I’ve been listening to the Beastie Boys since I was 13 years old. That’s a startling thought. In junior high, I was one of those kids who could, and did, recite the entirety of “Paul Revere”. I still have my vinyl of License to Ill.
They were kind of goofy and, in retrospect, kind of corny. They could have kept up that image and probably burned out as quickly as they flashed to the top. Instead, over time, they reinvented themselves. As I grew physically (and, to some extent anyway, mentally), I watched the Beastie Boys grow as artists. They went from clown princes with songs like “Brass Monkey” and “Girls” to just plain kings with songs like “Sabotage” and “Intergalactic”. Their image also evolved from that of some jerky, kind of douche-y yobbos to mature, thoughtful and creatively-driven gentlemen who were loved and respected by many.
The announcement of Adam Yauch’s cancer in 2009 (has it really been that long?) shook many. I remember reading the news and adding my own well wishes to the stream of positive thoughts coming from all over. But the outlook at the Beasties camp was positive, and we all believed he would overcome.
When I received the news of Yauch’s death today, it knocked the wind out of me. The Beastie Boys wove themselves in to the cultural fabric of my generation, with their songs, their videos, their rhymes, their activisim. As I noted to my co-blogger, the phrase “no sleep till Brooklyn” has become a part of our vernacular. And Adam Yauch was more than just some guy in a band for us. He was someone we respected and admired.
It’s hard to know what to say now that he’s gone, but I think we’re pretty lucky that Adam Yauch was here.
Also: fuck cancer.