Friday, January 22, 2010

A Few Of Your Follow-Up Comments

Last week we ran "Helping Out Our Readers" features spotlighting The New Colony Six and Barry McGuire. Here are some of the comments we've received on these topics thus far:

>>>We did a radio ad for Topps Department Stores using "I Confess" - "I confess to have a willingness and wanting for Topps" and then it went downhill from there. Wish I had a copy of it to share but do not and don't think I ever even heard it played. (Ray Graffia, Jr. / The New Colony Six)
>>>Man, I would LOVE to get a copy of that ... anybody out there know we might go about doing so??? (kk)
Sorry, I do not have the NC6 commercial. Did you ever display the '69 Mike Douglas Show interview and performance for all to hear?
Clark Besch
Ages ago we ran a VERY lo-fidelity copy of "Groovin' Is Easy" ... but no, I've never run the full-length clip that you sent me ... until now! ("Groovin' Is Easy" is especially interesting in that the band never actually got around to recording this song ... yet THIS is the track the opted to perform on The Mike Douglas Show along with their current hit single.) "Things I'd Like To Say" was their biggest national hit, peaking at #13 in Cash Box Magazine back in 1969 ... Douglas and the band refer to it as "Top Ten all over the nation right now" in their intro of the tune. (This whole tape is pretty "lo-fidelity", too ... it was recorded right off of the TV broadcast with Clark's trusty, ALWAYS at his side, reel-to-reel tape recorder!) I would have guessed they would have coupled this with either "Come And Give Your Love To Me", the song they originally intended to be the A-Side of that single, or one of their earlier hits like "Can't You See Me Cry" or "I Will Always Think About You", especially since Mike Douglas comments during their introduction, "That's two in a row for you guys now." (kk)

Hi Kent
The New Colony Six song I was referring to was, indeed, ''Never Be Lonely'' ... I was just given the wrong title. I was most certainly familiar with the flip side, ''Long Time To Be Alone''. I'm not sure how ''Never'' escaped my hearing it but I'm so glad my friend forwarded it to me. Just a gorgeous song to be sure!
Thank you for all the great NC6 info and insight.
Rock On!
I figured that had to be the one ... a GREAT "lost" track. Hopefully, you discovered a few OTHER gems in our special NC6 piece, too! (kk)

>>>We spent (according to rock historian and major Colony fanatic, Jerry Schollenberger) 198 weeks on the national charts without ever hitting #1.
(Ray Graffia, Jr.)
In the spirit of always presenting "The Most Accurate Truth Possible", I should point out that The New Colony Six spent a total of 93 Weeks on The Billboard Singles Chart during their career. This includes their "Bubbling Under" Hits. All-in-all, some pretty impressive statistics in that some people out there continue to refer to these guys as a Chicago-only, local hits attraction. (kk)

Speaking of which ...

After we showed you the KPOI Chart from Hawaii last week (with "Long Time To Be Alone" at #4), we thought we'd share THIS chart from Louisville, Kentucky, where you'll find The New Colony Six at the VERY top of the chart with their Louisville #1 Hit "I Will Always Think About You", a tune that also topped the charts here in Chi-Town. (kk

(Click Chart To Enlarge)

Some of your readers might like to know that The New Colony Six opened for the Beach Boys at the Joliet Memorial Stadium in May of 1974. They are referenced by the announcer [from the stage] in Joliet, Illinois during one of the crowd scenes in my new 90 minute Beach Boys documentary "1974 - On The Road With The Beach Boys."
The New Colony Six shared the bill with The Beach Boys a number of times in the late '60's, too ... in fact, we ran a rare photo a while back of the two groups together backstage ... here it is again! (kk)

