John Berry, an original member of the Beastie Boys, died Thursday morning at 7:30 a.m. at a hospice in Danvers, Massachusetts. He was 52. Berry is credited with coming up with the name Beastie Boys when they were teenagers. He attended the Walden School in New York with Mike Diamond. The group formed in July 1981, with Berry and Diamond joined by Adam Yauch and Kate Schellenbach. The first Beastie Boys shows took place at Berry’s old loft at the corner of West 100th Street and Broadway in Manhattan’s Upper West Side, where a small crowd gathered to hear the fledgling hardcore punk band.
Berry played on the Beastie Boys’ first seven-inch EP Polly Wog Stew, which was recorded at 171A studios in November 1982. He left the group shortly after, followed by Schellenbach in 1983. Adam Horovitz (Ad-Rock) replaced both members. Berry was a member of several other bands, including Even Worse, Big Fat Love, Highway Stars and Bourbon Deluxe.
The Beastie Boys did not neglect Berry’s role in the band. When they were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2012, Horovitz read a speech by Adam Yauch, who died later that year at age 47 of cancer. Yauch’s speech mentioned John as a formative member of the band’s early years. It’s a sad day, no doubt, but the thought of Berry and Yauch banging heads in the afterlife will get us through. RIP John Berry!
DJ Bacon puts together RUN-BST Megamix, a short but intricate mixtape of samples taken exclusively from Run DMC and Beastie Boys cuts. Breaks, chord changes and even familiar scratches are in this one, and according to Bacon himself the brief joint took six months to make. It’s also a mixtape for a crucial cause: “Released on the anniversary of Jam Master Jays passing, all profits from the release will be donated back to the Jam Master Jay and Adam Yauch foundations to further the legacy they created and invest in future music and community projects the foundations are supporting. Particularly music projects for youth.” This one’s for MCA, Jam Master Jay and DMC’s own Larry Smith, so turn it up and travel back to another time, and another state of mind.
Adam “MCA” Yauch of the Beastie Boys worked hard his entire career to maintain his integrity as an artist, and that work will continue well into the afterlife. Yauch, who lost his battle with cancer of the salivary glands in May, made sure of that.
Yauch’s will, which was filed Tuesday in Manhattan Surrogate Court, specifically prohibits the use of his image, music, and other art in any advertising. Yauch’s will also states that his $6.4 million estate is to be put into a trust for his wife, Dechen Yauch, and 13-year-old daughter. The will also gives Dechen the right to sell and manage Yauch’s artistic property.
The news of Yauch’s ban on advertising comes the same day as a lawsuit filed by the Beastie Boys against Monster Energy Drink for the unauthorized use of Beasties tunes in a promotional campaign.
New York City-based artist and designer Eric Haze headed west to Los Angeles as part of the continued outpouring of condolences and visual homages for Adam Yauch – perhaps better known by his emcee moniker MCA. Located on Santa Monica and Vine, the billboard dubbed “NAMASTE’” is simple and direct – capturing Yauch’s spiritual nature as well as pointing out a life that was cut way too short. In Haze’s own words, “I was grateful to be given such a public forum to properly celebrate the life of my friend and collaborator Adam Yauch, and hope that these memorials will reverberate among the community that continues to mourn his passing.”