Monday, May 7, 2012

bodhisattva illightenment ... rest in peace, mca

i've got to be honest. i had a rocky start with the beastie boys. "fight for your right" just seemed insipid to me at the time. hell, it still does. there was way too much going on in music that was intelligent and cutting edge, and that song seemed to be going in the wrong direction for both punk and rap. further, the beasties did not introduce me to anything new, at least not on that first album. i.e. they did not introduce me to punk, and they did not introduce me to rap.

that album dropped the final semester of my senior year in high school. like it or not, my relationship with the beasties started then, at every friggin party that spring and through the summer. and for the longest time, i simply could not get past that song. i fell into the camp that thought, "these guys are just posers". i still think that song is terrible. and i will say this... it is completely not indicative of who they are.

february 19, 1987. i go to my first beastie boys concert. it was their licensed to ill tour. however, the main reason i had tickets to see them was because they happened to be headlining over fishbone. i had tickets to see fishbone. and fishbone knocked it out of the park. i remember standing there screaming with my friends (i think i was there with burton baldridge and robert eberhart, but not sure) for an encore, and everyone... EVERYONE around us were looking at us like we were insane. they were clearly ready for the beasties to start. we didn't want fishbone to end. so the beasties got up. this was at the austin coliseum, which was not a small venue... every larger town has a venue of this size. it's where the bigger high school basketball games happen. now they had been opening for PiL on one hand, and madonna on the other, so they had played really large venues. they had the energy down, to be sure. but one thing they were having trouble with, i think, was a stage on top of a sprung floor. whoever their DJ was at the time (i have no idea, it might have actually even been rick rubin). let me put it this way... they had to restart "fight for your right" at least three times because the record would skip and whoever was DJ'ing couldn't keep the beat going. this was excruciating for me, as the one song i did not want to hear, i heard slaughtered three times. that said, the rest of the show was pretty solid, but the whole experience did not solidify them for me as not being posers.

until paul's boutique. to me, they were a different band. de la soul had clearly worked into their skulls. and they were ready to be taken seriously. while i had not heard of ATCQ yet, my guess is THEY had, and i am sure that was working in as well. ready to be taken seriously without taking themselves seriously. that is what it is about.

fast forward to 2004 (i think). to the five boroughs tour. bill graham civic auditorium, san francisco. a good friend (adam winig) tells me he has an extra ticket to see them. i had bought to the five and thought it was awesome, so of course, let's go. i'm in work clothes: a tie, nice shoes. we work our way to the front of the crowd. mosh pit begins. and i can't leave. i can. but i don't want to. it was an awesome show. and i was in the pit until the end of the night. my shoes were toast.

all three of the front men (and now, clearly MMM) are incredible talents. it is yet to be seen where they go from here. but to me, MCA was the driving force, and the main voice (out of the three) that always hit me. his was not a cartoony voice, but a raspy hard hitter.

what he created is here and continues, but he was still doing incredible work. that is the greatest loss.

i have read the tibetan book of the dead once a year since 1995. it is the reason for the title, and subtitle, of this blog. apparently MCA actually converted to tibetan buddhism. if that book is right... adam is currently in the bardo.

something tells me he is embracing it, with open ears.

rest in peace, MCA.

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