Adam Yauch, MCA of the Beastie Boys, has passed away at 47. I've been reading a few fine obits but I don't have much in a personal way to say. I liked the band a lot though I couldn't call myself a devotee; they (hip)hopped in and out of my life but were often somewhere to be found on my mix tapes (remember those?)
It's a major loss to both the music and movie worlds. Yauch took up many causes in his lifetime from the Right (To Party) to Free Tibet to Independent Film as a founder of Oscilloscope Laboratories. Kelly Reichardt and Michelle Williams careers just wouldn't have been the same without the fine job Oscilloscope did pushing the moving Wendy & Lucy and the unsettling Meek's Cutoff to audiences.
Favorite Beastie Boys song? I have two.
The runner up is "Intergalactic" and Adam Yauch himself directed the video (under the pseudonym of Nathanial Hörnblowér)
But my absolute favorite of their songs was one that never quite caught on called "Alive". I listened to it incessantly, loved its progressive politics being fused so effortlessly to clever rhymes and beats. The song took on the 1% before it was a thing to do so, and spoke out against homophobia and racism and generally dickery -- "who in the world do you want to fight? it's against the system we should unite" -- this song meant so much to me in 1999.
Yauch directed this one, too.
Well you can shuffle number but facts is facts
So many billionaires while so many lacks
So before the poor decide to react
Well Come on party people and share up your stacks
Now i'm a break it down to the brass tacks
Do the Biz Mark dance and the cabbage patch
You try to turn the key but then you broke the latch
Sneak into my files for some rhymes to snatch
I'd like to have a say i'm the income tax
Don't wanna help build bombs and that's the facts
No money for health care so what's the catch
The man got you locked with no key to the latch
Mike and Adam have got my back
You bring the mics and we'll bring the rap
Turn on the P.A. and rock your shack
Don't smoke cheeba can't stand crack
Dip dip dive so-socialize
Open up your ears and clean out your eyes
If you learn to love you're in for a surprise
it could be nice to be alive