BEYOND AT CBGB, NYC | PHOTO: BOILING POINT
I can still remember the first time I heard the Beyond demo, it sounded like no other hardcore demo that I had heard at the time. It was still clearly hardcore, but it was all somehow put together in a unique way. Maybe it was the musicianship, maybe it was the song writing, whatever it was, it stood out and I was an instant fan.
Twenty six years later and the Beyond demo is still one of my all time favorite hardcore demos. I love the “No Longer At Ease” LP as well and Beyond is just one of those bands that always sounds fresh every time I listen to them. I think the combination of all that talent and knowing what all the members went on to do (Kevin: 1.6 Band, Tom: BOLD, Quicksand, Handsome, Vic: Inside Out, Shelter, 108, Alan: Burn, Quicksand), is proof that Beyond was the early stages of something very special.
This Sunday, May 18th 2014, Beyond is reuniting to play the Black N Blue Bowl at The Well in Brooklyn. There’s also plans for a complete Beyond discography on Revelation for the near future. Make it out on Sunday if you can, keep an ear and eye out for the upcoming Beyond Discog and for now, dig into what Tom and Kevin had to say to us here at Double Cross. -Tim DCXX
KEVIN AND TOM WITH BEYOND AT THE ANTHRAX | PHOTO: DAVE RABENOLD
What bands or artists do you cite as having an early heavy influence on your musical interest, before punk or hardcore?
Tom: Outside of hardcore punk, our influences before the band included metal. The crossover and thrash metal bands like Metallica, D.R.I. Slayer and C.O.C., and there’s even traditional metal like Iron Maiden that influenced our playing.
What was your first introduction to punk/hardcore and at that time what bands/artists were you most interested in?
Tom: First introduction to punk rock was buying records at 8 years old. I started buying stuff that looked punk in record stores. It was the classic punk stuff like Ramones and Sex Pistols. It influenced my taste in music and lead me into seeking for more subversive music like hardcore, post punk, thrash metal and industrial gothic. I found punk appealing at an early age because of the anti-social message as reflected in film and magazines in the 1980s. The music was futuristic, dangerous and its primal nihilistic attitude spoke to me. I didn’t feel like I fit in with society and found the subversive subculture of punk as my first musical community. Hence Beyond was a perfect vehicle for me at the time to express my individuality and rebellion.
Kevin: The first hardcore record I bought was 7-Seconds “The Crew”. The local record store had a little section in the back for punk and HC records. I was into metal at the time but was becoming interested in checking out HC. When I saw the name Kevin Seconds, I thought that was the coolest thing. Not only because it was a variation on the band’s name but because he also had the name Kevin. That was the connection for me.
BEYOND AT THE PYRAMID CLUB, NYC | PHOTO: BOILING POINT
Prior to Beyond, what bands or attempts at bands had you done; where, when, with whom, etc.?
Kevin: For a split second I was in a metal cover band called Espionage with guys we went to high school with. We played Metallica and Megadeth covers. Tom was in a band called Third Planet with some of the guys from 1.6 Band, who also went to the same high school.
Tom: My first attempts were through bands like 1000 mph and Third Planet. 1000 mph made two demos in 1985 that had a NYC Mayhem and DRI sound with short fast songs. Then when Beyond became a band, Vic and Kevin got involved and we went into a more Misfits direction and occult influenced sound. The name changed to The Ghastly 1000 and we made a demo and live tapes with that. The Ghastly 1000 took place when Beyond was a band, but was kept as an inner circle kind of thing mostly within our high school in Long Island.
My first real performance in music was with the band Third Planet. I played guitar and sang. Third Planet had a crossover sound between hardcore and thrash, like The Crumbsuckers. It was a short lived project lasting a performance at school and a show at a local bar. The experience with Third Planet gave me a taste of being in a band and I wanted to continue that passion. The song “Vitality” was originally a song I wrote with Third Planet and kept as the first song and template for Beyond.
What was the idea for Beyond and how did that differ from previous bands and attempts? What was the real DNA of the Beyond sound, lyrics, and presentation of the band? Was it even a conscious thing as young kids playing hardcore?
