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Death is DUMB Volume 3: Beastie Boys - WTF x3 ?!?
MUSIC is not a GENRE - Season 3 Episode #23




REC – “The Power of Repetition (Everlasting)” (from Syncopy for the Weird)


WTF?!? That’s what goes through my head every time I think of the Beastie Boys. ONE because how is it these self-described funky-punky idiots were one of the main acts that changed the face of music in the 1980s? TWO because how did they then become well respected innovators, outspoken activists & legends, with a long career to rival the biggest acts of any genre? THIRD because how can it all be over?!?


So much of the Beastie Boys story makes no sense that it almost DOES make sense that one of them would be dead, and almost a DECADE AGO. But no, not even that computes. These were three guys – great friends, bandmates & collaborators – who always came back together, no matter what happened in the interim. Unexpected successes. Career pressures. Explorations beyond the bounds of accepted form. Life changes. Hiatuses that seemed to go on forever but were way shorter than, say, the wait for Chinese Democracy. No matter what happened, they always came back.


And then Adam Yauch died. The soul of the band the way Terry Kath was the soul of Chicago. The difference is while Chicago soldiered on and reinvented in both clever and disappointing ways, the Beasties – now Adam Horovitz & Mike Diamond – realized that carrying on without MCA would NOT be the Beastie Boys. So as usual, when Dumb Death gets in the way, we’re left with memories & reissues & the hopes for more funky innovation crushed.


I respect Ad Rock & Mike D’s decision to shift gears, and love that they put out such a freakin’ comprehensive love letter to music, their awesome threesome-ness, and Adam Yauch that is their 2020 mega quad pack Beastie Boys Book, the documentary Beastie Boys Story, the compilation album Beastie Boys Music, and Spike Jonze’s photo tribute Beastie Boys. It was an explosion of beautiful energy that I can only hope results in more.


As for the actual music, License to Ill is deep in my DNA. My music wouldn’t be my music without it. Their next three albums moved – LEAPED – the hip hop & general music conversation forward in three different ways, with Ill Communication being my fave because it was a distillation of all three of them. Plus I just love mid ‘90s hip hop. Hello Nasty proved they could top the charts fifteen years out, and was their personal favorite. To the 5 Boroughs reminded me why I love NYC so much, and has lyrics I remember to this day. And Hot Sauce Committee Part Two reminded everyone else that they were in complete command of both creation AND the charts straight to the end. You wanna hear their influence on me? Listen to just about anything, but start here:


REC – “The Power of Repetition (Everlasting)” (from Syncopy for the Weird)


Are you a Beasties fan? If so, what’s your favorite album? How did you feel about Adam Yauch’s death? Do you wish Adam H. & Mike D. would still create music together, and/or do you understand why they’ve all but retired? Discuss dammit!

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