New Arrivals open premiere San Jose Rocks Hall of Fame Concert
It was an evening to remember for music lovers in the Bay Area. Honor was paid to several local groups with induction to the hall of fame for San Jose Rocks and a great time was had by all. The bands were all at 200% of performing speed.
Go to the San Jose Rocks Site
60's Garage Band.com Interview
The New Arrivals
Another one of the great groups from the �60�s that for whatever reason could never score that elusive national hit, The New Arrivals from San Jose were still very successful regionally. They recorded several excellent singles and worked alongside several legendary music figures, and also appeared frequently on TV and as spokespeople for both Macy�s Department Store and 7-Up. The band is still performing today, and in addition to compiling CDs of their �60�s recordings has also released a disc of entirely new music. You can order the CD and learn more about the band at their
website, Since the site contains a biography, we�ve decided to ask some random questions rather than try to obtain a complete history. And Tom Muller graciously provided the answers.
An Interview With Tom Muller
60sgaragebands.com (60s): Your band started in '62 as The Preps. Were The Preps more of a vocal group ala The Four Preps or an instrumental band with little singing?
Tom Muller (TM): We were an all-around instrumental group doing songs from the �40s, �50s and �60s. Sometimes Andre or I would sing. The reason for the name is that we went to Bellarmine College Prep in San Jose. A Jesuit gave the name to us.
60s: A one-time member of The Preps was Rich Correl, who found fame later as the man behind the music for HAPPY DAYS. Why did he leave the band prior to the change in names to The New Arrivals?
TM: Rich was a dynamo of a drummer and a boarder at Bellarmine. We were all playing together his freshman year and then I guess he didn't like the lifestyle away from Los Angeles and went back.
60s: How would you best describe what was the San Jose music scene like in the mid-'60's?
TM: It was basically surf music, grease music and Beatles music. A lot of people were scurrying to cover the sounds that were being dished to us from England. As a matter of fact most people at first thought The Brummels were English until we learned otherwise. We jumped on the Beatles bandwagon while performing at a Beach Boys concert in 1964. We wound up touring with them for a couple of years off and on backing the big single acts when they needed it plus our stuff when they didn't. We were a five voice group. Harper's Bizarre wanted us to be their back up band because we did their stuff when they couldn't. We learned our harmonies from Brian Wilson and Bruce Johnston's approach. I also had a lot of respect for Paul Revere's group. They were hard working journeymen who used to come to town with their trailer and play their ass off. I learned a great deal about showmanship from them.
The San Francisco groups that everyone knows of used to record along with us when we were at Golden State. Have you ever seen the ID band book? We are smack dab in the middle with all the people who made it afterwards. The Airplane used to hang around SJS and KLIV hoping to make it. RCA took care of that. It was friendly competition and everyone hoped they had a shot. Deejays were producing bands and having big hits. Record promo guys (i.e. Abe Kesh and The Blues Magoos) were doing the same thing. We just missed it. I really think that the Brummels suffered from bad distribution on Autumn and would have sold more had they the right channels. The "What�s It" was a teen club in Santa Clara run by a Jesuit named Fr. Schmidt who was a "priest to the stars" down the road. We were started by a Jesuit and immediately left his auspices because his ego was bigger than ours. Years later his nephew would be the Hearst family spokesman during the Patty Hearst kidnapping ordeal. He has just put out a book about that time.
Many of the big groups from Los Angeles - The Byrds, Barri and Sloan - used to come north for influence until they got their Los Angeles production going. Sly Stewart influenced one of our first singles. We were rehearsing, performing or going to school. Our garage was the most popular place for blocks and I still meet the "little girls" who sat on the fence and listened in those days. Glen Campbell even came to my house, had dinner and played the piano with me. I also played golf and he was incredible in his cowboy boots shooting a 76. I used to hang at KLIV from 1963-1966 as a friend of Larry Mitchell and the others. I knew the ownership because my family advertised on air and we used to have a great time. I suppose that a good deal of bands started the same way.
The scene was pure and there was a great atmosphere of fun and creativity. The audiences were fantastic and supportive. Lip-syncing hadn't been over-used yet and the live on air things were just that. What a great time and place.
60s: Did you ever any regular interaction with The Chocolate Watchband, Count Five, Mourning Reign, or any of the other great San Jose groups from the era?
TM: It is interesting that you would ask that. I am involved in trying to find these groups from that era to make them eligible for recognition by History San Jose and our garage band hall of fame and the San Jose Rock Hall of Fame. The San Jose scene was just as important as San Francisco in many ways.
I had lots of interaction with The Count Five. We knew The Syndicate (0f Sound) and performed with them. The Tikis (later Harper's Bizarre) were our buddies. I used to trade stories in our early years with Stu Cook about music at San Jose State during breaks at the cafeteria when he and the others were starting The Golliwogs. Larry Norman (of People and a huge Christian rock pioneer) and I wrote a song together called �Love Is A Game.� I just remembered that and the song. We were friendly with Cornie and The Corvettes (Cornelius Bumpus of The Doobies sax and many, many other huge things). The E-Types were my favorite band. I still see Terry. He works in Monterey and also plays with The Syndicate. John Duckworth, the Syndicate drummer, has worked with me since 1972. The Watchband we knew through John and a few other guys through Rick and Shorty (our guys) and their Los Gatos roots. The New Invaders were a great surf band. We also knew the Jaguars (Barry Wineroth et al) and were friendly with them. I used to take classes with Jim McPherson of Stained Glass at San Jose State. They were on RCA. I don't think they ever had the hit as we didn't either. Contacts were being sent around by all the Los Angeles companies to get as much of the original south bay sound as they could. Frosty, who played either with The Nitekaps or The Rythmnmakers, went to work with Lee Michaels. He was probably the best drummer ever. Ever! There was a plethora of groups between 1961 and 1963 that defined the true musician's musician approach: The Ingrahm Brothers, Pete Vernaci, and on and on. Those were the guys who we admired when we were starting. I just had a conversation with Pete about those days and we are going to honor them in this garage band hall of fame.
