Not My Job: We Quiz The Beastie Boys On Yeast

Aug 24, 2019
Originally published on August 24, 2019 12:54 pm

PETER SAGAL, HOST:

I'm old enough to have lived through a number of revolutions in pop music, and I pretty much missed all of them while listening to my scratched-up original Broadway cast album of "Pippin."

BILL KURTIS: One of the...

(LAUGHTER)

KURTIS: One of the things Peter is utterly oblivious to was the rise of the Beastie Boys, the New York-based trio who helped to popularize hip-hop with their albums from the '80s and '90s.

SAGAL: So when I talked to Mike D and Ad-Rock of the Beastie Boys, the main thing I wanted to know was, what were their parents thinking?

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED NPR BROADCAST)

SAGAL: And it seemed like your parents - and this was back in the '70s - would basically let you guys do whatever you wanted to do. Well, like, when you were, like, 14 or 15, your parents were, like, yeah, you can go see this Black Flag concert. Go ahead, whatever you want. Just be back by morning.

(LAUGHTER)

ADAM HOROVITZ: There wasn't that much of a discussion.

SAGAL: Oh, really?

(LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: It was just - you just left?

HOROVITZ: Yeah, pretty much.

SAGAL: Yeah.

HOROVITZ: It's just a different type of parenting, you know?

SAGAL: Yeah.

HOROVITZ: Different parenting decisions, techniques...

MICHAEL DIAMOND: Yeah. I do not - my mom wanted to know the details. Like, there was a Black Flag show versus, like, a Bad Brains show versus a Treacherous Three. I don't think she wanted that kind of fine print.

SAGAL: Oh, really? She didn't know. And one of the other things that - I don't know how to put this. It seemed like you guys constantly had great strokes of luck. For example, you formed a punk band. The Beastie Boys were originally a hardcore band. And you did a song called "Cookie Puss," which people - they were like, oh, "Cookie Puss." And British Airways stole it for a commercial and gave you lots of money, which is great for...

HOROVITZ: I - that had happened, yeah.

SAGAL: Yeah.

(LAUGHTER)

KURTIS: And I'm, like, that - does that strike you, like, an amazing stroke of luck because then you had money to, like, you know, pay rent and buy that first drum machine?

HOROVITZ: Yeah, it was pretty awesome to go from zero to we got a bunch of money. It was pretty nice.

SAGAL: Yeah.

HOROVITZ: I'd never had cash like that. I was at a friend's house, and I heard our song playing from the TV set and was, like - it was one of those things that make you go hmm.

(LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: And then, like, I don't know how long after your first hip-hop track, you were opening for Madonna.

HOROVITZ: Yeah.

SAGAL: Yeah.

(LAUGHTER)

HOROVITZ: Crazy, right?

SAGAL: So you guys were like 19. You didn't even have your first album out, and you were opening for Madonna on her first national tour.

DIAMOND: Well, it was Madonna. And, also, she went from - all of a sudden, she's blowing up on MTV. And then she becomes the Madonna that is, in terms of just public consciousness, like, the biggest pop star on the planet. She, like, shot up to the Prince-Michael Jackson level.

SAGAL: And you were, like, her opening act when this happened.

DIAMOND: Well, I don't even know opening act - like, act is the right word.

SAGAL: Well, what was it then?

HOROVITZ: Spectacle.

DIAMOND: It was kind of like this assault on poor, unsuspecting 12-year-old girls.

(LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: Well, that's one of the things I read about is, like, you guys are on the way up. And you keep writing about in your book how you'd show up at this point, before "Licensed To Ill" came out, and people would hate you, which is kind of fun for you to write about. Was it fun to live?

HOROVITZ: Kind of. I mean, the Madonna tour thing was definitely funny that - you know, children were crying watching us...

(LAUGHTER)

HOROVITZ: It was interesting seeing how angry their parents were...

(LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: One last question about the book. The book has got some amazing stories in it about things you did and things that you saw. Was there anything that was, like, too crazy for you to put in the book? You're, like, no, we can't tell people that story.

HOROVITZ: Yeah.

(LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: And would you be willing to share it with us? Because...

HOROVITZ: No.

SAGAL: No.

(LAUGHTER)

HOROVITZ: Probably not.

SAGAL: Well, Adam and Mike, we are delighted to talk to you. And we have invited you here today to play a game we're calling...

KURTIS: Beastie Boys, meet the Yeastie Boys.

(LAUGHTER)

DIAMOND: Hmm.

SAGAL: Hmm.

DIAMOND: OK...

SAGAL: You make beats, but what about people who make bread? That's what we were thinking. We're going to ask you three questions about the yeastie boys, bakers...

HOROVITZ: OK.

SAGAL: Answer two out of three questions, correctly - I know.

(LAUGHTER)

MAEVE HIGGINS: The audience are leaving (laughter).

ADAM FELBER: Wow.

SAGAL: It's both dumb and on-brand. OK?

(LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: Answer two out of three questions, you will win a prize for one of our listeners. Who are Adam and Mike of the Beastie Boys playing for?

