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“US” 1976  

Dana Schmitz        Guitar/Vocals  

Jim Behrens          Guitar  

Craig Pendergast   Guitar  

Ed Reed               Guitar  

Kirby Hills           Chord Organ  

Phase II 1977

Dana Schmitz    Guitar/Vocals

Jim Behrens      Guitar/Vocals

Kirby Hills         Drums

Phase II 1978  “Another of my Mistakes” recorded 1978 Omaha

"Another of My Mistakes"

At the time (mid '70s), one of our only real big influences was still the Beatles. To this day, I think I've always tried to write neat little melodic "intro-verse-chorus-verse-chorus-bridge-solo-chorus-fade" types of 3-minute songs. At the time, this was one of my more advanced ones, melodically and musically. What I think is funny about a lot of these early songs ("Do You Think I Am?" included) is that I'd never had a girlfriend, never been on a date, never kissed a girl, didn't even have any girls I could call close friends ? but I was writing all these (very immature) tragic love songs! I don't know why. My favorite memory of this song, is that when it first came out, we were still at the age where we would go to the roller skating rink a lot, as kids do. We gave the DJ at the rink the 45 of "Another of My Mistakes", told them we were a local band and asked if he could play it during the skating session. He did, and I remember, skating around the rink by myself savoring every second, every note. Mixed in with all the other top 40 music of the day, they're actually playing our record! We never played it as well live as it was on the record.

Dana Schmitz 12/04

Dana Schmitz     Guitar/Vocals

Jim Behrens       Guitar/Vocals

Kirby Hills          Drums

Steve Bailey       Bass

Variety/summer 1978

Dana Schmitz Guitar/Vocals

Tom Wilde Bass/Vocals

 Dave Valdez Drums

Dana Leonard Guitar/Vocals

Variety/fall 1978-1980

Do you think I am? Recorded 1979

"Do You Think I Am?"

In and around 1978-1979, we were very aware of British punk rock and some 'new wave' music. There sure wasn't much of it playing on Omaha radio then! A few of our favorites were 'Starry Eyes' by the Records, 'Take Me to Your Leader' by the Sinceros and 'Don't Wait Up For Me' by the Beat. (I'd never actually heard any big new wave classics of this period like "I Will Follow" (U2), "Radio Free Europe" (REM), "Dancing With Myself" (Gen X) or "What I Like About You" (Romantics) 'til I moved to Boston.) I was also already nuts about Joe Jackson, Blondie and the Pretenders. Sometimes I used to buy an album based on what I'd read about a band in 'Rolling Stone' or some other music magazine, never having heard it first. I was very enamored of the Sex Pistols, the Clash and the Ramones, and I think this was one of my first attempts at something like that. A few of my older influences can be heard in it too: I nicked the bass line directly from Paul McCartney's song "S'oily" from the "Wings Over America" album! It also has the obligatory incessant infinite white boy guitar soloing through the majority of the song, typical of that time (late '70s), which I've since outgrown. This was the first song of mine I ever heard over the radio, on a college radio station in Omaha around 1981.

Dana Schmitz 12/04

Dana Schmitz Guitar/Vocals

Tom Wilde Bass/Vocals

Jim Behrens Guitar/Vocals

Dave Valdez Drums

The Memos 1980-1982

Dana Schmitz    Guitar/Vocals

Tom Wilde        Bass/Vocals

Jim Behrens      Guitar/Vocals

Dave Valdez      Drums

Break the Ice- recorded fall of 1980/summer 1981

The Memos 1982-spring 1983

“Trend”  recorded 1983, Scituate, MA.

Besides "That Girl", it is the only song co-written by Mike Sheehy and me. Very early on, Mike came into a practice with this bass line, and he said I should write a song around it, which I did. "Trend" was really the first new song written for the Behrens-Schmitz-Sheehy-Valdez Memos line up. I always liked the line about 'the other lemmings standing in line'. Lemmings are so stupid that if their leader jumps off a cliff, they'll all follow him off the cliff and die too. I think we played this one right up to the end. It reminds me of "Can't Stand Losing You" from the 1st Police album (another big influence). It features a guitar break I made up that I always had a hard time getting right!

