When I heard this morning that Adam Yauch of the Beastie Boys had succumbed to cancer, it hit me hard. I didn’t expect it, and I wasn’t sure why I reacted this way. At first. Of course, there were the obvious reasons—Yauch was only 47, too young to die, and yet another reminder of my own mortality. And there was the fact that it was cancer, a horrible, ugly disease that the National Cancer Institute projects will claim the lives of more than half a million Americans in 2012.
I mean, I didn’t even know the guy. But the more I thought about it—and, of course, began playing Beasties songs in my head—something else became clear: the Beastie Boys’ songs are attached to only happy times in my life. And some of the best. They’re not the group you turned to when you were heartbroken, or angry, or looking for answers. MCA, Mike D and Ad-Rock were the guys you went to for a good time—road trips, parties, barbecues, swimming holes—the soundtrack to all of the fun and stupid things I went through when I was younger, and got away with.
The Beastie Boys were unexpected pioneers of hip-hop—all the proof I need is that warped cassette of Paul’s Boutique that now sits in a drawer. Or the stony video for “So What’cha Want” that Yauch directed himself as Nathaniel Hörnblowér. These Boys became men, leaving behind their frat-party lunkhead ways to become sage activists. And Yauch was probably the calmest and coolest of the three. They grew up, I grew up.
But enough with the melodrama. I leave you with my favorite B-Boys video, one that takes me right back to that roach-infested apartment in Chico, California, in 1992 where I saw it for the first time, having some silly times with some of my best friends. Thanks, Mr. Yauch.
Tuesday, February 3rd, 2009 | musiX | No Comments
I used to have an ’82 Mazda B2000 with a tape deck, and I’d listen to cassettes for weeks at a time before switching them out. Paul’s Boutique was one of them. And the beauty part was there was so much going on that it never got old. Produced by the Dust Brothers and released in July of 1989, it’s easily the Beastie Boys’ best record—a sample-happy smorgasbord of sounds that showed the Boys were becoming men. Now that 20 years have passed you’ve gotta re-release the damn thing!
The remastered album is available for download now at the Beasties’ Web site for a chill $11.99. If you want to have something you can touch and caress, the CD is $18.99 and a vinyl version is $23.99 (both come with a download of the album and are available Feb. 10). If you’re a superfan, you can dish out $129.99 for the package that comes with posters and T-shirts and vinyl and this and that and what-have-you. I guess they assume the kids who grew up with Paul’s Boutique must be making some real bread these days.
I do love the record. I don’t think I love it that much. Nothing wrong with a hissy, muffled cassette … gives it character.
Beastie Boys, video for “Shake Your Rump”