Trio comes of age with debut CD

By Christina Killion Valdez

Outlet took rock's three main ingredients, guitar, bass and drums, and created their own band, from scratch.

The idea of forming a band had been simmering among the three friends from Kasson for a while, however.

"I knew I wanted to be in a band when I saw 'Bill and Ted,' the second one," said guitarist Mark Spurbeck. That was back when the now-Kasson-Mantorville High School senior was in sixth grade.


Watching a group of guys in their grade play a couple songs at a dance made up Joe Currie's mind, he said.

He bought a bass guitar and joined up with Spurbeck.

Drummer and lead vocalist Derek Harlow, joined shortly afterwards, although at first on piano.

"We weren't a band till he started playing drums," Spurbeck said.

Together the three friends learned what their instruments could do.

"When we started we only played original stuff," Spurbeck said.

All three band members wrote alternative rock songs and lyrics.

It wasn't until they started performing that they started covering songs by the Red Hot Chili Peppers, the Hives and Collective Soul, among others.


"Playing originals first was beneficial in a way," Spurbeck said.

They learned chord progressions and song structures that most musicians pick up by learning other people's music, he said.

After performing for the first time in 1999, the group had to make some changes.

"I saw the tape of it and said 'I'm not singing,'" Spurbeck said.

Now, Harlow leads the group's vocals from behind his drum kit. And Spurbeck has been studying audio production as a post-secondary option student at Rochester Community and Technical College.

They recorded their seven-song debut, "Coming of Age," in Studio A at RCTC this summer.

"It was a great opportunity and we saved a lot of money," Spurbeck said.

They economized further by printing their own liner notes and labeling their own CDs.


Creating one other thing of their own helped, too.

"Go ahead and say it," Currie said.

They have a trademark dance.

"We were practicing 'Where the River Flows,' by Collective Soul, and there's a guitar bridge where I play solo," Spurbeck said, beginning the story.

"At practice I just started jumping around and dancing to the beat," Currie said, explaining what he did during the guitar solo.

The band loved it and said, "You've got to do that when we play," Currie said.

He thought there was no way was he would do it on stage.

"I was nervous, but I did it," Currie said.


Now people request it, he said.

"It's different every time," Currie said. "I've started pointing at people. I'm not nervous anymore."

"Coming of Age," by Outlet was released independently Aug. 19.

The CD is available at live shows and on the Internet at

Outlet will perform Saturday at the "Back to School Bash," with Glitch 36 at the State Theater, 221 W. Main St. in Kasson. Doors open at 4:30 p.m. Cost: $8, includes two slices of pizza, pop, music and admission to the 7 p.m. showing of "Signs."

Listen to "Yesterday is Gone," and "All this time" in the Entertainment section of

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