars at crazy-expensive studios.

That was for work though.

You spend fucking $4,200 on fucking almond milk a week.

Also for work.

And you know what happens? You go fucking broke.

Shit, Bill. That sucks.

Yeah, it does.

Hey, I gotta go, Mike.

Uh, I got Donny Osmond on the other line.

Now we call this time period Paul's Purgatory.

[Mike D] But the good news is we signed a multi-record deal with Capitol, so whether they liked it or not, they had to give us the money to make another record.

But we had to downsize a little bit.

We had wasted all this money recording Paul's Boutique at these fancy studios.

So we figured, "Fuck it.

Let's take the money for the record, build our own studio, and we'd save a whole lot."

We found this old Elks Lodge ballroom in Atwater, this sleepy part of Los Angeles, where nothing was happening, right?

We built a bare-bones recording studio with a basketball hoop and Yauch made a skate ramp.

We wanted to start playing more and more of our own music again, even if we didn't know what that meant at first.

So we moved out of that Grasshoff house.

We each got much cheaper places to live.

I mean, shit, Yauch was living in a fucking log cabin.

Right? For real.

We definitely downsized.

But like always, we wanted to do what we always do:

Just make music, hang out, bullshit.

But this time we wanted to do it differently.

We figured instead of just sampling music that we love, why not try playing it with our instruments?

I mean, shit, why not try to sound like The Meters?

[playing funk music]

We sucked at first.

I was a punk guitar player. Now I'm trying to play jazz and soul.

It wasn't pretty.

-I mean, Mike was decent on the drums. -Thank you.

[Ad-Rock] But Yauch-- Yauch goes and buys an acoustic bass and just magically knew how to play it.

Like-- I don't know if you've ever tried to play one of those things, but it's really fucking hard.

So our new routine was to show up at our clubhouse every day and play music with our friends Money Mark and Mario C.

We met Mario C. working on Paul's Boutique.

He was the Dust Brothers' engineer, and we asked him to help us build our studio.

And we ended up getting him to stay and make music with us.

[Ad-Rock] Now, when we were staying at that crazy expensive house in Hollywood, Mike crashed his car into the driveway gate.

[clears throat] True.

But Mario had a friend who was a carpenter, Mark Nishita, and he came over to fix it.

But Mario said he's also this really great keyboard player.

So when we got our studio and started playing, we asked him to come help us make our sound more funky.

Turn that up a little bit.

[music continues]

So that's Yauch on the bass. I'm on the guitar.

Listen to that guitar, Adam.

Your guitar break.

[Ad-Rock] You got some high-hat patterns, Mike.

Mark's on the organ. I mean, we're getting it together, right, Mike?

[music continues]

So this went on for a year or so, and we couldn't have been happier.

We're learning how to play our instruments and we're chopping up samples.

We're making beats we were into.

We were making music we really liked.

The only problem was we weren't finishing any songs.

[Mike D] When it came time to do vocals on a song, we'd get hesitant and shy.

We'd been in a weird headspace, just kind of confused with what our voices were.

What should our vocals even sound like?

We think we're rappers, because our first two albums were rap albums.

But what were we gonna rap about?

We didn't feel like we're the guys who made Licensed to Ill or Paul's Boutique.

But we didn't know exactly where that left us.

And then one morning I was at home and I got woken up by the kind of call I never got before.

A call from a friend's parent, crying on the phone.

Our friend Dave Scilken's dad called and told me that Dave had died of an overdose.

He was 20 years old.

[Mike D] I hadn't really lost a close friend like that.

People on our periphery, but no one that close.

-["Instant Death" intro playing] -This felt really different.

[MCA] David Scilken.

We all went back to New York for Dave's service.

-Say hi, Dave. -Hi.

It was just so fucking sad.

Yo, this is Dave Scilken. This is Shadi One.

Afterwards, we all ended up at some bar, 'cause that's just what you do when a friend passes away.

You get beers and sit around and tell stories about them.


[Ad-Rock] Now we felt a little self-conscious when we ran into old friends at that time.

We thought when they'd see us, they'd see the "Fight for Your Right (To Party)" guys and would be jerks about it.

But it wasn't like that with Kate and all our old friends.

We just sat around and missed our friend Dave.

And it meant a lot more to the three of us than we realized.

There was a reason that we'd all been friends.

And the whole trip was like a connection to New York City.

And it felt good to be with everybody again.

