In the last 24 hours or so, if you haven’t already heard it flooding the music news. Adam Yauch aka ‘MCA’ of the legendary pioneers, The Beastie Boys, sadly passed away at the early age of 47 yesterday morning in New York after a longhaul 3 year battle with cancer of the salivary glands since July 2009, and as a result, the band held off on album and tour plans while Yauch underwent treatment with surgery and radiation therapy.
The Beastie Boys’ current album, Hot Sauce Committee Part 2 was released in May 2011, and at the time it seemed that Yauch’s cancer treatment had been a success. Unfortunately, Yauch revealed that same year that he was still far from 100 per cent. In a 2011 blog post on the Beastie Boys website, Yauch wrote: “Hello My Friends While I’m grateful for all the positive energy people are sending my way, reports of my being totally cancer free are exaggerated. I’m continuing treatment, staying optimistic and hoping to be cancer free in the near future.”
The musician, director and Tibet activist formed part of the cheeky, troublesome band that eventually became the Beastie Boys, playing bass, and having the lower toned, gritty vocals out of the three rappers; alongside 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’ won three Grammys, and the MTV Video Vanguard Lifetime Achievement award, on top of having his hand in creating such historic Beastie Boys albums such as ‘Paul’s Boutique’, ‘Check Your Head’, ‘Ill-Communication’, ‘Hello Nasty’ and more. Yauch was a founder of the Milarepa Fund, a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting awareness and activism regarding the injustices perpetrated on native Tibetans by Chinese occupational government and military forces. In 1996, Milarepa produced the first Tibetan Freedom Concert in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park, which was attended by 100,000 people, making it the biggest benefit concert on U.S. soil since 1985’s Live Aid. The Tibetan Freedom Concert series would continue to stage some of the most significant benefit shows in the world for nearly a decade following in New York City, Washington DC, Tokyo, Sydney, Amsterdam, Taipei and other cities.
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.
This is such a big BIG loss to the OG Hip Hop community, and the other foundations that Sir Stewart Wallace (Sabotage Video!) supported! I’m gutted that this has brought the end to an era of such an old skool to new skool and back again classic sound, that Yauch provided with the Beasties. I loved their music from such an early age, such an inspiration to me musically, even before I played with instruments and got serious in drumming in punk bands at school, and way before emceeing myself! From the school bus on the cassette walkman, to playing their sound on digital in my own Vee Dub!
R.I.P Adam Yauch: 1964-2012