An early performance of a rocker we played throughout our tenure. Some folks, especially our old friend Jake Barnes, held this as a favorite. Live at Stonybrook U. in '79 and simulcast on WUSB-FM -- the Stonybrook audience was great to us! The lyrics? Uhhhmmm...
Maybe you don't know who the Achievements are. Or maybe you're looking for a song you know we did but don't know where to look and realize that the Internet is not in alpha order. Anyway, this may help.
Pictured in 1979 left to right: Greg Meade, Tom Rizzo, Ken (in Mrs. Rich Meade's unisex Indian shirt), George LoMuscio, Rich Meade.
A BIT ABOUT US
The Achievements flourished from 1979 to 1982 and graciously performed and recorded my original songs. The idea was we'd get a record deal, have some hits, move to homes in Malibu overlooking the Pacific or whatever they have out there. I assumed Stevie Nicks would stop by.
Members were Greg Meade, lead GTR and backing vocals; Richard Meade, keening high backing vocals and second GTR; Tom Rizzo; warm-sounding Fender bass. Our drummer was George LoMuscio, who passed away in 1989. Jack Gabis, Fender b-string bender specialist (sounds like pedal steel) and banjo expert (30 years before Mumford) was a frequent guest onstage and in the studio.
Among George's many percussive talents was his propensity to not use the common drummer move known as the "crossover" to strike certain surfaces at certain times. Instead, George, a serious student of the percussive arts (and secretly left-handed), struck items on his left with his left stick and those on his right with his right. Sound simple? It's not. Other percussion enthusiasts would observe this in action and marvel. Also he looks cool on video and we will have video links so you can see. All of us still love and miss George and hope you might pay good attention to his chops on these songs. In stereo!
The Achievements (and moi) were produced by Harold Kleiner. Our big NYC studio production was engineered by Irwin Bailey. We recorded live concerts at Stonybrook U (live to air on WUSB-FM) and at St. John's U (in color video, thanks to Terry Gabis). Our live shows, often at the old Lone Star Cafe on 13th Street in Manhattan and at My Father's Place (Michael Epstein's, that is) in Roslyn, Long Island, were special and we often got to open for cool national touring acts like Lightnin' Hopkins and Steppenwolf. The coolest was Kinky Friedman. We opened for him repeatedly at the Lone Star and he's the only guy we knew who eventually ran for governor of Texas.
We eventually did batches of self-produced studio work at Doug Wood's Onmimusic. Although we had one eye on the clock, this work sounds pretty darn good thanks in large part to our engineer and pal Joe Powell. Tunes below are all re-mastered (at Media Mechanix) and appear in alphabetical order (for now).
This may be the ultimate Achievements collab with an amalgam of the Brothers Meade and the Gabis Brothers Band. Rich and Greg Meade on vocals; Don Gabis on bass; Jack Gabis on lead GTR (interplaying with Greg) and Bill Intemann on drums. Concept: John Lennon, in and interview, described his rocky time away from Yoko as an alcohol-soaked "back to the bottle" period, Rockabilly treatment; includes oblique reference to Ronald Reagan.
A jokey take off on "La Cucaracha" became our most requested live -- still is. Originally produced in the studio by Doug Wood in 1977, Harold Kleiner re-produced(?) it about three years later. It is, after all, a novelty song, and became a non-hit self-released single around 1983. This take is from Stonybrook U's live radio broadcast, October, 1979.
Written in 1974 when I was a member-in-good-standing of the Meade Bros. Band, the guys did a bang up job pulling this off live. Concept: fretting over an unrequited love's special island. "Curacao" smacks of our interest, at the time, in Steely Dan and my interest in reggae. Recorded, finally, in 1982 with the Achievements at Doug Wood's Omnimusic and mixed by Joe Powell.
Also live on WUSB-FM Stonybrook, October, 1979 -- our big jam song. There were three cameras! Joe Powell had us miked and mixed to the hilt! Soon after Harold Kleiner produced and Irwin Bailey engineered big-city studio versions of "ElDo" and "Cockroaches." But this version has Jack Gabis on electric "B-string bender" GTR dueling with Greg Meade!
