The Beastie Boys have been a part of my life since I was nine. If you're between the ages of 25 and 45, you probably grew up with them too. I don't know about you, but this is probably the first time that I am just not okay with the news of a celebrity passing. Of course it's not as emotionally trying as losing a loved one, but I am sad to lose Adam Yauch.
I don't know how to appropriately memorialize MCA, except to share some memories of growing up with Beastie Boys...
By the fourth grade, my ears had mostly known mainstream, teen-pop crap. That is, until the day I heard this song that was different. And I liked it. I wanted to jump up and down and scream along. A few days later, during indoor recess, some kids were talking about that song. I heard a girl named Christine say, "You gotta fight...for your right...to paaaaaarty!" I smiled and walked over, eager to join in. Instead I was greeted with, "You're a good girl. You don't like that song. You don't even know what it means." I was crushed temporarily, but I was gonna fight for my right. Whether they liked it or not.
My freshman year of high school brought some nice changes: (1) Beastie Boys had a new CD out, and (2) we were allowed to eat lunch outside. My friends and I claimed an area under a tree. We would eat, and we would see who knew the most lyrics to "Live at P.J.'s" and "Pass the Mic." Lyrics like, "Professor, what's another word for pirate treasure? I think it's booty..." would send us into hysterics.
Later that summer, there was one night when my friends and I were hanging out in our friend Jess's basement, watching "Skills to Pay the Bills." We were throwing around tons of lyrics, being stupid, documenting our hilarity on film (thankfully, before digitization). The fan favorite that night was, "Got more rhymes than Jamaica got mangoes." I can still picture Jess singing that one.
The next year, Beastie Boys learned to play some instruments and brought us Ill Communication. That summer, I was a counselor at a day camp. The counselors had to arrive earlier and leave later than the kids. So when the ankle-biters weren't around, a few of us would blast "Sure Shot," "Root Down,""Heart Attack Man," and of course "Get It Together" and "Sabotage." Sure we were setting up sports equipment and cutting templates for crafts, but Beastie Boys bonded us.
My freshman year at SUNY Geneseo - in the prehistoric days before cell phones - I used a Beastie Boys reference when a guy asked for my number. It went like this, "I live on north-side and all north-side numbers start with 6, 'Get It Together' starts off '1-2-1-2 keep it on', and that's track number 7. So it's 6-1-2-7." If the guy liked the Beastie Boys, he'd remember my number. If he didn't, then I wasn't really interested anyway. Phone is ringing'...oh my gawd.
My junior year, it wasn't a night at the bar until "Intergalactic" was played. Such a fun dance song! And a line that stays with you long after the song's over: "I like my sugar with coffee and cream."
After college I worked at a radio station in Buffalo. I started dating a co-worker (okay, my boss!) mostly because of his pop-culture knowledge. While it took a Beck song to eventually know that he was The One, I knew we were going to last a while when he made me a mix CD and included "The Negotiation Limerick File."
In 2003, we saw Beastie Boys at Field Day Festival (A.K.A. Field Day Fiasco). "That Guy" from the radio station was about to become my husband; we went to the concert with my brother and some of his friends. It was a bit disappointing overall, but the Beastie Boys were amazing live! I think I screamed and danced through their whole set.
The following year, we were so excited to see a particular box from Amazon. Inside was something we'd waited six years for: a new Beastie Boys CD. "Triple Trouble" quickly became a house favorite. Even though my seventeen-year-old sister taunted us with clever quips such as, "Aren't they, like, 40?"
Almost exactly one year ago, I read in Entertainment Weekly that an extended video for the first single from "Hot Sauce Committee Part 2" was going to be on TV. I didn't tell my husband; I wanted to surprise him. Covertly, I set the DVR. Then one night, after we put the kids to bed, we watched it. We laughed so hard, tears were streaming, my nose was running, and I may have wet myself. The number of cameos is overwhelming - - you recognize just about every single person in it. Even my sons love dancing to "Make Some Noise;" my husband and I just have to yell, "Wooo" over the f-bombs. :)
See? The Beastie Boys grew me up. They were with me for so much of my life, and even our kids like them. I feel terrible for Ad-Rock and Mike D, and of course for MCA's wife and daughter. The music world just will not be the same.