We love you, Adam Yauch.
I've spent a lot of the last few days in the zone, which means wearing the can headphones at work to shut out my co-workers, shooting baskets alone at lunch hour (which is "very zen" if you know what that means) and in general struggling with how to articulate my feelings about losing Adam Yauch last Friday. In a place as potentially public as this blog you can be sure I'll still only scratch the surface. The obvious things that everyone can relate to are (1) he was a tremendous entertainer who enriched millions of lives and (2) cancer claimed him at 47 which is just so fucking terrible.
All the internet is on fire with reflections- most of them sloppy and sentimental like this will be- but the LA Times article and the Onion A/V Club thing were good, and there might have been one or two others I read before I stopped reading that I should be mentioning but you don't really need to read more and more about it. In fact it is taking me days to write this, so let me add the Free Music Archive post, and the one on Trust Me I'm a Scientist. Blake Madden really hits the nail where the other posts seem to have shied away, in a paragraph that begins with, "Personally, I’m pissed off."
For me, and a lot of people my age, if I may be so presumptuous, losing MCA might as well be the same thing as losing a friend from high school or young adulthood. Sure, maybe we haven't seen each other in a long time, we haven't hung out in forever, we may have only a vague idea of what each other is really up to day-to-day, but we still care and cherish the times we had together when we were reaching adulthood. We partied together every night of the summer between junior and senior year of high school, drinking cases of beer in places like unused playgrounds and riverbanks.
We were city kids who went to integrated public schools and we loved both hip-hop and hardcore equally, so to us it was a logical progression when the Beastie Boys came along doing both and combining their sensibilities. Right around the same time as Licensed to Ill exploded, I had a copy of the cassette-only "New York Thrash" on ROIR which is now available on CD and vinyl and includes two early Beastie Boys hardcore tracks. There's a lot of stuff on that cassette that's better than the Beastie Boys' two songs (Bad Brains! False Prophets!), but there they are in 1982 being very fucking punk.
As predicted, I can't really go on. I'm not deluded that the masses are flocking to read my blahg, but it's still the same as putting your words up on a telephone pole. A lot of what I'm thinking is still too personal to share, but I'll close by quoting myself from an email I sent earlier this week and then recommend you listen to the archives of my friend and fellow radio host Paul Simpson, this Grand Royal mixtape, and the first hour of my archive from last Friday. Having a trainee with me in the studio helped me keep it together, or else I would have been a sloppy mess and that's totally unnecessary.
"With one paragraph, he [Blake Madden] approaches one of the thoughts I keep having, which none of the other articles I've read (not that I've read more than 4 or 5) have dwelled on. The brutal unfairness of it. How come we get to hear every day about disgusting monsters like octomom and the tanning mom and whoever else, murderers like Dick Cheney who get to live long lives, all the useless pieces of shit in the world, but a righteous dude like Adam Yauch doesn't even make it to 50? This is why people invent religions, to cope with crap like this. "Oh, God needed him in heaven" or some shit."
Goodbye, MCA. You were always my favorite.