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Fugitives break out in song with reunion

Three Ironton residents and one man from Ashland, Ky. are law-abiding citizens now.

Saturday night, they were Fugitives once again. Tim Kleinman, Todd Smith and Danny Young, members of the popular local band from the mid- to late-1960s took the stage once again at the Knights of Columbus Hall Saturday night with new recruit Greg Sierer. This was the first time the band had played together in 35 years.

"If Aerosmith was better the second time around, the Fugitives can do the same," Sue Lutz, sister of lead singer Todd Smith, said. "They were the first long-haired band we had and mothers really freaked out.

"They're good musicians, but we're the best of friends first," Smith said. "We're just here to play some good hard rock and roll."

Despite playing until 1 a.m. Sunday morning, guitarist Greg Sierer had to be awake for church the next morning. He is the choir director at St. Lawrence Church.

"I always said he played for the devil Saturday night and the Lord Sunday morning," his wife Judy said with a laugh.

"The Fugitives were some of my early inspirations," Smith said. "They practiced in a garage near where I lived and I would listen to their practices."

"I've played in other bands since we split in '68, but I've never had the feeling I've had here tonight," Kleinman, the band's drummer, said.

Band members no longer have the 1956 Cadillac hearse that transported them in the 1960s, but they managed to find another one of their trademarks -- their Hammond B3 organ. Keyboard player Danny Young, an Ashland, Ky. resident, said he liked being reacquainted with his old friend.

"We made all of these scratches here," he said while running his fingers across it. "We used to sleep on this thing. When we were on the road, one man would drive, one would ride shotgun, one would ride on a motor, and another would ride on the organ."

Carolyn Smith, Todd Smith's wife, and Elaine Kleinman, Tim Kleinman's wife said they were more excited about the reunion than their husbands were.

"Tim doesn't hunt, fish or golf," Mrs. Kleinman said. "He needs this."

Mrs. Smith dated her husband while he was a member of the band and followed him to many of his shows in the 1960s.

"This is exciting," she said. "I almost forgot what night life was like."

Before the band launched into a cover of the Rolling Stones' "Brown Sugar," Ironton resident Paul Fugitt said he is still one of the band's biggest fans.

"When you grew up in Ironton in the 1960s, everyone knew about the Top of the Stairs club and the Fugitives. I saw them open for national acts, and they were better," he said.