May 4, 2012 – Adam Yauch aka MCA (Beastie Boys) was born in Brooklyn New York on August 5th 1964. While at high school, he taught himself to play the bass guitar and formed the Beastie Boys with John Berry, Michael Diamond and Kate Schellenbach.
They played their first show, then still a hardcore punk band on his 17th birthday. At age 22, he and the Beastie Boys, had turned into a hip hop trio and were touring with Madonna in 1985. A year later they released their debut album Licensed to Ill, which was followed by 7 other albums, the last being their 2011 album Hot Sauce Committee Part Two.
Under the pseudonym “Nathanial Hörnblowér“, Adam directed many of the Beastie Boys’ music videos and in 2002, he built a recording studio in New York City called Oscilloscope Laboratories. He also began an independent film distributing company called Oscilloscope Pictures. Yauch directed the 2006 Beastie Boys concert film, Awesome; I Fuckin’ Shot That!, although in the DVD extras for the film, the title character in “A Day in the Life of Nathanial Hörnblowér” is played by David Cross. He also directed the 2008 film Gunnin’ For That #1 Spot about eight high school basketball prospects at the Boost Mobile Elite 24 Hoops Classic at Rucker Park in Harlem, New York City. Yauch produced Build a Nation, the comeback album from hardcore/punk band Bad Brains. In addition, Oscilloscope Laboratories also distributed Kelly Reichardt’s Wendy and Lucy (2008) and Oren Moverman’s The Messenger (2009).
2009 was the year that he was diagnosed with a lymph node cancer.
By 2010 The Beastie Boys had sold 40 million records worldwide and in 2011, Yauch received the Charles Flint Kellogg Award in Arts and Letters from Bard College, the college he attended for two years. The award was “given in recognition of a significant contribution to the American artistic or literary heritage.”.
In April 2012, the group was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Yauch was inducted in absentia due to his illness. His bandmates paid tribute to Yauch; a letter from Yauch was read to the crowd.
As a Buddhist, he was involved in the Tibetan independence movement and organized the Tibetan Freedom Concerts in the mid 1990s.
Adam died battling cancer on May 4, 2012. He was 47.
“There is a lot of misconception in all layers of society about what actually brings happiness. We’re caught up in all these promoted ideas that having a lot of money or having somebody beautiful to have sex with or owning some cool objects -a cool car, a cool stereo – a Gibson Les Paul 1957 – a cool house in a cool neighborhood or whatever is going to make us happy. All that actually does not bring us happiness. Compassion, empathy, altruism, sharing brings happiness. Those are values that make us smile when practiced.”