I was as bummed (and shocked frankly) to learn of Beastie Boy, Adam Yauch, passing last Friday at 47. There are only two recording artists whose entire library I always have on my iPhone,
Moby and the Beastie Boys.
I carry the Beasties not because I'm stuck in my high school days when the Beasties ruled both the airways and the hallways, but because their music is timeless. Every track is as engaging today as it was pouring from the darkened windows of my 1977 Volkswagon Rabbit.
Their music is a perfect blend of classic and new sounds with lyrics that are as colorful as are they are visual. If you are unsure of what I'm talking about, just take Paul's Boutique for a spin.
Aside from music, the Beasties were on the top of their game with a keen understanding of a fan base and dare I say, social media. That's right, twenty years before the buzzword became mainstream, they realized the potential of engaging and energize a fan base. 'Awesome; I Fucking Shot That!' is a prime example foreshadowing todays marketing techniques. By handing 50 loyal fans a consumer high8 video camera to capture a 2004 concert at Madison Square Garden the resulting film went viral before anybody even knew what that meant. Here is a link to an absolutely amazing 9 minute excerpt from the film as Mix Master Mike is introducing the Beasties.
So rock on Beasties, Adam, you will be missed, but your music will continue to be enjoyed for generations. I felt like I was being Punked or a victim of Howie Mandel when I was driving my son home from Boy Scout summer camp and he asked me with with wide-eyed excitement, 'Dad...have you ever heard of the Beastie Boys?'
|210mm lens, 4x5 100vs Transparency|
I made this picture when I was the photographer at the Museum of Science and Industry and we were hosting the 2002 Hip Hop exhibit. I got to photograph pop icon artifacts that included Slick Rick's throne, Herbie Hancock and Public Enemy's turntables and yes, the yellow rubber boots and white tyvek jumpsuits from the fantastic Interglatic music video, still one of my favorites. I'm not sure whose I grabbed for the picture, all three pairs were in my studio. I like to think I grabbed the boots that Adams wore as he both starred in and directed the video under his alias Nathanial Hornblower. The video won MTV's Video Music Award for Best Hip-Hop video award in 1999 when it was released.