No other band defined me musically more than the Beastie Boys. I’m not going to get into a non-winnable argument about whether they were or were not the best band ever (I’ve seen this happen time and time again in college with my friends. There is never a resolution and in turn people end up pointing speakers at each others doors and blaring their favorite band at an ear shattering level). But if you were to ask any of my friends, “What is Dan’s favorite band,” without hesitation I’m pretty positive 99% would say The Beastie Boys. This hasn’t wavered since I was 12 years-old when myself and a friend of mine memorized the lyrics to Paul Revere at a school field trip on a hike in Alliance Redwoods.
The Beastie Boys were a band that defined my high school experience with Check Your Head. I played that album continuously in my first car, over and over to much of the chagrin of my fellow passengers.
In college, the Beastie Boys were my first concert I ever went to. Most people sheepishly answer when they are asked “what was your first concert” and the answer is “New Kids on the Block” or “Stryper”. Proudly I answer: “The Beastie Boys, DJ Hurricane and Bad Brains at the Bremerton County Fairgrounds in 1995. It was the Ill Communication tour and 6 of us from University of Oregon packed into a car and drove the 3 hours up and 3 hours back that day. It was the highlight of my freshman year in college.
Over the years, music has always been something that I have used to anchor me or fill time. Some people read books, some read comics (err, I mean graphic novels)… I would always listen to music; and Beastie Boys were always the band that I would come back to. Comfort food for the ears.
When I started working at KNRK in 1998, the second gig I had for the radio station was the Beastie Boys concert at the Rose Garden for the Hello Nasty tour. When I started doing my own Punk/Hip-Hop show, The Warped Hours, I would always have at least one Beastie Boy song on my playlist. Back in 2005, I invited a some of my friends, and listeners to vote on their top 10 Beastie Boys songs. I used that, along with a scoring system to create the following “Top Beastie Boy Songs” 1-33. I look back on this list and would probably jostle a couple around, but here’s the list:
- So What’cha Want || Check Your Head
- Shadrach || Paul’s Boutique
- Sabotage || Ill Communication
- Looking Down The Barrel Of A Gun || Paul’s Boutique
- Pass The Mic || Check Your Head
- Shake Your Rump || Paul’s Boutique
- Jimmy James || Check Your Head
- Professor Booty || Check Your Head
- Sure Shot || Ill Communication
- Fight For Your Right || Licensed To Ill
- An Open Letter To NYC || To The 5 Boroughs
- High Plains Drifter || Paul’s Boutique
- She’s On It|| Licensed To Ill
- Stand Together/Blue Nun || Check Your Head
- Hello Brooklyn || Paul’s Boutique
- Root Down || Ill Communication
- Paul Revere || Licensed To Ill
- Alive || The Sounds Of Science
- Body Movin’ || Hello Nasty
- Time To Build || To The 5 Boroughs
- Shes Crafty || Licensed To Ill
- Hey Ladies || Paul’s Boutique
- Super Disco Breakin’ || Hello Nasty
- Get It Together || Ill Communication
- Egg Raid On Mojo || Some Old Bullshit
- Flute Loop || Ill Communication
- Just a Test || Hello Nasty
- The Brouhaha || To The 5 Boroughs
- Cooky Puss || Some Old Bullshit
- Heart Attack Man || Ill Communication
- The Negotiation Limerick File || Ill Communication
- I Don’t Know || Hello Nasty
- Beastie Boys || Some Old Bullshit
In 2004 I was at the radio station when I got a note from my Program Director, Mark Hamilton, to come into his office. When you work in radio, that’s always a little anxiety producing, to be summoned into the PD’s office. He called me in to let me know that Adam Yauch of the Beastie Boys was doing radio interviews and he wanted me to be the person from the station to interview him. I damn near soiled myself. I eeked out “of course, that’s awesome…” or something to that effect. He then said, “great, he’s calling in 30 minutes.” Not a lot of time to prep. I will attempt to dig up my interview I did with MCA and will put the pretext on it… it wasn’t my finest of interviews. If anyone has done interviews, they can tell you phone interviews can be tough in making a connection. It can sometimes be tougher when you know the person on the other line has already done 25 of these “phoners” in the same day. Combine that you’re actually a fan… it can make for a rough interview. Thankfully he was a pro and it went ok. Stay tuned for that audio. I’ll update this post when I find it. **UPDATED with audio** Adam Yauch 2004 radio interview on KNRK
So, after hearing the news today that Adam Yauch of the Beastie Boys passed after being afflicted with cancer for the past 2+ years I felt a sadness that isn’t unique, but was for me. Having a public figure you are attached to, one that you have grown up and formed bonds and memories around, to leave. You know that you can never recreate your youth, but this solidifies that passage. There won’t be new Beastie Boys Albums, there won’t be any more tours. I won’t be able to have my son’s first concert be the Beastie Boys (hopefully it won’t be Justin Beiber-esque)… I do still have a crate full of white label pressings of Beasties records that I can pass on, my numerous t-shirts and XL Brooklyn Dust Elephant hat and will do my damnest to educate him on the finer points of why they were such an influence on our generation. So, while people argue which band was the greatest, these guys were the greatest band in forming who I am.
RIP Adam Yauch. Thank you.