Friday, May 4, 2012

     When I was very young, I had the good fortune of going to school and living right down the road from the best record store in New Jersey, Vintage Vinyl. My great grandmother came to live with us when I was 7 and she used to pay me $6 a week to walk her dog every day after school. I used to use this money to go hang out in Angelo's Pizza, which was right next to the record store. I didn't have too much interest in music in those days, mainly just whatever was on the radio. I had a few tapes, mainly stuff like Bon Jovi and Def Leppard, but nothing that was ever more than background music. 
     I know I've often gotten nostalgic about my introductions to hardcore, death metal, or grindcore, but in my youth the first band that ever seriously captured my imagination was a rap group, the Beastie Boys. Their videos for "Fight For Your Right" and "No Sleep Til Brooklyn" were inescapable. They quickly became the soundtrack to all my youthful misadventures. It was with this newfound love of music that I, for the first time ever, walked into Vintage Vinyl one day after school armed with two weeks worth of dog walking money and purchased my first record ever, the Beastie Boys "Licensed To Ill."
     Over the years, as my taste in music leaned more towards the heavy side, I always followed what the Beasties were doing. "Paul's Boutique" wasn't exactly my thing when it was released, but I grew to appreciate it in later years. They won me back when they embraced their early hardcore influences on "Check Your Head" and "Ill Communication." I finally saw them live, twice actually, in 1994. First, as headliner of that year's Lollapalooza tour, and second at a headlining gig at Compton Terrace with the mighty Bad Brains as the opening act. Due to insane circumstances involving Arizona's eternal inability to build roads that can accommodate large amounts of traffic, I missed all but two songs by the Bad Brains, but the Beasties killed it both times. They were a fantastic live act, even if they did shy away from performing their earlier material at that time. 
     It was with great sadness that I heard the news of Adam Yauch's death today from cancer. Even though I haven't really kept up with their more recent output, the Beastie Boys music has always been, and will always be, a big part of my life. It saddens me to see someone who was not only a gifted, pioneering performer, but also a well rounded producer and director, be taken away.

 R.I.P. Adam "MCA" Yauch 8/5/64 - 5/4/12