When the Beastie Boys first announced their new album, The Mix Up, would be a full-bore instrumental affair, we hoped that the accompanying tour would not be. Because while the boys’ trippier non-rap fare has always been a tasty garnish, it’s those pass-the-mike jams, stuffed with pop-culture references, that are the sizzling steak. Last week’s shows were a mixed bag. The Beasties absolutely murdered their set at Summerstage on Wednesday — they traded off guitars and mikes, dripped sweat, and even ran a modified three-man weave — but Friday’s instrumental “gala” event at the Hammerstein Ballroom was predictably sedate. Thursday morning, they took a break to answer some of our questions at press conference. And yes, they were wearing suits.
On white rappers:
Mike D: Marky Mark: I know he’s an esteemed actor now as Mark Wahlberg, but he had a period. The underwear campaign, that was a big thing.
Ad-Rock: Did he rap? Or was it more of a singing thing?
Mike D: He rapped. It was more like C + C Music Factory rapping.
MCA: Actually, I think he’s one of the best actors out there. [And] it leaves more room for us to do the underwear ads.
On not having lyrics on The Mix Up:
MCA: Are you asking is there anything we want to say? The U.S. should get out of Iraq, we should explore alternative energy sources
Ad-Rock: What are you gonna do? We got plenty more records coming.
On Sonic Youth playing their seminal Daydream Nation live in its entirety:
Mike D: With any of our records, if you play the whole album, then you have to play the clinkers. The clinkers being the songs that you thought were a good idea at the time, and then you get past the record, and you’re like, Why did we put that song on there? “What Comes Around,” off Paul’s Boutique, could have been left off the album.
On their suits:
Mike D: Well, this is a formal event — but we got another gig. We’re serving lunch next door.