The guitarist came up with the band name in 1982.
One of the founding members of the Beastie Boys, John Berry, has died at the age of 52 following complications with his frontal lobe dementia. While he was not one of the more prominent members of the band, he is credited with naming the group.
Beastie Boys founding member dies
On Thursday (May 19th 2016) morning, John Berry passed away at the hospice he was staying at in Danvers, Massachusetts. His father, John Berry III, confirmed the sad news to Rolling Stone later that day, confessing that his dementia had got increasingly worse over the last few months.
The Beastie Boys are more commonly known as a hip hop group, but in actual fact they originally formed as a punk band in 1978 called the Young Aborigines, before Berry re-dubbed them the Beastie Boys in 1981. Berry played guitar in the year that he was a part of the band, and allowed his loft on the Upper West Side of Manhattan to be used as practise space and for their very first gigs.
He was joined by Mike 'Mike D' Diamond, Adam 'MCA' Yauch and Kate Schellenbach, and following his departure he was replaced by Adam 'Ad-Rock' Horovitz who stuck around until the band split in 2012 after the death of Yauch from cancer.
Touchingly, Berry's bandmates never forget the brief tenure of their founding member. When they were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2012, Horovitz read a speech written by Yauch which thanked his old friend: 'To John Berry, to John Berry's loft on 100th Street on Broadway, where John's dad would come busting in during our first practices screaming, 'Would you turn that f***ing s**t off already?'' He said.
Berry's only appearance on a Beastie Boys record was their debut EP 'Polly Wog Stew'. After he left the band, he played in a number of other groups such as Even Worse, Big Fat Love, Highway Stars and Bourbon Deluxe.