Beastie Boys Reveal They Were Broke After 'Licensed To Ill'

The Beastie Boys were practically broke a year after releasing their debut album 'Licensed To Ill.'

This is a picture of The Beastie Boys.

Robin Marchant/Getty Images

This is a picture of The Beastie Boys.

The Beastie Boys revealed in an interview with The Guardian that they were essentially broke following the release of Licensed to Ill. The remaining members of the group, Michael "Mike D" Diamond and Adam "Ad-Rock" Horovitz, admit that one year after dropping their debut album in 1986, they encountered hard times with the trio unhappy, no longer speaking to one another, and out of money. They claim that Def Jam co-founder Russell Simmons used their financial circumstance as a "bargaining tool" to coerce them into making a follow-up project. 

"Russell was like, if you don’t go in the studio, then I’m not paying you," Diamond said. "His calculation was that we would all be like, 'Oh we want our millions. OK, Russell we’re going to do it.' But we were all immediately, 'Fuck you.'" Looking back, the two aren't harboring any bitterness towards Simmons and/or Def Jam co-founder Rick Rubin because everything turned out alright. "But that’s because it all worked out," Horovitz said. "Had it not worked out, had we broken up in '87 – and we never got paid by Rick and Russell and Def Jam – it wouldn’t be fine." 

The Beastie Boys briefly went their separate ways with Diamond and Adam Yauch starting their own separate bands, and Horovitz going on to star in the 1989 film Lost Angels. During his time in Los Angeles to try his hand at acting, Horovitz's interest in music was revitalized by one group in particular. Their influence got the group back together to create their second studio effort, Paul's Boutique. Read the rest of the profile here

Their memoir Beastie Boys Book comes out on October 30. 

Latest in Music