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

Results of a Recent Record Haul.

Earlier this week  I stopped over at my friend Dave G. place to check out some of the records he’s selling. A good friend and co creator of my other blog United By Rocket Science. Dave has the most impressive and obsessive record collection I’ve ever seen. In recent months I’ve missed out on a number or record shows he’s sold at and wanted to catch up with him before what he was selling got into the wrong hands. As I find myself greying out of my crate digging and my gas eating record store runs. I am reminded that the best source for records is just up the road at Dave’s. Here’s a brief rundown of what I acquired. J.D.

Uppercut – Four Walls

1280x1280While I often find myself thinking my love for Hardcore music has gone the way of the three finned shark… Uppercut, as well as Alone in a Crowd were two bands I missed the chance to score on vinyl when they were originally released. Not for any lack of interest or appreciation. Let’s just say, shit got busy that year. When it comes down to Uppercut. After acquiring Blackout Records “Where the Wild Things Are”. I found myself stretched for an answer to worst New York Hardcore ode to Straight Edge (pro, con, undecided) While BOLD’s “Nailed to the X” and the Project X laugh track “SXE Revenge” shared the crown. Uppercut’s “Am I Clear” garnered  points with it’s non committal, non relevant and strangely Unclear lyrics.

No For An Answer – A Thought Crusade

California’s No For An Answer were one of the major powerhouses of the late 80’s Straight Edge movement. Often grouped with West Coast contemporaries Insted, Chain of Strength and others, R-412872-1162304874.jpegThey’re sound, to me at least to me, was like Uniform Choice on steroids. While NFAA’s music was driven by testosterone driven guitar leads and aboriginal rhythms. Dan O’Mahoney’s lyrics were always smart in introspective. Along with Insted and Chain of Strength. No For An Answer were guests during my short lived residence at “The Straight Edge House.” They were one of the five bands I interviewed for the second issue of Unite Fanzine and I had the displeasure of driving them to LaGuardia Airport for their departure shortly after their set at CBGB’s “Free For All” with Token Entry, Rest in Pieces and Boston’s Wrecking Crew. I say “Displeasure” considering the experience led me to pen the song “Dan O’Mahoney don’t tip.” Still, this is a great record that I feel eclipsed the Revelation Records 7′ “You Laugh”. Selling this back in 2,000 along with all of my other HXC and Punk records still remains as one of my only regrets. Retrieving it for less than I sold it for is a nice reward.

Mission of Burma – 5 Song S/T 45 RPM 12′

Total eye candy and one of the first records I put aside to purchase. Mission of Burma were an essential part of my indoctrination to melodic punk and hardcore. For reasons that can only be described as “Just listen to any and all Revolution Summer releases on Dischord Records.” I always pegged Mission as a DC band. And why not. The bands melodic, smart post punk sound fit the bill of bands like Embrace, Rites of Spring and 3. Yet came about almost ten years prior. Needles to say, this was a nice pick up. One that will get some serious playing time.

The Clash – This is Radio Clash 12′ Promo 

It’s been some time since I’ve thought of the Clash as anything more than a vehicle for consumerism and cash. Funny since they were my first love and most important band of Punks I’d ever lent my ears to. Regardless of my disgust in hearing songs that changed my life being used to sell anything and everything. Seeing an old Clash record in a bin still gives me a sweet chubby. As I fondly recall “London Calling” being the first record I ever bought with my own money and the first concert I convinced my mom to take me to. “This is Radio Clash” as one of the first 12′ inch singles to find a home within my cassettes, 45’s and albums. Still a personal favorite. “This is Radio Clash” comfortable sits somewhere in the midst of my top ten songs the Clash released in their time. That apocalyptic theme and those cattle prod beats. I always felt it had a “Planet Rock” funky appeal to it. Safe to say, I am hyped to have this one back amongst the classics I still hold dear.

Superchunk – Fishing / Cool

One can never have enough Superchunk in their life. And while I often catch myself musing over how “On the Mouth: and “No Pocky for Kitty” changed the way I viewed life and listened to music. It was the early singles that first made me fall head over hind for Superchunk. Back then or at any time for that matter. Throwing down a few bucks for a Superchunk EP, LP or show was like getting a money back guarantee that would always be too good to ever want your money back. And while both “Fishing” and “Cool” are by no means new to me. Hearing them both on 7 inch format made them even more endearing to me.

