PUBLISHED: 4:51 PM on Wednesday, July 26, 2006
Middle school students hit the mark with punk band

Photo courtesy of Walt Jones
  Members of Missed By A Long Shot are, from left, Rosh Siefken, Devin Damitio and Dylan Martin.
At an age when many boys have rock and punk music cranked up in their rooms and pretend to play, three Juneau middle school students are making their own tunes.

Missed By A Long Shot members Devin Damitio, 13, lead vocals and guitar, Dylan Martin, 13, drums, and Rosh Siefken, 14, guitar, formed while playing together in band class at Floyd Dryden Middle School.

"We practiced weekly and played in the band room at first," Damitio said. "Then Dylan's parents said we could play in their garage."

The boys said the parents encourage them to practice, even interrupting rehearsals to request songs.

"They love it," Martin said.

The band made its public debut on New Year's Eve at The Hangar and has since performed in shows across Juneau.

To gain experience in the music industry, Missed By A Long Shot recently took a trip to Seattle and Portland for a professional photo shoot and workshops about the business.

The photo shoot took more than three hours and three boys posed in a studio in Downtown Seattle.

"It teaches you how to let everything go. When we first started it was hard because we looked tense, and we were nervous. After a while, we were just ourselves and were having fun," Damitio said.

When they arrived in Portland, band members went through a mock setup, assembling and taking apart their equipment and learning about pitch and acoustics.

"It was so stressful. I was pulling my hair out," Martin said.

"It was too much information for me."

Damitio's father, Dean, said the boys were excited after sitting participating in a clinic about music labels and marketing.

"They were so pumped up. They just started walking and talking about it," Dean Damitio said.

"It's going to be a process to look for an independent label and get them some notoriety around the northwest and not just Juneau."

To top off the trip, band members recorded the original song "A Boy Like Me."

They spent 32 hours in the studio during a two-day period.

"Right when we walked in it was 'whoa this is so cool' but then it became tiring," Devin Damitio said.

Band members began learning to perform cover songs of bands such as Green Day, Blink 182 and Sum 41.

Devin Damitito and Siefken have been playing guitar for two years.

Devin Damitio said he writes most of the music, while all band members write lyrics and Martin adds the drums.

"It's challenging. I think of something and then work on it. I'll just sit there and come up with an acoustic chord and the music, and then we all work on it together," Devin Damitio said.

"The ideas come when you're not trying. The covers are easy to learn, but we will still be writing."

Devin Damitio and Martin said the three band members get along well, even when times are stressful.

"They are like brothers," Dean Damitio said.

"It's amazing how close they are."

Their young age isn't something that intimidates their dreams of making it big in the music business.

"It's kind of an edge," Dean Damitio said. "How many bands at 13 and 14 years old can play a gig and hold a crowd? Plus they're pretty darn talented."