-[song continues] -♪ Kills himself and ♪

♪ How do I make friends now ♪ As sad as this all was, we went back to our clubhouse in LA.

And I don't know if it was meeting up with our friends or having our lives switched up, but we got inspired.

And all of a sudden, we started finishing shit.

[song playing]

[Ad-Rock] And it gave us this sense of, like, just keep doing what you're doing.

Our music could include everything we loved, and our album could be like a mixtape of all different types of music, including any sounds or dialogue or samples or anything that we thought was funny.

[Mike D] When you're 22, you don't know what to do with your feelings.

We couldn't articulate it to each other how we felt.

But I do think that having all of those feelings and not knowing what to do with them, you kind of just put it into whatever you're making.

♪ People, how you doin' There's a new day dawnin' ♪

♪ For the earth mother It's a brand new mornin' ♪

♪ For such a long while There's been such a longin' ♪

♪ But now the sun is shinin' Let's roll back the awnin' ♪

♪ This is a type of kinda Like a formal dedication ♪

♪ Givin' out a shout For much inspiration ♪

♪ All I ever really want to do Is get nice ♪

♪ Get loose And goof a little slice of life ♪

♪ Sendin' out love To all corners of the land ♪

♪ I jump up on the stage And take the mic in my hand ♪

♪ I'm not playin' the role Just bein' who I am ♪

♪ And if you try to dis me I couldn't give a damn ♪

-[song fades] -Yo, we were like, "Fuck it," right?

I mean--

We should make whatever we like.

I mean, if The Clash have punk and reggae and rap songs on their records, why can't we?

I mean, why not a stoner song next to a rap song next to a hardcore song?

[song playing]

This is our song "Time for Livin'."

We just wanted to experiment and do all different types of shit that we could do.

We played our instruments and we sampled that.

We'd never done that before.

And while experimenting, we gave ourselves permission to do stuff like sing.

["Something's Got to Give" playing]

We'd never done that either.

But we were like, "Fuck it. Let's try it."

♪ There's something Coming to the surface ♪

♪ There's fire all around ♪

♪ But this is all illusion ♪

[Ad-Rock] This song's called "Something's Got to Give."

Yauch wrote the lyrics, which are about change and growth.

And that makes sense, because right around this time, Yauch was exploring everything.

There was no boundary he wasn't interested in crossing.

Like calling me at fucking 4:30 in the morning, being like, "I'm recording these pigeons. You gotta hear 'em."

I'm like, "Dude, I'm sleeping."

[stammers] That's not what we're talking about.

I'm saying he was in full-on transformation mode.

He was traveling the world, he was snowboarding out of helicopters, he was trekking in Nepal.

Whatever it was, he went out and found out about it.

Film, Buddhism, music, meeting people everywhere from all different worlds.

♪ If you can feel what I'm feeling Then it's a musical masterpiece ♪

♪ Hear what I'm dealing with Then that's cool at least ♪

♪ What's running through my mind Comes through in my walk ♪

♪ True feelings are shown From the way that I talk... ♪ So after two full years of being immersed in our clubhouse, we finished our record Check Your Head.

Chapter 8: "The Record That Changed Everything."

We were really psyched on Check Your Head, and we wanted to go out and play shows, so we found a new manager, John Silva.

Now, he told us that if we were serious about going on tour, we'd have to bust our asses playing tons of clubs and work super hard to try and build it back up to playing bigger places.

He was honest with us.

And he was right, 'cause not that many people gave a shit about us at the time.

And he's still our manager today.

-So... -[cheering, applause]

Good news-- Good news, we now had our squad to go on tour.

Bad news, we had to do a ton of work.

["9 to 5" by Dolly Parton playing]

♪ Tumble outta bed And I stumble to the kitchen ♪

♪ Pour myself a cup of ambition ♪

♪ And yawn and stretch And try to come to life ♪

♪ Jump in the shower And the blood starts pumpin' ♪

♪ Out on the street The traffic starts jumpin' ♪

♪ With folks like me on the job From 9 to 5 ♪

♪ Workin' 9 to 5 What a way to make a livin' ♪

♪ Barely gettin' by It's all takin' and no givin' ♪

♪ They just use your mind And they never give you credit ♪

♪ It's enough to drive you Crazy if you let it... ♪ So five years earlier, we're at Madison Square Garden, right?

-[Mike D] Oh, yeah. -And now we're playing clubs.

You'd think we'd be bummed out about it, but actually, falling off can be fun.

