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Thunder spews from garage in Lake Creek

Shane Macomber/Vail DailyBattle Mountain students Ben Sack, Jake Weiss, Jamie Higmans, and Matt Declark, practiced Thursday for the Battle Mountain winter music festival.
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LAKE CREEK ” In a garage up Lake Creek, four high schoolers are keeping alive a tradition nearly as old as the electric guitar: the teenage rock band.

After school, as often as they can, Jake Weiss, Jamie Hijmans and Ben Sack ” all juniors at Battle Mountain High School ” come to pal Matt DeClark’s house, plug in, and start playing loud, heavy rock music. The result is a band called Serafiend.

DeClark and Sack are fairly new to the band. Weiss and Hijmans started playing together when they were in eighth grade.



“I hated him, I don’t remember why,” Hijmans said. “Then I got drums and he got a guitar and we started playing.”

The first gig for the youngsters was at a ceremony sending the kids from middle school to high school.

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“We were awful when we started,” Hijmans said. “But we pulled it together somehow.”

Over the next couple of years, Weiss was able to buy more guitars and equipment by working for his dad. Hijmans’ drum set has grown a bit as well.

And so has Serafiend ” a combination of “seraph,” a kind of angel, and fiend, to reflect the melodic and heavy sounds the young musicians try to combine.



The band does a few covers, including a credible version of Lynyrd Skynryd’s “Simple Kind of Man,” but mostly does its own songs. The group has worked in a Gypsum studio a little, and recorded a few tracks.

Mostly, though, the afternoons in a garage are just a chance for four guys to hang out.

“It’s a place I can come and chill,” Sack said. It’s also a place he can work on lyrics.

“I just write what comes to mind,” he said. “I’m influenced by daily life, women, parents.”

Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. “We don’t know what it’s about a lot of the time,” Weiss said.

But it is an outlet.

“It’s something to do that’s not skiing or snowboarding,” Hijmans said. “It’s a creative outlet for my negative energy.”

And playing music is habit-forming.

“It’s addictive,” Weiss said. “I’ve loved it since that first concert.”

Finding places to play can be hard, though. Serafiend played at Battle Mountain’s winter concert last week. Music teacher Jake Gasau said the band was “OK” with a few slips due mostly to performance jitters. That, though is largely due to lack of time in public.

“It’s a little tough finding places to play,” Gasau said. “Most places that have bands are bars.” And house parties are more a college than high school phenomenon, he added.

So Serafiend keeps working away in the garage, with DeClark’s parents’ blessing.

“You can’t even hear it upstairs in the house,” DeClark said.

While the band takes music seriously, all of the guys know fame and fortune probably isn’t in the cards. All want to go to college or trade school, but say they’ll keep playing.

That’s the right attitude, Gasau said, and one he encourages all the young rockers to take.

“I encourage them,” he said. “But the chance of being America’s next Top 40 star is pretty slim. So I tell them to have a fun time. They’ll remember this the rest of their lives.”

For the guys in Serafiend, adulthood can wait a little longer, though.

“I just want to play kick-ass rock n’ roll,” Sack said.

Staff Writer Scott N. Miller can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 14624, or smiller@vaildaily.com.

Vail Daily, Vail Colorado


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