>>>With regards to "The New Colony Six", I recall them being on some of the shows we were on when touring the midwest. At the time I guess I paid them no real attention as we were intoxicated with what we were about and the business at hand. As of late I've been Youtubing, listening to their songs, and I have to say that they had some kickass songs. Whoever wrote them had real skills, and the harmonies are spot on. So you can chalk up some sales of their CD's to me. All of this writing is of course my humble opinion. (Alex Valdez / Yellow Balloon)
I remember Alex and his song "Yellow Balloon" - we did shows with so many artists back then that I can't remember them all - but it's always great now to hear that some of these other artists enjoyed our work 'cause you never really knew that at the time. I mean you always wondered what they thought 'cause, you know, you were diggin' THEIR tunes - and you HOPED that they liked yours but you never really asked them and it wasn't really talked about much. But I've met so many artists now, especially these last few years, that have told me how much they really enjoyed "I Will Always Think About You" or "Things I'd Like To Say" and some of the others and it's just GREAT to hear that now -- to know that they were listening to OUR stuff and diggin' it, just like we were listening to THEIR music.
-- Ronnie Rice

Kent -

Just had to send a line. Thanks for all the great stuff on the NC6. I wish the current line up was playing more often. Whatever happened to Pat McBride and Jerry Van Kollenberg? From my understanding the NC6 started out at St Patrick's High School on the north side of Chicago and were originally called the Patsmen.
Mike De Martino

President and Commander
Lovejoy Music Club
Yes, the band first formed at St. Patrick's High School ... you weren't on the list yet when our original month-long series ran ... here are the lead-off paragraphs from that landmark series (with Ray Graffia Jr.'s comments in red, editing my original piece!)

The band first formed while the boys were still in High School attending St. Patrick High. The original members consisted of Ray Graffia, Jr. on vocals and tambourine, Patrick McBride on vocals and harmonica, Gerry VanKollenburg on lead guitar, Wally Kemp on bass, Craig Kemp (Wally's cousin, who also went by the name Gregory Kempinski) on organ and Chic James (real name James Chitkowski) on drums. They called their original incarnation "The Patsmen" in honor of their Alma Mater.
A hastily put together version of the band first performed in their high school's talent show (singing The Beatles' hit "I Want To Hold Your Hand") and they were a smash!
Actually it was our Spring concert, Senior year - 1964- traditionally done with a girls' school since Pat's was all boys - in 1964 it was done jointly with Notre Dame - Pat MC'ed the concert and Wally and I were in the concert choir and Chic, Wally and Gerry were in the Dance Band that accompanied the combination choirs from ND and Pat's... the five of us and one fellow whom we did not recruit for the band played and sang the tune together.
In fact, after that talent show performance, they were hired to perform at Notre Dame High School.
Actually we were asked to come and do the Beatles' tune as a freebie - but we figured why not form a band and do more songs, rather than just imitate the Beatles - so we did - at an upcoming dance their first sock hop the following Fall.
Soon the boys were rehearsing in earnest and, by the summer of 1964, they were performing at several city dances, ultimately graduating to some of the local clubs and colleges. A name change was quickly in order..."We didn't really like the name 'The Patsmen' very much," Graffia said. Everything that was happening in music at the time seemed to be influenced by The British Invasion. Since the British referred to America as "the new colonies" ... and, since they were six in number ... the band quickly became The New Colony Six ... a British-sounding enough name for a band hailing from the midwest! (Not unlike The Buckinghams, whose named owed as much to England's Buckingham Palace as Chicago's Buckingham Fountain!!!)

As for a band member update (whatever happened to Pat McBride and Gerry Van Kollenburg), Gerry retired from the music business once the band split up in 1974. I had the pleasure of meeting him a couple of years ago when Ray Graffia, Jr. held a complete band reunion at his house, prior to their induction into The St. Patrick's High School Hall Of Fame. (You can find our eye-witness account on The Forgotten Hits Website here): Click here: Forgotten Hits: The New Colony Six Reunion ... And WE Were There!!!
The only "no show" that night was Pat McBride, who's apparently been "missing in action" for a few years now. Last we heard he was down in Florida and was still working in the music business (ironically, most likely on the "jingles" side ... boy, we sure coulda used HIS input during our recent Favorite Commercials Series!!!)

