Monday, April 2, 2012

Early New Place

The advertisement above is about the only thing I can find online about the New Place, which was a teen nite club located on Route 31 between Algonquin and Crystal Lake.  The New Place was open from January 1965 until December of 1968, when it burned.  There were dances there after that, but they were outside.

The above ad is from November of 1967, advertising the Cryan' Shames and the Flock, two of the later bands that played at the New Place.

This blog is about the early days at the New Place.  As I said in my last blog, the Nevermore closed in early 1965 because it was too small to house all the kids who were coming there to dance on the weekends.  The owners moved the teen night club west to Route 31 between Algonquin and Crystal Lake.  The address was Algonquin, but the New Place was closer to Crystal Lake and Cary.

The New Place was an old barn, which was probably built in the early 1900's.  In the beginning only the first floor of the barn was used.  Later, the upper area was opened, and in the summer of 1965, they built a patio outside on the north side of the barn.  The barn burned in December of 1968.

Things at the New Place were pretty basic at first.  There was no heat in the barn so the owners had kerosene heaters strategically placed around the dance floor.  There was a snack bar on the east side, and the band played against the wall on the west side across from the snack bar.  You had to take a step down to reach the snack bar.  I think the snack bar was the area where the cows in the barn had once been fed.

The bathrooms were at the front of the building on the south side and so was the entrance.  There was a small office in the southeast corner of the building.

Wow, were there some great bands playing at the New Place!  I mentioned the Conspirators in my Nevermore blog, and they were better than ever at the New Place.  Eddie Putta from Cary was now the lead singer, and he was great.  A slight digression about Eddie!  After I had been teaching at Fremd High School in Palatine for ten or fifteen years, I was doing something for the school newspaper (I was the adviser) that sent me to the 1968 Fremd yearbook.  In the prom photos from 1967 was one of good ol' Eddie Putta escorting the prom queen.  And man, was she beautiful!  I'm sure Eddie had met her at the New Place!

Now to the other bands.  I really liked Tim Hagen and the Novos.  Harold  (a buddy of mine from Crystal Lake who will figure prominently in these blogs) and I talked Tim Hagen into letting us sing "Boys," by the Beatles with the band on a cold winter night.  We were terrible, but we did it; we got up and sang at the New Place!!
The Del-Vettes

But the best band at the New Place was the Del-Vettes from Highland Park.  I had never heard "Still in Love with You Baby," originally recorded by the Beau Brummels from San Francisco ("Laugh Laugh" "Just a Little") before, but that was THE song for the Del Vettes.  They also did a mean version of the Beatles' "I Call Your Name."  In December of 1965, we were able to get the Del-Vettes to play at the Crystal Lake Community High School Christmas dance, the Holly Berry Ball.  Needless to say, they were a step up from the bands that usually played.  After I had been at Fremd for 25 years, I met Greg Herriges from Highland Park, who is a professor at Harper College.  He told me that one of the Del-Vettes chopped up his mother, and the guy went to an insane asylum.

The winter of 1965 turned warm and rainy early, and parking at the New Place was strictly on the corn stalks.  There were no gravel or asphalt parking lots.  You just parked in the frozen fields, and attendance was BOOMING.  I remember us parking way back in the field east of the barn and walking up the New Place in the rain in February of 1965.  When we came out, the fields had turned to mud, and everybody's car was stuck.  The owners of the New Place had to call a tow truck to come and pull all the cars out.  They were making so much money that they were able to hire workers to come in and throw down a couple tons of gravel in time for the next week.

As I mentioned in my Nevermore blog, the New Place and Nevermore had an in and out policy, meaning that kids could go in, dance, and then go outside when the band took a break.  Now this seems harmless enough, but teenagers are a devious bunch.  My buddy Ace's father used to buy his whiskey by the case, or should I say CASES.  Ace had no trouble snarfing a bottle of Kentucky Tavern whiskey weekly and putting it under the front seat or in the trunk of his yellow Buick Skylark convertible.

During breaks, Ace, me, Chuck S., Zak, Harold, Lee G., Bob R., Mel F., and anybody else who was hanging around us would go out to the Skylark for a "taste."  And of course, if a young lady decided to accompany one of us, it was easy for the young lady and gentleman to remain in the car alone after the rest of the group returned to the dance.

As winter turned into spring in 1965, lots of other kids caught on to the in and out policy, and drinking and sex in the parking lot became an epidemic.  I always remember coming home from high school one afternoon and seeing the Elgin Courier News newspaper sitting on the counter where my mom had left it so I would see it.  There across the front page was a headline that said something like "Drinking and Sex at Algonquin Teen Hang-Out."  Oh, oh! 

