As a kid in NYC in the ’80s, the soundtrack to my youth was varied and evolving, but the Beastie Boys were marquee. The three band members were my peers, and as Rap and Hip Hop filled the clubs and airwaves, they were riding the wave of a whole new genre and creating their own sound, combining street rhythms and rhymes with punk ethos and energy. Disco was waning, the punk scene morphing and it was pioneering for three white boys to be doing what they were doing.
I’m no music expert, most of my response to music is visceral and associative, but I do know that if the Beastie Boys had been a fad, they wouldn’t have lasted as long as they have.
As I blasted their latest album with car windows open, to pay homage to the fallen Beastie (Adam MCA Yauch) who passed away from cancer earlier this month, my kids cringed as Mom reminisced semi-publicly. I tend to hate when I pass another car with thumping music blaring, always muttering, “Yeah, I like that music so much” to myself. OK, so forgive me…
I was thinking about the concert they played at Madison Square Garden with Run DMC, the kids clothing store on 10th street, in my hood, owned by Beastie Boy Adam Horowitz’s mom Doris, cheekily named “Gee The Kids Need Clothes,” and dancing till rivers of sweat poured down my back to Brass Monkey, No Sleep Till Brooklyn and others at loft parties, clubs and friend’s homes.
Greenwich Village (and NYC in general) is no stranger to walking tours. I remember parting the crowds to get a cupcake from Magnolia Bakery, a shop featured on Sex in the City, or even wedging through the clumps of tourists snapping photos of my everyday haunts, places where the famous and infamous had worked, lived, partied or died. Once, while soaking in the Communal Russian Baths, in the East Village, a woman pulled out a camera because John Belushi had come there frequently to cleanse himself after his binges.
There is now a suggested self-guided Beastie Boys walking tour, including many of the places important to their life and career. It includes a loft where much of the magic took place in the early years of Beastie Boys rise from punk kids to Rap icons. The corner of Irvington and Ludlow on the Lower East Side is on the itinerary, where the cover for their second album, Paul’s Boutique, was shot. Today there is a restaurant called Paul’s Boutique in honor of the album.
A memorial is currently drawing mourners at 69 Avenue A where Yauch and the Boys recorded the album Polly Wog Stew.
RIP Adam Yauch 1964-2012