Even though we're playing to just a couple hundred people, those shows were packed.

[Mike D] The crowd was way different now than it was in '87.

Licensed to Ill was, like, arena rock.

The shows in '92 were packed with like-minded weirdos.

[Ad-Rock] People we felt connected to.

[Mike D] I mean, we were playing shows for people we would actually wanna hang out with.

But we were still figuring out how to be this new version of our band, and after a year of playing shows, we started to know what we were doing.

It wasn't until, like, the end of the Check Your Head tour that I actually and confidently considered myself to be a musician.

[song fades]

So we'd just spent a year touring and we started recording again.

We were having so much fun being together and playing music together, why stop?

It was almost like Check Your Head and Ill Communication were one thing, and we just kept going and going.

I mean, we were psyched to go into the studio every night.

All of our friends would come through, and they'd hang out.

I mean, shit, we had a basketball court and a half-pipe.

I mean, not to mention tons of music gear.

So many amazing people would stop by.

Q-Tip played basketball, and he recorded a verse on a song, "Get It Together."

Christian Hosoi and Jason Lee, they'd come over to skate.

Biz Markie would come over a lot.

Now one day our old friend Jill Cunniff called me and asked to listen to the demo tape of her band Luscious Jackson.

-Yauch-- [chuckles] -[cheering]

Yauch was like, "This is awesome. We should just start a record label and put it out."

Now we have a record label, Grand Royal.

The music was amazing, and what made it even more special to us, Kate joined Luscious Jackson when they went out to play shows.

So ten years later we're back in each other's lives.

So all this stuff was happening under one roof, G-Son, our studio.

[Mike D] Now one day I walked in, and I heard Yauch playing this awesome bass line.

It was so good, it seemed like it must've been a song already.

I was like, "Yo, Yauch. What is that?"

And he was like, "It's ours. I just wrote it."

So I sat down. I start playing drums with him.

["Sabotage" intro]

Then Keyboard Money Mark sits down. He starts playing the organ.

And then Adam puts on his guitar. He starts to play.

We made a quick arrangement and we recorded it.

[Ad-Rock] It was the fastest song we'd ever made, and it was kind of our favorite instrumental we had.

But for whatever reason, it just sat around for months and months with no vocals.

When we were getting ready to finish the record, we knew we had to do something with that song.

We tried a bunch of different ideas to make it a rap song, but it wasn't working.

And I had this idea that I would go to Mario C.'s house and he would record me screaming a bunch of stuff.

The lyrics were all about how Mario was the worst person ever and how he was always sabotaging us and holding us back.

I thought it would be funny to stand next to him and scream that shit when he recorded it.

♪ So, so, so, so listen up 'Cause you can't say nothin' ♪

♪ You'll shut me down With a push of your button ♪

♪ But, yo, I'm... ♪ I had this idea that we should take some pictures of us as undercover cops eating donuts and shit, right?

But we were like, "Fuck it. We should make a video for that instead."

And Spike came over, and we played dress-up, like we usually do.

Just running around like maniacs with no proper permits or cops or fire department or anything.

♪ 'Cause what you see You might not get ♪

♪ And we can bet So don't you get souped yet ♪

♪ Scheming on a thing That's a mirage ♪

♪ I'm trying to tell you now It's sabotage ♪

Well, that changed everything for us again.

That summer, we begin headlining the Lollapalooza tour.

So, we're in Minnesota.

We're in this huge field and there's, like, bonfires off in the distance, and people are going crazy.

And we go back on for our encore, and we play "Sabotage."

And a sea of people go next-level crazy.

We come off the stage, and we look at each other, and we're like, "Wow. We have our new last song."

[song ends]

And to think all of that came from Yauch just playing a bass line.

Now, all of us have been in a room where a friend of yours, you know, just kinda says or does something randomly that seems cool.

But when one of those things that doesn't seem like much in the moment becomes something long-lasting and impactful... well, that just doesn't happen that often.

Now, last year we did a bunch of interviews about Beastie Boys Book that we wrote.

And the thing that we were most asked about were these lyrics that Yauch had written for a song, "Sure Shot."

♪ I want to say a little something That's long overdue ♪

♪ The disrespect to women Has got to be through ♪

♪ To all the mothers and the sisters And the wives and friends ♪

♪ I want to offer my love And respect to the end ♪

[song continues, fades]

Now, when he said that, it wasn't, like, some huge, momentous occasion.

It was just something that Yauch wrote with some other lyrics and said it when it was his turn on the mic.

