Q: How are you feeling?
A: I feel good. Of course, I never felt particularly bad when I was diagnosed. It's weird like that. They just found a little lump in my neck and it turned out to be cancer.
Q: Not to get all Oprah on you, but has having cancer changed much for you?
A: It's definitely changed the way I look at things. In Buddhism, you're always trying to think about how temporary this life is and how important it is to make constructive use of it, but it's not so easy because you think, "Oh, I've got another 40 years at least." So when something happens that puts that into question, it definitely makes you think more clearly about what's important.
Q: Your production/distribution company, Oscilloscope Laboratories, just launched a DVD club for its new releases called The Circle of Trust. In the age of Netflix, doesn't the concept seem a little dated?
A: This definitely isn't for everybody. The idea was always to have more of an identity—the way a lot of indie record labels only put out music that they love. We're doing the packaging more like the way gatefold album covers were in their heyday, where you can really spend time with the artwork. I grew up in the '70s. I realize that in some ways we've moved on from that, but I'm still trapped there. Maybe anyone else who's trapped there might find this interesting too.
Q: Members get a half-price discount on any title in Oscilloscope's catalog. Any recommendations?
A: The Messenger is an amazing film. If you're into the Coen Brothers or David Lynch, you might like the upcoming release Terribly Happy, a Danish thriller that received, like, seven Danish Academy Awards. Treeless Mountain is an amazing film, but it's very slow and quiet and takes a certain type of taste. And I love No Impact Man. That's a really tangible take on environmental issues.
Q: I'm surprised you didn't mention your basketball doc, Gunnin' for That #1 Spot.
A: I mean, I liked it. [laughs] My dad, who has literally zero interest in sports—he actually takes the sports section out of the newspaper and throws it away before reading the rest—enjoyed the film, so that was a real stamp of approval.
Q: What's the status of the new Beastie Boys album, Hot Sauce Committee?
A: It's looking like it's probably going to be first part of 2010, but it hasn't been sealed yet.
Q: There's a rumor that you might play Coachella Festival in April. It's been a while. Will you be rusty?
A: Aw, it hasn't been that long. If we haven't played in a few years, we have to rack our brains to remember the lyrics—but we mess 'em up anyway. We're kind of guaranteed to mess up no matter how much we practice. It's part of how we do it.