Interview: BEASTIE BOYS Talk Cinematic Influences: “UMBRELLAS OF CHERBOURG Meets MEATBALLS”

A brief chat with the legendary Beastie Boys in celebration of Beastie Boys Story

The minute I heard that Beastie Boys Story (the live documentary experience directed by Spike Jonze) was going to be playing South By Southwest 2020, I began the hunt to see if I might be able to interview my favorite band of all time.

Things happened. A global pandemic made South By Southwest 2020 one of the first major American casualties in terms of cancelled events. So while a glorious screening at the Paramount in downtown Austin didn’t happen, Beastie Boys Story nonetheless soldiered towards its planned release on the new Apple TV+ streaming platform.

Lo and behold, Zoom meetings became an international phenomenon, and suddenly, I found myself chatting with Spike Jonze, Adam Horovitz, and Michael Diamond. The guys didn’t disappoint with their signature humorous banter. Check out their brief thoughts on their cinematic influences and don’t miss the fantastic Beastie Boys Story, which hits Apple TV+ April 24th!

Ed Travis: I just want to say a huge thanks to you guys for putting yourselves out there for this project. You get pretty raw and real [in Beastie Boys Story] and I really appreciate that.

I’m coming into this chance to interview you from a cinematic perspective. I’m only allowed to ask one question so I’ve got to ask you something I’ve always wanted to talk to you about. Can you talk about your cinematic influences? Throughout your whole career you’ve worked in all these deep cut cinema references from Danger: Diabolik to John Woo. I’d love to hear how as a band you intersect with cinema.

Adam Horovitz: It all starts with Meatballs. If you think about it.

Michael Diamond: Is Meatballs the first though? Like what was the first in that Harold Ramis era?

Adam Horovitz: Airplane?

Michael Diamond: No, that is on the list… but like what was the chronology?

Adam Horovitz: Stripes?

Michael Diamond: So Caddyshack, Meatballs, Stripes

Adam Horovitz: It’s kind of like Umbrellas Of Cherbourg meets Meatballs. That’s our cinematic view.

Michael Diamond: Can I interject one thing to get us more focused? Even when we started the band with [Adam] Yauch we always loved Bad Brains, and we started as a hardcore band. But we always loved Monty Python and their big red book just as much. So Monty Python was just as much of an influence.

I laugh a little when you say what are our “cinematic” influences because yeah, we would go on to like real movies. But at our formation and something we always came back to are these comedies. The Caddyshacks which then became whatever the next generation was which then became The Pineapple Express.

Spike Jonze: Step Brothers.

Adam Horovitz: Step Brothers was so good.

Michael Diamond: That is fine cinema. Step Brothers is one of the best movies. Ever.

And I’m Out.

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