Thursday, April 3, 2008

Feedback by TC3

In January 2006, Beyond did two reunion shows. At the time I was in contact with Capone pretty regularly and told him I wanted to do a lengthy Beyond interview with him and the other guys. After he took the time to answer a couple dozen questions, I lost everything from a server crash, and he didn’t have the answers anymore either. The answers were great…very long and detailed with tons of cool stories about everything related to Beyond. I was bummed, but he said he would just re-write what he could remember. While the interview with the other guys never materialized, TC3 did end up sending me a long email that basically recapped the answers he had originally given me. Things mostly summarized Beyond, but he threw in some other stuff too.

Manowar tattoos, Black Magik, Quicksand B-sides, the Handsome record, jamming with Scott Weiland, doing BOLD again…hate it or love it, it all came long after this dude was shredding in Beyond at age 16 on a Jackson while anyone else his age in hardcore was power chording a Les Paul.

I was 16 and met Kevin Egan in high school out in Long Island. He was getting into hardcore and I also knew he “sang,” so I turned him on to Minor Threat, Dag Nasty, Embrace, Verbal Assault, YOT, Crippled Youth/BOLD, and pretty much anything else relevant from NYC, Boston, or DC. Plus we both liked Crumbsuckers a lot. Beyond evolved out of a band I sang for called 3rd Planet which was real Agnostic Front/Crumbsuckers style and definitely pre-Beyond. I wrote a lot of that and kept the song “Vitality,” which was 3rd Planet song I had written.

I got together with Kevin, and as a part of “auditioning” we would go in his car and just have him sing to Minor Threat, and then as we wrote our own stuff, I wrote the music and lyrics and vocal melodies, and again we would go through them in his car. He sounded like Ian to me, so it worked. We were friends with Lance Yager who would end up playing bass for Beyond, and Dom Biocco, who would play drums. Talk about two extremely talented guys, especially considering we were all kids! Don’t get me wrong, Alan Cage was and is still obviously a great drummer, but Alan couldn't even duplicate Dom's stuff when we went to record the Beyond LP. It was so complex to play, even if you didn’t notice it. I was really excited to play again with Dom for the Beyond reunions.

We whipped the Beyond demo out quick, doing it to cassette and making copies fast. Larry “Edge” Goreman, from the Orange 9mm EP and now with Head Automatica and Glassjaw, was a high school hardcore buddy and drew the cover up. After the demo I had a crew in my high school in Long Island that began to develop. We called ourselves the “KING TUT CREW” and in shop class I made a pyramid ring as a symbol. That's why our first shirt had a triangle on it. As far as those demo songs, “Hoax” was about a kid in our crew who faked his straight edge to be cool. “Sap” was a word I used a lot and it caught on with everyone in the Youth Crew too. We called this kid a sap in the song. It was like a straight edge revenge venting-out song. “What Awaits Us Now” I wrote about my grandparents, thinking of their death and my life, so it was deep to me. “Vitality” is about being strong…surviving. “Effort” was the theme for Beyond…a “posi” song to live life by. “Beyond” was the name I chose for the band because I wanted to have a message that went beyond drugs and negativity and also beyond the barriers of hardcore. We were young…we wanted to unite and have a great scene. “Someday” was about all the racism going on at the time. “Feedback” I actually wrote about Alan Cage because he and I butted heads a lot, even before he was in the band. “Ancient Head” was about the kids in high school who just wanted normal boring lives and hung out in a parking lot doing drugs for fun. They were just a bunch of ancient heads. “Vampire Empire” was more about people who use others to gain what they want and suck their life force away. “Care” was a vegetarian song and about caring for others and animals. “Self Interest” was about politicians abusing their power. “One Kind Word” is about getting your say when others try and knock you down. Also on the demo was “Seasons” which we did for the reunion because we didn't put it on the album and the song is sick. That's about growing up and the changes you go through in such a short time…it was pretty Verbal Assault-ish I guess. We eventually dropped a straight edge song on the demo called “Better Things To Do,” mostly so we weren’t locked into just the straight edge scene, plus I was never happy with the song itself. The “dewwwwwit!” demo intro was us goofing around. I loved the WarZone “bugging out” intro and wanted something like that.

So the King Tut Crew started and we all went to shows and we were all straight edge and vegetarian. After the demo was done, I brought it down to Some Records and Bleeker Bob’s in NYC. It sold like hot cakes. Next thing I know, Porcell wrote me a letter saying he thought it was brilliant and wanted us to play with Judge, GB, YOT, and so on. I was so psyched. So that's how we got in with the youth crew. Our first gig was being set up at CBGB's with Token Entry because of the demo response. Before that first gig we decided to let Dom and Lance go because Alan and Vic were our friends and part of our crew and more into hardcore and playing shows and the demo guys were not. So we had a solid hardcore line up. Porcell, Alex Brown, Walter, Sammy and the whole youth crew came out to that first show to it and sang along and moshed it up. It was exciting for us as a young band.

