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

Happy Birthday USA! Welcome to a new month of music here on The Memos website. I was wondering what to post this month and found that I had been thinking a lot lately about Phase II and our early beginnings. If you haven’t been to the “Family History” page on this site, please do so. I just posted an interesting column from a french website about the band.  I have been thinking about how way back in 1975/1976, we hadn’t really thought about music as a career, yes we were dreamers and always thought “what if?” But I don’t think we believed it was possible especially at that time. What is was, was good friends learning and experimenting together. In those very early years most of our equipment was sub standard even by technology in 1976. Most of it we paid for out of our own pockets, and none of us were old enough to have jobs other than paper routes and mowing yards. My first guitar was purchased at a pawn shop just outside the south gate of Offut AFB for $20. Subsequent guitars were purchased similarly and I didn’t get a name brand guitar until 1982. We bought a PA system at a garage sale for under$50 and it was actually a rarity in today’s market. A Silvertone mixer that was tubed with two 12” speaker cabinets. We bought our microphones at Radio Shack and our friend Craig Pendergast was kept busy soldering connections on a regular basis. What fun we had as young teenagers, we never thought that we weren’t any good. Maybe if we had the best of equipment we would have sounded better, but we had heart and determination. The Memos story was always about friendship and still is, these are my brothers. We have been through a million things together and in the end our friendship endures.

Phase II was predominantly a cover band live, but as you will see below, we spent most of our time recording original music. This was the launching ground for what would be The Memos!

Beginnings 1975-1976

Time and Time Again- Dana and me on the floor of my living room with two acoustic guitars playing one of his original compositions. Pure and simple, still one of my favorite recordings

Flying Reptiles- 4 guitars and a chord organ in the basement of Craig’s house on a hot summer day

Summer 1977 - Kirby had gotten a real drum kit but had gone to Pennsylvania to visit family for the summer. That left Dana and me to experiment all summer with a kind of multi-tracking process we developed. We took turns playing drums and other instruments. What a blast we had!

Forever- An original of Dana’s with a 50’s flavor to it

Turn on!- A straight ahead rocker of Dana’s. He played guitars and lead vocals. I played drums and cowbell.

More Today than yesterday- Dana played guitars and did the vocals. I’m pretty sure I played drums and Steve and I did the other percussion instruments.

Life’s fine- original of Dana’s. He played guitar and drums. I played bass and drums

Maybe- original of Dana’s . Dana played guitars and did the vocals. I played drums and bass.

Suicidal you are- With Kirby back in town, this is one of the last recordings before Steve began playing bass.

1978 This was the peak of our accomplishments. Steve had bought a bass and was learning how to play, we had been getting some gigs and saving the money which culminated in recording our first and only record. Our expectations were starting to get a little higher and a little more serious. We were high school juniors with little to no training but had absolutely no fear.

Be with me- recorded in my basement, we were starting to refine our sound a bit and evolving as a more complex unit. From this point on the lineup stayed solid with Dana on lead guitar and vocals, me on rhythm guitar and backing vocals, Steve on bass and Kirby on drums.

Perfectly perfect- this original of Dana’s features him on harmonica. Unfortunately my guitar cuts out towards the end or it would have been a pretty good recording.

This Way- an original of Dana’s that was recorded the same day as the two songs about. I’ve always liked this song and felt that it along with Be with Me would have been a great follow up single to “Another of my mistakes”  had we stayed together.

It’s you- an original of Dana’s recorded live in Council Bluffs, IA in February,  1978

Feel it! - This original of Dana’s became our signature live song. Complete with lots of guitar solos and a drum solo it was kind of a perfect 70’s song in some ways.

Bonus Songs

Do you think I am? - This original from 1977 eventually became a single for “Variety” and a staple for The Memos

The Stake- A cover of Steve Miller’s hit from “Book of Dreams”. We messed up the ending but give us an A for effort.

I started a Joke- cover of The Bee Gees classic from before they were a disco band.

This Way- an alternate version of this song with an extra guitar solo.

Another of mistakes- recorded live in Elkhorn, NE Never shared on the site before.


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.