is a trio consisting of Michael “Mike D” Diamond, Adam “ADROCK” Horovitz, and the late Adam “MCA” Yauch (1964–2012), formed in 1981 as part of New York’s hardcore punk underground. The group’s first full-length album, Licensed to Ill,
was the first rap album to reach #1. With seven multi-platinum albums from 1986 to 2011, including Licensed to Ill, Paul’s Boutique, Check Your Head, Ill Communication, Hello Nasty, To the 5 Boroughs,
and Hot Sauce Committee Part Two,
Beastie Boys are one of the longest-lived hip hop acts worldwide. They were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2012, received the MTV Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award in 1998, and have won three Grammy Awards.
We all have different types of friends, right? There’s the one that’s kind of an asshole but fun to be around once in a while. Fun to get drunk and talk shit with, but you’d never actually call on them for physical or emotional help ’cause they’re just unreliable. (And kind of an asshole.) Or there’s the friend you see once in a while and it’s a nice hangout and you’re always like, “I should spend more time with that person,” but for some reason . . . you don’t. Then there’s that true friend, the one you’d be on the phone with forever. The one that helps you move, or meets you at the hospital, or has a permanent spot on their couch for you just in case you ever need it. Those type of friends are rare, we all know. BUT . . . there’s an even rarer friend: the one that gets you motivated. The one that not only gets themselves going and doing great things but says: we should all get together and do this
. And then does it. Adam Yauch was that type of friend. A once-in-a-lifetime type of friend. The friend that makes it happen. The friend that inspires you to go big.
We all see things differently. We each experience an event in our own way. This book is how Michael “Sweet Lou” Diamond and I remember what happened to us. Yauch had talked about wanting to document our band, but, sadly, without him here, me+Mike are gonna have to do it alone. I say “sadly,” well . . . because of the obvious. Adam passed away in 2012. But it’s additionally sad because, if any of the three of us saw things with a unique perspective, it was Yauch. He was truly a wild card. Someone who, in my mind, was like . . . “Shit . . . I’m gonna walk to the top of the Empire State Building with cameras taped to my shoes . . . I’ll carry you up there piggyback-style . . . It’ll be funny . . . let’s go.” He was the rare person who actually does all the crazy things they say they’re gonna do. And does them even crazier than you’d imagine. For instance . . .
Yauch got into snowboarding in the late ’80s. He met some other people that were into it and would go snowboarding with them. But not like how a regular person would do it. He met someone who knew someone in Alaska, and this person in Alaska would fly them to the top of an un-snowboarded-on mountain in a helicopter . . . they’d jump out of the helicopter, with their snowboards attached, and head down the mountain. That’s a crazy thing to even dare yourself to think of, let alone say you’re gonna do. Or do. Or have done.
The first time we went to Australia was in 1992. To me, Australia was a foreign land. Not only had I never been there, I don’t think I had ever met anyone who was Australian. What happens there? I had no idea. The flight took, like, sixteen hours. And when we arrived, we went through customs and all that stuff, got outside, exhausted from the flight, and a little nervous aboutbeing in a new place so far away from home. I just wanted to get to either a bed or a cup of coffee. As we left baggage claim and headed out to find a taxi, Yauch tells us that he met someone on the flight, and that they had some friends who were all meeting up to go snowboarding somewhere hours and hours (of more traveling) away. And since our first show wasn’t for a couple days, he was gonna cut out and hang out with these people for a bit, and see us all at sound check before the show. Wait . . . WHAT!?! At that point in my life I liked to think of myself as a spontaneous kind of person, but this was a little too next-level. I just did not understand this behavior.
Yauch wanted to see the world. So he did. He went to India and looked around. Saw things, met people. While on one of his trips there, he got in touch with the plight of the people of Tibet. He was so moved by their culture and what they had endured, and continue to endure, he came back home and wanted—needed—to let people who didn’t know know. So he put together a big concert. Not just a show, but a fucking massive benefit concert in Golden Gate Park in San Francisco. And that was just the start. He ended up having a bunch of these shows all over the world. Huge concerts in baseball stadiums. With huge bands like U2. Yeah, he could get in the door (and on the snowboard helicopter in Alaska) because he was famous, but not many people can rally so many others to work for free. Especially for some “weirdo” cause like nonviolence. Passion and compassion. Yauch had ’em.