MCA playing Bass at a Cro-Mags show at CBGB’s in 1995

The Cro-Mags’ John Joseph Remembers Adam “MCA” Yauch

The Beastie Boys have great hip-hop moments frozen in time, but for punk rock, these kings were known to share the stage with rock royalty. John Joseph of the Cro-Mags re-tells the story of MCA at CBGB, playing bass for his legendary hardcore band.

MCA playing Bass at a  Cro-Mags show at CBGB’s in 1995

The above photo is from a Cro-Mags show at CBGB’s in 1995. John Joseph remembers the day.

The Beastie Boys roots really were in punk rock.

Their first two shows they opened up for the Bad Brains. One was at Max’s Kansas City, I was at both of the shows, and then the other one was at this club called Trude Heller’s Playroom which was 9th St and 6th ave. Everybody was inspired by the Bad Brains, even when the Beasties were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the band that they thanked was the Bad Brains… twice! So they come from punk rock.

Really it was like, I invited [Adam] but then you don’t know [if he’s gonna come], ’cause they had already sold like millions of records, they were icons. I didn’t like try to pressure him, I said, ‘Yo just come down and shit.’ Then you just heard the whole word spread through the club, ‘Yo MCA from the Beasties is here.’ I didn’t tell anyone that he was gonna come up here and play with us. I like to drop the surprise. So when he walked in everyone was like ‘Oh shit!’ Sold out CB’s, 500 people whatever, and then you start hearing the words all the way to the backstage where we was, ‘Yo MCA is here.’ I didn’t say nothin’. So then when he came up and put the dude’s bass on, that’s when everybody just fuckin’ lost it. ‘We got a friend coming up to do a song with us.’ And then when Adam came up the place just went fuckin’ nuts. And he played [the Bad Brains’ “Right Brigade”] the way [bassist Darryl Jennifer] played it. His bass influence was Darryl. They way he held the bass, attacked the bass, that’s Darryl from Bad Brains.

The whole place went beserk!

And the brother came up all GQed in a shark skin suit.

Adam, love ya brother, you will be missed.

John “Bloodclot” Joseph is a founding member of legendary New York hardcore band the Cro-Mags and author. His first two books, The Evolution of a Cro-Magnum and Meat is for Pussies are out now. He is currently working on a third book. Catch him in the new lookbook for 10 Deep here.

MCA playing Bass at a Cro-Mags show at CBGB’s in 1995

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  • Tyrone

    Yo, Yauch was official! Sad, sad news. Yo, John Joseph is the man, too. Respect to you John for sharing your words on such a monumental individual.

  • Great story. Never knew that went down. Two NYC legends. Beasties and the Mags! It doesn’t get any better than that! RIP MCA…never to be forgotten.