Fugitives
Guitarist Geoff Graue still prefers to listen to the type of music that The Fugitives played in the mid-‘60s.  Although his teen band never recorded a single, they did preserve several recordings, some of which we are proud to feature here.  Along with guitarist Mike Loomis, Graue graciously shared his thoughts on what is was like to be in a rock band in 1960’s Bowling Green, Ohio.
The Fugitives at Bowling Green High School in May 1965

Geoff Graue and Mike Loomis Recall The Fugitives

60sgaragebands.com: How did you first get interested in music?
Geoff Graue (GG): Mike's older sister played an instrument. He wanted some of that. Both Mike and I were fans of the British Invasion and decided to learn guitar.

60s: Was The Fugitives your first band?
GG: Yes. We were together three or four years; the first year was spent forming and practicing.

60s: Where and when was The Fugitives formed?
GG: In Bowling Green, Ohio, in 1964 or 1965.  We started with Mike and I and added others later. The band was Geoff Graue, guitar; Michael Loomis, guitar; Dan Dunn, keyboards; Jerry Ryland, vocals; Phil Wohler, bass; and Dave Moon, drums...and later Ron Moyer, drums and Rick Bressler, drums.

60s: Why did Dave, and his replacement Ron, leave the band? Where did you find Ron and Rick Bressler?
GG: In Dave's case, I recall that his parents made him choose between the band and school sports. Ron graduated. Ron went to the same high school. Rick was younger, but known locally as a drummer.

60s: How would you describe the band's sound?
 
GG: Garage, or basic rock.  We leaned towards The Stones type of sound. We started off playing surf music like The Ventures, but later were influenced by The Stones, Animals, Yardbirds, Motown, 13th Floor Elevators and The Kinks.

60s: What was the Bowling Green rock and roll scene like in the '60s?
GG: Being in the Midwest, there wasn't a lot of opportunity to see many of the national-level bands live. They just didn't come through there. We had to travel to Detroit or Cleveland to see the good stuff. But since Bowling Green was a small college town, the influence of the university probably saved it from being more isolated than it could have been otherwise. Occasionally, there would be a good show on campus (the first concert was Lovin' Spoonful. I also saw Jethro Tull there).  Pink Floyd came to Toledo once. A later band of Mike's opened for Chuck Berry at Bowling Green. LPs were really the more prevalent source of music for us. The local music scene was actually quite lively since it was the only source of live music. 

60s: Where did the band typically play?
GG: At high school dances, after-game dances, fraternity parties (on and off campus), and summer dances at the city park.

60s: Did you play any of the local teen clubs?
GG: There weren't many. There was a teen center in the city park and we played there quite often. I know we traveled once or twice out of town to play teen clubs—little towns like Portage, Deshler, Ashton and Maumee.

60s: How far was the band's "touring" territory?
GG: Mostly in the Bowling Green area; probably a 30-mile radius. 
1966 promotional photo
1966 promotional photo
60s: Did The Fugitives participate in any battle of the bands?
GG: Yes, we participated in at least one. We traveled to a town 20 miles to the east. I don't think we won, but we had fun.  

60s: What other local groups of the era do you especially recall?
GG: Missing Links (Bowling Green); The Rogues and The Prophets (both from the Toledo area).  All were great bands! 

60s: Did The Fugitives have a manager?
GG: No, we were self-managed.

60s: How popular locally did The Fugitives become?
GG: We were one of two bands (along with The Mising Links) that often rivaled each other for popularity and attendance at our shows. 

60s: Where did The Fugitives record?

GG: Early experience: Practicing in Geoff's parents' garage with the door open. Geoff's dad came out with a reel-to-reel and placed two mics on little stands directly on the driveway. Another time we recorded a show at the high school at an after-game dance. These two sessions were preserved on tape and we recently made CD copies for the band and friends.  The Fugitives - live! 

60s:
Who was the band's primary songwriter? Who wrote 'Please' and 'Babe,' the band's two original songs?
GG: Jerry and Mike.

60s: Did the band release any singles?
GG: No. No one was connected to any sort of record company or talent management. Bowling Green was not on the "radar" for recording companies or studios. 

60s: Did the band make any local TV appearances? Does any home movie film footage exist of the band?
GG: No, sadly, no one had a movie camera.  We just have a few stills shot for promotions. 

60s: What year and why did the band break up?
GG: In early 1969. Jerry, our lead singer, graduated from high school and joined the Navy. 

60s: Did you join or form any bands after The Fugitives?
GG: Mike is the only one who has kept up his music and has been playing with someone ever since. 

60s: What keeps you busy today?
GG: Mike made a living playing music exclusively for several years (until he was in his 30s). He had some success (and a lot of great experiences), but never really "hit the big time.” He eventually went back to school, got a master’s degree, and got a day job. Today, he does computer animation (science and engineering related) to pay the bills and fund my music activities. He owns a private recording studio and plays in two separate bands part-time, Stranger (classic rock in Northern California; plays about three gigs per year at private parties, weddings and downtown concerts in the park); and Off The Record  (and acoustic trio in Livermore, California; plays once or twice a month at wineries, coffee houses, wine bars and outdoor music festivals).  He built the studio last year.  

Danny still lives in Bowling Green and still has his Hammond B3 organ. He rarely plays, however. He has his pilot's license and has run his own airfreight service.  Jerry went to work at GTE (now Verizon) after finishing the Navy commitment and retired from there a few years ago. We don't know for sure where he is, but his last known address was in Texas. Phil still lives in the Bowling Green area, but no one has heard much from him.  Ron lives in Indiana and Dave lives in Arizona. Ricky's whereabouts are unknown.

I graduated from college with a computer science degree and have been working in the field ever since. I married a classical pianist and have always had my hands in some sort of music performance support. About three years ago, I became interested in live sound engineering and have been running a small business doing sound for local bands, churches, school musicals and festivals. I live in Southern California in Redondo Beach. 
 
 

60s: How do you best summarize your experiences with The Fugitives?
GG: The music of that era has never grown old for me. My favorite music station is Little Steven's Underground Garage on XM/Sirius. They play all the music from our period and many of those long-forgotten songs they play bring back a flood of memories of how much fun we had as a group. My work as a sound engineer has allowed me to once again participate and contribute to the sound of a band; that really brings back the feelings!

Mike told me, “It was a great formative experience! It was with The Fugitives that I first discovered the joys of music making. It was here that music really became a part of me. Seeing it now in retrospect with everything that's happened since those days, I think I can say without exaggeration that it was probably one of the most influential events of my life!”


The Fugitives in May 1965
Recordings
Media
Fugitives - 'Please'
Media
Fugitives - 'Don't Talk To Strangers'
The Fugitives in 1967