My name is Keith Cruze. I graduated from Fairmont H.S. June 1963. I was percussionist in a group known as the Pentrations through my senior year at Fairmont .After graduation from high school, the Penetrations group members (except for myself) went to college.
On 2-27-64, I secured employment at General Motors, Dayton, Ohio. I attended my job at GM, but I had an overwhelming feeling to be a percussionist in a R&R Band - I was spending all of my thoughts on how to accomplish this.
I decided to submit an ad in the Dayton Daily News under the caption '' Musicians Wanted ". Within two days, I received a phone call from Mike Beal, as Mike was in high school, we arranged an interview, and a performance on guitar. Mike impressed me and we agreed to start a group - I mentioned the name of the group would be Soul Inc. The next day I incorporated a bassist, Harold Walker, a noted bass player in Dayton, but the connection was that Harold and I worked together at GM.
I knew the group needed a keyboard player, because of the music (keyboards were a large part of the music of the 1960's). Within two days I had a reference for a possible keyboard player - David Cain. The next day, Mike Beal and I went to David Cain's house, interviewed him, and tested his keyboard ability. Everything went well and we asked David if he wanted to join Soul Inc. David agreed to join. I mentioned at that time that our practice sessions would be 4 hours a day, seven days a week. David did not have a driver's license, and I stated, "I will drive you to and from practices."
We started practicing right away, (I had a list of songs, about 100, that had something any audience would relate to, The Beatles, Stones, Animals, Otis Redding, James Brown, Righteous Bros, etc. Within two weeks the group had mastered about 30 songs. It was now time for a vocalist. Even though the music was there, I hired and dismissed three vocalists within a two month time frame.
Soon Harold Walker was drafted into the army. So be it....the group had no bassist and no vocalist. Then within two days, good news, we interviewed and practiced with Barry Hartman. The practice went very well, and Barry blended right into the group. After our practice I mentioned to Barry that we were in dire need of a vocalist. Barry mentioned that he was friends with and knew the perfect vocalist for this group, Bob Barker. Barry arranged for Bob to attend our next Sunday practice. Our next Sunday practice with Bob Barker was remarkable! Bob played all the songs that the musicians presented to him, and there was an electricity in all our bodies.
Within a week I arranged performances and the audiences reacted very positively. We always wore the same attire at performances as I felt Soul Inc. was a group, but we were as one!
In a couple of months, Soul Inc. was gaining popularity in the Dayton area. I continued to secure performances, promote the group, and perform as a percussionist in the group. I was introduced to B.W. Wolcotte, a famous editorialist for The Dayton Daily News. B.W. immediately promoted Soul Inc. in his column. Within a week I received calls from WONE and WING radio stations for performances. I negotiated monies never paid in the Dayton area for groups performing.
Everything was unfolding as I had planned, all the performances we could handle, lots of money for the performances, and Soul Inc. was topping out as Dayton Ohio's most popular band. I knew that the extensive practicing and the combination of people in our group was what made Soul Inc. unique.
We were on the road to success, but phone calling, promoting and booking, performances and performing were getting to be too much on my plate. So I incorporated Bob Maynard to handle managing the group.
About two months later, I received an induction notice from the U.S. Army to report for duty. I had a physical exam at the age of 18, and was rejected for duty. I was due to leave so I called a meeting with the group and told them I would be gone for three months and then I would be back, so now the group needs a replacement for me for three months. I chose Greg Lowery, with the understanding I would take over when I returned as I said in three months.
I returned short of 3 months, and as soon as I returned to Dayton I started calling my brothers in the group. I learned that they had relocated to California, no addresses, no phone numbers. I was devastated. I appreciate the time I experienced with Bob Barker, Mike Beal, David Cain, and Barry Hartman.
Most Notable Performances of Soul Inc.
Diamond Club Dayton, Ohio. Soul Inc. played a one hour set before Fats performed. After the performance I talked personally with Fats. He stated to me, "You boys really do have soul!".
