The Free Press, Mankato, MN

Currents

April 20, 2012

Classic Gestures

Tom Klugherz was sitting at the A&W drive-in on the north end of town when he first heard himself on the radio.

It was 1964. Klugherz and the rest of The Gestures were one of only a handful of bands in Mankato, and maybe the only one tinkering with the new style of British-tinged rock introduced to America by a certain moppy-haired quartet.

Awhile earlier, the band recorded a song in a garage and gave it to a DJ at KYSM. That DJ handed the recording off to a producer in Minneapolis, who decided to record “Run, Run, Run.”

The song caught on, riding increasing airplay all over America to the No. 44 spot on Billboard’s Hot 100 chart in late 1964. The song even cracked the top 10 in several local charts across the country.

But Klugherz was at the A&W drive-in — the northern terminus of the strip that teens cruised on Friday nights — when the opening notes of “Run, Run, Run” started coming through his speakers.

That’s a moment Klugherz said he’ll never forget.

“We were just listening to the radio at the drive-in,” said the bass player and vocalist for the garage band that was inducted into the South Dakota Rock and Roll Music Hall of Fame during a ceremony on Saturday.

“It was quite a rush.”

Dale Menten, guitarist and vocalist in addition to songwriter for the band, was standing in the front yard of his North Mankato home when he first heard the song — a song he wrote before even graduating high school — playing on AM airwaves.

“So surreal,” he said. “It was a great day.”

On the road

In the years that followed, The Gestures — Klugherz, Menten, Dan Duffy (guitar/vocals), the late Gus Dewey (guitar/vocals) and the late Bruce Waterston (drums) — were signed to Soma Records, a relatively tiny label out of Minneapolis, and began playing tours across the country.

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