Formed in 1965, New Colony Six scored their first major local hit in Chicago with "I Confess" (WLS #2 on 4 February 1966), featured on their debut album, Breakthrough. Their sound was characterized by Richie Unterberger as "a poppier American Them with their prominent organ, wobbly Lesley-fied guitar amplifications and rave-up tempos", later devolving into "a cabaret-ish band with minor national hits to their credit by the end of the 1960s." Like Paul Revere & the Raiders, they wore colonial outfits on stage.
Ellery Temple briefly joined in 1967, replacing Wally Kemp, and was replaced by Les Kummel (who died in a severe auto accident in Chicago on 18 December 1978 at age 33). Billy Herman (vocals, drums) replaced James in 1969. Graffia left in 1969 and Bruce Gordon (bass) and Chuck Jobes (keyboards) joined the band. Skip Griparis was playing guitar and singing lead vocals in 1972, until the band's demise at the end of 1974.
In 1988, the band played a reunion show at Chicago's Park West. As of 2010, the band continued to perform with founding member Graffia and Bruce Mattey in the lineup. New Colony Six was inducted into the Iowa Rock n' Roll Music Association Hall of Fame in 2002.