There is a moment in one’s life where you just suddenly realise that yes, the youth you cling to desperately is truly over. The feeling of getting old is always present, but then you get a gut shot of reality when those who you still think of as of your childhood start leaving the world. It’s not the suicide of Kurt Cobain or the death of Michael Jackson that got me. They were troubled creatures, doomed even. Their early demise affected me differently.
Adam Yauch was still simply too young to die in my eyes.
A lot of it has to do with the fact that I still hear the Beastie Boys almost daily in my little world. They are one of my all time favourite bands, supremely gifted MCs and talented musicians. They sounded as fresh and amazing on my iPod this morning as they did when I heard “Fight For Your Right” back in 1986. They were the first hip hop I owned. They might be among the last things I listen to when I leave this earth. I have never felt anything but love for three boys from New York who turned the rap game on its ear.
I also admired Yauch’s activism- he did a lot to bring Tibet’s plight to the attention of a jaded, cynical generation.
The news of his illness back in 2009 was a shocker. I feel too young still. My heroes cannot become ill in their forties. It’s a ridiculous thought- my mother was diagnosed with cancer at 38. But as you hold on to your memories and try not to feel the effects of time, you tend to drop into denial and move ahead without thinking of it more than you have to. He wasn’t there a couple of weeks ago when his band was inducted, rightfully, into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. He sent his thoughts in a letter. Still, I wandered through in denial.
I cannot stay there today. Denial is wonderful up to a point.
Adam Yauch changed my life through music. He changed a lot of people through music. He gave us a great gift. And there isn’t a way to thank him enough for that.
If you don’t own Licence to Ill, Paul’s Boutique, or Ill Communication, what the hell is wrong with you? Go now, buy them, and thank your chosen deity that we got Adam Yauch to help create such magnificent art over the past quarter century. You won’t regret it. In fact, you will be happy to be able to enjoy such craftsmanship. The Beatie Boys were truly wonderous, and MCA played a huge role in that.
My thoughts are with his wife and daughter, and with Mike Diamond and Adam Horovitz, his band mates. He was simply taken too soon.