And we were, like, "Wow. That's cool that he said that."

Not only did he speak to a lot of people, he spoke to the two of us.

So those years recording and touring on those two records were so important to us.

We changed directions of our band.

We changed how we wanted to be as people and friends.

We thought about the world instead of just our world.

When we were large in 1987, we were on American Bandstand and we did not give a fuck.

♪ You wake up late for school Man, you don't wanna go ♪

We weren't really, like, working on our craft so much.

But seven years later, when we played "Sabotage" at the MTV awards, we were locked in.


[speaking foreign language]


[song fades]

Yo, when we would play festivals or TV shows with other bands on it, we looked at that shit like a competition.

We played to win.

We said that kinda half joking, but, like, kinda half almost for 100% serious, right?

I mean, we wanted everyone that watched that show or went to that festival to go home and tell their friends the next day, "Fucking Beastie Boys housed the set," right?

We played that shit to win.

So when we played those MTV awards, I mean, we won. Yeah, Mike? No?

-Yes? No? -Definitely.

Got the "W," yes?

No doubt. Pulled down the "W," people.

But... later that night, Spike Jonze was nominated for best director for the "Sabotage" video, but didn't win.

[audience groaning]

And that's when Yauch's Uncle Hörnblowér fucking lost it.

The winner of best director in a video is...

Go ahead.


["Everybody Hurts" by R.E.M. playing]

This is an outrage, because Spike is the director that has just--

I'm from Switzerland, okay? Let me just tell everyone that. And--

And since I was a small boy, I had dream that Spike would win this.

And now this has happened, and I just wanna tell everyone that this is a farce.

That I had all the ideas for Star Wars and everything.

[audience cheering, applauding]

Wow. [chuckles]

[Mike D] Chapter 9: "I'm Going Back to New York City."

♪ I do believe I've had enough ♪ So Los Angeles was great for us, right?

From having houses with bridges over swimming pools, a great studio, making great friends, making tons of music, and actually becoming musicians.

But we were there for eight years, and time kinda flew by.

We were around 30 years old by now, and we missed home.

I mean, we missed our families.

Yauch was the first to move back to New York.

He was done with bouncing around the world, and he just wanted to be back in New York and be a New Yorker.

Me and Adam soon followed so the three of us could pursue our true passion, astrophysics.

But that didn't really work out.

[Ad-Rock] Summer of '96.

We're back home, living a grown-up version of our high school days.

Nothing to do but wander around, trying to link up, hanging out with some new friends, hearing some new music and making new music.

It's not so much that we settled down. It's more like we settled in.

[Mike D] So after a couple years of doing what we usually do, make music, order some food, bullshit, hang out, make more music, we finished a record.

And maybe our favorite, 'cause it's so experimental.

Hello Nasty.

[cheering, applause]

And when we went on tour for that record, it was the biggest tour we'd ever done.

It's not that "Fight for Your Right (To Party)" got erased, but at this point, we were kinda fine without it.

By that time, we were almost grown-ups.

The beer and the dick and the frat dudes were gone.

You could barely see them anymore.

By now we were a little older.

We had other things to do separately, like grown-up stuff.

We were in serious relationships, we had a record label, a magazine, a bicycle store, but the three of us made a life making records and touring and playing shows together.

It's not so much that we grew up. It's more like we wised up.

Now we can say that our reflection on the mistakes we made came from Yauch and the ideas that he brought back to us.

But that's partly true.

I mean, we were ready for change.

We encouraged each other to do and say what we wanted to do.

If Yauch wanted to make a song called "Bodhisattva Vow," about a Buddhist vow to make the world a better place, of course.

That's fucking awesome.

We have the maturity to realize that what we make and have made matters and affects people in good and bad ways.

We're grateful that we've been around long enough to comment on it.

And we're lucky enough to be able to do something about it now.

There's a song on Hello Nasty called "Song for the Man" that Adam wrote...

Where are you? Adam wrote this one.

...about the ways that so many men act when a woman walks by.

An interviewer called him out as a hypocrite and challenged him about the song coming from the "Fight for Your Right (To Party)" guy.

And when I heard his answer, I was proud to be his friend.

He said-- He said something like, "I'd rather be a hypocrite than the same person forever."

[cheering, applause]

[Ad-Rock] All right.

I'm gonna tell you a story about, uh--

Well, I'm gonna tell you a story from our book, Beastie Boys Book.