KURTIS: Rudi Riet of Washington, D.C.

SAGAL: All right. Here's your first question. And feel free to collaborate, argue, whatever you like. Bread is really important to the French, as I'm sure you know - so much so that the French government once did what? A, created an award called La Croix du Pate, or The Cross of Dough; B, passed a law preventing bakers from taking vacations; or C, they sentenced certain violent criminals to eating only American bread?

(LAUGHTER)

DIAMOND: Definitely A.

SAGAL: You're going to go A?

HOROVITZ: Yeah. La Croix du Pate.

DIAMOND: Yeah. First off, it's definitely not B because vacations are essential to French people.

FELBER: Yes.

SAGAL: Yes.

(LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: So you're going to go for the award, La Croix du Pate, The Cross of Dough?

HOROVITZ: Yes.

DIAMOND: Absolutely.

SAGAL: It was actually B, the one about taking vacations...

(GASPING)

DIAMOND: What...

SAGAL: Because the problem is French do love taking vacations. But, when the bakers take vacations, nobody else has any bread. So the...

HOROVITZ: Oh, mon Dieu.

SAGAL: I know.

(LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: So the bakers were not allowed to take vacations. But then they modified the rules. So now the bakers of France can either take vacations in July or August. But that way, there will always be some bakers around. They've...

HOROVITZ: Yeah. I really need a croissant.

SAGAL: You do. All right, two more questions. Here we go. These days, most people are more excited about baking cakes than bread, making celebrities out of people like Buddy "the Cake Boss" Valastro. He once tried to get out of a DUI arrest by telling the arresting officer what? A, quote, "you see your way to letting me go, there's a Sachertorte in it for you, sir. B, quote...

HOROVITZ: There's a what?

SAGAL: A Sachertorte.

HOROVITZ: Sachertorte?

DIAMOND: The Viennese cake, Adam.

SAGAL: Yes. Thank you.

(LAUGHTER)

ROXANNE ROBERTS: That's why they're a good team.

SAGAL: That's why they're a good team.

FELBER: That's expecting a lot from an arresting officer.

SAGAL: I know.

(LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: B, quote, "he said, I'm sorry, officer, but do you know what happens if you let fondant overcook?" Or C, he said, quote, "you can't arrest me. I'm the Cake Boss."

HOROVITZ: Yeah, I'm going with C. Mike, how do you feel about that?

(LAUGHTER)

DIAMOND: Yeah. I'm with C. And, you know, I know I'm going a little lowest common denom (ph). But sometimes, you've just got to go with it.

DIAMOND: You're right. It was, in fact, C.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

DIAMOND: Yeah, I'm the Cake Boss...

DIAMOND: All right.

(APPLAUSE)

SAGAL: One last question about baking. Nothing is worse than when you're baking cookies at home, and you realize you don't have enough eggs. But not to worry. According to something called the Organic Authority, what makes a great egg substitute? Is it A, blood, B, sugar or C, sex magic?

(LAUGHTER)

FELBER: That's a good question.

DIAMOND: Wow.

HOROVITZ: Wow.

DIAMOND: Interesting.

HOROVITZ: I mean, I'm going to have to go with the sanitary B.

DIAMOND: Yeah, B. I mean, I'd like to say - yeah, B is...

SAGAL: Hold on. Mike, you're clearly a culinary expert. Do you really think that the protein of eggs would be sufficiently substituted for by the pure carbohydrates of table sugar?

DIAMOND: I do not.

SAGAL: All right.

(LAUGHTER)

DIAMOND: The idea of putting blood...

SAGAL: Well, remember, we're not saying you should do this. We're saying you can do this.

HOROVITZ: I feel like the blood would be thick enough to replace it.

SAGAL: Yeah, the audience likes blood.

HIGGINS: They're clapping.

DIAMOND: All signs are pointing to blood here.

FELBER: We're all but telling you it's blood.

(LAUGHTER)

HOROVITZ: That answer, so the dude from D.C. should be happy.

SAGAL: You're choosing A, blood?

(LAUGHTER)

DIAMOND: Blood.

SAGAL: Yes. You're right, of course.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

SAGAL: Bill, how did Adam and Mike do on our quiz?

KURTIS: I'd call you a fan of the Beastie Boys, but you're a winner in our book - 2 out of 3.

SAGAL: Congratulations.

(APPLAUSE)

SAGAL: Mike D and Ad-Rock are the Beastie Boys. Their new book, the "Beastie Boys Book" is out now. It is fantastic, great for fans or even if you're not. Mike and Adam, thank you so much for joining us.

(APPLAUSE)

HOROVITZ: Bye, everybody.

HIGGINS: Bye.

FELBER: Bye.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "SO WHAT'CHA WANT")

HOROVITZ: (Rapping) Well, just plug me in just like I was Eddie Harris. You're eating crazy cheese like you would think I'm from Paris. You know I get fly...

SAGAL: When we come back, I talk to Matt Smith from "Doctor Who," and somebody else talks to Retta from "Parks And Recreation." That's in a minute on WAIT WAIT... DON'T TELL ME from NPR. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.