Adam Yauch - RIP MCA

Published On : 5/4/2012 2:45 PM
From : KVCR
Categories : Arts
Ebet Roberts/Getty Images

"Hey. One of The Beastie Boys just died."

This is what I was told as I walked into work, debating whether to turn on my computer or go say hi to everyone while on the way to pretending to check my mailbox.

"One of the BEASTIE BOYS just died?
They're - like - MY age. Which one?"

"Adam Yauch."


I said that I hoped it wasn't drug-related, but was told, "Well, at 47, you don't just die."

Man. Thanks, Joe.

This is how the day got going. My rather flip, defense-mechanism reaction was to say, "Well, at least we'll get some Beastie Boys on the air today" (I work at an NPR affiliate, KVCR, San Bernardino). At this point, it was still breaking news - we were yet to find out it was cancer. Cancer.

I also called it at that point that the sound clip
would be Fight For Your Right, from License to Ill.
I was right, though later the NPR folk would also use cuts
from Check Your Head. And MAJOR Kudos to the folks at Marketplace for using audio bits from Girls, Brass Monkey, AND No Sleep 'Til Brooklyn!

(YEAH, MAN! so whatcha whatcha want whatcha want!)

Do YOU ever start bangin' your head to the beat
of music used during a mention of someone passing away? That's what I found MYself doing.
I felt funny about it - for a second.
Then it seemed okay. Appropriate, actually. Much like drinking and singing at an Irish wake, it stays in tune
with the spirit of the person who we're

When Richard Wright (who shares my birthday)
passed away, I listened to Shine On You Crazy Diamond.
Over and over. I do this anyway, actually, but on that day especially - I REALLY wanted to feel Wright. He and Gilmour were always my favorite parts of ANY incarnation of that band.

When Jerry Garcia died,
the NPR folk were playing A Touch of Grey
when they made the announcement. At first I thought,
"Yeah, sure, latch onto the most recent Dead song that
received any pop airplay . Whatever. Tell it to the hand"
Later I decided it was QUITE nice. And just perfect.
There are TOO many lyrics inside that song
that made it the right one to play.
And - I GOTTA say -
it's a fun song.

With Wilson Picket, we got Mustang Sally.

With Jerry Lieber - any NUMBER of novelty songs
that might make you laugh.

Some 7 or 8 years ago, I was a pallbearer
at a funeral for a friend, and I let loose a brief
burst of laughter as the chosen music got started.
It was Pink Floyd's Animals, and soon some of the lyrics
got me crying - again. But that laughter? It's not that
anything was funny. I knew ahead of time what the music was gonna be. Man, I was even one of the ones saying, "Yeah.
USE Animals. It's for HIM - not for ANYONE else."
I was being pulled from one state of
mind to another. It was an
emotional burst.
A reaction.

But it was also some truth.

We were all gathered together in mourning, and there was some sad, funeral home-provided music playing. When Floyd kicked in - we were brought back to John - and brought back to his world. Our world. Turns out that music was, indeed,

The thing about Fight For Your Right, is
that The Beasties wrote and recorded it as a parody,
and rarely (if ever?) played it at a show (I know I read this somewhere, but I've since been told by a friend that both times she's caught them in concert, they did play it).

So at first - my reaction was no. Don't play that one.
But wait a minute. This is what launched them into EVERYONE'S faces. MTV.
All that.

Three Jewish kids going from hardcore punk,
to breaking all and out THROUGH the hip hop scene,
and through at least a half-dozen more albums, not being afraid to laugh and find humor (and more)
in their words, and even play
their own instruments.

That's the Beastie Boys.

So despite my initial reaction, the song DID get me - for a moment - nodding my head while silently screaming the lyrics. Inappropriate for remembrance of someone's

It seemed so.
But only for a second.
Then it was just right.

It's what takes us RIGHT back to that moment...

Or to that person.


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