[clears throat] All right.

It's called, "The Last Gig."

[clears throat]

We didn't know it was gonna be the last gig we'd ever play.

Everything that happened that day was totally normal.

The gig was headlining a huge festival in Tennessee called Bonnaroo.

And it was 2009.

Thousands and thousands of people were gonna be there, and we were the headliner.

We went down to Tennessee early, 'cause we were gonna shoot a video for a new song that hadn't come out yet.

It was us, the rapper Nas, and Roman Coppola was gonna direct it.

It was oddly normal for us to play these huge concerts and have someone like Roman with a Bolex camera filming us running around supermarkets in Tennessee.

The weirder, the more normal for us by then.

Things in life never come full circle.

Maybe once or twice they're hexagonal, but to me they're almost always misshapen, as if drawn by a toddler in crayon.

There's common threads, sure.

Yauch and me and Mike are still together.

Still laughing. Still family.

Al Green was finishing his set on one of the many stages at the festival, and so hearing his voice in the distance was comforting.

Just like how it was when I was in high school, in my bedroom, waiting for them to come over.

[voice breaking] But now was such a great distance from that.

The rearview was nearly impossible to reposition.

Kate Schellenbach wasn't there with us in Tennessee.

John Berry wasn't there.

Dave Scilken, Bosco, the Captain, Dave Parsons, Mike's dad--

Mike's dad, my mom, not there.

So many more.

Now me and Adam and Mike were older, and we knew it.

We were about to put out a new record, and we were still very much in the game though.

We were getting ready to start all over again.

Headlining a huge festival is very different from a nice turnout at CBGBs.

But shit, man. We didn't know it was gonna be the last show we'd ever play.

[Brian Williams] A major loss in the music business.

Adam Yauch of the Beastie Boys has died after a long fight with cancer.

He was known as MCA, and the three musicians together were among the few at the vanguard of a movement.

Yauch was a self-taught musician and later a filmmaker.

Adam Yauch, MCA, was 47 years old.

I mean, we all have different types of friends.

There's the one that's kind of an asshole... but fun to be around once in a while.

Fun to get drunk and talk shit with, but you'd never actually call on them for physical or emotional help

'cause they're just unreliable.

Or there's a friend you see once in a while, and it's a nice hangout, and you're always like, "I should spend more time with that person," but for some reason, you just don't.

Then there's that true friend, the one you'd be on the phone with forever.

The one that helps you move or meets you at the hospital or has a permanent spot on their couch for you just in case you'd ever need it.

Now those types of friends are rare. We all know.

But there's an even rarer type of friend:

The one that gets you motivated.

The one that not only gets themselves going and doing great things, but says, "We should all get together and do this."

And then does it.

Adam Yauch was that type of friend.

[cheering, applause]

[Mike D] A once-in-a-lifetime type of friend.

The friend that makes it happen.

The friend that inspires you to go big.

["I Don't Know" playing]

Can we turn this up? This is a song that Yauch wrote for Hello Nasty.

[Mike D] Now around 1990, Yauch went to India, Nepal and met Tibetans in exile.

And he wanted to understand their vow of nonviolence.

[Ad-Rock] Why did they choose not to fight back against the government that would beat and imprison a person just for waving a Tibetan flag?

He wanted to know more.

He wanted to help.

But in typical Yauch fashion, instead of just writing a check to some organization, he started his own.

The Milarepa Fund.

And he organized the first Tibetan Freedom Concert.

A massive two-day benefit concert in Golden Gate Park in San Francisco in 1996.

[Mike D] It was the biggest charity concert since Live Aid.

What he did was historic.

Hundreds of thousands of people had "Free Tibet" on their tongues and on their bumper stickers.

They heard the call for nonviolence all because of that guy in Beastie Boys.

I mean, who does that?

Yauch, Mike and I have spent more time with each other than with our own families.


So when it comes to my friend the rapper Mike D, AKA Sweet Lou, AKA Michael Louis Diamond, I know him, right?

Like, everything.

And he knows me just the same.

But Adam Yauch, a puzzle.

A conundrum.

[softly] Finish up. I can't.

A labyrinth of ideas and emotions.

An enigma, a wild card.

And after 35 years of friendship, I never knew what he was gonna do or say next.

He was a living contradiction of people's ideas of how or what you're supposed to be or do.

I mean, he's the Buddhist guy who's telling me how last night he was at this after-after party for some fashion show.