Dana Schmitz 12/04

Dana Schmitz Guitar/Vocals

Jim Behrens Guitar/Vocals

Dave Valdez Drums

Mike Sheehy Bass /Vocals

The Memos spring 1984-fall 1984

Dana Schmitz       Guitar/Vocals

Jim Behrens         Guitar/Vocals

Dave Valdez         Drums

Cindy Morin         Bass /Vocals

Overdoing it (Live summer 1984)

The Memos 1985-1986

“Drag me Down’’ 45rpm recorded 1985

This one is still one of my favorites. Besides "Happy With My Haircut", it's my wife's favorite. I probably wrote this in Spring/Summer 1982. It has a very complicated, but melodic bass line that I made up. Again, I remember hashing out the bass line with Mike Sheehy in his bedroom in his parents apartment note for note. I tried to write the lyric with a broken-English-quasi-Jamaican accent. Near the end of the 1st verses, there's a place where I sing "You were never cheating, embarrassment is blue" where I particularly like what the bass does. I was big into the whole ska thing since I saw the Specials (another big influence) play "Too Much Too Young" on Saturday Night Live in 1979. I loved the first 'Madness' album, the Police, "White Man in Hammersmith Palais" and "Pressure Drop" by the Clash too. All white guys playing Jamaican ska! When we went to record our first single as the Memos, we picked this for the A-side. Although it probably wasn't our strongest song, and we overproduced the record with every special effect the recording studio had available, it's still a fun little record. Alex Rodriquez was the bass player with us by then. It's got 3 part harmonies on the choruses. I enjoyed playing it live too.

Dana Schmitz 12/04

Dana Schmitz Guitar/Vocals

Jim Behrens Guitar/Bass/Vocals

Dave Valdez Drums

LX Austria Bass/Guitar/Vocals

                                                               Memos Offspring

Kangaroo Kourt 1987-1988

Dana Schmitz           Guitar/Vocals

Jim Behrens             Guitar/Vocals

John Riccardi          Bass

Glenn Arlequeeuw      Drums/Vocals

Jeff Todd               Keyboards/Vocals

Boy Girl Problems- recorded live at “Gandes” fall 1987

Cool Blue Sky 1989-1993

You  recorded 1989

Jim Behrens Guitar/Vocals

Annie Smith Lead Vocals 1989-1991, 1993

John Riccardi Bass

Mike Mears Drums 1990-1993

Aram Krauson Keyboards 1989-1992

Dana Schmitz Guitar/Vocals 1989

Glenn Arlequeeuw Drums 1989

Nancy Brock Lead Vocals 1992

Paul Palumbo Guitar/Vocals 1993

LX Austria Guitar/Vocals 1989-1990

Dana Maguvero Vocals 1989

Andy Arnold Lyrics 1989-1993

Below is a review from a website called Tone and Wave which is dedicated to ska music

The Memos was a band from Boston who played new wave and the occasional ska song. Their live shows incorporated lots of covers of the current new wave hits at the time, which they did amazingly well, with several of their own songs and the occasional oldie but goodie thrown in.

Even though these guys could write a great song they only ever released one 2-song 7". Luckily for us the a-side was a ska original called Drag Me Down.

I would have loved to see these guys in the eighties. Hell, I'd love to see them now.

They had another original ska song called Procrastination Song that never saw a formal release. You can hear a live version of that on this official bootleg which also includes some other originals and some of those amazing covers I mentioned.

Review from French website: Somewheretheris music

Who will say the virtues of exile, the fecundity of isolation? How many vocations born of those hours stolen as ordinary crutches imposed by circumstances? Take Dana Schmitz and Jim Behrens. Both of them, son or son-in-law of 1961, having to reckon with the obligations of the US Air Force, six years in Germany for one, four in Spain for the other, meeting in Omaha at the time of a new assignment in Nebraska. Precocity of one who has taken refuge in music, the only language without borders, who practices the guitar with the relentlessness of self-taught and tries to write when others play ball. Facilities of the other student, who will come to exceed Dana, master who does not know the solfege, plays in the ear. United by the same love for the four heralds of the British Invasion. Doing with the means on board, sharpening their weapons at the whim of successive formations when, what was a quartet of guitarists takes on the air of real band when Kirby Hills takes the place of drummer and Steve Bailey that of a bassist of circumstance. In this summer of 1978, 100 copies of the Phase II 45 - that's the name they chose - soon passed out among their knowledge on campus.

Look at them. Aged 16 or 17, appearing 14, they dream of being the Beatles. For twice 3 minutes, they will be the Beatles forever or something like that. The era is indeed not absent from these little songs that Dana Schmitz talks about, especially since the production decidedly low-tech (oh, these clap hands puny, this abrasive guitar) accentuates the little pre-punk power pop side that we believe to be there.

After two years of existence, Phase II gave way to Variety, who was credited with making a 45th appearance in 1979 ("Do You Think I Am?"), And which forms the backbone of the band founded later - The Memos - who will officiate until the early 90s. But this is another story. And above all, another music.