The Beastie Boys are visibly unnervedby Utah. On their first visit to the Beehive State, to promote theirfan-filmed concert movie Awesome; I F—in’ Shot That!atthe Sundance Film Festival (in theaters now), they’re chafing at surroundings far blanderthan their native New York. Taxis stop for pedestrians. The beer, bylaw, is weak. The hotel suite taunts them with its mining-chic blend ofearth tones and Old West motifs. And no, they haven’t met Sundancefounder Robert Redford. But they detect his fingerprints.
“These sofas were actually used in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid,” deadpans Mike Diamond (a.k.a. Mike D), sunken into distressed leather next to Adam Horovitz (a.k.a. AdRock) and Adam Yauch, a.k.a. MCA, a.k.a. Awesome director Nathaniel Hornblower. “Robert conceived of this coffee table while working on the movieThe Hot Rock. He just thought of it in his trailer one day.”
EW managed to interrupt the decor deconstruction long enough to learn some five new things about the 25-year-old band:
1. MCA reads his own reviewsSurfing beastieboys.com in 2004, he saw a 30-second cell-phone clipposted by a fan and got the idea to give 50 diehard fans Hi-8 camerasto document a concert . “It just had this energy because of the lowquality and the fact that it was hand-held,” MCA says. “That gives thefilm sincerity.” His bandmates skipped out on grueling months ofediting overseen by MCA, who used a head-expanding 6,732 cuts, or 75for each of the film’s 90 minutes.
2. The circus affected them deeply Talking in overlapping riffs,almost as they rhyme onstage, the trio goes from Madison Square Garden,where the concert film was made, to seeing the circus there to the loreof P.T. Barnum. Just don’t dare mention Cirque de Soleil (“a soretopic,” says Mike D) or Ringling Bros.’ radical consolidation of thetraditional three rings into one. “What the f— are they doing?!”sputters MCA. “No, no! That’s the whole thing!” says AdRock. Adds Mike D: “I’m starting a new non-profit calledBringbackthethirdring.org.”
3. Their own movie surprised them “There were parts where we’retalking in between songs and it’s like, ‘What the hell are wesaying?!’” says Mike D. One example is the intro to “No Sleep TillBrooklyn,” in which they try to orchestrate sections of the crowd toyell out in sequence, “No!” “Sleep!” “Till Brooklyn!” “We’re trying toexplain stuff to them but even now I don’t get it.”
4. Hornblower will sound againThe director of many Beastie Boys videos, including “Ch-Ch-Check ItOut” and “Intergalactic” is branching out into narrative filmmaking,writing and planning to direct a story about graffiti artists set in1981. “Movies are a different mentality than music videos,” says MCA,who adopted the nom de film to direct the band’s 1989 video “Shadrach.”“This is going to be amoviemovie.”
5. They’d make good narcs As his bandmates talk with EW,AdRock’s attention wanders and he clucks at what he’s convinced is“weed” smoke blowing out a nearby window. Finally a break from the Utahtedium! He names a faded tabloid star. “That’s probably him rightthere, having a party.”