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About The Fugitives

With its choppy, biting fuzz guitar distortions, the Fugitives' "Blowin' My Mind" -- a half-acid, half-punk trip shot through with bizarre lyrics (e.g. "psychiatric rigmarole") -- was evidence of a schizoid band in stylistic turmoil. Were they the Naugahyde-frocked, Cuban-heeled "Stones of Sacramento," as originally they presented themselves, or sweet acoustic Anglophiles, or just long-haired punk freaks? All identity crises aside, the group's ever-changing membership hardly fostered stability. Small wonder then that they ranged all over the musical map. Founded in 1964 by Jim Phillips (saxophone), the Fugitives eventually fell together around bassist Al Purdy, songwriter/guitarist Jack May, second guitar Paul Houston, and percussionist Tom Fabian. Under promoter Dick Leventon's management, they made a tsunamic splash at the October 3, 1964, Sacramento Surfer's Convention (held at the Merchandise Mart at the California State Fairgrounds), then gigged at a series of Leventon-organized "Governor's Hall" dances. Exit Jack May to local Sac rivals Group B and enter guitarists Laramy Smith and Tony Powell, recasting the band (groan!) as neo Beatle balladeers. Exit Jim Phillips ("Blowin' My Mind" vocalist), enter Frank Galindo. The Fugitives now fled to Los Angeles to recut "Blowin' My Mind" (under an alias, the Grimfacqles) and popped up on the teen TV "Hollywood A Go-Go." Changes in the band's personnel again ensued, but by mid-1966, the dizzying whirlwind had spun itself out. Purdy soon found himself playing with the Miniature Concert, while Smith went on to collaborate with Gene Clark. The first and previously unissued version of "Blowin' My Mind" appears on the various-artists compilation Nuggets From the Golden State -- The Sound of Young Sacramento (Big Beat). ~ Stansted Montfichet