Tom’s Garage: Appleton’s outlet for live music

Amanda Audette

In December a new venue for rock and alternative music will be opening in Appleton. Tom’s Garage is Appleton’s newest nightclub, located on the corner of Franklin and Superior, designed for people to enjoy live music and dance. The idea first came to Tom Hintz, the owner, as he was driving across the Oneida bridge after a three-and-a-half-hour drive from Chicago, where he saw a 12-hour music festival.

He said, “Why do we have to drive three and a half hours for this?”

About 18 months ago, Hintz bought a building that was formerly the showroom of a car dealership with a maintenance garage, hence the name “Tom’s Garage.” In reference to rock music, garages bring up images of garage bands and creating music from scratch.

“This feels like a community effort,” says Hintz. “So many people want to help. Music ties us all together. We all bring different things to the table. I bring a general overview. I have the ideas but the people I’m working with have the skills to make the ideas into reality.”

Hintz calls his colleagues “amazing resources.” The visual atmosphere will be created by Fred Bursts, the head carpenter and designer, and John Tuthill, a talented metal welder and designer. The building will have an industrial look, with automotive and rock themes.

Stan Erickson, the owner of Record Exchange, will be the recorded music manager. Erickson will supply all the music in the jukebox and all the music that will overflow from the jukebox.

Bob Freschette will be the chef. The food will be mainly club food, but there will also be menu items like kabobs and pan-fried walleye.

Finally, the booking agent is the person responsible for making a live-music club possible. The booking agent for Tom’s Garage has an impeccable reputation and plans to book the best bands that pass through the tri-state area, as well as local bands and bands from Lawrence. There is a dance floor where people will be able to dance, and there will be swing dance lessons at least once a week.

While great music is the main priority, they want to have an atmosphere where many different people can coexist and have a good time together. Hintz hopes the club will be well-rounded and appeal to all ages. The website for Tom’s Garage is