John Berry, a founding member of the Beastie Boys, passed away on Thursday (May 19). He was 52.
Berry’s father confirmed the tragic news to Rolling Stone and shared that his son suffered from a worsening case of frontal lobe dementia. Not only is Berry credited with coming up with the group’s name, he helped form the group as well.
After attending the Walden School in New York with Michael Diamond (Mike D), the two met crafted the group with Adam Yauch (MCA) and drummer Kate Schellenbach.
Berry appears as a guitarist on the group’s first seven inch EP, Polly Wog Stewfter, but left shortly after they released an EP with Rat Cage Records. Adam Horovitz (Ad-Rock) would later replace Berry and Schellenbach and the three would see great success.
Although the Beastie Boys still gave Berry his due during their induction speech at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2012. Ad-Rock, who read a speech penned by MCA, thanked Berry’s dad who would “come busting in during our first practices screaming ‘Would you turn that f—— s— off already’.” Berry went on to play for other bands including Even Worse, Big Fat Love, Highway Stars and Bourbon Deluxe.
The Beastie Boys have yet to make a statement on the passing of Berry. Berry joins his fellow Beastie Boy, MCA, who passed in 2012 from cancer.
We want to send our condolences to Berry’s family. May John Berry rest in peace.