The fate of one of Hesperia's most promising rock bands changed one day last fall when a newcomer from New York followed his ears to a nearby garage.

"I heard the music," said Greg Lemos, Jr., who walked from his family home down Locust Avenue to the garage where Refuge was rehearsing. He was mesmerized by the then-trio consisting of Kerry Bobbit on guitar, James Sharon on bass and a drummer, so he stood there transfixed.

"What's up?" asked Bobbitt, a Hesperia High graduate.

"Who the hell is this?" Sharon thought privately.

"Play with us for a little," Bobbitt invited.

The New Yorker joined in on a Green Day song, and there was instant musical and interpersonal chemistry.

"Wow, this is interesting," Bobbitt thought.

For Lemos, the reality was clear: "It was like instantaneous friendship."

'Girl' drummer

With an album's worth of tunes right out of the gate, Refuge was seeking the big time with its intense blend of pop and punk music. But the drummer had numerous other responsibilities that appeared to conflict with the band's schedule, so they found another.

A business administration student at Victor Valley College, Blanca Magallon wasn't the typical "girl" drummer. She played with the Sultana High School jazz band and drumline before graduating in 2007. Recommended by their business manager, the bandmembers were skeptical but willing to give Magallon a try.

"Do you want to show us what you can do?" Lemos asked during her audition.

After only 30 seconds of intense, in-the-pocket rock 'n' roll, the answer was clear.

"It was like, whoa!" Lemos said.

Since then, Refuge has honed its sound. After recording to a demo with one microphone to record one instrument at a time, they attracted the attention of producer/keyboardist Ronnie King who the band says has worked with several marquee music names like the Offspring and Snoop Dogg.

The band is eyeing concert opportunities in Hollywood and expect their music to be available on iTunes.
"Hopefully we can start making money off our hard work," Sharon said.

The band is also gaining fans on their Myspace web site. And a recent concert event that attracted more than 50 people in Apple Valley, "Don't Forget About Us," featured the band and several other acts promoting education and staying away from drugs.

Promoting education

Before moving to California, Lemos dropped out of high school. He wanted to follow in the footsteps of his musical heroes, which he now sees in a different light.

"They were great musicians," he said, "but not great role models."

He passed an admissions exam to get into VVC, and now is persuing a major in music composition or English.
"I'm passing all my classes. I'm doing well. Now I'm writing better music than ever."

Sharon, who graduated from Hesperia High, is also at VVC, studying bio sciences. Bobbitt already has an Associates of Arts degree and was employed in the internet technology department at the Apple Valley Unified School District before being laid off due to budget cuts. He's back in school, studying engineering and math.

But when they're not hitting the books, Refuge bandmembers are putting their heart, soul and sweat into each and every rehearsal moment.

"If you're not going as hard as you can in practice, how can you do it on stage?" Lemos asked.

For more information on Refuge, visit http://www.myspace.com/refugebandsite.