Sitting in the backyard of my friend Greg’s home in the mid 90′s in Manhassett, NY on a mild summer night drinking beer in green bottles and chain smoking cigarettes (and possibly some other flammable plant life – but not Greg ’cause he was straight-edge without the corny title). We were all underage yet old enough to serve, but Clinton was in office so we had no worries of that nature yet. Greg’s family pet pig snorted under our feet while people dropped in and out throughout the course of the evening. Simpsons references were cited, and there were recaps of who was on Howard Stern that morning. After we plotted about how to take over the NY music scene, the night would always deteriorate into a white man’s rap battle.
Houlihan, MCA, & Hair Du – Not sure who snapped this, but it rules
Houlihan and Hair Du would dominate, but Gallagher, Pat, Tommy, Owen, Greg, Brendan, Johnny, or countless others would jump in where they could. The shit really heated up as soon as Paul’s Boutique was popped in the CD player. We were New York kids and this was our soundtrack. Sure we had Pavement and Superchunk and the Archers of Loaf, but the Beasties were all about participation and everyone we knew loved them. It represented everything I love about music in it’s rawest form – it connected us.
I’ll be dammed if listening to “Egg Man” one night didn’t lead to us breaking into Christopher Morley Park and jumping off the high diving board at 1:00 AM. Tommy chickened out and couldn’t jump, so we had to coax him back down. That was some stupid shit in hindsight! I hope my kids don’t read that part…
Tommy, Me, & Gallagher stopping at the Grand Canyon while on tour
A couple of years later, my band was on tour when Hello Nasty came out. Nothing raised our spirits more than pulling away from a record store in Arizona and blasting the sounds of Mix Master Mike’s debut with the Boys. It was a slice of NY that we knew all of our friends back home were experiencing along with us even though we were a thousand miles away from them. This was before Facebook and Twitter. Most people didn’t own a cell phone. The dot com bubble was growing but no one knew what to do with it yet. Music was the connection. Music kept us together. We couldn’t wait to see our friends again and drop our favorite lines or talk about some rare sample that we figured out.
Last summer when I went back to New York for a high school reunion, the first night I was there we went to a Karaoke bar in Astoria. You know we had to close the night down with “Get It Together”. We sucked at it too, but it didn’t matter ’cause we were having fun.
It’s really awful to let the fact that there won’t be any more Beastie Boys records sink in, so I’m just gonna leave with this thought: We have a short shot at life on this wet marble we call home, and doing something that facilitates the love that’s possible between friends, strangers, and anyone who’s willing to be cool is the greatest gift you can give. Thanks for the gifts you gave us Adam Yauch.