Yo ! ‘Dam ! Thanks for all the good times ! RIP
[youtube=http://youtu.be/eBShN8qT4lk] [youtube=http://youtu.be/HgU1kl5jGRg] [youtube=http://youtu.be/FSXnxsXqvAU] [youtube=http://youtu.be/w-QIiVS_7Hs]
and a fresh vid with Beastie’s sound to conclude that tribute. Bless for all punky energy and dope beats you made Mister Yauch !
The death of the Beastie Boys’ Adam Yauch is affecting me in a strange and unexpected way. I’m not one to jump on the RIP bandwagon. But this is remarkably sad. And It’s personal. Not that we were friends, though roughly the same age and occupying the same scene, we crossed paths downtown in the early 1980’s.
Adam Yauch is not just the Beastie Boys. To me he represents coming of age downtown in the 1980’s New York City; a very specific moment in time in which music took a new direction as we too charted the unexplored territory of our impending adulthood in a time and place when everything was alive, new, happening and becoming…
When I first met Adam Yauch The Beastie Boys were a local high school hardcore band. My slightly slutty childhood friend was dating the band’s original guitarist, John Berry (but then again, half of the girls downtown probably tell the same story). We weren’t groupies by any stretch of the imagination, though we did wear ratty pieces of cloth printed with “Beastie Boys” safety pinned to the behind of our bondage pants from Trash and Vaudeville. We found ourselves in their company in mosh pits from time to time. There was rage. There was fun. And then with the release of Cookie Puss, the downtown world turned hip hop.
The downtown kids or those who were merely drawn to it were looking for a niche and usually found it in a strange gray area between the hardcore punk scene and the ska scene at that time. Adam Yauch found himself there and propelled the scene in an inventive new direction. White guys rapping? Well? And it worked.
It was a different time; a time in which white kids, black kids and Latinos were all part of the same scene. Adam Yauch and the Beastie Boys reflected that racial landscape of 1980’s downtown New York, only what I didn’t realize was that the rest of the country did not live in such harmony. I remember feeling angry and bewildered by the passionate refrain at the end of Spike Lee’s film “Do the Right Thing”: “Why can’t we all get along!?”. Didn’t we?
It was unsurprising to me that later in life Adam Yauch would dedicate himself to humanitarian causes because to me, in many ways, the scene he pioneered in the 1980’s created a sort of racial utopia. Even if this was largely my perception. While Public Enemy was urging people to “fight the power”, The Beastie Boys urged people to “fight for your right to party”. As a teenager in the Reagan years I was up for both. This was New York.
Our paths did not cross again after my high school years though I suppose indirectly through film. We were not friends, We were not contemporaries other than the fact that we ran in the same circles. But yet I feel his loss keenly. It’s obviously a tremendous loss for music. And film. And for me, an unwelcome reminder of my own mortality. I am grateful for the memory of having shared in the excitement of the ferocious change that Adam Yauch pioneered in the New York of my youth. Adam Yauch, RIP.