Unboxing the Past

While American Hardcore showed up on my radar in 1984. It wasn’t until 86′ when I old enough to trade in getting turned away at the gates of CBGB’s to actually getting in and participating. While my earliest shows there included the likes of 7 Seconds, Jodie Fosters Army and Blast. It was the local bands I felt most closely aligned will. As I had gone from trips to Manhattan’s Tower Records and Bleeker Bob’s to seek out records from acts such as the Circle Jerks, Black Flag and The Dead Kennedy’s as early as 84′. It wasn’t until my first visits to nearby Some Records that I really found out what was happening in my ever expanding back yard. Those early trips to Duane’s basement refuge allowed me to get to know the bands and people involved in what was a very communal scene. One of the bands I caught on to early on was the N.Y. Hoods. The Hoods, along with a handful of bands like Krakdown, Side By Side, Sick of it All and Token Entry filled my ears while guiding me on a course I’d follow for years to come.

N.Y. Hoods (1 of 1)

Years later I would sell all my original demo cassettes and first pressings on Ebay. While the monetary returns seem great at the time. The regret I would later feel, far outweighed my choice to sell. Years later, the demo was reissued as a 7′ inch EP, but in all honesty. The reissue could never replace the feeling that little cassette tape gave me. That was until my neighbor and friend knocked on the door. Once again bringing me a blast from our shared past. And while the reels may never again scream out “Mirrors of Reality”. The image itself will allow me to have tangible evidence of a part of my past I am still very fond of. Here’s to the next knock on my door. J.D. 

N.Y. Hoods Lyrics (1 of 1)

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An Interview with Kevin Egan of Beyond

As a band, Beyond always stood out for me both musically and lyrically. Their metal tinged guitars and sociological lyrics still give both my ears and conscious a workout whenever I listen. During their short, yet spirited time together. I was able to see them perform at some memorable places with bands such as Gorilla Biscuits, Youth of Today and Killing Time. A few days prior to Revelation Records vinyl release of Beyond’s 1988 Dew it Demo and Live on WNYU’s Crucial Chaos. I reached out to Beyond frontman Kevin Egan to talk about the band, it’s legacy and Beyond’s upcoming show at Brooklyn’s St. Vitus. The following is what transpired.  J.D.

James: I pre-ordered my copy of “Dew it / WNYU” just hours before it became officially released. What are your personal feelings on what is a pretty nice document of your teen years?

rev160Kevin: I’m stoked. It’s rare that someone creates something at the age of 17 like we did with the demo and then 28 years later a label like Revelation wants to release it. That’s just awesome. And I love that demo to this day. I’m still very proud of it. Like you said it’s a good document of my teen years, but it’s also a document of my musical origins. I never stopped playing music, so it blows my mind to see where I come from compared to where I am currently at.

James: Can you tell me what made what led to Revelation Records making this opportunity?

Kevin: They contacted us. We got an email from Jordan saying he would love to release it, along with the WNYU performance and we were totally into it. Again, the demo means a lot to us. We recorded it at the studio in our hometown Holbrook New York and the next weekend brought it to SomeRrecords. We never thought it would’ve blown up the way it did. Having Duane Rosignal (Some Records) and Porcell (Youth of Today) get psyched about that demo was huge. It opened up a lot of doors for us.

James: I remember a post on their website stating they would also be reissuing “No Longer at Ease”. Is that still in the works?

Kevin: Oh yeah, I think they may even be pushing up its release and it might be available early next year.

James: Do these reissues give you any sense of closure? Or perhaps open the doors to future collaborations with Vic, Tom or Alan?

Kevin: Not really. My sense of closure came after the band initially broke up in 1989. Now it’s just something that happens every couple of years. Beyond comes back into my life. I almost expect it and even welcome it, for no other reason then I get to spend more time with longtime friends.

James; Strangely enough, my first recollections of Beyond predated hearing the band. I recall reading a rather glowing review in New Breed Fanzine. The other memory that has always stuck with me was how excited Civ and Walter (Gorilla Biscuits) were about playing with you for the first time. Notable considering they were already well known in NY and Beyond was just starting out.

Kevin: Like I said, we were very lucky to have Porcell discovering our demo. It opened up a lot of doors for us. As a result, our demo was introduced to Walter and other people in the Gorilla Biscuits and we were able to play shows with them. That was amazing for a 17-year-old kid to be opening up for some of his favorite bands.