60s: KLIV's Larry Mitchell was responsible for your first recording session. How did you hook up with him?
TM: I met Larry at a dance he was deejaying for our after football game thing in 1963.
60s: Most of the New Arrivals' songs were written by outside personnel (Tom Talton, Sal Valentino) or were cover versions. How actively did the band attempt to write your own songs?
TM: Actually we wrote a few of the songs and were writing more, but our producer had a direct link to Barmour Music and Tony Moon in Nashville. He would get songs for us written by people who had names and we'd do them. They were not covers but songs written for us to do. Sal Valentino gave us �God Help The Teenager�. He just told us recently that we were the only band to ever do his stuff.
60s: Tommy Talton of the legendary We The People wrote "Scratch Your Name". Did the band ever meet Talton, or was it simply an opportunity to record a great song?
TM: Tony Moon produced those guys - I think - or had their publishing right. We never met him and remember at that time we didn't even know who he was. Tony was really huge in those days. I believe he also produced The Vogues.
60s: Why did the band change names to The Fifth Street Exit, and why was Holly Penfield added as vocalist at the time?
TM: It was a pure monetary move by Macy's.
60s: How affiliated was the band with Macy's? You recorded a jingle/single for them, but were you involved in any of their other marketing plans/concepts?
TM: We made big bucks with Macy's and 7-Up for three out of four years. They would hire us to do their national back-to-school promos and shows for girl's clothing and such. We cut 45s that were give aways. We sold more and made more than (if we had) a hit. The 45s were usually a commercial made into a song b/w one of our own songs.
60s: Was the commercial jingle version of "Let's Get With it At Macy's" with voiceover ever pressed to 45 or was it played on the radio only?
TM: It was a live radio tag with our music and vocal pad.
60s: What do you recall about the Macy's After School Specials on ABC?
TM: Girls, girls, girls. We loved them. They loved us and it was great fun because they liked our music...and us.
60s: Did The New Arrivals film any TV commercials?
TM: Nothing on a national level besides Macy's. We did a 7-Up jingle.
60s: What do you recall about the FRESH YOUNG WORLD OF FASHION and GOING THING TV specials that the New Arrivals (and Fifth Street Exit) were part of?
TM: We filmed the GOING THING on Mount Tam in Marin and I met the videographer extraordinaire Al Giddings, who later became Mr. Under the Sea. Macy's gave away an old car that was the �going thing�. You can see it on the jacket of the 45 give-a-way. Andre was in that picture because Rick was on two-week naval reserve duty. I had a really good time. We did the tracks at Pacific Recorders in San Mateo about the same time as Santana was doing his first album there. We'd pass them in the halls very carefully.
60s: Ford eventually hired their own in-house rock group named The Going Thing. Was there ever any discussion that The Fifth Street Exit could fill that role?
60s: How did you become associated with Golden State Recorders? How many songs did you record there?
TM: We started at Coast Recorder on Bush in San Francisco and worked there as the Preps. When Dick Hanahoe took over for Jack Hayes with Larry Mitchell they heard that Leo (Kukla) had moved to San Francisco. This was in1964. We then camped there for three years. We recorded most of the songs you hear on the Finally CD there.
60s: What are your recollections of Golden States' Leo Kulka? Did you interact with him much during the sessions?
TM: Leo was my audio mentor and God. He could splice with his eyes closed any section of time. He knew how to make music with four-tracks and great mics. There was no question about that. Some people I know got pissed off because he kept their masters because they never paid their bills. Well, so that is business. As far as his creative ability goes he was superb and had a great ear. He also had a boesendeorfer (sic) piano and a real reverb chamber plus the records on the wall. There were dozens of records that were big hits from his time in Los Angeles � Sinatra, Ernie Field, and on and on. Then of course there were the big San Francisco groups after he came to town. He helped me over the years when I would have technical questions and also was instrumental in my majoring in broadcast communications with emphasis in sound at SJSU. I will always remember his "take" � whatever - Hungarian accent the rest of my day. I think I have it on tape somewhere.
60s: What are your recollections of Mike Post? He later of course became one of the (if not the single biggest) premier TV composers. How well known was he during the time you worked with him?
TM: He actually bought us from hearing �When I Needed You�. When it came down to the signing we were in the arms of the U.S. Government and the draft. He then went and found Kenny Rogers and The First Edition.
60s: Sly Stone played bass on "Night Theme". What are your recollections of him?
TM: He was cool. He was the producer of the Beau Brummels. We did �Night Theme� in one take and he was right on. He was also DJ on the local soul AM station at the time and a disciple of Donohue and Mitchell (or vice versa).
60s: Which of the songs that you recorded do you think best exemplifies the sound that you'd like The New Arrivals to be remembered by?
TM: �When I Needed You�, �Funny Feeling� (an original), �Scratch Your Name�, �Night Theme�, �Moonracers�, and �Just Outside My Window.�
60s: How do you best summarize your experiences with The New Arrivals?
TM: We started in a garage and we went to a main stage overnight. We worked with the big names, worked in the great studios and probably would have gone to a next step if it weren't for LBJ and Nixon. But maybe that's Okay because now we are together again and the music is back and we have all original material on The Road Back. We are performing with Sal Valentino and backing him up and doing our stuff. Life has been good to all of us in and out of music over the years. I really believe that fate has more in store for us now. I have friends who are still my best friends and even the hard core fans are still around.