Artist News

Beastie Boys founder John Berry dies

By | Published on Monday 23 May 2016

Original Beastie Boys

Founder member of Beastie Boys John Berry has died, aged 52. He had been living with frontal lobe dementia, which recently worsened, his father told Rolling Stone.

Berry, who was credited with coming up with the group’s name, founded Beastie Boys as a hardcore punk band with Michael Diamond while at school. They were later joined by Adam Yauch, who died in 2012, and future Luscious Jackson drummer Kate Schellenbach, releasing their debut EP, ‘Polly Wog Stew’, in 1982.

Shortly after the release Berry left the band and was replaced by Adam Horovitz. Their next single was 1983’s ‘Cooky Puss’, which saw them move into hip hop and the musical direction for which they would become known.

After leaving the group, Berry played guitar in a number of bands, including Even Worse, Big Fat Love, Highway Stars and Bourbon Deluxe. He was later diagnosed with frontal lobe (or frontotemporal) dementia, a rare form of early onset dementia which typically begins between the ages of 45 to 65 and is caused by the shrinking of the frontal lobes, affecting personality, behaviour and language comprehension.