Abbreviated History of Rock New Arrivals Style
The New Arrivals started as The Preps from Bellarmine College Preparatory in San Jose, Ca. The year was 1962. They practiced in Muller’s garage in Willow Glen and Meschi’s basement on N. 5th Street. It was also good to have Lou’s Village Restaurant to use as a rehearsal hall. They changed their name to The New Arrivals in 1965 in honor of the birth of one of their co-songwriter’s son and also to signify their change from instrumental group to vocals. The following are major events in their career.
1962. Tom Muller, Andre Meschi, Bill Smith and several others meet to form band known as The Preps to play for society events. Band becomes popular in San Jose. Surf music dominates the scene. One of the early members was Rich Correl who would become the man behind the music of Happy Days (his dad was Andy of the famous Amos and Andy radio/TV show).
1963. Tom, Andre and Bill meet Larry Mitchell and Jack Hayes of KLIV who takes them under their wing and starts their career in recording at Coast Recorders in San Francisco where they record PAM PAM and have the first record released. Song becomes popular and gives band notoriety in regional and national areas. Rod Gibino joins the band until Shorty Syres takes his place on bass in late 1965.
1964. Band opens for the Beach Boys at Exhibition Hall at Santa Clara Fairgrounds. Smash hit. Irving Granz, Beach Boy’s promoter, hires band to become opening act and back-up group for major stars on tour. First time a band from San Jose tours with major acts. Series of major concerts and tours follow up with new single release on Dot Records called Night Theme written by Ray Peterson.
(Sly Stone played bass when Rod was sick on this cut). First national record release by a band from San Jose or the Valley. Song does very well on various charts and band performs on wave of English sound that they play quite well.
1965. Band changes name to The New Arrivals and releases Take Me For What I Am as a vocal group with the influences of the Beach Boys and others whom they appear with. The gigs start coming in more and more. They are all in college at SJSU and passing while this is going on. By this time the band consists of Tom, Andre, Bill, Larry Shorty” Syres and Dick Robitaille. They catch the eye of Macy’s national promotion director and are asked to record a 45rpm (Let’s Get With It, Baby) for the next school year. They sell 40,000 copies in one fell swoop making more than most million selling artists reap since The New Arrivals did it all from label to performance. They would do this again as The Fifth Street Exit for one final fling at the big time in 1968. This also included a tour.
1966. At the top of their game they are sounding tight and playing well. They are able to still stay in college mostly at San Jose State and perform with Paul Revere and the Raiders, Sonny and Cher, The Righteous Brothers, The Beau Brummels, Dobie Gray and on and on. Yet never a million selling record. Someone has said they are one of the best bands never to get the big hit. They also do the big Macy’s back to school special on ABC TV for the second year in a row.
1967. Recording all the while at the legendary Golden State Recorders in San Francisco with Leo de gar Kulka they meet Mike Post who loves their version of a song written for them called When I Need You (Finally 2002). He is ready to sign but by mid-year Shorty and Bill are drafted. The band kind of, well, straggled. There were still good gigs and their were still the good bucks, but this lasted only until 1968 when Tom and by now Rick Leachman (Robitaille flew the coop) were both on the way to Vietnam. The fat lady had sung. AH AHHHHHHHHHHH.
1968-1971 The war years. Meschi became a pharmacist. Tom, Bill, Shorty and Rick saw Southeast Asia and the by 1971 were back. In late 1971 a reunion was attempted but there was too much darkness for the sunshine to break through. A war does that for a time and then you come back. But by the time their music was
active again, Rick was playing bass for an East Bay group, Tom was playing on the road with Danny Marona and others, Bill was at Santa Clara University becoming a CPA, Shorty was starting his own business and playing music with Sam Nigh from Santa Cruz and Andre was selling drugs (legally as a pharmacist).