I know that Ronnie Rice had been keeping in touch with Pat for quite a while but apparently even HE has lost touch with him over the past couple of years. Too bad as this really was a VERY moving experience, seeing all the original guys back together again.
From what I've been told, Gerry prefers NOT to rehash the old days about the band. As the ONLY member there from Day One to the day they finally called it quits, that's too bad ... I would LOVE to hear his perspective on all of this ... it certainly would have made OUR piece that much stronger had we had the insight of ALL of the former members to draw from ... plus it'd give Gerry a chance to get it all down on paper once and for all, one last time, eliminating any need to go through it all again. (Typically Ray and Ronnie are the ones singled out to discuss the band ... and, quite honestly, most of us have heard what they have to say by now ... it'd be GREAT to hear from Wally and Chic and Craig and Gerry and Pat and Skip and Rick and Bruce and Chuck and Billy and on and on and on to better put together the COMPLETE story ... so here's an open offer to ALL of you guys ... get in touch with me and we'll see what we can do about a re-edit / rerun of our piece on the web page!!!) kk

The New Colony Six did well up here in Milwaukee pretty much right away. Most of their 45s got airplay and made the charts. "I Confess" & "Love You So Much" are two early classics that made the Top 5 here. "Things I'd Like To Say" gets to #1, "I Will Always Think" is top 3, and "Can't You See Me Cry" is Top 10. Most of the Sentar & Mercury releases chart here. Also, "Long Time To Be Alone" makes the Top 15, so we supported them well!

I remember covering in our series the fact that The New Colony Six played Milwaukee's County Stadium the week that "Things I'd Like To Say" hit #1 there ... I believe they were on the same bill as The Monkees (and about a dozen OTHER popular acts at the time!) As shown above, you can see that "I Will Always Think About You" also went to #1 in Louisville, KY ... and I found a chart yesterday placing "Things I'd Like To Say" at #5 in New York City ... so clearly their reach extended well beyond our city's borders. ("Long Time To Be Alone" hitting #4 in HAWAII is certainly proof of that!!! lol) kk

Hey there Kent!
Just finished reading today's piece on the New Colony Six. You've done it again ... Another typical FANTASTIC job from Forgotten Hits!.
It has always bothered me that this particular period of the history of The New Colony Six (the Sunlight / MCA Record label days) was never properly documented as it occurred. It seems to me that when Mercury Records dropped the group after its last single "Close Your Eyes Little Girl" in 1970, Sentar Record Productions also stopped producing future New Colony recordings as well.
It also looks as if New Colony Six Guru Pete Wright resigned from producing and managing the Colony. This obviously put the New Colony in a bad spot. However, Pete did sign the NC6 to his Chicago-based Sunlight label for the next three NC6 singles.
Simply stated, It looks as if things were beginning to take a downward turn for the Colony at this point.
The radio market was also changing dramatically at this same time ... Local radio stations and their jocks who once supported and gave needed exposure to local area bands were now promoting more nationally successful musical acts. Saying this, it amazes me to this day that The New Colony STILL managed to place three more singles on the local charts with commendable results.
Two final things I'd like relay ... First off, I want to correct one thing that Rick Barr mentioned about the time frame in which some new members came into the Colony. Rick stated that Bruce Gordon came into the band to replace original bass player Wally Kemp ... This is not correct. Wally left the band and was replaced by Les Kummel ...
Bruce Gordon would have been Les Kummel's replacement when he left the Colony. Not a big deal, but I just wanted to set the record straight.
Last item I wanted to mention ... I have a photo of The New Colony Six in my archives from a 1974 Billboard magazine (when the group just called themselves "New Colony").
This photo really puts another "twist" of confusion into the mix, as the line-up in the photo is: Gerry Van Kollenberg, Skip Griparis, John Camelot, Yvonne Brown, George Eddington, and a figure who looks like Billy Herman.
By Rick Barr's account, HE was the last drummer in the New Colony (which I do BELIEVE) ... So why then, is Billy Herman STILL shown in this 1974 photo of the Colony? If Yvonne Brown (the black female singer) and Skip Griparis are shown in this Billboard pic, then this is the correct 1974 line-up of the group ... but Billy Herman should have been long gone at that point.
Answers anyone? Like I previously mentioned, it's STILL clear as mud to me!
Jerry Schollenberger
Maybe we'll get a response to this from somebody out there who knows ... obviously, the band was still pretty involved with Pete Wright if they were recording for his Sunlight Record Label. (Not sure what they would have been advertising in the 1974 issue of Billboard ... were there ANY releases that late in the band's career? I would LOVE to see this ad if you're able to send it along.) Les Kummel was a KEY part of the band in the late '60's ... he co-wrote their biggest hits "I Will Always Think About You" and "Things I'd Like To Say" with Ronnie Rice. Sadly, Les died in a car accident back in 1978. Making one correction to your corrections: I believe a guy by the name of Ellery Temple played bass for The New Colony Six immediately after Wally Kemp left the group, which would be prior to Les Kummel joining the band, but I'm thinking that this was for a VERY short period of time. (I wasn't 100% sure about this so I asked Ray Graffia, Jr. ...see Ray's notes on this below.) As for this early '70's era of the band, I guess we'll just have to wait and see if anyone else out there can help us piece together this part of The NC6 puzzle. (Who knows, maybe Gerry VanKollenburg will see how much space we've devoted to The New Colony Six lately and be inspired to help shed some light on this era!) Thanks, Jerry! (kk)

