“Everything from Bach to rock,” is cited as an influence on Grand Rapids band The Outer Vibe’s Facebook page. Consisting of Eastern Michigan Universitry alum Nick Hosford on lead guitar, Sean Zee on vocals, Lisa Kacos on the trumpet and keys, Andrew “Wonder” Dornoff on bass and Jeff Brems on drums, The Outer Vibe is pairing pop and rock like it’s never been done before.
“Writing, recording and producing all of our albums and maintaining a DIY operation in nearly everything we do is one of our biggest accomplishments,” Hosford said. They’ve even built their own recording studio located just north of Grand Rapids.
Their influences include classic musicians like Bob Dylan and Bruce Springsteen and pop legends like Michael Jackson and Lady Gaga. They also admire the work of rock powerhouses like Led Zeppelin and Pink Floyd and the soul of James Brown and Ray Charles.
To date, The Outer Vibe has four releases: 2003’s “Pretty Good,” 2006’s “Games We Play,” 2009’s “Monster EP,” on both CD and vinyl, and 2012’s “Hoka Hey.” The title track of the album is currently being played on multiple Top-40 radio stations throughout the Midwest.
The Outer Vibe has played for crowds as large as 35,000, sharing the stage with acts such as REO Speedwagon, We The Kings and Detroit legends Electric Six.
Hosford and Zee made music together as friends in high school, later adding Kacos and Dornoff to the mix and finding Brems on Craigslist.
EMU guitar professor Nelson Amos had a hand in shaping Hosford’s guitar skills. He taught him for four years while Hosford completed the undergrad and master’s program in guitar performance.
“In addition to his ‘wild’ stage persona, Nick has a serious academic side,” Amos said. “He was the winner of our Music Department graduate competition several years ago.”
The Outer Vibe has made appearances in Ypsilanti a few times, playing a hemophilia benefit and an EMU campus radio event at The Tap Room.
“We’d love to come back soon,” Hosford said. “EMU and Ypsilanti are great places full of great people.”
The band has a “bucket list,” starting with international travel and touring.
“We love to travel and to meet new people,” Hosford said. “It’s so cool to see new cities with their culture, architecture and unique flow of life. The more of that we get to do, the better. We’d also like to visit more college campuses and keep growing our radio airplay markets.”
The journey of The Outer Vibe has been anything but boring. When asked about some of their best stories as a band, Hosford said, “Well, there’s the alpaca sneezing in Wonder’s face, cooking breakfast on our tour bus griddle at a biker rally, riding motorcycles through a downpour mixed with hail, visiting the Chief Crazy Horse monument, TP-ing the bathroom of a venue in the middle of a set and getting the same in return to our tour bus, ferry rides in a hurricane on Lake Erie, consuming giant bags of popcorn weekly, ninja stars, stair sledding, Dance Dance Revolution, lighting the street on fire while filming our ‘Hoka Hey’ music video – and those are the PG-rated ones.”
The Outer Vibe’s music is making its way around cyberspace. With their material on iTunes, Spotify and Amazon, as well as their official website theoutervibe.com, they’re getting their name out there. You can also check them out at facebook.com/TheOuterVibe and on Twitter: @TheOuterVibe.