On Thursday night’s The Tonight Show, Jimmy Fallon and Questlove video-chatted with Adam “Ad-Rock” Horovitz and Michael “Mike D” Diamond about their new documentary, Beastie Boys Story. With everyone perhaps a tad-too comfortable in their own homes, the informal conversation quickly veered off the rails, as Quest and the two Beasties reminisced about touring together, while Fallon settled into his favorite role of adoring superfan.
The wide-ranging conversation hopped from decade to decade, covering early feminist lyrics, Fallon and Quest’s posters of Beastie Boys as kids, what everyone is doing in their free time (Ad-Rock: “Freaking out. Also washing my hands,”) and musical regrets. At one point, Mike D said, “It’s not that I think anything less of Paul’s Boutique… What we remember about our records are not the things that are good about them. Like, there’s a song on Paul’s Boutique… “What Comes Around”. We clearly should have left that song off that album.”
It’s fascinating to watch these famous stars in their natural habitats — to hear Ad-Rock mention a song, and see Fallon jump from his seat with joy and run to his record collection to grab a visual aid. These days, Ad-Rock could visually pass as a living hip-hop legend, but Mike D looks every bit his 54 years, with gray hair and a suburban dad’s sweater. He still overflows with enthusiasm, calling different tracks “dope” and “fresh”, before checking himself, acknowledging that nobody really uses that slang anymore.
In these stressful times, it’s especially inspiring to hear how the Beastie Boys mentored Questlove and the rest of The Roots when they were starting off. As it turns out, The Roots’ first big tour was opening for Beastie Boys. Quest tells the story of what happened after one of the very earliest shows. He and Kamal Gray followed Adam “MCA” Yauch to a hot tub, hoping to also encounter girls, beer, and an afterparty. They instead found Yauch alone, in a philosophical mood. “He’s talking to us about enlightenment and how his life has changed, all these things. And me and Kamal just looked at each other like, ‘Oh wow, this isn’t going to be a tour with girls? It’s going to be about responsibility and spirituality?'”
For long stretches at a time, Fallon doesn’t say a word, allowing these three old friends to catch up. If you’ve ever wanted to be a fly on the wall during a Beastie Boys hang, check out the two-part interview below.