HOUGHTON - They're known to get a little rowdy - all in good fun, of course.
And that's exactly what keeps fans of The Outlaws Band coming back for more.
"If they're having a good time and they see how much fun we're having, that's what fuels us," said frontman and band founder Marc Geborkoff. "We have supporters since day one coming out to our shows."
The five members of The Outlaws Band are shown at Brownstone Hall in Atlantic Mine. (Mining Gazette photo)
For The Outlaws Band, known for their cover songs by classic country greats - Johnny Cash, Merle Haggard, and Waylon Jennings, to name a few, as well as some originals composed by Geborkoff - day one was back in June of 2006.
"Our first gig was at The Bleachers Sports Bar," he said. "We used to put the drummer up on the pool table. It was a really tight fit."
Nowadays the band, featuring bassist Mary Kerttu, lead guitarist Lee Sturbenz, drummer Mark "Loosh" Lucier, and the newest member, Kevin Maki on vocals and pedal steel guitar, perform regular weekend gigs at the Monte Carlo and the Upper Deck Lounge, among other venues.
Geborkoff, who's on vocals and guitar, is the youngest of the bunch and considers himself fortunate to have such multi-talented performers on stage with him.
"Now I'm playing with all of these veteran players," he said. "Lee Sturbenz, he spent time in Nashville and plays a mean telecaster."
Kerttu, he added, "has been with me from day one."
"She would come up and we'd practice in the garage," he said.
In 2009, Lucier joined the group.
"When you have a veteran of his caliber wanting to be a part of your band, you know you're doing something right," he said. "The great thing is I've formed friendships with all of them."
Completing the group is Maki on the pedal steel. He creates the twangy sound classic country music is known for.
While their song lineup includes a mix of cover songs and some rockabilly classics, The Outlaws Band is known for adding their own special touch to the music. Not only that, they do originals, too.
"In 2008, I wrote my first song, called "Love Her So" for my wife, Mialy," he said. "We've been singing that one ever since and then we've got a few others."
Between private parties, weddings and Labor Day shows at the Shamrock in Ontonagon, The Outlaws Band has logged a great deal of hours in the last five-and-a-half years.
Their next gig gets under way at 7 p.m. today at Brownstone Hall, located at 46925 S. Huron St., in Atlantic Mine. There is a $5 cover at the door.
"Susie Landers, a good friend of mine, made this into a really great music venue," Geborkoff said. "It's really nice. You can sit down and listen to music or dance if you want. Families can bring their kids to this. It's like doing a Bridgefest gig, but indoors with heat."
The three-hour show is open to all ages.
"We're really excited about this because it gives people, especially those who are 21 and younger, a chance to come out," he added.
Landers agreed, noting she looks forward to the show.
"They always play the kind of stuff that people both young and old know and like," she said. "It's real quality, classic country music."
Judging from the nearly 700 "page likes" from fans on the band's Facebook and the size of the crowds that make it to each show, The Outlaws Band is, without a doubt, doing something right and "keeping outlaw country alive."
As for the band's name, Geborkoff said it was inspired by a satellite radio channel devoted to "Outlaw Country." Two years later, they learned a 1970s southern country rock group called "The Outlaws" existed.
"We're not trying to be like them or do any of their songs," he assured.
Geborkoff, of Houghton, said his interest in classic country music began during early childhood. Following in the musical footsteps of his father, Alex Geborkoff, who is a member of The Panhandlers, Marc started playing the piano at age 9. He received his first guitar for Christmas when he was 13.
"The first chord (my dad) showed me on the guitar was a C chord," he said. "He told me not to come back until it sounds good."
Performing with his dad and "jamming out in the garage," at his parents in Baltic, set the stage for what is today, a pastime he truly loves.
"Like I tell (the band), if we're having fun and love what we're doing, it's going to keep going," he said. "It's handshakes and hugs at the end of the night so we always look forward to the next practice and gig."
For more information about the band or upcoming shows, find them on Facebook at facebook.com/theoutlawsband. A link to Brownstone Hall can be found on The Outlaws Band Facebook page.