1982 Recording had been attempted. They band played on TV for a Santa Cruz flood relief benefit and then for a big function for the City of Capitola and just when it looked like they would reunite, nothing happened. Everyone was off doing other things in music. Tom kept the name going in recording sessions as you can hear on the Let’s Get With It Baby CD as The New Arrivals. Tom and Rick would play with drummer John Duckworth of The Syndicate of Sound and guitarist Rich Haggett in a group known as Moondance and sometimes aka The New Arrivals. All the while there was always someone recording.
1987. The New Arrivals back Chuck Berry in one of the greatest rock concerts of all time (SJ Mercury, SF Chronicle hailed it so). That resulted in a series of performances around the state with Chuck Berry , The Coasters, Martha and the Vandellas, Bobby Rydell and others up until 1989 when Tom decided to concentrate on production and writing with only occasional performing. This was pretty much the case for the next 15 years. He also ran Lou’s Village Restaurant with his brother Tim from 1976-2005.
2002 Tom started a recording studio in Santa Fe (Rancho Digital) and decided to use the 11 original New Arrivals’ song for their never released album as a test CD to see how the process worked. He managed to bake the original 4 track tape for 18 hours at 106 degrees and salvaged all their songs. The stuff had been stored in a box since 1972 when producer Dick Hanahoe said “take this stuff and do what you want with it”. Thanks, Dick. The album FINALLY was born and the rest was fated. Tom released it on his new label TAJ Stone Records on CDbaby.com and it was chosen as their CD of the week. International sales and acclaim followed with people slowly becoming aware of the band’s historic presence. Then the rest of the band heard that an album was out of their old stuff and they met in October of 2002 in Santa Cruz and vowed to get back together. They also set the goal of recording a new album in their old style. Everyone was assigned 3 songs to write. The process was slow and not everyone was on board at the same time. As a matter of fact it was quite difficult to get 5 independent guys to cooperate with each other creatively. Tom was still living in Santa Fe and would not return until 2004 when the project began in earnest. By December of 2004 the job had been complete except for mixing and mastering and then the CD was ready. Amazing. 37 years after they were a group they were back together.
2005 THE ROAD BACK was completed in summer of this year. The band decided to woodshed and get their performing act down. In August of 2005 they played at the International Pop Festival in San Francisco to a delighted crowd with an enthusiastic reception. In the audience was former Beau Brummel Sal Valentino whom they back-up would back in November of 2005. Tom, Bill, Rick, Shorty and Andre took the stage that night with about as much enthusiasm as the night they opened for the Beach Boys in 1964 wearing “beatle wigs” as a joke and the audience at first thought they WERE the Beatles and went more wild for them than for the Beach Boys (San Jose and Sacto were the biggest Beach Boy cities in the US). So the beat goes on and so do The New Arrivals.
The New Arrivals are eager to tell the world their story and once again perform their music for audiences. Born at the start of the Surf Scene (featured band in the original KLIV Surfin’ Safari to Santa Cruz) in 1962, catching the wave of British sound in 1964 while riding the crest of American rock over the next four years but sadly disbanded by the time the summer was happening in 1968, The New Arrivals had a brilliant career as your garage band to main stage story. They recorded seven singles and were on the way to their first album. Then it stopped. But now it is back.
Today they are reunited with original members Muller, Syres and Leachman plus Mark Fenichel and Rick Alegria raring to play that good time music…even in your garage if you wish. Tell the neighbors you’ll turn it down if you do, but The New Arrivals Band is getting a second wind. They have performed with Eddie Money, Jefferson Starship, The Syndicate of Sound, Count Five, Robert Berry, John Tristao of Creedance Clearwater Revisited and Sal Valentino….not to mention numerous festivals and corporate events. The New Arrivals play music from the 1960’s and up which includes but not limited to selections from the following :
The Best Blues and Rock Tunes
The Rolling Stones
The Beau Brummels
The Fabulous Thunderbirds
And much more from all eras!! ………Plus The New Arrivals perform their own original music from their three albums which can be found at www.cdbaby.com on TAJ Stone Records and of course iTunes. We also have a link on our site to cdbaby. Thanks.