I'm absolutely terrible at typing people, but I find Yauch to be particularly hard to how intense of a personality shift he went through during his career. He famously went from a womanizing, drug-using, immature musician, to a quiet, thoughtful, charitable Buddhist. Below, I've listed quotes to try and give people a general feel about who he is. There aren't many quotes from when he was at his most "wild stage", but I thought I would include what I could to see if a pattern could be found even that old behavior as well.
- I was always tearing stuff apart to see how it worked.
- I kind of have tunnel vision about different things. I kind of have blinders. I focus on a few things at a time.
- I feel that working with the camera and editing it is actually my strong suit.
- I do think that all of the well wishes have contributed to the fact that my treatment and recovery are going well.
- It feels good to play a little music / Tears running down my face 'cause I love to do it
- Simmons: Yauch and Horovitz are more spiritual and a little more sensitive to things that Diamond's not interested in...They're the craziest and the most artistic.
- “I was debating between the idea of being a celibate and becoming a monk or actually having family,” he said during an interview with Rolling Stone. “I was deciding whether or not I wanted to try being in a serious relationship or just stay on my own…Dechen and I started spending some time together and hanging out, it just felt like it would be great to have a family. That would be the right thing to do.”
- He had this tenacity and faith before he discovered Buddhism. His mom said that was already there. No matter how straight-up nuts an idea was, he had the ability to follow through on things he believed in.
- I love the flow of the game. There's a certain fluidity to basketball. I don't enjoy watching baseball or football in the same way.
- Fresh snow is amazing. The board is real different... it floats on the powder and goes really fast. If you're riding a longboard, it's more like surfing than skiing.
- “[Greenwich Village] is the gay area and I’ve lived here all my life and I hate faggots,” spits Adrock [Adam Horovitz].
“You hate homosexuals?”
“I really do…I shouldn’t have said that. I’ve got a lot of gay friends but…you don’t know what it’s like growing up in this neighborhood.”
“Yo! Adam!” MCA [Adam Yauch] has correctly diagnosed a dodgy quote situation. “We do not need to go into that. What Adam’s talking about – I’ll give you this, he definitely hates gay people – but the reason for that is that in this neighborhood, when you’re five years old, when you’re walking down the street a lot of ‘disgusting’ faggots who hang around here aren’t like just gay people – normal gay people – all the sickos who are gay hang about on Christopher Street and they see kids and they walk up to them and they say ‘Hey, kid, I’ll give you five bucks if you suck my dick,’ y’know?”
- Doctor Dre: On the tour, Ad-Rock drilled a hole in the floor of the hotel and put a hose down into Yauch's room to see if they could fill it up with water. Another time we were in London and MCA jumped off the third-floor balcony into the pool. We were banned from Holiday Inns for the rest of our lives. I still can't get into a Holiday Inn! I tried the other day and they said, "We have your picture with those other guys."
- The Captain: In the early days, it was always Adam and Adam against Mike. Those two used to room together, while me and Mike would room together. They would definitely pick on him. I woke up one morning and there was a pile of dirt on Mike's bed. They'd broken into the hotel room in the middle of the night and dumped a potted plant on him.
- Cushman: One night we had been drinking tequila...Yauch had this gun he was shooting, and then this car is coming down the street. All of a sudden, Yauch just picks up the gun and levels it. He aimed off about 20 feet, but shot in the basic direction of the car. I remember it swerving and I was like, "Oh...my...God." I just started booking, fucking running as fast as I can to get back to his apartment. Finally we get in the door and we're quiet for a moment. I was like, "Why?" and he said, "I don't know."
- The Captain: We were playing a show somewhere and things had gotten really foul. Yauch decided that he didn't want to go onstage. Mike and AD-Rock ran out like maniacs, but Yauch sat on a flight case off to the side and delivered his lines. Then he dumped a bucket of beer into the middle of the stage and stomped up and down on it. In the middle of a song, he threw a little temper tantrum, going "bored, bored,bored,bored." That epitomized how it had gone too far.
- King: We'd go skiing together and Yauch would bring along a vial of liquid acid to drop in his eyes when he started hitting the slopes--the double black diamonds.
- Rubin: Yauch embraced the out-of-control, rock'n'roll thing more than anyone else. Looking back, I think he was searching for who he was, and now he's found that person. It makes perfect sense to me that he was the way he was and ended up the way he is.
- Simmons: I told Yauch to go punch [jam Master] Jay in the face. We got on the cover of every paper all over the world. The Beasties did it 'cause it was fun. I did it because it would make us money.
