The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

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Queens Band Goes Beyond Expectations

Beyond Belligerent is a band that began their career playing covers in their bedrooms. Now they’re being scouted by  several major record labels and management companies.

Recently, the self-proclaimed “alternative pop-punk” band took the stage at Webster Hall – their second show at the venue in the last six months.

The four musicians have been friends since their days at Queens’ Sacred Heart Elementary School.
Mike Guzowski (rhythm guitar and lead vocals), Mike Valente (lead guitar), and Joe Jensen (drums) and Alex
Rydzewski (bass) played their first show in 2010 at the recently closed Traditions Pub, and have come a long way in the years since.

They have played major venues in Manhattan including The Gramercy Theater and Kenny’s Castaway’s, and have upcoming gigs at Sullivan Hall and The Knitting Factory.

“That first show was the wildest I’ve ever seen a small-gig concert,” Rydzewski said. “There were like 300 people
packed into Trads. Its pretty cool how things are going right now.

“We never had any idea it would come to this,” Guzowski, a junior and English major at St. John’s, said. “We played
cover songs, and one day I was like, ‘hey I wrote this song, you guys want to maybe play it?’ So people heard it and wanted to hear more, and now we don’t even know which songs to pick from.”

“It’s surreal,” Valente said. “It’s an unbelievable feeling to go from being in your bedroom playing the Rolling Stones with your friends, to being on stage with your own music that people might be playing in their bedrooms.”

Guzowski emphasized that the band is not out to make just one hit-single, but to focus on music as a whole. “The long term goal is to make long-term
music, not just one good song,” he said. “The real aim is to make whole albums of good music.”

Currently the band is working on a new three-song EP, due out in late March. Valente said the band will do anything and everything to promote the new
EP. “It’s going to be shopped online,” he said. “The second we can get it on iTunes it’ll be there. We’re gonna put this in
everyone’s mailbox.”

Guzowski said the band has put a lot of effort into the creation of the EP in an effort to showcase their talents to record labels.
“There are some people who are definitely interested in us,” he said. “But they told us they need more professional
recordings. They want to hear how we sound when we really take our time to do something.”

In the meantime, the band continues  to garner more fans, drawing more than 100 ticket-holders to each show. They are scheduled to play at The Knitting Factory on Feb. 16, and will appear at Sullivan Hall on March 29.

With success right around the corner, the Queens natives strive to stay humble.“I’d love to be a high-school teacher,” said Valente, who is an Education major
at Queens College. “But if I can say I gave music a real shot, I’ll be happy.”

Rydzewski reminds young musicians to keep things simple. “Just keep it fun,” he said. “Don’t
do it to get famous or make it big. Just make music with your friends, and have fun.”

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