The quartet made its live debut in March 1979; that summer, the B-52's
became the darlings of the New York scene thanks to their breakthrough hit "Rock Lobster," and their success paved the way for Pylon to make their own Big Apple debut, with Philadelphia and Boston appearances following before the school year resumed. Pylon's debut single, "Cool," appeared on the dB's
label in early 1980, earning strong critical notices and emerging as a major underground dance hit; that summer, they issued their debut LP, Gyrate, and also opened for the B-52's
in New York's Central Park. Pylon toured regularly leading up to -- and in the wake of -- their sophomore effort, 1983's Chomp, but dissatisfied with the finished LP, and also disheartened by an abortive tour in support of U2
, the band dissolved.
In the group's absence, Athens emerged as the nexus of the American underground, thanks largely to the snowballing success of R.E.M.
, who regularly cited Pylon as a major influence on their music; in fact, when in 1987 Rolling Stone named R.E.M.
"America's Best Band," drummer Bill Berry argued the honor actually belonged to Pylon, even though the group had disbanded four years earlier. Their posthumous recognition, in tandem with the impending release of dB's
Hits compilation, convinced Pylon to re-form in 1988 after the band opened for R.E.M.
on their Green tour.
In 1990, they released their third full-length album, Chain. However, with Bewley's decision to leave the lineup, Pylon again called it quits, playing their final show at Athens' famed 40 Watt Club on November 22, 1991. Less than two decades later, the DFA
label expanded and reissued Gyrate (as Gyrate Plus, 2007) and Chomp (as Chomp More, 2009).
Tragically, on February 25, 2009, Bewley died after suffering a heart attack while driving his van. In 2016, the band delivered the archival concert album, Pylon Live. Recorded at their final 1983 show at the Mad Hatter in Athens, Georgia, the album was released on what would have been Bewley's 61st birthday. ~ Jason Ankeny, Rovi