Although many love to mythicize the late 80’s era of New York Hardcore – myself included – there’s no doubt there was something of a stagnation going on within it towards the end of the decade. Every demo you laid your hands upon was either a regurgitation of Youth of Today’s style of blinding though sober fury or an attempt at the tough guy vibe of Breakdown.
But when Long Island’s Beyond appeared out of nowhere with their Dew It! demo in 1988, they brought something matchless upon the scene. With a love for both their hometown Hardcore scene as well as D.C’s Dag Nasty – not to mention a covert sprinkling of the chops they learned from their origins in Heavy Metal – the band rapidly rose within the ranks of the scene. Upon the strengths of the demo alone, they were soon touring with the likes of Gorilla Biscuits and Judge.
But within a year of Beyond entrenching themselves in the NYHC scene they were falling apart at the seams due to collegiate responsibilities and guitarist Tom Capone joining Bold on second guitar (which would eventually lead to him forming Quicksand with Walter Schreifels). But there is no doubt of the impact they have left upon the Hardcore scene many years after the fact.
This week Revelation Records will be releasing the bands’ classic Dew It! demo from ’88 on vinyl with a session Beyond recorded for the legendary WNYU Hardcore radio show Crucial Chaos tacked on for good measure.
To celebrate its release, Beyond will play a rare show at Brooklyn's Saint Vitus on October 29. Tickets are on sale&utmv=-&utmk=16581942) for this Noisey presentation. Noisey is also proud to premiere the track “One Kind Word” from the collection they are entitling Dew It!/Live Crucial Chaos WNYU.
We spoke with Beyond members Kevin Egan (vocals) Tom Capone (guitar) and Dominic Baiocco (drums) about their formation out in the nowheresville of Suffolk County Long Island, the recording of their classic demo and the abrupt rise and fall of the band.
Noisey: Tell me about the beginnings of Beyond?
Tom Capone (guitar): I had started a band in high school that had a Hardcore style to it called Third Planet. Some of the early Beyond riffs were from that band. The first Beyond song ‘Vitality’ was originally a Third Planet song. The guys in that band weren’t very serious about doing shows or much of anything. Then I met Kevin Egan.
Kevin Egan (vocalist): I knew Third Planet and they were a pretty unique band. Tom sang for that band; he didn’t even play guitar. The way I met Tom was through Vic DiCara, who would end up playing bass in Beyond later on. Vic and I met through mutual friends in high school. We had similar interests: Slayer, Metallica and guitars.
Vic and I went to someone’s graduation party and a friends’ band played called Bloody Uterus. They did all these songs about girls menstruating and stuff like that. But this was a graduation party and this kid had his grandmother there and everything. That’s where I met Tom. He said ‘I’m going to CB’s this Sunday to see Uniform Choice and Warzone and you guys should come!’ So we did.
When I had met Tom, he was already well established in the Metal scene with his fanzine, Mutilator. His name was on the top of the thanks list of the first Nuclear Assault record. So, he was definitely someone I wanted to be friends with.
Third Planet broke up and I suggested to Tom that we start a band. Tom wasn’t sure if I could sing, so he actually auditioned me in my car. We were driving around listening to Uniform Choice and he made me sing along to it.
When Third Planet broke up, I suggested we do an off shoot of the name and call the band Planet Earth. Tom thought about it, then came up with Beyond, which still sounded a little out of this world, but also sounded like a hardcore band.
Tom Capone: We had a sense of urgency and we wanted to record a demo, so we recruited bassist Lance Jaeger and drummer Dom Baiocco on their friendship and on their musicianship.
So what would you say the timeframe was for when Beyond started?
Domenic Baiocco (drums): We started in the summer of ’87. The four of us were all going to high school together and we all played instruments. Tom and Kevin came up with the idea and then approached me and Lance and we started. I was never into Punk and Hardcore at all. Lance and I were more Metal guys. My depth of Punk or Hardcore went as deep as the Crumbsuckers and the Bad Brains and that was pretty much it. If anything, that’s what helped with the sound we created. You had a guy playing bass who was highly influenced by Steve Harris of Iron Maiden. Those are the things that made us unique.
