The passing of Beastie Boy Adam Yauch on Friday has left a noticeable void in the hearts of Los Angelenos.
Yauch, better known as “MCA,” died yesterday from complications with cancer at the age of 47. He was initially diagnosed three years ago after doctors found a tumor in his salivary gland. Yauch, along with Michael “Mike D” Diamond and Adam “Adrock” Horovitz, comprised the Beastie Boys, the hip-hop group that first made it big in 1986 with the album “Licensed to Ill.”
The Beastie Boys released eleven albums in total, with eight of those produced by Capitol Records, located in Hollywood. Capitol had no comment on the passing of Yauch but had the flag on top of its building lowered to half-staff in Yauch's memory. In total, the group sold more than 40 million albums.
Though the band was based in Brooklyn, NY, they have strong foundations in the Los Angeles area. They recorded the albums “Check Your Head” and “Paul’s Boutique” in L.A. and also played their first show at the Hollywood Palladium, opening for Run-DMC.
Diamond was one of the co-creators of X-Large, a high-end clothing boutique that first opened in 1991 on Vermont Ave in Los Feliz. Over time XL opened several stores around the country. Today, the only store left in the U.S. is the Los Feliz location, though there are several stores in Japan and China. The store is no longer influenced directly by Diamond, but Beastie Boy fans still frequent the store, say management.
“There’s a heritage here with the Beastie Boys,” Hayden O’Donnell, the current owner of X-Large said Friday, adding that the group have helped add to the shape of the culture of the city.
“They’re originals, O'Donnell said. "Their whole body of work is untouchable.”
Store workers and customers who were aware of Yauch’s death seconded O’Donnell’s thoughts. “Definitely people who shop here are Beastie Boys fans,” said Paul Livingston, a clerk at X-Large. “A lot of people still ask about them and how they’re affiliated with the store.”
Livingston also emphasized the influence that the group has had on The City of Angels and the hip-hop culture over the past 20 years.
“I think one of the first things we sold here were the chinos and t-shirts,” Livingston said, making reference to the group’s signature style. “And those still sell.”
Livingston noted that one customer Friday purchased apparel in honor of Yauch’s passing.
“We’ve already had somebody come in here today just to buy stuff cause he wanted to have something in sort of memory of Adam,” Livingston noted. “I definitely think people are bummed.”
In downtown LA Friday, visitors at the Museum of Contemporary Art were taken aback by the loss of Yauch as well. Diamond has an exhibit at the MOCA called “Transmission LA” that attracts those familiar with the band with a combination of art, music and short films. The exhibit opened April 20th and will close this Sunday. Diamond was on a plane home to New York to be with his family and was unavailable for comment.
“Our kids are huge fans,” said Brian Levant, a visitor at the MOCA who heard about Yauch’s passing just before entering the exhibit Friday morning. “[They] were just inducted into the Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame … [It’s] very sad. I guess they won’t be touring any time soon.” Representatives from the MOCA were not available for comment Friday.