We grow up with these people, musicians. Some of us are actual real life friends with them, but the majority of us see them as something like surrogate siblings. Goofing around with us, helping us grow, putting us in line when we need it, generally relieving not just the daily bullshit of life but the long-term nonsense and hardships. I think people of my age group have always had this sibling-like connection to The Beastie Boys. They were punky rap goofballs. Then they were no-bullshit top-notch badasses. Then they were mature, spiritually aware masters of their craft. They grew, we grew.
Bands we grow up with and attach ourselves to remind us of what life is and can be and that more often than not it’s a lot more fun and interesting than the shit we get caught up in. They’re our touchstones. That’s why our parents (and many of us including me) love Springsteen so much. These people speak for, to, and through us. And that’s why the “Well you still have the music” argument is no use in times like this. It’s not the point. The music becomes like old photo albums and videotapes of family events. We can remember all the love and support and advice we got by blasting these songs in our cars and we can pass it on by playing it for our babies and exerting our parental will upon their tastes, but as far as having any new moments of growth or comfort, we’re on our own.
Even though I’m a little bit younger than John, I still 100% relate. I always thought that the Beastie Boys reminded me of my cousin who’s 2 years older than me. In many ways he was my big brother and through the connection from them to him, they definitely became familial to me in a sense as well. They were there for me through all of my angsty and awkward teen years. They taught me that it was OK to be yourself and to not be afraid to have a little flair because white people could have swagger too. I partially blame my 7th grade decision to become a white female rapper when I grew up on them. And it became nice, and even necessary at times, to catch up with them from time to time as I got older as well.
I have been saying for years now that I’ve wanted nothing more than to see them perform live (preferably in a License to Ill revival tour, but in any live aspect would have been just dandy) just to be in the presence of the band that did so much to shape my adolescence and I know that seeing them now without MCA would just be too depressing for me. It would be like going to Thanksgiving dinner and not having your uncle there anymore. It’s just going to take some time to get over, I guess.