The logical explanation is one way you wrote it up above --- Wally, Ellery, Les, Bruce. However, neither Gerry VK nor I could attest to that scenario with 100% certainty. But, given the timing of Ellery Temple's appearance, this just has to be correct. GVK offered that we may never have officially had him in the band formally, but, if that was the case, how did he appear on the Treat Her Groovy / Rap-A-Tap picture sleeve? Both of us could recall the timing of Wally T Kemp's departure, immediately after we all gave our commitment (except Wally and that's what led to his quitting) to forego college in the event that the band continued getting bigger and we both remember that meeting took place amidst a rehearsal at Chic's parents' home. Temple's stay was very brief and with that single having been during the Colonization album timeframe, deductive reasoning says the first sentence is correct because Les's writing credits only began with the Revelations album, hence, my dear Watson, that simply must have been the sequence of events!

as you know way back in 1967-68 when i was just 18 i was a road manager with the new colony 6. i wouldn't trade the memories for anything i've done during my broadcast career. i mean that.
i loved all the guys, but ray graffia and ronnie rice in particular were just super to be around. pat mcbride was always a little distant - perplexed about what he wanted to be and what he thought the group should be.
i remember one swing through the east where we worked don webster's "teen beat" in cleveland with gary puckett and the union gap with a follow up in philadelphia to do jerry blavat's tv gig.
here is something "forgotten hits" readers should know. the colony doesn't have to apologize to anyone. they were a tremendous group with a marvelous legacy, yet i will argue this until closing time. if the group would have gotten a bigger push from mercury, the colony would enjoyed even greater success. trust me, the record company never recognized just how much the 6 had to offer. the colony should have been as big or bigger than the association.
i can still recall that afternoon at 2120 s. michigan when the group laid down the band track and the vocals for "i will always thing about you."
to this kid, the colony is nothing but great vibes, great memories and magnificent hamony.
chet coppock
wls radio /