Everybody seemed to love the demo, some zines like Suburban Voice and Maximun Rock N’ Roll reviewed it with kind words. So a buzz began, and I also got closer with the Youth Crew guys. When I was done with high school at 16 in 1988, Porcell and Alex invited me as a roommate in the Brooklyn Schism house, so I went there, and worked at a health food store for 2 year until Quicksand started later on. But anyways, Beyond started playing as much as we could. We played in Long Island with bands like All For One, and got out of town shows with YOT, JUDGE, Warzone, GB, and Project X. We traveled by using my Dad’s van. We called it the "Van Of Suffering," named after the Bad Brains song "House of Suffering.” It had no windows or seats, No AC, and was basically a sauna. Pretty funny, but we were young and didn't care, and we were willing to do whatever we had to do to get out there and play. I also used it to get YOT and GB to shows outside of New York and that was always fun. We traveled with those bands and Beyond played in Cleveland, Buffalo, PA, CT, DC…whatever it took. Some of those shows were with Absolution, Raw Deal, and Collapse, just awesome. We even we used it later on the 1989 last BOLD tour across the country as BOLD and Judge shared it, and GB was playing with us too. No matter what, Mike Judge always had the front seat. Not to jump ahead, but on that ’89 tour when I played with BOLD, a lot of the tour was with Chain of Strength and I became close with Alex and Chris quickly.

Beyond made a conscious decision not to wear Xs even though we were all straight and vegetarian. We wanted to be different and a more of a “unity” band. So we played with everyone, whoever was hardcore and good at the time.

I have to cite Porcell as the big reason Beyond got out there because he championed us, and so did Alex. They wanted to put the album out on Schism, but they folded, so Dave Stein offered us to put it out on Combined Effort. By that time, Vic moved to California, but he came back to do the album and there were no more gigs after that album was done, which was a bummer. While I was doing Beyond, Matt BOLD heard the demo he called me to join up with them. I was psyched because I was a huge BOLD fan. You can see in some photos me and Kevin singing with them on stage before I ever played with them. They were great. Once I got in with them I started to juggle both bands, but it caused tension with Alan. I would travel from LONG ISLAND to Westchester, NY to do BOLD. Afar train ride, but I was young and hungry. BOLD at that time were looking into progressing and rocking. I was definitely into helping them do that.

By the fall of ‘89, both Beyond and BOLD were done. All I did after those two bands were done was join up with Ray, writing songs at his parent’s place in CT and we whipped up the Shelter "Perfection of Desire" album. It was his side project, then he turned it into a full band. Quicksand started because Walter talked with me on the first GB European tour (when I hopped in to play guitar) about starting a progressive and different band. We didn’t call it post-hardcore then, but I guess that’s what it is now.

Quicksand eventually got a major deal. We actually didn't pursue the idea at first. IN EFFECT records offered a deal, so we went to the lawyer who worked with Murphy’s Law and he said he could get us a major and we went with that. By then Quicksand was a full time thing. I also got a few shows playing bass with Supertouch which was fun. Actually, the Beyond song "What Awaits Us Now" is a bite of "Searching For The Light” to a degree. Even though I think it is still quite different, Mark Ryan recognized it.

As for the Beyond reunions, I was so psyched for them and the BOLD Revelation discography. As soon as I reformed BOLD, Vic and Kevin approached me about doing Beyond, so I said yes. I love the music so much… it was me at that age and all my words and insight into life…I put my heart into it. Those had been the best times. Beyond was my first real band, I was young and wanted to be very prolific, and I wrote most all of the material. It was my baby. It means a lot. Hardcore never left my blood. I'm a guitar player trying to earn a living doing it without selling out. So the underground hardcore scene makes me happy. To see the faces and kids singing along is why I still want to do this at age 36.


Fredrik B said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Scott Frosch said...

Very cool interview/webzine!

Key School said...

Good stories. But what I really want to know about is Handsome. What was the story behind that band and Tom leaving? Still a record I listen to regularly...

Anonymous said...

In this day and age is the use of the word "retard" relevant and acceptable, Gordo? C'mon man.
Yeah, yeah GB used that word too.
- Toby Hampp

Gordo said...

Toby - there's better words, and for a variety of reasons, I probably wouldn't write that word today. I wrote that intro to the TC3 piece over 2 years ago if you look at the date. Just edited it.

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