As news spreads via social media this afternoon about the death of Beastie Boys co-founder Adam Yauch, a tweet from the screenwriter Josh A. Cagan, West Hartford native and son of my colleague Korky Vann, stood out: “Ow,” he wrote. “My childhood hurts. #RIPMCA”
I can relate: the Beastie Boys headlined the first concert I ever saw, in July 1987, at Red Rocks Amphitheater in Morrison, Colo., outside Denver. Run D.M.C. opened. I was 11.
Mostly I remember them jumping around on stage, spraying each other with beer and dropping f-bombs, to the chagrin of my father, who had no idea what he was getting himself in to. I knew all the words to “Fight for Your Right” and “Paul Revere,” even if I was too young to know what they actually meant.
It was clearly a formative experience, though, and one that undoubtedly played a role in steering me toward a career writing about music. I never met Yauch, or spoke with him — in fact, that show at Red Rocks was the only time I ever saw the Beastie Boys live — but I’m grateful to him for planting a seed all those years ago. My childhood hurts, too.