I won't take up too much of your time here.
Just had a few thoughts on Adam "MCA" Yauch... and Richie Teeter.
We lost Richie Teeter about 3 weeks before we lost Adam. Fucking cancer!
Rich was a superb drummer. Played with The Dictators and Twisted Sister. He was an even better singer, a genuine lead singer.
He had a scholar's knowledge of modern music and the passion of the happy cynic. With that slightly ridiculous last name, Teeter looked like a handsome but somewhat dissipated Gotti hit man, almost evil. He was, in actuality, an utter pussycat, one of the sweetest most empathetic individuals I've ever known (in Dictator Andy Shernoff's eulogy, he said the same exact thing). It helped that, with the exception of Ratt (a very guilty pleasure on my part), Rich and I had completely parallel taste in music... and politics. He was burning with righteous indignation at the Tea Party, Fox News, and their poisonous ilk.
From 2005-2009, Mr. Teeter was the drummer of my band, The Planets. His audition turned into our first rehearsal within the first 15 minutes of playing together. During his tenure, I got to play a couple dozen old British Invasion and early 70s blues-rock covers because... well... Rich knew them all. When his work schedule at Sam Ash changed for the worse, he had to bow out. It was an honor to have played with him. We remained good friends.
During the holidays last year, through a mutual pal, I found out that Rich had stage 4 cancer in his throat. I was told he didn't want to hear from friends, so, I left him alone, a regret I'll have forever. As is usually the case, cancer didn't give a shit who it had attacked. On April 9th, my friend and bandmate, Richie Teeter left the building.
26 days later, I found myself surprisingly depressed about Beasties Boys' MCA's passing. Seemed like piling on to me...
My God, did we flip for the Beasties at 'my' record store, St. Mark's Sounds in the East Village back in the 80s. We just thought they were a riot. They had all been semi-regular customers for quite awhile. Drummer, Kate, an inveterate browser, seemed to live in our rock section. She would later show up in Luscious Jackson, purveyors of the timelessly fab "Naked Eyes".
This gang, of what I correctly assumed were NYU students, were always jolly and/or intent on finding something specific as quickly as possible. Unlike some posses of troublemakers, this was a little crew who kinda happily hummed with a Very Alive vibe. It is worth noting that all the early Beastie videos were populated with this same Kadre of Kool Jerk Kool.
One day, two of this sect's young goofballs walked in with several boxes of 7" 45s under their arms.
"We just made a record. Can we leave some on consignment?"
Our store policy was to never refuse. We'd take 5 of anything anyone ever brought in like that, supporting local acts with as little fuss as possible. These two were pitching me to take a whole box. Since I knew them, at least by sight, I took 10 copies of "The Pollywog EP" from Adam Yauch and Mike Diamond.
They left and I put it on the store's stereo. We were all howling within a minute. They had turned Punk into a Bugs Bunny cartoon.
"Egg Raid On Mojo" was about one of our other regular customers. Mojo, was a large, gregarious, very handsome, very dark-skinned, Ska-styled doorman at more than one hip boite downtown. He was a genuinely okay guy, but, his gig led him to being a bit "I'm hot and know it", one lame vibe, indeed. The Beasties would have none of it. The song recalls true events. While "Egg Raid" is an absurdist punk classic, for me, of the Beastie Boys' early 'work', "Cooky Puss" is nonpareil, the most wonderfully ridiculous crank call of all time with a hilariously wretched noise-rhythm track.
Anyway, a week later, diffident Adam walked into the store with more 45s. I bought a box, the 10 having sold within two days. WTF?! What was up with these dopes?! Adam's reaction to me offering to buy a box outright, the hell with consignment, was memorable. Every cell in his body silently screamed "OF COURSE YOU ARE!" while remaining unflappably deadpan. I actually felt this.
This became a little weekly ritual; Adam coming in on a Thursday or Friday afternoon, almost dour, in a hurry, handing me another box, me handing him cash. Probably sold over 300 of 'em. Mine's in storage, rats!
I found Adam's demeanor intriguing, totally at odds with his band's vibe. Deadly serious with that sort of classic off-in-the-distance gaze. Looking back, other than the first pitch, MCA was the only one to bring the records by, clearly the one BB focused on turning what started out a total joke (How bad can we be?) into something that has rightfully had lasting international impact.
The Beastie Boys are possibly the most wonderful example of the maxim (I just made up)... You make it big by never having the intention to do so!
When "Licensed To Ill" was released, we'd play it in the store for literal hours, just flipping back and forth between side one and two. It was extreme fun to annoy sensible customers with a stadium-volume spin of "Girls" several times a day. All my fellow employees decided to treat the album with an absurd reverence. "Is it time?", we'd solemnly ask before dropping the needle for the 120th time. A great mind-fuck of a rekkid! My only complaint, they didn't use the BB's original title, "Don't Be A Faggot"! Like Eminem's Detroit, in Brooklyn, that word didn't have the virulent bigoted connotation. It just meant downer, wimp, lame, chump... Def Jam punked out! How faggot-y, Russell!
I grew up in an idyllic neighborhood called Brooklyn Heights, right at the foot of the Brooklyn Bridge. Adam Yauch grew up there, too. My oldest and dearest Heights pal, Ben, lived two doors east of the Yauchs. Being 12 years older than Adam, Ben often babysat. I was at Ben's house all the time. I might've met a Beastie Boy when he was a baby and don't recall it. Ben tells me that Adam Yauch was wonderful right from the jump, a devoted son with both his folks.
Ben's parents used to have to "endure" the earliest rehearsals of the nascent Beasties as they made ungodly guitar and drum noise in the Yauchs' living room two doors down.
One can imagine.
The image I want to leave you with, because I suspect it is truly an accurate depiction of Adam Yauch...
About 5 or 6 years ago, Brooklyn Babysitter Ben's Dad was in rehab following two knee replacements. His Mom was living at home alone for quite some time. One day, as Ben was walking down his old block on his way to pay Mom a visit, he saw her coming towards him with a tallish guy carrying 2 or 3 grocery bags for her. The tallish guy was International Rap Superstar, Adam MCA Yauch.