It all began with an ad in the Village Voice back in 1983. Lisa Mathews was living in Greenwich Village, enjoying life fronting cover bands and running her small rehearsal studio called Safe Sound. Reading the ad for a Female Lead Singer, she noticed a strange address: Baltimore, MD. Why would someone place an ad in the Village Voice - a uniquely New York City newspaper - looking for a female vocalist for a band in Baltimore? That's a long commute! The even stranger thing was Lisa was immediately interested, thinking how much fun it would be to train down to Baltimore once in a while to play with a band and get to see her parents, who had relocated to MD a few years ago. So...she answered the ad and within a few months of playing with a band that would soon become Beyond Words, she moved down to Baltimore in 1984.
The band - Mikel Gehl on guitars, George Kondylas on drums and vocals, Doug Scrivener on sax, synth and vocals and Mark Evanko on bass and basspedals - were doing original music, and had a drive and dedication that was undeniable. Before long, the band was playing the best clubs in Baltimore. They released their first single "Anything Real" later that year. In 1986 they recorded a string of songs at Track Recorders in Silver Spring, MD and released a self-titled six song EP and single. This got them a Washington Area Music Award (WAMA) for Best Pop/Rock Band and a Best Local Album award from the Baltimore City Paper that same year. The band was rapidly evolving and defining a progressive post new wave sound. Lisa went from high heels and tight dresses onstage to vintage dresses and barefeet, exploring different vocal affectations and using sign language in performance.
Beyond Words toured up and down the East Coast. In 1987 they released another single "Real World" b/w a cover of the Doors song "Hello, I Love You" recorded live at CGBG's. It won the Baltimore City Paper's Best Local Single Award, and would also take the band down to the North Carolina School for the Arts where a video and theatre class worked on a video for "Real World." Always working, the band also filmed a video for the song "Simpler Things" that won a WAMA for Best Video that year. 1987 also gave us The Edge, an album release by French label Music Action.
In 1988 the band won the Baltimore Sun's Best Local Act - Critic's Choice and continued playing clubs and trying to secure a record deal. Back then, that was what artists needed to do to have success. It became an obsession.
1989 saw a limited domestic release of The Edge and more awards, including a WAMA for Best Female Vocalist and Maryland Musician's Best Progressive Rock Band - Mid-Atlantic and Baltimore Magazine's Best Progressive Rock Band.
Beyond Words recorded new music but never released another album. Some of this music has been saved and posted on the Beyond Words bandcamp. Doug Scrivener left the band in 1990 and the quartet continued with a more streamlined sound. It would lead to the end of Beyond Words in 1992, and the beginning of Love Riot as Mark, Mikel and Lisa explored a more acoustic sound. You can hear this transition on Love Riot's 1993 self-titled cassette-only release, which featured two unreleased Beyond Words songs. George played drums on three songs.
"Beyond Words stands out from the pack for two reasons. The first and most obvious, is singer Lisa Mathews who applies her voice to the band's other great strengths, its songs..." - J.D. Considine
"Beyond Words is one of Baltimore's most popular bands and are a heavy contender for the area's most likely choice for signing with a major label." - 9:30 Newsletter
drums and vocals
sax, synth, vocals