Passing of a Legend: Goodbye MCA

My love of the Beastie Boys predates my love of wine, so I respectfully post here on my wine blog.  I’ve learned to love and appreciate both, sometimes together, in a way that’s completely shaped the person I am today.

It’s impossible for me to not wax sentimental at the passing of Adam Yauch, or better known to me and most of the world as MCA of the Beastie Boys.  I learned about it last night right before dinner, while I was still reeling from an amazing wine trip to southern Dalmatia.  It felt like a punch to the stomach, and  one I had to deal with alone at the dinner table.  My husband grew up on the musical mayonnaise* of the Beatles and storytelling songwriters like Harry Chapin and Gordon Lightfoot, and while he appreciates music it’s generally within the pop genre.  And while my music appreciation certainly runs the gamut, from jam bands like the Grateful Dead to some of my perpetual faves like Modest Mouse and Radiohead, the Beastie Boys and their raucous rhymes won my adoration from the get go.  The video for “(You Gotta) Fight for your Right (to Party!)” is an earliest MTV memory and their albums were played (on vinyl, usually) at every party I ever attended in college, and for many years later in my kitchen in a well-loved Sony boom box.  In between were many road trips, windows rolled down in my shitty old Ford Escort with a battered and bruised, dashboard sun warped Paul’s Boutique or Check your Head cassette tape pounding away in my factory stereo, full blast.


I had this poster in my dorm room.

I’m flooded with nostalgia. I have a million Beastie Boys moments and there’s nary a lyric I don’t know by heart. They’ve coined so many of the phrases that rattle out of my mouth on a regular basis. Even now, 15 years after living on a college campus where maybe some of the strongest memories come from, the B-Boys play a key roll in my musical repertoire. They blare out randomly when my iPod is playing on the home stereo in shuffle mode (“Sabotage” has been known to pop on and sort of rudely interrupt an otherwise peaceful moment, I must admit).  My son has learned, over time, to rephrase the question “What’s the time?” as he knows what answer he’ll get.  They’ve held my pace on long marathon training runs.  And they’ve earned more than just my musical admiration when they went on to champion human rights in Tibet, leveraging their popularity to fight for more than just their right to party, but for justice and an end to political oppression.

So today, in honor of the passing of Adam Yauch, critical member of one of the most important trios of all time, I’ll be listening to some solid white boy hip hop and reliving moments of my past.  Maybe I’ll even roll down the car windows and crank it up a notch.

RIP MCA, you’ll be missed.

*JD Fratzke gets credit for this metaphor, he said it and it stuck.

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