When the band Outbreak plays during the Fourth of July festivities in Clintonville, Thursday, July 3, those in attendance will notice it has a local flavor to it.
Outbreak consists of five local kids, including Emily Krueger, 16, of Clintonville, on rhythm guitar.
Other band members include: Jordan Conradt, 17, of Shiocton (lead guitar); Brett Forbes, 17, of Kimberly, (drums); Justice Payne, 18, of Appleton (vocals); and Ian Zimmers-Kraft, 16, of Appleton (bass).
The five members of Outbreak have been in different bands previously. Through friends and ads, the five members came together as one band.
Without hesitation Conradt said the date Outbreak was born was April 23 of this year.
Playing together for only a short period of time didn’t stop the band from finishing second overall in a statewide competition called Launchpad.
Launchpad is a music competition for high school students who are in bands formed outside of school. The bands competed in a regional concert.
The top three finalists from each region then competed in Madison for the top prize of free studio recording time in Madison, a Summerfest appearance and the Les Paul Launchpad Award.
Payne said more than 500 band competed in the competition.
“None of us really understood what was going on,” Payne said once the band found out they finish second.
Krueger said she was happy and started crying.
Conradt said his first thought was wondering who won the competition.
The performance at Launchpad also secured a spot for Outbreak to play at Summerfest in Milwaukee. The band is scheduled to play on July 4 and 6 prior to Cheap Trick taking the stage.
When asked what it feels like to open for Cheap Trick, Krueger described it as, “awesome.”
“I don’t know if there are any words to describe it,” Payne said.
Conradt had a more relaxed feeling. “It feels like we’re going to play another show, just like we did today.”
The rest of the band members quickly chimed in that Conradt just likes to play music, it doesn’t matter where.
“We’re all very excited,” Payne added. “We’re very honored and humbled to be able to play on that stage, especially for such a well known act like that. It’s all just a big dream and a ride right now.”
Prior to leaving for Summerfest, Outbreak will play in Clintonville, Thursday, July 3 for the Fourth of July celebration prior to the fireworks.
This performance will be special for Krueger.
“I’m pretty excited because all my friends are there. They are a fun crowd. Most of them have seen me play before but it’s fun when you have all your friends that haven’t seen you play before and they are shocked,” Krueger said.
Members of Outbreak said they usually practice three days a week, between four and five hours each day. Practices can last longer, as they described a recent practice lasting nine hours.
Outbreak plays mostly cover songs, but it is starting to write its own songs. It currently has one original song — Unending.
Payne said the song came from one night of practice, during 30 minutes of goofing around with guitars.
“The song just kind of came out of nowhere. Everybody was doing things they didn’t realize they could do. That’s probably the greatest part about Unending,” Payne said.
Outbreak is looking into putting its original songs on iTunes. In order to be on iTunes, though, there must be at least two songs. Releasing a CD is also a goal for Outbreak.
With these lofty goals, members of Outbreak reiterated that they want to stay together as a band. Payne even changed his post-high school education to accommodate the band.
His original plan was to attend Marquette University to be an Air Force officer and obtain a law degree.
“When I met these guys I decided to give that all up and go to college here so that I can stay here with them,” Payne said.
Payne is now going to school for theater and computer science.
Forbes said he started drumming when he was three years old and has always wanted to be in a band.
Krueger said she started playing drums at age 11. She joined a band shortly after that, which cemented her interest to be in a band. She eventually switched to rhythm guitar.
All members of Outbreak agreed they give each other a hard time, but they have fun doing it. Krueger isn’t left out because she is the only female in the band.
“A lot of people give her chops because she is the only female in an all male band,” Payne said.
Payne admitted that the goal of the band members is to be a professional recording band.
“We’re looking to just play music and have people enjoy music we play,” Payne said.