The first reaction of the owners of the New Place was to hire off-duty McHenry County Sheriff's deputies to  search all the cars in the parking lot for booze.  And search they did!  The in and out policy remained, however, and Ace was always the smartest of the group so he found a spot on Pingree Road, only about a mile from the New Place where he could stash the Kentucky Tavern.  So now when the Del-Vettes took a break, we'd all pile into Ace's car, by now a 1965 Impala SS convertible, and head to what Ace called "Boozo Road." 

I'm not sure how long the Boozo Road visits lasted (It seems like a very long time), but eventually the owners of the New Place adopted a once in, always in policy, meaning that once you paid your admission, you could not leave.  But for a while, that in and out policy was something special!

The New Place was open Friday and Saturday nights and on Sunday afternoons.  It was also always open on the night before a school holiday, for example the night before Thanksgiving.  The night before Thanksgiving in 1965 was warm, and we went over to Tom Manteuffel's house on Woodland Drive in Crystal Lake and played basketball.  Then it was off to the New Place in Zak's '56 Mercedes Benz.

Zak had it in for Danny Peacock because Zak's 1st love, Carol B., had apparently expressed an interest in Danny.  So Zak decided to pick a fight with Danny with disasterous results, as Danny knocked out four or five of Zak's front teeth.  And we all got left at the New Place as Zak split after the scrap with Danny.  Harold and I are still trying to figure out how we got home that night.  Zak and Danny Peacock are both dead now.

Kids from all over the northwest suburbs came to the New Place.  We met kids from Palatine, Arlington Heights, Barrington, Elgin, Dundee, Woodstock, McHenry, Wauconda--you name the town--kids were there.  That place really rocked. 

When I was teaching at Fremd, one of my colleagues, Jan Crowe, and I struck up a conversation about the New Place one day.  Jan reached into her purse, pulled out her wallet, and showed me her New Place membership card, photo and all.

Well, phase two of the New Place is still to come so stay tuned. 


  1. Elizabeth Morgan SecoraApril 14, 2012 at 7:51 PM

    Found this on Youtube: Someone posted this song from the Del-Vetts! Last Time Around

  2. I was a New Place groupie too. Lived in Cary and was there every weekend. This is a little embarassing but my Dad worked there as a bouncer so I just came to work with him. Most nights it was so crowded I never saw him so it wasn't so bad. I knew the owners, have a few of the monthly cards with the schedule and a lot of pictures. I met so many people there and wonder what happened to some of them. Hope more people find your blog and comment.


    1. Peggie,
      E-mail me your e-mail address at Maybe I can post some of your photos on my blog. I didn't realize there were bouncers--thought there were just McHenry Co. Sheriff's deputies. Looking forward to hearing from you.

  3. I remember that fight between Zak and Danny Peacock - but this is the first time I had any idea what it was about.

    I think we got a ride back from Carol Nelson and her friends, with one of the deputies, after Zak left.

    I don't remember for sure if it was that night, but that's the only time I remember being stranded there without a ride.

    ................. Ace

  4. great article

    had a friend of mine told me about the place and he use to work their Ron Mcarthur told me about bands like the Who played their and many other bands we took a drive over their and a few remains still stand .

    thanks looking forward to part 2

    Jeff C

    1. I also saw the WHO live at the New Place. Thats back when they used VOX amps and they would break all their equipment. Very Very crowded.

  5. There is a flyer with the Beau Brummels and Conspirators on the facebook page "we skied at FoxTrails". Ed Putta still plays and sings. I just got a cd from him and he sounds great.

  6. I attended a number of times with my girlfriend but it was 1970/1971 perhaps. If it is the same place, by this time the owners had cut out the side of the barn opposite the area you would park and we would sit in the grass/weeds on the sloping hill facing the stage.
    We saw many a great band on the way in or out of Chicago, and for next to nothing.
    Of course after it got dark the usual aromas would begin to fill the air. The last time I went they had built a fence of some sort around the area that you would sit.
    Before we went in some guy I didn't know grabbed my camera and snapped a picture of what proved to be an undercover narcotics officer. He grabbed my camera and ripped the film from it, told me to come to the police station the next day and it would be replaced ...... fat chance. I went, it never got replaced. After that I never went back.
    I believe we saw, The Amboy Dukes, Paul Reviere & The Raisers, Santana, The Ides of March, The New Colony Six & others that I can't remember.
    Over all it was a spectacular place to go, trouble free and an inexpensive way to get to see a lot of young talent and to spend a lovely evening in the warm Illinois summers.

