by Jo Michelmore
Over the past week there has already been a million things posted on the internet about the passing of Beastie Boys member Adam Yauch. He was an incredible musician and one who played an important part in having such an influence over so many artists I love and no doubt, will learn to love in the future. But for me, music is an incredibly personal thing. I can pinpoint certain songs that represent certain times of my life, some good, some bad, some I can’t listen to without crying, some I can’t listen to without smiling and bursting into song or dance. My life, as everyone does, has its own personal soundtrack. So, rather than talking about his amazing contribution to the music industry, to charity, to creative arts and film, all things you’ve probably already read by now, I’m going to pay tribute in a slightly different way to an artist who features heavily in certain parts of my own personal soundtrack.
The first time the Beastie Boys appeared on my soundtrack would have been “You Gotta Fight, For Your Right”, of course. I didn’t know much about them, but I knew I liked that song. Who didn’t like to party? It became an anthem for so many years of my life and of course whenever the opportunity arose, one would always manage to slip the words “you gottta fight, for your right to paaaarrrrty” into conversation. It still shows up sometimes now.
The Beastie Boys often featured in the middle of the night in my soundtrack. I remember sitting up all night some Friday and Saturday nights watching Rage on the TV (for those readers outside Australia, that’s an all-night music TV show that has screened for 25 years, no host, no ads, just song after song after song). You’d always get stuck thinking; “I’ll just turn it off after this song…” which always turned into hour upon hour in the early and late hours of the morning. You’d wait for that amazing song, I can remember loving it when The Beastie Boys came on, knowing the first bars of their songs back to front and knowing after their clip was played it was going to be hours before I finally turned the TV off because who can sleep after listening to the Beastie Boys? The good nights were those you didn’t bother and just went out instead.
Of course, ‘Sabotage’ features so much in my soundtrack, it’s such an awesome song. Those first bars; so, so awesome. The film clip hilarious, directed by one of my favourites, Spike Jonze, its all 70’s cops and bad moustaches and action, I love it. I can remember dancing to this song so often, it was one of those that pulled you to the d-floor with force, no one can possibly sit still with this song. I can remember dancing with the cutest boy in the entire world in a club I loved to this song. I’ve no idea where that boy ended up but he’s part of the Beastie Boys soundtrack too. Wow, I could listen to this one over and over; I really, really love this one.
‘Intergalactic’ features one of my favourite lyrics in rap. It’s silly, it’s perfect and it’s great comedy for a little Australian girl like me to pretend I’m cool every now and then by rapping it; “When it comes to beats well I'm a fiend, I like my sugar with coffee and cream”. Yep. That one pops up on the soundtrack every now and then, making me giggle every time I pretend I can rap.
This one, of all, is probably my favourite Beastie Boys memory. They were an act that were on my bucket list for musicians. I had to see them live and was lucky enough to see them at the Big Day Out in 2005. IT was one of those moments you can revisit so easily as soon as you think of it; I remember that feeling of my heart in my throat, that thought of knowing I was seeing something special that I was going to remember for a long time. I danced and yelled and bounced and danced and loved every minute of it. How glad I am now that I saw them then. So lucky, so happy. What an incredible bunch of musicians.
Adam Yauch. I never met him, but as a member of the Beastie Boys he helped play such a big part in such an important part of my life; the soundtrack. He’ll always feature there, in so many fantastic memories and for that I’m really glad. Thank you Adam. RIP.