"Eve of Destruction" was recorded in one take on a Thursday morning from words scrawled on a crumpled piece of paper. Barry's recording includes an ad-libbed "ahhh" in one spot where McGuire couldn't make out the words! At seven o'clock the next Monday morning, Barry got a call from his record company, Dunhill, telling him to turn on the radio. His song was playing!
After McGuire became a born again Christian in 1971, he renounced the tone and content of "Eve of Destruction" and said he regretted ever recording it. After that point, Barry pretty much only performed and recorded (for Sparrow and other labels) inspirational music. Barry eventually dropped out of the music industry entirely and spent the '80s in New Zealand. He has since returned to the U.S., is singing once again and, at last word, is living happily in Fresno, California. On March 12, 2008, McGuire appeared on the Australian music comedy / game show "Spicks and Specks," performing an updated version of "Eve of Destruction." It included new lines, such as, "You're old enough to kill / you just started voting" and " ... can live for ten years in space." The reference to "Red China" had also been removed.
I've never fully thought of Barry McGuire as a "one hit wonder," in that he did so totally dominate the New Christy Minstrels' classic "Green Green" (which he also helped write). McGuire also sang lead on a lot of their best other material during his tenure with that group.
Gary Theroux
I sent a copy of your comments to Barry McGuire in the hopes that he would comment himself on this for our readers and fill in a few of the blanks or, at the very least, set the record straight anywhere that this needed to be done. He was good enough to respond ... and, in the case of your above history, he rewrote the corrections right into your article ... here's what I got back:

(NOTE: Barry's corrections are in bold brown type)
"Eve of Destruction" was recorded in one take on a Thursday (afternoon) from words (handwritten) on a crumpled piece of paper from Phil Sloan's notebook. Barry's recording includes an ad-libbed "ahhh" in one spot where McGuire couldn't make out the words (on the wrinkly paper.) At seven o'clock the (following) Monday morning, Barry got a call from his record company, Dunhill, telling him to turn on the radio. His song was playing!
After McGuire became a born again Christian in 1971, he renounced the tone and content of "Eve of Destruction" and said he regretted ever recording it.

(Where do people come up with this stuff? This is all bullshit - I've never renounced Eve, I've been singing it every show I've done for the last 45 years, and I'm still singing it. In fact, I've just recorded a new version "Eve 2012" that can be found on my website.

After that point, Barry pretty much only performed and recorded (for Sparrow and other labels) inspirational music. Barry eventually dropped out of the (recording) industry entirely and spent the '80s in New Zealand doing live shows in Australia, Singapore, the Philippines, Japan and New Zealand to generate sponsors for Third World children. He has since returned to the U.S., is continuing his concert career doing nearly fifty of his new "Trippin' The Sixties" shows last year, 2009 - 25 shows in Europe, 11 shows throughout the UK and Ireland, an eight show tour of Australia plus scattered shows around the United States. and is living happily in Fresno, California. On March 12, 2008, McGuire appeared on the Australian music comedy / game show "Spicks and Specks," performing an updated version of "Eve of Destruction." It included new lines, such as, "You're old enough to kill / you just started voting" and " ... can live for ten years in space." The reference to "Red China" had also been removed.
I've never fully thought of Barry McGuire as a "one hit wonder," in that he did so totally dominate the New Christy Minstrels' classic "Green Green" (which he also helped write). McGuire also sang lead on a lot of their best other material during his tenure with that group.

Kent -- If people would take the time to read my biography on my website, they wouldn't make all these mistakes in their articles. I really don't have the time to unscramble these inaccurate statements, and I won't be doing it again.
Thanks, Barry ... one thing that Forgotten Hits has prided itself on for the past ten years is presenting "The Most Accurate Truth" possible in an effort to FINALLY dispel all of these inaccuracies that get picked up and repeated as "fact" ... and that is why the participation of the artists and the people who were actually THERE at the time is such a KEY part of what we do. I apologize for putting you through this ... but please also see the OTHER side of this ... it gives you the opportunity to set the record straight once and for all in a "right from the horse's mouth" sort of way. When we do our interview, PLEASE use that opportunity to address any OTHER falsehoods that may have been hounding you for the past 40-something years ... again, a GREAT opportunity to set the record straight. Please think of Forgotten Hits as a way to get the word out not only to your fans but to oldies music fans all over the world who just LOVE hearing this kind of stuff. Thanks again. (kk)