  7. Reading your blog brought back lots of old memories. Standing inside of the barn either of the first or second level looking down watching and listening to the bands on stage. The outside stage opened in the summers I remember seeing Mason Profit, Ted Nugent and The Amboy Dukes, Three Dog Night, The Cryan Shames, Who, and so many others. My friend saved all of the entrance tickets stubs for years and she would talk about how much fun we had there. Sadly like many she has past on. We also enjoyed going to The Cellar in Arlington Heights and a club in St. Charles. We were from Old Carpentersville those were the days. Kay

  8. Yes. The Amboy Dukes. "Journey to the Center of the Mind". No one knew who Ted Nugent was at that time. Little did he know that was the high point in his now disgusting "career". At that time the New Place would feature a three-band evening. There was a stage upstairs and over the dance area, another performance "balcony" above and hanging off the wall, and another on the ground floor. Each band's performance would pick up when the other band finished, each at a different "stage" to provide continuity and to avoid a delay between "setting up". Many cars in the parking area with "steamed-up" windows.

  9. Which brings to mind the above poster, announcing The Flock. Growing up in the NW suburbs of Chicago, and later living in the Fox Valley, many of these other garage bands could be seen performing at The New Place and The Cellar. The Cryan Shames, Shadows of Knight as well as The Paul Butterfield Blues Band w Bloomfield and Bishop. I was enrolled at Wright Jr. College in '66 where some of the members of the "Flock" attended. I was in PE w Freddie Glickstein, and a couple of the other guys, as well as members of the Count 5 ("Psychotic Reaction"). Playing in a couple of garage bands myself, we would often go to these venues to see the other guys perform. Other popular venues were the "mixers" at Loyola and UI-Chicago, where I've seen Baby Huey and the Babysitters, New Colony Six, The Castaways, The Ides of March, and of course, Arron Russo's Electric Theater (Kinetic Playground), where many then famous bands would perform, also as a three-band evening. These included, Iron Butterfly, Steppenwolf, Country Joe, The Youngbloods, and many more. Chicago's Old Town, where Butterfield was practically the house band at Big John's on Wells St. was a particularly hot spot. The Purple Onion featured Jimmy Smith, and the Fickle Pickle also featured more folk-type artists. Old Town was my crowd's hangout and we regularly joined Jim and Roger McGuinn. I ran into The Flock when I was at Boulder, CO up at their "country place" at some glacier lake during a visit in '70. Check out the Flock's Jerry Goodman and what he did subsequently. From a garage band performing at The New Place to the Mahavishnu Orchestra, Jan Hammer, Billy Cobham, The Dixie Dregs, Shadowfax, and scoring motion pictures, incl. "Search for Intelligent Life in the Universe, Mr. Saturday Night, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, and numerous other projects. Check him out on Wiki. Also noteworthy was the Hot Rod and Custom Car Show at Navy Pier, '66. Big Daddy Roth was there doing his shirt thing and performing was "The Sunliners". They became "Rare Earth" with the hit, "I Just Want to Celebrate", lately featured in some TV commercial. My friends in the H.S. days attended Taft H.S. Nick Fortuna, lead singer of "The Buckinghams" was one of their classmates.

  10. Does anyone remember the name of the lead guitarist who came after John Mayus? We are working on a garage band exhibit for the Elk Grove Historical Society and we think that guitarist was at one time an Elk Grove resident.

  11. Anybody remember a guy named Jim Green who used to hang out there?

  12. Out of all the bands I saw at The New Place and believe me living across the river from there and rowing across the river climbing up the hill sneaking in to the concerts we saw many many great bands. The stand out band for me was Vanilla Fudge with Jon Sebastion on the huge key board very near the edge of the stage. The smell of smoke in the air. It is a time to remember.

  13. the only thing i remember about the new place is you throwing a chocolate milk shake out the window of brocks car and hitting the coss' brothers car and brock flooring that old chev to escape

  14. I went to the New Place AFTER the fire....saw Alice Cooper, Reo Speedwagon, Chase, & Ted Nugent and the Amboy Dukes there. They had a little stage set up and we sat on concrete under the stars and listened to music.. id say that was 1970 perhaps? My brother was a regular at rhe New Place when it was an actual building. I drive what I believe was the location almost weekly. ..I remember the entrance of the place like it was yesterday. Really great memories

  15. I was two feet from the stage when Buffalo Springfield played! What a thrill. May 1967!