Tom: Me and Kevin were very conscious about the idea of Beyond. We wanted to be positive hardcore band yet also be different. The name Beyond was chosen because it represented overcoming negativity and hinted at mysteriousness. The lyrics were hopeful and dealt with fear and anxieties about the world. Me and Kevin were also Straight Edge, at the same time we didn’t want to wear Xs in Beyond performances because we felt like it might exclude others. The lyrics were positive and dealt with fear and anxiety about the world. We drew influences mainly from Minor Threat, Youth Of Today and Cro-Mags. Consciously we wanted to be original and we tried to expand what hardcore was.
Kevin: Tom was in a band called Third Planet with some of the guys from 1.6 Band. There were a couple of Third Planet songs that would become Beyond songs (‘Vitality’ and ‘Effort’, though ‘Effort’ was called ‘Faith’ at the time). Tom and I were really into the DC bands at the time, especially Dag Nasty, so when we started writing songs, our love of that band was what inspired songs like “Seasons” and “What Awaits Us”. I think Minor Threat and Youth Of Today were the two bands that were the biggest inspiration on the other songs. I think the Crumbsuckers influenced us too, not so much on the kind of music we were playing, but just by the fact that they were skilled musicians who were still able to play hardcore and make it interesting for people who weren’t into complex music. Their musicianship and dedication to doing something unique left an impression on us…it was definitely a conscious thing. We wanted to sound like the bands we liked (Minor Threat, YOT and Dag Nasty) but we knew we wanted our own sound too, which would be a blending of those bands plus what we brought to the table. We wanted positive lyrics and lyrics that reflected an introspective perspective.
TOM WITH BEYOND AT THE ANTHRAX | PHOTO: DAVE RABENOLD
How did the scene in Long Island influence what you wanted to do with Beyond, especially on the demo? Was there an interest in being a Long Island band, or was the focus on being a part of the NYHC scene of the time in early 1988?
Kevin: We were proud to be from Long Island. At the beginning of some of our sets, we’d introduce ourselves as “Beyond. We’re from Long Island”. But the truth is, there wasn’t much of a scene at all on Long Island. There was really nothing, so we looked towards the city. We wanted to play CB’s and become part of the NYHC scene. It wasn’t until ’88, ’89 that Sundance started having HC shows but they were few and far between, so again, we looked to the city.
Tom: At the time I didn’t feel like there was much of a Long Island scene, so that’s why we are a New York Hardcore because that’s where we went. I never identified with Long Island and disliked living there. I was taking the train to The Village of NYC and hitting shows, mostly CBGB matinees when I was 15. There was of course The Right Track Inn and Sundance and a small handful of bands. Not much was going on and you had to go the city to find hardcore culture. Today Long Island is the mecca for other scenes and even hardcore. In 1988 in was very different.
You had been going to CB’s matinees and were fixtures of the NYHC scene leading up to the formation of Beyond; what were you experiencing at shows that you wanted to incorporate into Beyond? What did you want to incorporate into Beyond that you weren’t seeing at a typical hardcore matinee of the time?
Tom: When I witnessed shows by Bold, Gorilla Biscuits, Straight Ahead and Youth Of Today I got inspired that I could do the same. To me it was the music and the straight edge lyrics that was radical to me. When Beyond was thought out as a band we didn’t want to imitate but do our own thing. Also we were gathering influences from DC stuff like Embrace and Dag Nasty. I just wanted to create something with the power of all these things.
Kevin: We wanted to be a positive band. We liked what we saw when we went to those kinds of shows. Unity, singing along, etc. We were completely anti-negativity. I think we wanted to bring a musicianship to Beyond. Tom is a great guitar player and songwriter and the guys who played on the demo were great musicians too, so we thought we could bring that to the scene. The Crumbsuckers had done it successfully, so we thought we could do it too.
A HEADLESS CAPONE WITH BEYOND AT CBGB’S, NYC | PHOTO: BOILING POINT