Though best known as a hip-hop trio, the Beastie Boys influence expanded to almost all genres (including hard rock). That’s why the passing of Adam Yauch (aka MCA) this past Friday was a heavy hit for most. Obviously, we’re a metal site first and foremost, but we do want to share with you some of Keith Buckley’s (Every Time I Die/The Damned Things) thoughts on Yauch’s death and its impact.
In an open letter posted on his website, Buckley reflected on the deaths of Yauch, Roy Orbison, Kurt Cobain, and Dimebag Darrell and how they affected him differently. While you can read the singer’s entire letter online, here’s what he had to share in regards to the Beastie Boys’ late rapper:
“Adam Yauch passed away of cancer last Friday. I was in Vienna when I found out and my first reaction was ‘yea, cancer will do that. what a shame.’ But as more outlets started posting the story and my twitter feed became clogged with old videos or memories that people had of first hearing License To Ill or Pauls Boutique, the sadness went from something I knew I should feel but for some reason couldn’t to a very palpable sense of loss. When I say I ‘couldn’t feel’ sadness it’s not because I am impartial to death, but my understanding of it as ruthless, unprejudiced and inevitable fails to allow much room for surprise. He was sick with a terminal disease. Death will come. It was the hearing of THAT news that really shocked me. But as the night went on and I got closer to our set time, I began thinking harder and with more clarity about why I was there at all, about to perform on the other side of the world with a band like ETID and soon something unmistakably set in as ‘gone.’
The world had experienced a real loss, like someone was telling you something important and never finishing the sentence. The breath was spent before the last number of the sequence could be revealed. The Beastie Boys were an enormous part of my growing up and because of that, they are an enormous part of who I am today. Nothing can take that away from me, not even cancer. It had been years since I thought about the excitement of getting one of their CD’s for my birthday or how every weekend of every winter was spent in my friends car driving 45 minutes to snowboard with their music blaring on the ride there and back. Why did it take MCA’s death to get me to cherish my childhood once again? Why have I come so far from that unexplainable, almost spiritual sense of relief and love and envy that I felt when I saw the video for ‘So What’cha Want’ to where I am now where mainstream music can barely move me at all? Did their music do to the world what it did to me? Did it make you want to do nothing but love your friends and give you a confidence you never had as you timed your steps through the halls of your high school with the beat that played in your headphones?
The Beastie Boys made music fun and they made me smile but not because they were solicitous of a child my age, but because they were inventive and consistent and you got the idea that they were friends. They were a crew you wanted to be a part of- rowdy, creative, sincere and forever. Every time you got on your skateboard with a Beastie Boys tape in the boombox you were starring in your own video. Fuck, I’m a white kid from an affluent suburb of Buffalo, NY and it made me wish I could RAP. They had been lodged in my subconscious as the representation of an ideal I had become too jaded to acknowledge anymore and the news of his death jarred it loose. Music can be for everyone. The musician and the fan are not mutually exclusive. You can create exactly what you want because you are not an island, there will always be someone to revel in the human experience of your art like I basked in theirs. The lyrics were so clever and the music was so inspiring that all I ever wanted to do was write in way that made people read it and go ‘oh! I get it. Cool’ and play music with my friends and I just wanted to have fun and give myself over to excitement and stay possessed by awe and live life as loudly as I could and I wanted to sweat and sing and make people laugh and remind them that its ok to look stupid sometimes and its ok to be proud and young and weird and as our intro played everything suddenly focused and I realized something I hadn’t before. That’s exactly what I was doing. A stone was taken out of the music world’s foundation, but what was built around it is too big to fall.
Thank you MCA. Rest in Peace.”
Beautifully said, Keith. Beautifully said. You can read his entire open letter via his website.
[picture via Casey Lee]