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Click on the song titles to hear music by The Memos, Phase II and Variety.

Well, in some parts of the country Fall is here! Every year in September, my mind is full of great memories of New England autumn days. In particular I’m reminded of The Memos’ first road trip of any consequence. We were booked to play at a club in North Conway, NH called The Oxen Yoke in September of 1982. Up to this point we had only been playing pretty local in the Merrimack Valley with an occasional gig in Boston or at the beach during the summer. This gave us a chance to get out of town and try our act out on people who had never seen or heard us before. We would return to the Oxen yoke during the summer of 1984 with Cindy, but this trip was the original Massachusetts lineup with Mike Sheehy on bass. The gig didn’t include accommodations but our manager Wilson, had some relatives who had a home on a nearby lake so we stayed with them. We had a great time, went out on the boat and Mike stuck his head in the water while we were moving in what looked like an effort to catch fish. Mike had also gotten a fresh haircut which resembled a mohawk but by today’s standards looked more like a “marine” cut, but it did get quite a few looks. We got stopped by the police because I apparently resembled somebody who had killed a state trooper in Pennsylvania, we tried to watch the Cornhusker/Penn State game on TV with bad reception. We had a great trip socially and professionally.

At this time, we still traveled with our own small PA system that consisted of 2 “EV” cabinets and a 100 watt mixer. We would usually only “mic” up the kick drum and snare and sometimes the guitars besides the vocals. On this particular night I can’t recall exactly what we did. To record the gig, we hung 2 microphones over the audience and fed them directly into a cassette player. The results weren’t too bad, it is a pretty clear house mix and actually an unintended pseudo stereo mix, Because Dana and i were on opposite sides of the stage, the microphones picked up the two guitars in different channels. Dana’s on the left and mine on the right, you can clearly listen to what both of us were playing. The bass is clear and Dave’s drums come through nicely, especially his cymbals and hi-hat. The crowd was great once the club filled in and it may have been a surprise to find a band like us playing there. There weren’t too many bands playing an eclectic set list like ours, especially in the White Mountains of NH. Enjoy a night with The Memos from late September of 1982.

Drag me Down- Historically, this is the first known live recording of the Memo’s original and you can kind of tell. We played it much slower than would become our standard and we were still really learning. Played in the first set when the club was still pretty empty.

My Generation- Our take on The Who classic. The bass solo was meant to be played the way it was. A little tongue in cheek.

Is she really going out with him- Joe Jackson had been a big influence on both Dana and me after we graduated high school in 1979 and we played a number of songs from his first album over the years.

Granted- One of my originals that was written in early 1982.  This may have been the only time we played it live. I was sensing that the relationship between myself and girlfriend Sue was starting to dissolve and wrote this song.

Johnny B Goode- Chuck Berry classic. We filled our sets in with some classic R&R. Easy to play and people love them.

Roxanne- this song served us well for 6 years. Crowds loved it and we could have some fun with it

(What’s so funny about) Peace, love and Understanding- Elvis Costello song from “Armed Forces”

Hanky Panky- Tommy James tune that we would pull out from time to time, again a song that was easy to play and people could sing along to.

Did you no wrong- Sex Pistols song that most people wouldn’t have identified as one of their songs. Good rock and roll song

Harder they come- We could roll from the Sex pistols into this Jimmy Cliff reggae/ska tune without blinking an eye. Mike and Dave laid down a tight groove.

Trend- Memos original that was still in the process of fine tuning. I always liked the drum fill that Dave did coming out of the chorus. He hadn’t yet added the synchopated part during the ending.

Start me up- I don’t think i ever shared this one yet, so here it is. The Rolling Stones tune from the early 80’s.

A Joke- a Memos original that Dana had written while still in Omaha. It has a catchy guitar riff that most people would recognize as pure rock and roll and not realize it was an original.

Magnificent 7- from the Clash album “Sandinista” this was a good dance song and most crowds didn’t know it was the Clash. Unless a song is a single, sometimes they go unnoticed. There were many times however that people recognized it as the Clash and this was one of those nights.

Tainted Love - hit song by Soft Cell done Memos style

Starry Eyes- a song by a band called “The Records” We started playing this song during the fall of 1979 and we just liked playing it so it stayed in the set from time to time.

Next to You- we closed the evening with this song by The Police from their first Album “Outlandos d’amour” In all on this night we played 3 songs from this record. One in each set. In total, we actually covered four from the album which may indicate their influence on us.

Gangsters- a ska song by The Specials. I had to include it!


Below you will find assorted videos on You Tube for The Memos, Phase II, Variety and Kangaroo Kourt

TV news story about a popular club The Memos used to play frequently, featuring an interview with Dana and music clip.

Alternatives video shoot 1984