- Adam Dubin (codirector, "Fight for Your Right (to party)"): Just before Licensed to Ill came out, [Ad-Rock and MCA] were having conversations about whether or not to kick Mike D out, whether he was cool enough to be in the band. They'd ask different people whether he was "Beastie down." It was only by a pretty slim margin that they kept him in.
- Doctor Dre: Yauch would fuck anybody-he'd fuck the fish if they were in the fishbowl. Then he'd act like he was the holiest man-that's what would kill me.
- The Captain: The fly girlies were into Yauch, because he had the swarthy George Michael thing.
- Madonna: I think I made out with Adam Yauch once in the dressing room.
- The Captain (Mike D's former roommate; former road manager): Yauch was definitely the worst-the swarthy Beastie Boy with the leather jacket, swaggering and slumping.
- John Berry (former Beastie Boy): When I first met Adam Yauch, he was the funniest mutherfucker I'd ever met in my life. He had this incredible knack for picking up somebody's voice. He was really into Monty Python, especially the "Silly Walk" skit.
Regret towards past behavior
- We actually became just what it was that we'd set out to make fun of.
- I didn't realize how much harm I was doing back then and I think a lot of rap artists probably don't realize it now. I said a lot of stuff fooling around back then, and I saw it do a lot of harm.
- When I was younger, I felt like I could say anything and it was funny. I've started to realize that what I say and do does affect everybody around us. I'm not just talking about what you put on a record - even just walking into a store and how you interact with the person behind the checkout counter.
- That's the strange thing about making a record. You can be in one mood for an hour, put it on a record, and you're remembered that way.
- Just as we were finishing 'Paul's Boutique' we got our own places, and I was going out to clubs a lot less. I got a bit more introverted and spent a lot more time on my own reading. I would just go down to the esoteric bookstore and wander around.
- Adams: They were living very differently when they were in California. Yauch was living in a log cabin.
- The Captain: When Yauch came back from Tibet, he had definitely changed. The whole Buddhist thing is detaching yourself from pleasures and material goods-at this point, he's even given up snowboarding. He's sworn off drinking for life. But he still has a big-screen tv.
- If you are striving to have more happiness in your life, it helps to guide your mind towards starting to recognize what are selfish motivations and what are constructive motivations.
- Every action that we take has some motivation of either being selfish or altruistic. All that adds up
- Everybody has a responsibility for what they put out into the world. Rather than trying to figure out what other people should be doing, work on your own interactions in the world and whatever influence they have. All of it has an effect..
- If we keep bombing other people, that creates more anger. Tensions keep escalating.
- I meditate in the morning and before I go to sleep. These are usually the main times because, before I go to sleep, I can get focused on what happened during the day, pull that into perspective, and that'll make my sleep a little more peaceful.
- What Western society teaches us is that if you get enough money, power, and beautiful people to have sex with, that's going to bring you happiness. That's what every commercial, every magazine, music, movie teaches us. That's a fallacy.
- It's pretty easy to see that... wealth doesn't really equal happiness.
- I want to say a little something that's long overdue, the disrespect to women has got to be through. To all the mothers and the sisters and the wives and friends, I wanna offer my love and respect till the end.
- I won’t sell my songs for no TV Ad.
- Just keep putting out music. Don't think whether it's a hit or not and people will get you.
- Evan Bernard (director, "Root Down"): At first when people would call Yauch a Buddhist, he'd say he wasn't a Buddhist, because he didn't feel that he was committed enough to command that label. But I guess now he's full-on. He doesn't like me bringing food into his apartment. He's afraid that it would attract bugs and he can't kill anything.
- Mack: Yauch didn't want any guns in the magazine, or any glorification of violence. He was going through a Pharcyde layout [in the first issue] and he noticed that one of the guys was flashing a gun. We hadn't even noticed, but he was like, "What the hell is this?"
- "[Yauch] shook my hand and talked to me and my mum like he knew us. The guy was a true gent when you think about how many fans he must have met on a daily basis,"
- But [Yauch] was never dogmatic about [Buddhism]. He’d say, “You should see these monks. They love playing practical jokes on each other.” When we were smashing cars in the “Sabotage” video, it was the same thing. We just did it with mustaches and wigs
Speaking about Tibet
- From being in Tibet and being around Tibetans, I feel like I've learned so much more about what brings a person happiness, about what actually brings myself happiness
- It just seemed like Buddhism, especially Tibetan Buddhism - because that's mainly what I've been exposed to - was a real solid organization of teachings to point someone in the right direction. Some real well thought out stuff. But I don't know, like, every last detail about Buddhism.
- The teachings of Tibetan Buddhism have been passed down for a long time now. They have that system pretty well figured out.