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Sunday, May 22, 2016

Original Beastie Boys Member Dead

There were two other members of the Beastie Boys before they hit big time and they were John Berry and Kate Schellenbach. These two band members only showed on the group’s one recording and that was their debut EP Polly Stew. On Thursday morning, the 52-year-old Berry died at a hospice in Danvers, MA. He had been suffering from frontal lobe dementia, which had just gotten worse since the start of the year.

The Walden School of Manhattan was attended by Berry with Mike Diamond and the two of them brought in drummer Schellenback and bass player Jeremy Stanton to form The Young Aborigines in 1978. Berry had been on guitar while Diamond stuck to vocals. Stanton left the group in July of 1981 and they brought in Adam Yauch. They not only changed their music to hardcore punk, but also adopted the name Beastie Boys, one that has been attributed to Berry. They began to build a fan base slowly and played on numerous venues including A7, CBGB and Max’s Kansas City where the band had been on the bill on the night the club had shut down.

Polly Wog Stew was released by the Beastie Boys in 1982, which was an eight song EP. The album also comprised of the song Egg Raid on Mojo, which became the only song that the band would play for years to come. Berry departed from the group in the same year and Schellenbach left as well in the next year for joining Luscious Jackson. Adam Horovitz replaced the two of them while Jeff went on to play in groups like Bourbon Deluxe, Big Fat Love, Even Worse, Highway Stars and Thwig.

Nonetheless, Berry’s role in the band was definitely not neglected by the Beastie Boys. In 2012, when the band was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, a speech was read by Horovitz written by Adam Yauch who passed away later that year due to cancer at the age of 47. John was mentioned in Yauch’s speech as a formative member of the band in its early years. 

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