Laughing Hyenas – Here We Go Again / 

OOH, looky here! The one and only John Brannon at what could very possibly be his very best. While John and his former band Negative Approach were key influences in my early days of Hardcore and a much cherished indoctrination to the dark side. Laughing Hyenas, his post NA band somehow managed to elude my ears. Having heard so much about this band in recent years. I’ve felt somewhat of a loss to what I might have missed out of. So when I saw this record amongst the piles of goodies being offered to me at a reasonable price. This beauty made it to the top of the pile. Just seconds in I’m being reminded of how much I, indeed missed out on. “Here We Go Again” is a rip your throat out to spare your heart goliath. I’m already on my forth listen in one sitting and I’m already geared up for the fifth. Side B’s “Candy” stops just a few steps away from “just as good” while just as savage. Blast this over the speakers on Halloween and you’ll be able to eat all of that candy by yourself. I feel as if this will inspire me to pick up everything I can and more from this band. Someone please point me in the right direction,

Lemonheads – Luka B/W Strange/Mad

Lemonheads-Luka-Black-Yel-482571Fuck, it’s hard to believe or remember The Lemonheads were once Punk, let alone on TAANG records. Lucky considering how great they were as both Punks and Indie Pop darlings. Listening to this reminds me of all the awesome singles we used to pick up at places such as Pier Platters (R.I.P.) and …. Side A features a cover of Suzzane Vega’s “Luka”. This is so damn good. Lots of sneered distortion meets garage rock grime. I would put this up against any Nirvana track, sit back and watch and watch as Evan put Kurt to shame. Side B keeps the garage party rocking with “Strange” and “Mad”. This is a single to get dirty with. No doubt about it. This is the Lemonheads I was introduced to via cassette by high school friend Gilbert Hoffman while tearing around the streets of Wayne, NJ.

Outspoken – Survive

A recent shipment from RevHQ included the all encompassing “Spotlight” featuring the band Outspoken’s entire recorded output. At the time of the order I had no recollection of what the band sounded like. While I remembered having a copy of “Survive”. It was one of the records whose image stuck with me more than the music ever did. Par for the course when you start buying too many records. Fortunately for me, “Spotlight” turn out to be one of my favorites from that particular bulk order. Even reconnecting me to a long time favorite song from the 1996 Anti-Matter compilation. One I had no idea who recorded. Needless to say,FullSizeRender when I scoped it one of the many crates and boxes Dave put on display. I felt the need to reacquire. Visually, it brought me back to the days when every SXE kidded was a vegetarian and every SXE record and fanzine included enough P.E.T.A. propaganda to make even the most dedicated carnivore feel a little bad about themselves. Overall this is pretty good stuff. I record I might have held on to longer if I had listened more than once. A nice reminder of why I love the 7 inch EP format so much.

Shelter – No Compromise

Here’s another record I owned in the 90’s and sold on Ebay years later. As I recall, I shot down every opportunity to embrace Shelter as a band or Krishna Conscious as a way of life. At the time HXC had already become more about rules and boundaries than music and despite the fact that many of my friends were trading in their combat boots for saffron and krishna beads.4409519782_237a4eeb28 I wasn’t the least bit interested. Eventually though, due to a close friends descent towards becoming a devotee. I gave the band a listen. Looking back while listening years later. “No Compromise” wasn’t that bad a record. “Freewill” still has that fast, tempered energy with lyrics that anyone in the throws of rebellion can identify. And while “Sarangati” is by far, the weaker track. It’s not a bad one at all. Having done my share or reading and researching. LIke most religions, you take the best parts and apply them to your own beliefs. There’s no need to join a commune and spend your life begging for donations while playing shitty Indian music.

Spinanes – A Handful of Singles from the band

The Spinanes are another 90’s Indie act I kind of missed the boat on. (I missed a lot of boats in the 90’s.) Having had a recent interest in tracking down some of the groups records over the past year. I should have known I need to look no further than my friend Dave for these. As I’ve already listened to two of the four singles I picked out of the pile. I realize that I’d best had steered clear of this act. For me personally, this is just flat out boring, After two singles I’m reminded why everyone was on heroin in the 90’s. Not my thing, might be the biggest understatement you’ll ever see on this blog. To quote Leonardo DiCaprio in The Departed “Why don’t you just give me a bottle of scotch and a handgun.”