Audio-Visual - Dayton, Ohio
Soul Inc. played 2 sets which were broadcasted by WING radio. The DJ mentioned to me to "hang in there, and we will support promoting Soul Inc.
I had a contact at GM who suggested to me that Soul Inc. should sponsor a "teen party" at Golden Gate Park in Brookeville, Ohio. I paid in advance to rent the building for Saturday evening. The building was huge. It had a large bandstand and an area to serve concessions and a dancing area that would accommodate many people. The encounter was a success and we realized substantial money.
Soul Inc. performed at the Caverns Club at Indian Lake in Russell’s Point, Ohio one Saturday evening, a great audience, a great environment. (Very large building, but Soul Inc. packed the house). Again, because of my negotiations, there was substantial money for this performance. I was asked to consider future performances by Soul Inc.
(sometimes referred to as Downtown Dayton Day)
I was contacted by radio station WONE and negotiated an agreement for Soul Inc. to perform at Pioneer Day. The City of Dayton secured a city block for this occasion. There was food , soft drinks, and Soul Inc. to provide entertainment. I arrived to set up our equipment for the performance. I was not comfortable with our performance area, a trailer maybe 8 feet by 12 feet with a large banner overhead advertising WONE radio. I had never seen so many people in a city block. As we were set to perform we all realized a tremendous adrenalin rush. We had never performed for this many people. We were introduced, and from that point on it was total chaos by the audience.
Pizza-Brown Street- Dayton, Ohio
Mario’s was a bowling alley converted to an establishment that catered
to the University of Dayton students. (U.D. was only a block away). The
place was gigantic. I signed a contract for Soul Inc. to perform
Tues thru Sat, 8 to 12 pm. The money we realized per week was twofold
of what a good paying factory job would pay. It was at Mario's that I
met Jim Patterson, an Ohio State University student. He was a bouncer
at Mario's on his own summer break. Jim Patterson asked me for my phone
number and said that he would promote and generate performances for Soul Inc. We
finished our one month contract at Mario's and management asked me to
sign a new one month contract. I declined. I felt our group needed more
After our contract with Mario's I received a phone call from Jim Patterson. He asked me if Soul Inc. was ready to travel away from Dayton, Ohio. I answered "yes". Soul Inc. had previously performed at Purdue University, Indiana. Jim Patterson wanted to promote Soul Inc. for college performances. Jim had a booking for the coming weekend at Wittenberg University, Springfield. I accepted.
The next day I received another call from Jim Patterson. Jim informed me that two weeks from the Wittenberg performance, that he needed for us to perform for and after a football game party at Ohio State University. OSU had advertised this party to be held at the Aqua Marine Copa Cabana Club on High Street. Of course I accepted and the money for the performance was the top of the line. We arrived at Columbus, Ohio at the Copa Cabana, and set our equipment up. This was the largest stage we had ever performed on, the largest building also. The dance floor had a sound system that was top of the line. Soul Inc. performed and we ended up playing until 3:00 am (Our performance to end at 1:00 am).
To conclude, one of the most important performances that caused Soul Inc.'s earlier recognition was our performance at Lebanon Armory, Lebanon, Ohio. Soul Inc. packed the house. The picture of Mike Beal, Keith Cruze, Bob Barker, Barry Hartman, and David Cain (on website was photographed by a Lebanon, OH photographer).
Thanks to Keith Cruze for the first hand account of his band. Some additional notes added by the editot below:
In late '67 some of the members - not including Keith Cruze - recorded a version of "Summertime" and an original (albeit derivative of a James Brown song) called "Give the Drummer Some" at King studios. They had a couple hundred copies pressed at Rite and distributed the 45 themselves. "Give the Drummer Some" is am amazing shot of funk with a Jimi Hendrix-styled psych 'breakdown', it doesn't sound like anything else from the area. This record was apparently recorded just before the aforementioned split and move to California.
The original lineup recorded a couple original songs that never got beyond tape. No copies are known to exist.
In '69 some of the members formed a band called Stone Truth.
Give The Drummer Some / Summertime (Movement 101, R-21053/4, early 1968)