1964 – 2012
Adam Yauch has died. He was 47 years old. The man known as MCA was diagnosed with cancer back in 2009 and today he succumbed to the disease. Yauch was one third of the Beastie Boys — the group who started out punk before enraging parents in suburbs all over the country with Licensed To Ill, an album and time I will never forget. I still remember my parents making me change the channel when they saw these white boys onstage, rapping about girls, with giant dicks surrounding them — fighting for their right to party! But what could have ended up just another dirty joke that wouldn’t escape the 80’s, actually went on to define the 90’s with a much more mature sound — mixing rap, r&b, jazz and alternative rock elements into something completely original. No Beastie Boys song would ever be mistaken for anything but the Beastie Boys. I was lucky enough to catch the band no less than 5 times — Lollapalooza ’94, back-to-back shows in San Diego and Sacramento in ’95, the Beastie Boys-curated Tibetan Freedom Concert in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park, and most recently, with Rancid in 1998.
The loss of Adam Yauch isn’t only a tragedy to those who knew and loved him, but it’s also the loss of MCA and the group that formed 33 years ago — a group who should have gone down in history as a joke, but instead continued to prove the naysayers wrong, decade after decade. Last year’s Hot Sauce Committee Part Two was critically acclaimed and the group was just inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in December. Beastie Boys will go down as one of the best groups of my generation, just as MCA will be remembered as a true icon.