Category Archives: Arlington Heights

The Huns “Destination Lonely”

The Huns Roselle Register Friday, March 24, 1967
“Fast-Rising Huns Take Next Big Step” Friday, March 24, 1967

The Huns came from Arlington Heights, Illinois, a suburb NW of Chicago, most of them students at St. Viator High School. They cut one of the best double-sided 45s of the ’60s, the incredible, blasting “Destination Lonely” with the more tuneful “Winning Ticket.”

Members were:

David Grundhoefer – vocals
Bob Dempsey – lead guitar
Mark Abate – rhythm guitar
Bill McCaffrey – bass (also spelled Bill McCaffery in one source)
Herb Klein – drums

The Huns Rock n' Jazz 45 Destination Lonely (blue Sheldon version)
blue Sheldon version of “Destination Lonely”

An article in the Roselle Register from May 24, 1967 states that they made their first appearance at the Plum Grove Club in October 1965. It also goes on to say “they have cut one record and made the arrangements for the release of another.”

The article states that the members “recall the Oasis Drive-In Battle of the Bands last August [1966] as its first big step. WNWC sponsored the contest and the Huns were among the top five finalists from 67 entries. They went on to take top billing … and won the record contract.”

“‘Destination Lonely,’ written by Dave and Mark, was cut at Sheldon Recording Studios in Old Town. Distributed under the ROCK N’ JAZZ label, the record gained popularity here and in Milwaukee but could not be played on either WCFL or WLS due to lack of a copyright.”

The Huns Rock n' Jazz 45 Destination Lonely (red Stereo Sound version)
red Stereo Sound version with added reverb to lead guitar and vocal on “Destination Lonely”

“In the words of Dave [Grundhoefer], ‘We started after Saturday’s Children but changed to more abstract folk in the lyrics, an obscure tough of Dylan.’ As examples he cites three new Huns songs: ‘Look My Way,’ ‘My Life’ and ‘Did You Believe Me?'”

“Their equipment, built up over the last 18 months, now totals over $5,000. … ‘Most of our earnings have gone into equipment’ said bass guitarist Bill McCaffrey.'”

Another article in the Daily Herald states that the band had played the Hut, the Cellar, and “are schedule to play with the Cryan’ Shames at the New Place in Cary.”

Dave Grundhoefer and Mark Abate wrote “Destination Lonely” and Grundhoefer wrote “Winning Ticket,” both published by RNJ Pub, BMI.

The Huns Rock n' Jazz 45 Winning Ticket
The Stereo Sound version of “Winning Ticket” with jet sounds

The Huns released their single in November, 1966 in two different versions: first with blue labels with a dry sound (no reverb), and then with red labels with added reverb on the vocals and jet noise overdubbed on “Winning Ticket.”

The blue label has a slightly different intro to “Destination Lonely”: the opening chord is struck twice, while the red version has a leading chord before striking the next chord two times.

Other than that, and the reverb added to the lead guitar and vocals, I can’t detect a significant difference in these versions of “Destination Lonely.”

The blue labels include “S-4923” and “S-4924” which indicates it was pressed at Sheldon in Chicago.

The red labels include “SS-8668-01A/B” which is supposed to indicate this single was recorded and pressed by Stereo Sound in Chicago.

However the versions are so close, that I do not think the entire song was rerecorded at Stereo Sound. I believe it’s possible that the lead guitar and lead vocal were both re-recorded over the original backing track done at Sheldon. That would explain the difference in the striking of the opening chords.

I haven’t heard the blue label version of Winning Ticket – any difference besides the overdubs?

The blue label version is considered much rarer than the already-scarce red label copies.

I read some stories in Fuzz, Acid and Flowers about the group that I’m a little skeptical of: that they wore “animal skins with bleached white hair,” that “Robert Dempsey took guitar lessons from Ted Nugent … he apparently helped his student by writing some of the guitar solos for the 45.”

I also read that some years later they released a 45 for Ampex as Greenwood County Farm, but Roy Vombrack wrote to me to clarify: “that was a separate group that had former Huns singer Dave Grundhofer as lead vocalist. Greenwood County Farm released a Bill Traut-produced single “The Man”/”I Wish I Knew You” with Dave on lead. I was the tenor sax player. The band later became Greenwood & then morphed into Jamestown Massacre which later became Mariah.”

Pressing info from the very informative Anoraks Corner.

The Huns Daily Herald Friday, August 25, 1967
Friday, August 25, 1967

The Shays

The Shays in 1963 photo, from left: Steve Naylor, Denis Ahlborn, Jim Harvey, Ken Heinrich and George Mattson
The Shays in 1963, from left: Steve Naylor, Denis Ahlborn, Jim Harvey, Ken Heinrich and George Mattson

Updated June, 2016

The Shays came from Mount Prospect, Illinois, northwest of Chicago, and released one 45 on Astra, “People’ve Been Sayin'” / “Tell Me Where”. These two tracks feature basic but solid two-guitar instrumental backing for the vocalist.

Members were:

Ken Heinrich – lead vocals
Denis Ahlborn – lead guitar
George Mattson – rhythm guitar & backup vocals
Steve Naylor – bass
Jim Harvey – drums

Both songs were written by George Mattson, who contacted me about the band:

Jack Schapps owned three music stores in shopping centers in suburban Chicago and Astra Records was kind of a sideline business of his. The Shays’ bass player, Steve Naylor, and myself worked at his music store at Randhurst Shopping Center in Mt. Prospect and Jack agreed to record our band on his label. I understand that he had worked for RCA records before going into retail, therefore we recorded at the RCA studios in Chicago (somewhere near Navy Pier) around 1965. We did get airplay on WCFL-AM for “Tell Me Where”, which is what we considered the A side. Originally the playing time was almost 3 minutes. WLS told us that was too long to get airplay on their station. At that point, Jack had the 2nd verse removed to reduce the playing time. WLS still wouldn’t play it. 😉

While checking out your website, I discovered the pics of “The Mouse Trap” club in Vernon Hills. The Shays played there regularly in the mid-60s and I still remember The Riddles as another regular band from there. It was another flashback to see the photo of Phil Metzler there. I believe Phil was the guy who started the rumor that burned through the NW suburbs that The Beatles might make a stop at the Mouse Trap after their concert at Comiskey Park in 1965. That night the club was the most crowded that I ever remember. (Phil was a real promoter.)

George Mattson

As George added in a comment below, “we basically were busted up by the Viet Nam draft around 1966-67.”

This group was not connected to the Shays from Canada who had a couple 45s on Roman Records.

Astra Records were part of the Nova Corporation in Hillside, Illinois. Their RCA account number was 806N, with original songs (such as the Shays and Bobby Stanton Sextet) published through Randhurst Music, BMI. There about five other Astra labels from the ’60s including the the reissue label from Pittsburgh and one from Detroit specializing in doo-wop and r&b.

Astra Records discography:

Astra 300: Bobby Angel and the Hilltoppers “Submarine Races” / “Heartbreak Hotel” (instrumental) (N8OW-7560/1, 1962)
Astra 301: Bobby Stanton Sextet Scree….Aghh” / “Scree….Aghh’s Gone” (1963)
Astra 302: Tommy Johnson & Bobby Stanton Quintet “Do You Mean What You Say” / “Coolin’ My Heels” (both by Emme Mullis & Ruth Kling, P3KM-8119/20)
Astra 303: ?
Astra 304: ?
Astra 305: The Shays “People’ve Been Sayin'” / “Tell Me Where” (1965, SK3M-1475/6)

Thank you to George Mattson for the photo and information on the band, and to Gary Cease for providing the photo of the label.