This is unedited...forgive me.
I know every blogger is going to be writing about the death of Beastie Boys' Adam Yauch. I'm no different.
I, perhaps, have less of a reason than others to write about him. I wasn't much of a fan until later in life and, the it was cool to like the lesser known tracks, I was a fan of their singles, my favorite, "Sabotage." I liked the bandwagon, I suppose.
So, of course, I loved "Fight for Your Right (to Party)," an undeniable classic of the Eighties that solidified their tenure the music world. I have a memory of this song at an eighth grade dance, the winter dance, I think. All the boys we sitting on a fold-out lunch table when the song came on and, immediately, we rocked the cafeteria. We were gods. I clutched the edge of the table, my body banging my head back and forth as if I we exorcising the Devil. Suddenly aware of myself, I looked up to see several friends laughing at me. And, because it was absurd, laughed, too, and went right back to head-banging with impunity.
Here's why: Adam Yauch and I were a little bit alike...both bass players, both named "Adam," and both from mixed Jewish-Catholic families passively ignoring religion. Adam later became a Buddhist. Being Jewish was never cool, at least not where I grew up. We were geeks, though I willfully assimilated. But, Adam and his bandmates, also Jewish to varying percentages, made it alright to be Jewish. The Beastie Boys were cool. They broke into a realm of music where, to many, they were strangers. What business did a bunch of Jewish kids from Brooklyn have rapping?
For that moment back at the dance, I didn't care about being an outsider; I liked it. What's more, as a self-hating, thirteen-year-old boy, I liked myself, even if only for a short while.
Thank you, MCA.