MCA  AARON COHEN  ·  MAY 05 2012

I was away from the computer for most of yesterday, which is a good thing, because I don't think I would have been able to handle people on Twitter even lightheartedly joking about MCA passing away yesterday. I don't know if that happened, and I doubt I'll go look for it. (PS, this is Aaron writing.)

My connection to the Beastie Boys hasn't been as strong in the last...ten years or so, but before that, I cared about them as much as any band I've loved, I'm talking top 5 ever. My fandom path was out of order: Licensed to Ill to Check Your Head to Paul's Boutique, because PB was over my head when it came out. I remember 7 of us leaving high school early, squeezing into one of those boxy Volvo sedans, to go to Newbury Comics to buy Ill Communication. The 7 of us each buying our own CD. I remember being in charge of getting tickets for friends to the Beastie Boys/Roots show in Worcester in 10th Grade, not getting a ticket for Ally, and Ally not speaking to me for 2 full years. I remember sitting up in the stands for that show until pretty much everyone jumped down onto the floor past the helpless guards. I remember being super angry at a friend whose puppy bit a hole in my Check Yo Head shirt in 8th grade, thinking I wouldn't be able to wear it anymore. I remember this shirt being my first tshirt ever to fall apart, to literally wear out, from being worn too much 15 years later.

The thing that always fascinated me about the Beastie Boys was their transformation from punk rockers to party rappers to the less easily described, but amazing, place where they ended up.

Here are some other remembrances from around the web:

-A very good Sasha Frere-Jones in the New Yorker:

And this is the Yauch people remember: a man who could say he was sorry and not feel lessened by it; a man living within the principles of Buddhism and committed to broadening awareness of the political situation in Tibet; and a genuinely quiet person who had become more likely to make a joke at his own expense than anyone else's. Yauch's is one of the voices that can signify hip-hop within three syllables--rough, low, and strained. He got a lot done with that voice.

-Amos Barshad in Grantland:

Yauch was the leader. A small part of that was aesthetics; the premature graying hair, the permanent rasp. But it was also evident that the morality tale of the Beastie Boys -- three genius New York City smartasses who grew out of Budweiser-crushing caricatures into three endlessly curious, wholeheartedly decent adults -- was best represented by Yauch.

-The obituary on BeastieBoys.com does a good job rounding up the Beasties myriad credits:

With fellow members Michael "Mike D" Diamond and Adam "Adrock" Horovitz, Beastie Boys would go on to sell over 40 million records, release four #1 albums-including the first hip hop album ever to top the Billboard 200, the band's 1986 debut full length, Licensed To Ill-win three Grammys, and the MTV Video Vanguard Lifetime Achievement award. Last month Beastie Boys were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, with Diamond and Horovitz reading an acceptance speech on behalf of Yauch, who was unable to attend.

-Molly Ringwald: "Being on tour with the Beastie Boys & Run DMC in the 80s. Guys were all stand-up gentlemen, tho I'm sure they feared I was the band's Yoko."

-MCA in a 2008 interview about his film company, Oscilloscope Pictures: "Yeah, I could see doing this for a long time."

-All of Twitter's trending topics were Beastie Boys related for a time yesterday.

-From a good round up of musicians responding to the news, Chuck D:

Last night, I took a 14 hour flight to Sydney, Australia from LA, embarking on PE's 80th tour in 25 years. I just landed to 65 texts with the news. Adam and the Boys put us on out first tour 25 years and 79 tours ago. They were essential to our beginning, middle and today. Adam especially was unbelievable in our support from then 'til now, even allowing me to induct them into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. I consider myself a strong man and my father says be prepared to lose many in your post-50 path of life. Still, I'm a bit teary-eyed leaving this plane.

-Plus Andrew WK, "MCA PARTY HARD FOREVER." and Ghostface Killah, "My condolences to Adam "MCA" Yauch Family & the Beastie Boys. My brothers & I felt that pain before as well. Sad Day."

-170 Beastie Boys references explained.

-A memory from David Jacobs:

I drove a lot of famous musicians and speakers to & from the Cleveland airport over my college career, but I literally lost my head driving Adam Yauch down 480 back to Oberlin. The rented minivan we were driving was swerving in traffic so much that Adam reached from the back seat and put his hands on my shoulders: "It's OK! Drive man, drive!"

-Anil Dash, "One of the most profound things the Beasties and MCA did was show us how people can evolve, from silly boys to serious artists."

-Questlove:

The Beastie Boys were kind enough to spread the love to us on their second go round in 95. (86?s license to ill was brilliant albeit perceived novelty masterpiece, their followups 89?s paul's boutique & 91?s check your head were necessary sacrifice/build destroy exercises that RARELY work in entertainment (they traded in quick fast teen bop stardom in for rebuilding a credible fan base that would prove loyal til the very end). so once again they defied the odds in 94 with ill communication and wound up back where they started from: Stadiums.

This could go on and on, but this is what I read this morning, via most of the folks I follow on Stellar.

Read more posts on kottke.org about:
Adam Yauch   Beastie Boys   MCA

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