I had an awesome practice space which was a 12x24 insulated shed in my parent’s backyard. I remember the first day Kevin came over to sing. He began and we went through a couple of songs. After we ran through them, Tom said something to Kevin like ‘Come on man, you’re not even turning red when you sing!’ That was Tom’s advice. Kevin quickly thereafter developed his signature Beyond sound. It was the assemblage of musicians in that first line-up of Beyond that makes it what it is.
How soon after the initial practices did the recording of the Dew It! demo happen?
Tom Capone: The demo was done January 1988 at Sanctum Studios in Holbrook, Long Island. It cost us $150 to make the demo and it was done mostly live. It was everyone’s first time in the studio and under a tight budget. We mixed to cassette because we couldn’t afford another one-inch tape. I remember the experience being exhilarating, being able to record over dubs and hearing the songs come to life.
Kevin Egan: It was a rehearsal studio and a recording studio. I don’t remember the guy’s name who recorded us, but he was this huge guy with red hair, so we called him ‘Redman’. Tom was always notorious for giving people nicknames. In the middle of the recording, the engineer would excuse himself and go to the bathroom. It was pretty evident ‘Redman’ was going in there and snorting cocaine because he’d come back all jacked up. I guess that’s ironic since we were recording this Hardcore demo with a Straight Edge song on it.
Domenic Baiocco: I remember we did drums and bass on the first day and most of that stuff was done on first take. At the end of the song ‘What Awaits Us’ I actually dropped a stick. If you listen closely, I think you can hear it. I ended up being pleased with the fill I wound up doing, so we just kept it in.
I listen to that demo now and my snare is almost turned off on some of the recording. Today, I wish I could have re-did it, but we were in the moment. It was super raw and it shows.
Kevin Egan: Then we had a demo and couldn’t have been more psyched. It sounded exactly like I wanted it to sound. I wanted to be in a band that sounded like a cross between Minor Threat, Youth of Today and Dag Nasty and that’s what it sounded like to me.
Domenic Baiocco: The demo was very different than what other people were doing at the time. There was a cowbell on that demo. What Hardcore demo had a cowbell on it at that time?
Last, we called the demo Dew It and I was so psyched about that. That was my signature line in high school that I stole from Arnold Schwarzenegger in Commando.
Tom Capone: Yes, the title Dew It is a take on something Arnold Schwarzenegger said in one of his movies.
Kevin Egan: I’d imagine Dom was doing the Arnold Schwarzenegger voice in the studio and we thought it would be funny to improvise an intro for the demo and make a thing of it.
What about the spoken intro on the demo?
Tom Capone: The spoken intro is there because I liked how at the time you would hear spoken intros on Hip Hop records or like on Warzone's intro to "Escape from your Society" when Raybeez says "I'm bugging out!" I know it still makes me cringe years later hearing that silly intro.
Did you start playing shows right after recording the demo?
Dominic Baiocco: After we did the demo, we played one show together as the original band at the Right Track Inn on Long Island.
Kevin Egan: We played one show with Dominic and Lance at the Right Track Inn. I still had long hair for that show. We sounded great. We played with a band called Inner Strength, which Vic and Alan Cage were in. It was an important show for me because that show made me realize what we had was special. Lance was working behind the counter at a Meat Farm deli at the time and all the girls he worked with showed up to see us play. In between songs, he sent out a shout out: ‘I want to thank all the ladies from Meat Town for showing up’. Tom and I were vegetarians, so we were so pissed off. Of course, now I listen to it and think it’s amazing.
So once the demo was completed, what happened then? Did you take it immediately down to Some Records?
Tom Capone: At the time, Some Records was the New York Hardcore mecca music headquarters of bands. It was not only a record store, but also a place you would hang out and Some and 99 X were important to the scene. Duane Rossignol (owner of Some Records) put the tape on and he liked it right away.
A week later, I got a letter from Porcell (Youth of Today, Judge, Project X, Shelter) in the mail with money for the demo because they sold out of them at Some already. He was immediately inviting us to play shows with Judge and Project X.
Kevin Egan: The dream was achieved at seventeen years old. A member of your favorite band is writing you asking you to open up for their band. In some sense, it made my future life as an adult more difficult because I always assumed everything was that easy. You just put your art out there and some influential person will respond to it.
But, that was huge. I look back at that letter and it changed everything for us.
Tom Capone: We were blown away because we made the band by getting inspiration from these bands and now they were noticing us and digging our sound.
Why did the first line-up of Beyond exist for such a short amount of time?