And he's the "Fight for Your Right (To Party)" dude who went trekking through Nepal on some kind of discovery quest.

And then he met with politicians in Washington, DC, letting them know what he'd seen and what he learned.

-[person cheers] -[cheering, applause]

He once told me that the main draw to him about the Dalai Lama was that he was a funny dude.

Now obviously there were so many other reasons he was drawn to spirituality, faith and Buddhism, right?

But "the funny dude" made perfect sense to me, coming from Yauch.

'Cause funny is very important.

Who gets to show up to work every day only to work with their two best friends?

I did.

I guess that makes me one lucky duck.

I mean, it's not like all of it was easy or highlight-filled every moment.

I mean, there'd be times when two of us wanted to do something so badly, when every cell in your body is like, "Yes. We're doing this," only to have one of us say, "That might be cool for you guys, but... [inhales] ...I'm just not so into it."

And then I'd go home and I'd complain to whoever would listen.

And I'd be like, "Oh, my God. You won't believe what Horovitz did today.

I mean, he fucking-- He's driving me fucking crazy."

But as attached as any of us might have been to any song or lyric or idea, we still loved each other and being together even more.

[song ends]

["So What'cha Want" playing]

♪ Well, just plug me in Just like I was Eddie Harris ♪

♪ You're eating crazy cheese Like you would think I'm from Paris ♪

♪ You know I get fly You think I get high ♪

♪ You know that I'm gone And I'mma tell you all why ♪

♪ So tell me who are you dissing Maybe I'm missing ♪

♪ The reason that you're smiling Or wilding, so listen ♪

♪ In my head I just want to take 'em down ♪

♪ Imagination set loose And I'm gonna shake 'em down ♪

♪ Let it flow like a mudslide ♪

♪ When I get on I like to ride and glide ♪

♪ I've got depth of perception In my text, y'all ♪

♪ I get props at my mention 'Cause I vex, y'all ♪

♪ So what'cha, what'cha What'cha want? ♪

♪ I get so funny with my money That you flaunt ♪

♪ I said, "Where'd you get Your information from, huh?" ♪

♪ You think that you can front When revelation comes? ♪

♪ Yeah, you can't front on that ♪

-♪ So what'cha, what'cha, what'cha want? ♪ -♪ What'cha want? ♪

-♪ So what'cha, what'cha, what'cha want? ♪ -♪ What'cha want? ♪

♪ Said, what'cha, what'cha What'cha want? ♪

♪ What'cha want? ♪

♪ Said, what'cha, what'cha What'cha want? ♪

♪ So what'cha want? ♪ If I can, I just wanna cut in here and say that I love these guys, and I've grown up with 'em, and I think they're great, and I just love 'em.

["Intergalactic" playing]

Mike D, Mike D.


