Archive for May, 2012

Musician Adam Yauch, Dead at 47 #RIPMCA

By Jade Robledo

Many fans were disheartened to read the news this morning that Beastie Boy MC Adam “MCA” Yauch had passed away from cancer.   It was only appropriate that the news was announced by Russell Simmons, who, with Rick Rubin, released the hip-hop/rap/rock trio’s first releases, the EP Rock Hard (1985) and the instant classic Licensed to Ill (1986), which was the first rap album to go to number 1 on the Billboard album chart, a position it held for five weeks.

Adam Yauch (WENN/Getty)

Although the band is rightly recognized for such great releases as Paul’s Boutique (released in 1989, it was ranked number 156 on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time in 2003), Check Your Head and Hello Nasty, the band should also be recognized for being among the first to be associated with a clothing line (X-Large), a magazine (Grand Royal) as well as a record label (also named Grand Royal).  The label, which was active from 1992 through 2001, was home to many highly praised artists such as Luscious Jackson and At the Drive-In.

Working under the nom de plume of Nathaniel Hornblower, Yauch directed several Beastie Boys videos including “Intergalactic,” “So What’cha Want” and the 2011 “Fight for Your Right Revisited” short.  This short, which featured Seth Rogen as Mike D, Elijah Wood as Ad-Rock and Danny McBride as MCA, was filmed to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the original video by showing the aftermath of the events shown in “Fight For Your Right (To Party!).”  In addition to his directorial work with his band, Yauch filmed the 2008 documentary Gunnin for That No. 1 Spot.  In 2008 he also formed the independent film company Oscilloscope Laboratories, named after the band’s New York based studio that formed in 2002, which produced such features as the Oscar nominated Banksy documentary Exit Through The Gift Shop and the drama “The Messenger.”

Yauch was also a staunch supporter of Tibetan rights.  He was a founder of the Milarepa Fund, a non-profit organization formed to raise awareness and activism on behalf of those suffering injustices of Tibetans by the Chinese government.  In 1996 he helped to organize the Tibetan Freedom Concert in San Francisco, CA, the first of six festivals to help raise awareness and funds for the cause.  The last concert was held in Taipei in 2003.  Milarepa also organized a benefit entitled New Yorkers Against Violence in the wake of September 11, 2001, with proceeds distributed between the New York Women’s Foundation Disaster Relief Fund and the New York Association for New Americans September 11th Fund for New Americans.

In 2009 Yauch announced that he was being treated for cancer of the parotid salivary gland.  Although he underwent surgery and radiation therapy, he was not able to fight the disease.

In 2012 the Beastie Boys were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.  Although he was too ill to attend the ceremonies, he sent a letter to be read by his bandmates, who declined to perform without Yauch.   In their place, the Roots performed as back-up band to Kid Rock and Travie McCoy as they performed a medley of their songs.  This performance can be seen this Saturday, May 5th, on HBO’s broadcast of the ceremonies.

He is survived by his wife, daughter, parents, bandmates and millions of fans.

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Another Honor for Duran Duran – Headlining the Olympics

by Jade Robledo

It is a GREAT time to be a Duranie. That is, a fan of Duran Duran.

First there was the release of the artwork for their upcoming DVD / CD, A Diamond in the Mind. Then there was the first date of the South American leg of the All You Need Is Now tour, a date in which the band was joined on stage by popular Brazilian singer Fernanda Takai for a duet of “Ordinary World.” Now the news from this morning.

It has been announced that Duran Duran was selected to perform at the opening ceremonies for the 2012 Summer Olympics to be held in London on July 27th. As the United Kingdom consists of four different nations, it was decided that the opening ceremonies should consist of live performances from an act representing each part. Duran Duran were chosen for England, with Snow Patrol representing Northern Ireland, Stereophonics selected for Wales and Paolo Nutini on behalf of Scotland. Each act will perform a “greatest hits” set in front of 60,000 fans in Hyde Park, and countless others watching throughout the world.

For those who may want a bit more than one of their many hit songs from the past three decades, the tentative release date for A Diamond in the Mind is set for July 10th, 17 days before the Hyde Park show. Filmed at MEN Arena in Manchester, England on December 16th, the DVD / CD set showcases the band’s critically acclaimed 2011 release, All You Need Is Now, along with their older hits.

If you are lucky you will be able to catch the band live. Their upcoming dates can be found on their official site.

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