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The Beastie Boys may take a musical hiatus as a group, but their music never stops. The group which just released a new album Hot Sauce Committee Part Two, is featured in the newest issue of Interview Magazine sitting down with Matt Diehl to discuss the delay of their new album, as well as a retrospective of the group’s previous albums. The band also details the creative process behind choosing Hollywood’s leading comedic talent for their newest video “Make Some Noise.” Below are several notable excerpts from the interview.
DIEHL: Beastie Boys records seem to come out at these strange, cosmic times. Two days before Hot Sauce Committee Part Two came out, it was announced that Osama bin Laden had been killed, which made me think of how much September 11th influenced your previous album, To The 5 Boroughs . And then recently the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles opened Jeffrey Deitch’s first major show, “Art In The Streets,” which featured street art from Fab 5 Freddy, Lee Quiñones, RAMMELLZEE, and others from the ’80s cultural moment that launched the Beastie Boys . . .
DIAMOND: Things that make you go, “Hmm . . .”
HOROVITZ: Go figure.
DIAMOND: Yeah . . . It is weird. Actually, if you put those events in chronological order, first Jeffrey Deitch curated “Art In The Streets” at MOCA, then Bin Laden was killed, and then the Beastie Boys released Hot Sauce Committee Part Two. Deitch is actually on the album— he raps on the record. But you know . . .
DIEHL: In any case, Hot Sauce Committee seems connected in some way to the spirit that you guys had when you were starting out.
HOROVITZ: I get that, because the last record we put out [The Mix-Up, 2007] was an instrumental record— which is not what we used to do. And then the record before that was To The 5 Boroughs, which is misunderstood, in a way. That was supposed to be our serious political album.
DIAMOND: Well, people labeled it as such. There is an overall seriousness in tone that pervades To The 5 Boroughs. We’re downtown New Yorkers and had very close proximity to the events of September 11th. Like everybody on the island of Manhattan, we were impacted by it in so many ways in terms of what we saw, what we felt, what our daily experience became in the wake of it. I was close to it that day. At the time, I was living pretty close to Ground Zero. I had to grab some necessary equipment, put it in my backpack, and flee the immediate proximity on my bike.
HOROVITZ: Also, maybe To The 5 Boroughs just wasn’t that good. I mean, we thought it was great, but looking back on it, there were some duds on there, so maybe that’s what it is.
DIAMOND: It definitely could be that. The thing about being around for a frickin’ long time is that you’re not gonna knock it out of the park every time. One time an older Jewish manager-man came out of a cave and said to me, “What you guys do, you’re doing as a career over a lifespan.” Take Neil Young: he might make a couple of albums like Trans , which is a great album, but a lot of people didn’t feel it at the time it came out. But then he comes back with Everybody’s Rockin’ , and people loved that. So you go through that. But people are saying Hot Sauce Committee reminds them of what they like about what we do.
DIEHL: You announced that vibe with the video for the album’s first single, “Make Some Noise,” which is totally epic. Danny McBride, Seth Rogen, and Elijah Wood play the ghosts of Beasties past, and Will Ferrell, Jack Black, and John C. Reilly, the ghosts of Beasties future. How did all that come about?
DIAMOND: The idea for that video is really a couple of years old now. It came about when we were finishing the record the first time around. Pretty soon after, we were flying to England and ran into Danny McBride on the airplane. Then it became a reality . . .
DIEHL: The video directly references your infamous “(You Gotta) Fight for Your Right (To Party)” video, and the Beasties’ more politically incorrect early era. That was surprising. For years it’s seemed like you’ve tried to disavow that time.
DIAMOND: Yeah, yeah . . . I know.
HOROVITZ: The obvious question is, why now?
DIAMOND: It’s a good question. I didn’t even think of that. I just don’t know why we’re now comfortable riffing on this video that we made 25 years ago.
HOROVITZ: My friend Sam told me last night that he was very pleased with the video. He said, “Wow, that was really good! You kind of took your greatest liability and turned it into an asset.” I thought that was cool.