♪ Well, now, don't you tell me to smile ♪

♪ You stick around I'll make it worth your while ♪

♪ My number's beyond what you can dial ♪

♪ Maybe it's because I'm so versatile ♪

♪ Style, profile, I said ♪

♪ It always brings me back when I hear "Ooh, child!" ♪

♪ From the Hudson River out to the Nile ♪

♪ I run the marathon To the very last mile ♪

♪ Well, if you battle me I will revile ♪

♪ People always sayin' my style is wild ♪

♪ You've got gall, you've got guile ♪

♪ Step to me I'm a rap-o-phile ♪

♪ If you want to battle you're in denial ♪

♪ Comin' from Uranus to check my style ♪

♪ Go ahead, put my rhymes on trial ♪

♪ Cast you off into exile ♪

♪ Intergalactic, planetary Planetary, intergalactic ♪

♪ Intergalactic, planetary Planetary, intergalactic ♪

♪ Jazz and AWOL, that's our team ♪

♪ Step inside the party Disrupt the whole scene ♪

♪ When it comes to beats Well, I'm a fiend ♪

♪ I like my sugar with coffee and cream ♪

♪ Well, I gotta keep it going Keep it going full steam ♪

♪ Too sweet to be sour Too nice to be mean ♪

♪ Well, on the tough-guy style I'm not too keen ♪

♪ Trying to change the world I'mma plot and scheme ♪

♪ Mario C. likes to keep it clean ♪

♪ Gonna shine like a sunbeam ♪

♪ Keep on rappin' 'Cause that's my dream ♪

♪ Got an A from Moe Dee For "sticking to themes" ♪

♪ Now when it comes to envy Y'all is green ♪

♪ Jealous of the rhyme And the rhyme routine ♪

♪ Another dimension, new galaxy Intergalactic, planetary ♪

♪ Intergalactic, planetary Planetary, intergalactic ♪

♪ Intergalactic, planetary Planetary, intergalactic ♪

♪ Intergalactic, planetary Planetary, intergalactic ♪

♪ Intergalactic, planetary Planetary, intergalactic ♪

♪ We're from the family tree Of old-school hip-hop ♪

♪ Kick off your shoes And relax your socks ♪

♪ The rhymes will spread just like a pox ♪

♪ 'Cause the music is live Like an electric shock ♪

♪ I am known to do the wop Also known for the Flintstone Flop ♪

♪ Tammy D getting biz on the crop ♪

♪ Beastie Boys known to let the beat ♪

♪ Mmm... drop ♪

♪ Now when I wrote graffiti My name was Slop ♪

♪ If my rap's soup, my beats is stock ♪

♪ Step from the table When I start to chop ♪

♪ I'm the lumberjack DJ Ad-Rock ♪

♪ If you try to knock me You'll get mocked ♪

♪ I'll stir-fry you in my wok ♪

♪ Your knees'll start shakin' And your fingers pop ♪

♪ Like a pinch on the neck Of Mr. Spock ♪

♪ Intergalactic, planetary Planetary, intergalactic ♪

♪ Intergalactic, planetary Planetary, intergalactic ♪

♪ Intergalactic, planetary Planetary, intergalactic ♪

♪ Intergalactic, planetary Planetary, intergalactic ♪

♪ Another dimension Another dimension ♪

♪ Another dimension Another dimension ♪

♪ Do it ♪

-[song ends] -[groans]

♪ Listen, everybody Listen, one and all ♪

♪ We're down in Daytona And we're havin' a ball ♪

♪ Said one week spring break It ain't funny ♪

♪ Said two days passed And I'm runnin' outta money ♪

♪ Said sleepin' in the car 'Cause the hotel's booked ♪

♪ I met a frat girl cutie And I got hooked ♪

♪ I said, "What's your major?" ♪

♪ Said she majors in psych ♪

♪ Said I'm down with MTV And I rock the mic ♪

♪ She said she wants to meet Alan And Martha Quinn ♪

♪ I said my name's MCA ♪

♪ And I can let you in I said I'm down in Daytona ♪

-♪ To get my kicks ♪ -♪ We're the Beastie Boys ♪

-♪ MTV ♪ -♪ Spring Break ♪

♪ '86 ♪ What's up with that?

Last week I was in Chanhassen, Minnesota with the Beastie Boys.

They're rehearsing for their tour, and they said, "We want a piece of Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch."

-I would love to dunk on them. -I might have to set that up.

What's up with that?

[British accent] "You motherfuckers ain't shit compared to us here" kinda vibe.

-And so by the time-- -Let that sit. Let that sit, Mike.

That was a good British accent.

[man] Yo, Mike.

-Let's go, man. -Come on, man. We got work to do.

-Word up, man. It's time to get ill. -Let's go.

[all talking at once]

[Alex Trebek] "Another plane, another train, another bottle in the brain," the Beastie Boys rapped in "No Sleep Till" here.

-Eric. -What is [slowed down] Brooklyn?

-You must be talking about grunge. -Grunge.




Did anyone notice at Cozy Soup 'n' Burger, when you get the burger, they'd have an ice cream scooper, and they have, like, a drawer with the meat, and they just, like, put it in there, and they put the scoop of meat on the grill?

Fun fact, when we were kids, we'd be like, "Yo, one day when we're grown-ups, we're gonna get a fucking meat drawer at our house."

-For real. For real. -It's true.

-Right? -Definitely.

What is it like touring with the Foo Fighters and Sonic Youth?

I mean, the Foo Fighters, I grew up with these guys, since like I was--

When I was 4 years old, I used to--

-Yo, let me tell you-- -These kids is nuts.

These kids is, like, off the hook, these kids.

Let me tell you, me and Sonic Youth go back like babies and pacifiers.

-That's right. -For real.

-These kids is, like, gone. -Yo, I used to wash dogs with Thurston.

Man, we already washed that dog already.

-You don't have to get mad at me. -We washed it!

What's up, man? Y'all can't wash dogs for the rest of your life, man.

Let's go on tour, man. You know, let's go do some shows.

So we are psyched, and we are surprised.

But we are also--

[chuckling] We are also surprised that Rick--

"And we were also surprised-- Rick was Russian?"

