Well, what can we say? We lost a great New Yorker, amazing artist, and inspiring human being when we lost Adam “MCA” Yauch on May 4th to cancer. I think we’re all still a little in shock from this one, as most of us had faith Yauch would bounce back. As Adam “Adrock” Horovitz posted last night on the Beastie Boys website:
“as you can imagine, shit is just fkd up right now. but i wanna say thank you to all our
friends and family (which are kinda one in the same) for all the love and support.
i’m glad to know that all the love that Yauch has put out into the world is coming right back at him.
Yeah, shit is fucked up. We don’t want to accept that someone that we grew up listening to and being inspired by, who was only 47 years old, could be taken away like this.
It’s hard for me to fully come to terms with because I feel like the Beastie Boys and I kind of grew up and matured together. Let me give you a little timeline of my life with the Beastie Boys:
1986 – Licensed to Ill comes out and my friend Phil and I try to emulate the Beastie Boys in every way. Basically we were really obnoxious and wore VW signs on gold chains around our necks. Did I mention we were extremely obnoxious?
1989 – Paul’s Boutique is released and how fitting that this mind-blower of an album, which utilized ‘bong tokes’ as an instrument, comes out a year before I start college. Moving from obnoxious to heady.
1992 – Check Your Head comes out and I’m a couple years into college. It’s great that the Boys are playing instruments since I’m not too into conventional rap music at this point. I got so high before the show on this tour that I passed out at the venue. Yeah dude, check your head.
1994 – Ill Communication is released and the Beastie Boys are expanding their minds in ways that are beyond drugs. As for me, I was just being turned on to Eastern Philosophy as well, through an English Lit professor at the University of Cincinnati named Michael Atkinson. Let’s just say I wrote a 30-page paper on karma. MCA wrote “Bodhissatva Vow.”
1998 – Hello Nasty comes out. And as I had let the Beastie Boys go for a while, it reminded me why I had always loved them so much…the variety and of course creativity. And I got this one on vinyl, so I guess I was already getting back to wax around this time. Although I don’t think there was ever a time in my life that I didn’t have a turntable.
2004 – To The 5 Boroughs. To the five boroughs indeed! I had moved to NYC from Cincinnati in 2001 (3 months before 9/11) and was certainly feeling the 5 boroughs love. And by 2004, I had finally started to get my NYC legs after struggling pretty damn hard for 3 years.
And I’m gonna stop there since I must admit, didn’t get the last two albums. But the Hot Sauce Committee Part 2 album in 2011 is when we learned that MCA was fighting cancer. And like I said before, we all had faith that he’d beat it. This is the next stage in maturing with the Beastie Boys. Coping with the death of loved ones. And as my wife just lost someone very close to her this year, I think we all can agree that this is the toughest part of life.
But it’s comforting in some way to know that Yauch’s spirituality probably helped him prepare for his passing. The music he created and love and light he shared will always enrich our physical world as long as we’re still here to receive it. And perhaps he’s alive and well in the Third Bardo.
MCA’s passing should be a reminder to us all and give us further inspiration, especially since that’s what Adam would wish to come from it. As Bob Lefsetz said:
“It’s a sad day. For a long time we believed Adam would pull through.
Death is final. It creeps you out. Be sure to live while you’re still alive.”
And in the words of the Beastie Boys:
“If you learn to love you’re in for a surprise,
It could be nice to be alive”
Yauch is survived by his wife Dechen and his daughter Tenzin Losel, as well as his parents Frances and Noel Yauch.