The Beginning

The Spies were a local Severna Park band that was born in 1978. Three friends, Kurt, Stefan, and Jim, got together to play guitars and harmonize vocally. They needed a lead guitarist, so Jim brought in Tom from his school guitar class, to transform the trio into a quartet. Their song selections ranged from the Beatles, Rolling Stones, Who, to the Grateful Dead.

After many rehearsals at the Severna Park YMCA, the band was ready to begin performing publicly. A drummer was needed, so in March 1979 Jim contacted Joel, a percussionist that he had known since elementary school. More songs were added to their repertoire, including tunes by the Cars, Doobie Brothers, and Led Zeppelin. After two months of rehearsals, the quintet was performing live, first at private parties in and around Severna Park, and then landing a regular gig at Buzzy's II Pizza in Millersville from July-November 1979.

Kurt/Stefan's house, Summer 1979

Stefan, Kurt, Joel, Jim, and Tom

Another early successful performance by the band was at the Severn School Talent Show in May 1979. Although the band did not win the contest, they were well-received by the audience. By this time, each band member was writing their own songs, and many were performed at their shows. During the fall 1980, Martin Spaulding High School and Severn River Middle School students danced to their music. Later that year, the band performed a benefit show at the Crownsville Hospital.

Crownsville Hospital, 12-27-79

Stefan, Kurt, Joel, Jim, and Tom

As time went on, the Spies enjoyed practices in Tom's basement, and hosted occasional house parties in between gigs. Tom's family was always very welcoming to the band's practices and social get-togethers, and their support was much appreciated by all.

Tom's Basement, Spring 1980

Tom, Jim, Kurt, Joel, and Stefan


Kurt was the first to graduate, and entered the Merchant Marine academy in Baltimore. The band continued as a quartet, even making a return appearance at the 1980 Severn Talent Show. Throughout the remainder of 1980, Kurt travelled the world in the Merchant Marines, bringing exotic gifts from Holland and other countries.

In December 1980, for the holidays, the five original Spies played music together for the last time at Tom's house.

A trio is born

After Jim ventured away to college; Stefan, Tom, and Joel performed through the summer of 1981 as a trio. In the spring, they were featured in a live WACC-FM concert broadcast. Then they played Maude's in Annapolis, and performed at an Anne Arundel County farm party using a generator in the middle of a field. Occasionally, group members would meet up at Joel's to experiment with his new multi-track recording system.

By the fall of 1981, the Spies as a group had run its course. Stefan, Tom, and Joel concentrated on college. Kurt joined another local band, and appeared frequently at Armadillo's in Annapolis. Eventually, Kurt and Jim travelled to Alaska where they worked on a fishing boat for a time.

Over the years, members of the Spies moved from Maryland to many regions of the U.S. (Texas, Washington State, and California to name a few). [If any past members of the Spies would like more details displayed, please see the links below.]

The Music goes on and on

Tom found success in the bay area of San Francisco, co-founding the group, Transcender. With a well-received CD release, it seemed the band was destined for national exposure. Tragically, Tom was the victim of a faulty heating system, and died in 2005. (God bless you, Tom; we all love and miss you!)

Kurt continues to perform music around the Seattle, Washington area, in the Art Thieves.

Joel continued in music, joining the Free Flight Band in 1985, remaining a member until the band's exit in 2005. Originally on drums and vocals, Joel expanded to guitars, keyboards, and electronic percussion. Joel performed live with his solo act in and around Maryland for several years, and has released his first solo CD, Ghosts, available on iTunes and many other music download sites. He also maintains a collection of The Spies recordings and videos.

For more information on The Spies or to submit information for this site (rememberances, additional info, pictures, corrections, etc.) please e-mail

Site created and maintained by Joel McGuire, 2009; updated July 2019.

Sound files

China Grove live at Buzzy's II, November 1979        
Taxman live at Buzzy's II, November 1979        
You Won't See Me live at Buzzy's II, November 1979        
The Kids are Alright live at Buzzy's II, November 1979        


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Spies logo created by Kurt.