Today, Rolling Stone reports that Adam Yauch, co-founder of the Beastie Boys and Oscilloscope Laboratories, has passed away at the age of 47 due to complications with cancer that was diagnosed back in 2009 when a tumor was discovered in his salivary gland.
There are no words to express how much the Beastie Boys influenced my life as a young kid growing up in New York City. Their music was some of the first I remember listening to as my older family members would crank tracks out of their bedrooms and quote lines during car trips throughout the five boroughs. I listened to "Paul's Boutique" so much as a teenager that I went through multiple copies of it, and till this day I don't go 24 hours without listening to at least one Beastie Boys track.
As I grew older and transitioned careers, so did Yauch (aka MCA). In 2002 he built a recording studio in New York City called Oscilloscope Laboratories, producing records and eventually using the name to launch a movie distribution company at the beginning of 2008. Oscilloscope is one of those distribution houses that takes chances on unknown festival films with challenging content. Some of the films they're responsible for include Dear Zachary, Bellflower, The Messenger, Burma VJ, We Need to Talk About Kevin, The Other F Word, Chasing Ice and Hello I Must Be Going.
In a 2009 interview with Gothamist, Yauch described the type of films they look for: "Well, there's certainly not one specific genre type. We're picking up documentaries, we're picking up foreign-language films, domestic films, American films, and some are smaller budget, some are larger budget, some mainstream casts, some are unknown casts. But, I'd say the common thread is really just films that I and other people at the company like for one reason or another. Films that make us laugh or that are informative, but it's pretty all over the place. You have to feel like the film has some redeeming quality, feel moved by it for some reason. We're not going to pick up films that are just marketable because they're marketable, if we don't like them that much."
Oscilloscope also changed the way film distribution worked by launching something called The Circle of Trust, a subscription program that automatically sent fans their next 10 DVDs, all of which are made without plastic and printed on FSC Certified 80% post-consumer waste paper. Yauch not only wanted to discover new talent, but he also wanted to discover new ways for you to find and consume said talent. He was a true visionary, and he never stopped creating while discovering new, emerging creators. He will forever be missed, but his humanitarian efforts, his music, his films, his passion, his spirit and his art will never be forgotten.
In 2011, Yauch directed a short film called Fight For Your Right (Revisited). It was his final project. Watch it below.
And here's a great Charlie Rose interview with the Beastie Boys
And, finally, just because ...