James: While Beyond often played shows with and were sometimes grouped with bands like Gorilla Biscuits and Youth of Today. Sound wise and lyrically you were quite different. I always felt you sounded more like Iron Maiden meets Life’s Blood. As apposed to say 7 Seconds meets Youth of Today. What places and experiences were you channeling with songs like Hoax, What Awaits Us and Vampire Empire?

Kevin: We were definitely listening to Iron Maiden. We grew up with them and after we discovered hardcore, we went back to them just because they were so musically interesting, we felt we weren’t done with them yet.

James: Reuniting for something like Revelation’s 25th anniversary, This is Hardcore or in your case Black N’ Blue Ball tends to rekindle old friendships, as well as sparking new energy as well as a sense of unfinished business. Many of the bands we played with or went to see during that long ago time have since reunited to tour the world, record and.. well… tour. Was there ever a moment during or after that performance where someone in the band suggested something along those lines. If not, is it something you think you’d be open to?

Kevin: It’s come up. We talked about it. I don’t think we’re opposed to it. The only thing is we all have jobs and Vic lives in Japan, so it would take a lot to get us to overcome those things, but I think if the right opportunity came up, we would take them.

James: Do you still identify with the songs you created with Beyond?

Kevin: Yes. It’s just a matter of thinking of the songs in a different context. As a 45-year-old man, I relate to a song like What Awaits Us a lot more than I did at 17 because suddenly my mortality is a real thing. I was always impressed how Tom could write a song like that at such a young age. Also, a lot of our songs were about the inability to connect with other people. I still experience that as an adult.

James: As much as the music (Particularly that of “No Longer at Ease”) have always moved me. It’s the amazing talent within the band and what each of you went off to do post Beyond that really blows my mind. At the time, did any of you feel as if you were limited as to what you could do within the limited scope of what was deemed acceptable within Hardcore? Did any of that or the projects that would follow lead to the bands breaking up?

Kevin: I don’t think any of us felt limited by hardcore. We loved hardcore. That’s what we wanted to do. We just saw the possibilities of hardcore being bigger than what was presented at the time. We wanted to introduce other types of music while still remaining within the confines of hardcore. I would say the only other project that contributed to Beyond’s break up was Tom’s involvement in Bold. But even that was minimal. Vic had moved to California and I was going away to college, so there were a lot of factors leading to the break up of the band.

James: I spent a few hours immersed in the book that’s included with the LP. Read it from front to back before I ever took the record out of the sleeve. Strangely enough I really identified with it in a very personal way. That show at the Anthrax that’s pictured as well as the Boiling Point cover and the interview. There was one particular show at The Anthrax when you played with Killing Time and Gorilla Biscuits. The fact that I shared real estate with Alan just out of high school. Excuse all my chatter but, with all these memories being stirred up, I’m wondering how much of an impact that time, the music and being a cog in what was a very unique family on you. We’ve all gone on to do things with our lives Yet many of us find ourselves going back to that time with a sense of romanticism. How do you feel about the band and it’s impact on the people who were there to experience it?

Kevin: That time in my life was definitely the ground on which I was able to build some sort of musical life for myself. Without Beyond, there never would’ve been a 1.6 Band, Last Crime or any of my acoustic projects. The fact that I was able to do Beyond informed me of what I was capable of doing and from there I just kept t10632326_1492237371089248_504404357_nrying new things. I’m a romantic person by nature so I look back at every time in my life with fondness, except the bad times of course. The only difference with my time in Beyond was, again, that was the ground on which I was able to build other things. I was very lucky to have that.

As far as Beyond’s impact on other people, I don’t know how much we impacted other people as much as we were just part of this thing that happened at this specific time. Within that scene, everyone was having an impact on everyone else. That’s what made it so special.

James: You have a show coming up this month at St. Vitus. How did it all come together? Will Vic be joining you?

Kevin: Noisey and Tony Rettman contacted Tom about the show. He messaged me and I told him I was down. A few different venues were tossed around but ultimately St. Vitus worked out. Vic is definitely playing with us. When the idea for the show came up, I thought it was best to ask Vic.  I figured it would feel more authentically like Beyond if he played. He’s also one of my oldest friends, so it will be extra special to be playing with him.

To order Dew it! Live Crucial Chaos WNYU

For Show Information and Tickets