Hi Kent,
Well, in the light of a very wet new morning here in California, and reading your words, I must agree, and thank you so much for the opportunity to set the record straight. We answered your email last night and we were really tired ... LOL ... and from the tone of my response, evidently I was a bit grumpy, but as I say, you are right, so let's continue to unscramble whatever comes in and set the record straight.
Thank you, my friend, for this opportunity,

Glad to see you've had a change of heart ... it's the participation of artists like you that help to build OUR credibility with oldies music fans all over the world. Thank you! (kk)

Kent, Do you remember seeing Barry in an early Perry Mason episode? He appeared in "The Case of the Bedeviled Doctor" in 1959. David
Nope ... a little bit before my time ... and I wasn't aware that he also had an ACTING career. (Timing-wise this just doesn't sound right to me ... nor do I see anything at all mentioned about this in Barry's website biography. A quick check of lists all of the usual musical shows that Barry appeared on: Shindig, The Ed Sullivan Show, Hullabaloo, Where The Action Is ... but these were all singing performances, promoting his latest recordings. I don't see anything listed regarding TV appearances as an ACTOR ... yet when I call up that specific episode of "Perry Mason", I do see that an actor named Barry McGuire appeared on this program. My guess is that it's a DIFFERENT actor named Barry McGuire ... but let's ask him!!!) kk
No, that was not me. I played the male lead in the original Broadway production of "Hair", acting, singing and dancing. I appeared with James Coburn in his classic film "The President's Analyst."
Barry McGuire

Hi Kent,

The other day in your Barry McGuire article you mentioned The Spokesman and that one of its members was David White.

Just out of curiosity, was David White of The Spokesman ever a member of Danny and the Juniors??

When in doubt ask the master!


He sure was ... in fact, he was John Madara's songwriting partner for many, many years ... and the two of them just recently got back together again to write some brand new music for an upcoming film project that John's been working on. (I was one of the fortunate few who got to hear a couple of "sneak peeks" of these newly recorded tracks, written specifically for John's "At The Hop" motion picture ... more info to come as we're allowed to release it!) You can find all kinds of Madara and White stories on The Forgotten Hits Web Page:

Click here: Forgotten Hits - John Madara's Greatest Hits

Click here: Forgotten Hits - John Madara Remembers ...

By the way, you'll find a brand new interview with David White in the brand new issue of "Keep Rockin'" Magazine, available on newsstands now!!! (kk)

The story of "Eve Of Destruction" not charting on WLS is interesting. The "banning" etc. may have been the reason, but there are more curious omissions on WLS. A couple off the top of my head are "Walk Away Renee" by The Left Banke & "Goin' Out Of My Head" by Little Anthony. (There are more, but I can't think of them right now). Can't think of any reasons why classics like these wouldn't have made a Top 40! Very curious to me.
I can relate a Milwaukee spin on Barry McGuire's "Eve Of Destruction" in its 1965 chart time. The story goes that the owner of WRIT Radio in Milwaukee did not ban the song, but made it clear he would not allow it to be rated #1 on their survey. The song made it to #2 for a couple of weeks! As the song started to go down the charts, I believe they hastened its demise, as it dropped like a rock and the airplay became scarce.

Hi Kent,
This was a phenomenal thing for you to do on my behalf. For me, it's always been about getting the message out to those who have the ears to hear it, and you've really helped moved things in that direction.
Thank you so very much. We'll just keep in touch, and whatever we can supply you with, please feel free to ask, if we can do it, we will, if we can't, we can't.
Thanks, Barry ... looking forward to talking with you in greater depth once you get back in The States! (kk)

An absolute Tsunami of info!
Good job, Kent,

kent ...
thanx much ... you're a pro's pro ...
chet coppock