That's why we, like, click. All these, you know, groups just, like, click.

We're running like one big clique. You know what I'm saying?

What was your favorite part of the show?

I think when we came out was a good part.

-What do you say? -I think when these dudes were on, when they were playing "King of Rock" and we were on, that was probably the best part.

-Yeah, the little flash pot, yeah. -I think that's the greatest--

-It's just our clique. -Yeah, it's a united clique.

'Cause you know--

-[MCA] Mike's lost his fucking mind. -Shit.

What the fuck is wrong with Mike?

You need shoes to go with those, my brother.

Where are the shoes at?

[Mike D] I can't find the shoes or the suede pants.

When MTV comes across a video that is visually striking and pushes the boundaries of video making, we crown it a breakthrough video.

"Shadrach" is interesting for two reasons.

First because the animation is so well-done, and second because it was directed and animated by a member of the band.

Directors Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris shot some footage of the Beastie Boys in concert.

And then band member MCA took the footage and painted over it frame by frame to create some terrific animation.

Check out his handiwork.

This is the brand new one from the Beastie Boys. It's "Shadrach."

["Shadrach" playing]

[man] Wait a second, Adam.

Wait one second. I'm sorry, Adam.

-Adam-- -What? What is it, David Cross?

What is-- I'm sorry, I'm just-- I'm-- What is that?

Wh-What is it, Ben Stiller?

-[man] Hey, guys. -What? Who's--

-How you doing? -[Ad-Rock] Oh, hey, Steve Buscemi.

Hey, how are you?

I'm sorry. I was walking down the street to get my scratch-off tickets and I couldn't help but overhear--

I just woke up. But I thought I heard you--

I thought I heard you mention Paul's Boutique.

Their newest album is called Licensed to Kill, and it went platinum after only eight weeks.

-[audience shouting] -Licensed to Kill, right?

-[audience] Ill. -Ill!

[director] That's "ill," Joan.

Well, I'm telling you. I've got my stupid contacts in. Hold on.

Their album is called Licensed to Ill.

That's a stupid name for an album.

Everybody knows Paul's Boutique was a huge commercial failure.

-An abject failure. -It was a flop.

-Couldn't get any worse. -Nobody bought it.

That must've been, like, so humiliating.

A huge massive failure.

-Thank you very much for reminding us. -[Cross] We all know that.

When that tree fell in the forest, nobody heard that shit.

And so my question to you is, like, h-how did you go on--

I mean, not even "how." Why did you continue to go on as a band?

-But... -Retroactively, as we all know, it's now hailed as one of, like, the most influential rap albums ever, right?

I'm just saying, Adam, that to me it's-- it's kind of like a rap Pet Sounds...

...due to its dense use of samples, layers--

Samples, layers.


Hop. [grunts]

And here you're talking about it like, "Oh, nobody liked it."

And I feel like you do this thing where you're like, "It wasn't good, so I'm gonna say it wasn't good.

But I really I want you to feel that it's good."

It's like a thing in your head where you want us to feel bad, but it's really 'cause you feel bad for yourself.

I don't wanna get into what it's about.

And this is not a big thing.

-Hey, Mike. How's it going, man? -What's up?

-[woman] And tonight... -Yo, what's up?

We're gonna world premiere "Jimmy James."

All right.

Is that from The Little Rascals, where they go, "What's your name?" "Jimmy James. Ask me again, I'll tell you the same"?

No, actually it's from My Three Sons.

The episode where Uncle Charlie freaks out with the cleaver on all the kids.

Okay, I think, when it comes to touring, out of all of the tours we did, I think, like, the weirdest person we toured with is Mike, probably.

This kid is off the hook, man.

[audience chuckling]

Hi, I'm Mike.

-So... -I'm in a band called Beastie Boys.

Hello, man.

"Darkness at the break of noon.

Shadows over a silvery spoon.

Handmade blades, child's balloon."

Hey, don't miss the Beastie Boys, 'cause they're on tour, summer sweat '92.

-All right! -What happens after?

-Hell, yeah! -Where do you go next?

-[shouts] -[laughs]

Party people, Run-DMC and the Beastie Boys are on their way to your town right now.

And we're gonna be cold kickin' it live. Ain't that right, fellas?

[all shouting]

-[yells] Baby! -What's up with that?

We already washed that dog already.

You don't have to get mad at me.

["Something's Got to Give" playing]

[song ends]