Dominic Baiocco: Me and Lance weren’t really into Hardcore. Our hair was still long. We all grew up listening to Maiden and Judas Priest, but Tom had a vision for the band and he wanted guys who were a little bit more into the scene and in all fairness, me and Lance were not. So, that’s where the other members came in.
Kevin Egan: Getting rid of Dominic and Lance might have had something to do with Porcell’s letter. I don’t know what Lance and Dominick were expecting at the time. Tom and I were pretty clear from the beginning that we wanted to play CBGB’s. That was the dream. New York City was a scary place. Dominic was worried about playing CBGB’s. It scared him. He wasn’t interested in taking that risk. Lance and Dominic were two of my closest friends and when we decided it would be better for us to get Vic and Allen, I always felt that was my first day of adulthood. It haunted me for years. I always look back at that as the first time in my life I screwed a friend over to gain something.
Tom Capone: Dom and Lance at the time didn’t have the same interests in the Hardcore scene and things like vegetarianism were important with Kevin and I. We needed people who were on our wavelength. It made sense to ask Vic and Alan right off the bat.
Our second show was at CBGB on March 6 1988. It was with Token Entry, Swiz, and Wrecking Crew. It was an unbelievable offer we got, and it was because of the demo and Token Entry asking us to be on the show. Our line up now was Kevin, Tom, Alan, Vic on second guitar, and another guy from high school Rob Porta on bass. Rob only did that show with us and Vic went from guitar to bass. After that show, we got asked to do a show with Youth of Today. Porcell was helping us out and putting us on a lot of the gigs he did with his different bands. Porcell had a lot to do with Beyond getting shows and basically took us in. I even wound up living at the Schism house with him and Alex Brown.
What were some of Beyond’s earliest touring experiences like?
Kevin Egan: There would usually be three bands packed in that van. It would be something like Project X, Gorilla Biscuits and Beyond in one van going up to Albany; at least ten or eleven people. I remember the night we drove to Cleveland to play. We were driving into the night for eight or nine hours because it was a matinee show. We were packed in like sardines. I ended up in the wheel well of the van trying to sleep while fighting back tears. I remember looking around at all of us lined up one by one and thinking ‘This is not very glamorous’.
Your set on the legendary WNYU radio show Crucial Chaos is included on the album as well. Any memories from that session?
Tom Capone: The Crucial Chaos WNYU show was a real pleasant surprise because we were avid listeners to the show in 1987. Crucial Chaos always had such good mixes and we used to tape the show and listen to it all the time. The next year, Beyond was playing a live set on the show at New York University and we had our friends with us; it was a great time. I remember Porcell, Sammy, Walter, Tim and Tom from Boiling Point Fanzine were there. We were just asked by the directors of the Crucial Chaos show to play it and that was that. It was a tight set featured the core line up of Beyond with Kevin, Tom, Vic and Alan.
Kevin Egan: I remember the NYU session being at the tail end of a trip. Either Albany or Cleveland. We didn’t even go home after the trip, we drove right into the city to play on the show. My voice sounds really raw and it’s because we played two shows prior, but I think it adds some character to the recording.
So what brought about the demise of Beyond?
Tom Capone: After playing a load of shows during that summer, Vic was being moved to California for college and his parents were going. Alan drove Vic out to California, and when Alan came back we played a handful of shows with our friend Ed Ciappa on bass.
Kevin Egan: Somewhere in that Fall of ’88, Tom started playing second guitar for Bold and things started to come to a standstill. Alan did not like Tom playing with Bold and was giving ultimatums on which one to concentrate on.
Tom Capone: Vic was gone and I was already playing with Bold. It was definitely distracting me from Beyond.
So now almost thirty years later, what do you think the Dew it! demo has that still stirs the interest of Hardcore kids to this day?
Tom Capone: The Dew It! demo stood apart in Hardcore because the songs were really strong and the sound was reaching towards the future; in the sense of post- hardcore. The musicians in Beyond were always really good players and we didn’t want to be the same thing as everyone else; we were not afraid to be different. I think that those chances we took is what people liked the most.
Order your copy of Dew It!/Live Crucial Chaos WNYU directly from Revelation Records.
Tony Rettman’s book NYHC 1980 – 1990 can be purchase through his own website, Sandpaper Lullaby .