Monday, May 7, 2012
The Billyman and The Beastie Boys: An Appreciation
Unfortunately, Billy passed away a few years later from cancer. However, the trip continued. In fact, the trip affectionately became known as "The Billyman" (Billy would always add the word "man" to the end of whomever he was speaking to- as in, "What's up, Mikey-man?"), and it grew to 40 and on some years, 44 people.
The trip is the greatest. Its 3-4 days of hanging with your buddies- pounding beers and pounding golf balls, and the people of York and the staff at Heritage Hills, treat us like royalty year after year, usually putting up with plenty of night time shenanigans and a significant lack of sobriety.
On Friday, while eating lunch after our early round, my wife texted me a link notifying me of Adam Yauch's, aka MCA from the Beastie Boys, death. I was floored.
To be honest, in the initial few seconds or so after seeing the link, and then hopping onto twitter to see any other related news about it, I was grasping to remember which Adam from the Beasties that was. (Adam Horovitz, aka King Ad Rock, being the other). But I quickly remembered that MCA did have cancer, and had missed the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame induction a few weeks earlier.
My friends and I growing up- guys like Thomas and Coyle and Leone and Beasley and Jenkins- LOVED the Beastie Boys. "Licensed to Ill" and the brilliant "Paul's Boutique", were the soundtrack to our Junior High and High School years, and beyond. In fact, Thomas, Coyle, and I even started a rap group that actually produced two songs, one of which we performed at a high school variety show.
For me personally, I fortunately have not had to deal with a parent or sibling or close friend's death. And for whatever reason, I kept thinking about this guy's death all weekend after hearing the news. I'm not sure if it was for the before mentioned reasons, or the fact that myself and my boys appreciated the Beasties music so much, but I just couldn't shake that news. And it was huge reminder of my own mortality.
However, I found a comforting irony in being at Billyman and being around so many friends when learning about MCA's death. Here I am on a golf trip that was started by a friend of ours who passed from cancer, and now I find out one of my musical heroes has passed from cancer. And on Friday evening, when I was sitting at the bar tipping back some cold ones with my boy Thomas and others, and the bartenders honored our request to turn up "Fight For Your Right" through the bar and restaurant's stereo speakers, I must say I started to feel better.
The Billyman, and the legacy of the guy who started it, continues on thanks to some great people I know. Organizing and getting 40 people to commit to 3-4 days of golf and debauchery, is a lot harder than it sounds. But in the end, its a priceless trip, for the great times had with great people. And for my man MCA, he will live on through the music he and the other Beastie Boys made, and the memories I and others have from growing up, a lot of which were coupled with a Beasties song.
That is the power of great friends and great music. And I say thank you to both.