We debuted this live on WUSB-FM in 1979. It's kind of autobiographical and describes using the LIE (495) to get everywhere on Long Island while still being on an island. Neil Young fans will note how much it owes to his strong work in 1978. Nowadays the Gabis Bros. Band is performing "End to End" live! Go Gabises!
In 1980 I thought it was time for us to explore Ska. This might not be confused with Ska, but still check out drummer George LoMuscio's great work. Concept: After a dinner hosted by Rich Meade & spouse, I noticed almost everyone at the table was smoking a cigarette. We played this tune live on "Phil Shapiro Live," a cable show in Manhattan, the day after John Lennon was shot. There is video...
The B-side to "Lie to Me," this gets way more plays!! The 45, on the Permanent Records vanity label, did well in jukeboxes in the NY area. East Coast Horns kick it with core Achievements Greg (lead GTR) and Rich Meade, Tom Rizzo (bass) and George LoMuscio (drums). Concept: narrator makes a key self-discovery.
From 1982, one of your typical "what if" songs: What if Neil Young joined the Beach Boys on a public beach operated by local government during an environmental crisis? Along with the "core" Achievements, we have Jack Gabis's lead GTR facing off with Greg Meade's. Assembled at Omnimusic was our largest-ever assortment of chorus singers!
Also live on Stonybrook U's WUSB-FM, this is a blatant homage to Roy Orbison. It works itself into a heartrending duet with Rich Meade. Check out Greg Meade's taste, restraint and exertion on GTR.
Ken McGorry and the Achievements' first 45 record! Early 80's with huge boost from Paul Schuermann's East Coast Horns. This was inspired by Michael McDonald's work with Steely Dan and the Doobie Bros. Ken on electric piano (rarity). Mixed by Joe Powell.
This is our salute to Old Fezziwig's (a bar in New Hyde Park, L.I.) where the owners, staff and patrons were super kind to us. This was where we practiced for free in the afternoons. If this song is to be believed, there were occasional evenings when female companionship was scarce. Once again, Jack Gabis and Greg Meade duke it out on GTR.
Proving that reggae does not have to be easy-going, this tune addresses Woody Allen's orgasmatron in "Sleeper." There needed to be a reggae song about it, and here it is. And you hear an early incursion from Paul Brokaw on a reggae Fender Rhodes. Broke went on to produce and play on scads of post-Achievements tunes. (Check "Ken McGorry and Friends" if you don't believe me. Broke a lot of the time is my "Friends" -- and he's only one man.)
Our Big Ballad. Everyone had to have one in the early '80s. Recorded at Doug Wood's Omnimusic in '82 with the core Achievements: Rich and Greg Meade, Tom Rizzo on bass and George LoMuscio on drums. Just listen to how George keeps this from being a lugubrious weeper.
Everyone should have a song about taunting their older sisters. Here Jack Gabis joins the core Achievements for another raucous GTR duel with Greg Meade. Concept: how the 50's changed everything forever.
Ken & Achievements make a desperate attempt to compete in the "perfect Country song"** sweepstakes with this AM-radio-ready early-80's nugget recorded at Omnimusic (in Western Nassau Country). Super tasty help from Jack Gabis on B-string-bender Fender (sounds like pedal steel) and John Melnick on honky-tonk piano. Joe Powell's mix.
** "I was drunk the day my Mom got out of prison" was already in taken.
This is another early-80's crack at Country -- a weeper, but heartfelt -- with Rich, Greg and Jack "can't attempt Country without him" Gabis on B-string bender.
Who indeed? This is really "the Achievements have fun with the Em chord." Our narrator takes us to some dark, paranoid psycho-sexual place while Greg Meade's lead GTR stalks the primal earth. Paul "East Coast" Schuermann contributes appropriately schmeary Hammond Organ. Recorded in '82 at Omnimusic, mixed by Joe Powell, you can turn this one UP!