Beastie Boys: ‘Being in a band… it’s an absurd comedy’

Between breaks from goofing around, the two surviving members of the band talk about writing a new memoir, their rollercoaster career and coming to terms with the loss of Adam Yauch

• Read an extract from Beastie Boys Book

To call someone a “boy” when they’re over 50 is disrespectful. Except that Mike “Mike D” Diamond and Adam “Ad-rock” Horovitz, the two remaining Beastie Boys, are almost parodically boyish. They don’t look or act middle-aged at all. Diamond, 52, has slightly spiked dark hair and is so skinny, his waistline appears to be the same size as a normal man’s upper thigh. Horovitz, 51, is grey, but his hair sticks up any old how, and he also has a teenager’s habit of yanking his face about, pulling stupid expressions to make himself look ugly (which he is not). Both are dressed in leisure wear – T-shirts, loose-ish trousers, trainers – and both are defiantly, hilariously un-adult. This interview is like having a conversation with my 12-year-old son and his mate. Meaning it’s really fun (I’m often almost crying with laughter), but it’s scattershot, and rarely serious. Everything the Beasties say is true, but most of it is jokes.

We’re in a suite at the Bowery hotel in New York, to talk about Beastie Boys Book, a new memoir of their time in the band. The book opens with a lovely piece from Horovitz about Adam “MCA” Yauch, the third Beastie, who died from salivary gland cancer in 2012, aged 47. Yauch was, writes Horovitz, the kind of friend “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’… The friend that makes it happen. The friend that inspires you to go big.”

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