By the time I left New York, Beyond had become pretty huge, at least relative to the size of Hardcore Punk. What started off as the offshoot of a battle-of-the-bands project now played real shows with real bands to real people paying real money. What started off as a high-school hobby now had national attention in the hardcore punk scene.
We even had a record offer! Of course we are talking hardcore punk, not motown. Our “record offer” was from John Porcel – guitarist of Youth of Today, singer and mastermind of the band who practically invented militant straightedge, Project X, and the Chief Executive Officer and Primary Shareholder of a record label called Schism Records. (Schism’s stock traded only slightly higher than Shred Zine Records but was destined for greatness with such an influential figure at the helm).
So, at the end of the Summer of 88, I flew back from San Diego to New York to record a full-length LP record with Beyond. The flight had one stop, in Texas, where I had to change planes. As I walked through the airport with a guitar, skate-punk clothes, and dreadlocks, a short man walked up to me, middle-aged and with round glasses over his kind eyes.
“You must be a musician,” he said. “Are you on your way to play a concert?”
“No,” I said, secretly thrilled to have the chance to say, “I am going to record an album.”
“Wow, that’s great!” he exclaimed, and reached into a large bag at his waist, hanging from his shoulder by a strap that went across his chest. “You would really like this book. A lot of musicians really like this book.”
I recognized the book the instant he began pulling it from his bag. “That’s Bhagavad-Gītā!!!” I exclaimed.
He froze with the book in his hand instead of handing it to me immediately like a properly trained salesman should. “You know about the Bhagavad-Gītā?” He asked in amazement.
“Yeah!” I said, “Can I have it?”
He was delighted to hand it to me. “How do you know about Bhagavad-Gītā?”
“Some of the bands I am into are into Krishna consciousness,” I said. “I’ve read one book… eesshoo…”
I struggled with the pronunciation, so he helped me, “Īśopaniṣad?”
“Yeah! And a few other zines and magazines.”
“That’s great!” he said, eyes as wide as his smile. “Can you give a donation to cover the cost of printing?”
“Well… I sent away for a free copy of Bhagavad Gītā,” I explained, “but it never came. Sooo… can’t you just give me it?”
He thought about it for a moment and then said, “Yeah, I suppose so… Sure, why not!”
Finally, I had a copy of Bhagavad-Gītā! Between this book and Śrī Īśopaniṣad I felt prepared to learn more about Krishna than any punker had ever dared to learn before.
— An excerpt from the first draft of
Train Wrecks and Transcendence:
A Collision of Hardcore and Hare Krishna
by Vraja Kishor