Smithsburg grad's band performing in Times Square tonight

December 31, 2007|By ERIN JULIUS

SMITHSBURG - A Smithsburg High School graduate will claim his status as a rock star tonight when his band, Course of Nature, performs in New York City's Times Square for New Year's Eve.

Sean Kipe, 26, used to be a long-haired kid with a guitar, watching his favorite bands on MTV. He saw his favorite rock stars playing in front of thousands of people and knew he wanted to be a musician, he said.

Kipe's only formal music training was playing the trumpet in elementary school. He took some guitar lessons in high school but was bored by the "technical stuff," he said.

Instead, Kipe learned his favorite songs and entire albums by Jimi Hendrix, Pearl Jam, Guns N' Roses and Nirvana, then headed to Los Angeles the year after he graduated from high school.


His only plan was to be successful or grow old trying, said Kipe, who was born in Hagerstown and is the son of Darlene and Gary Kipe.

"That's the only thing I ever really cared about doing, playing music," Kipe said Friday during a phone interview.

After years spent touring the country with other bands, once opening for INXS at Radio City Music Hall, Kipe joined Course of Nature earlier this year.

He was called for an audition and had only a few hours to learn the songs.

Kipe walked out of the audition convinced he wouldn't be called back, but the next day he was asked to join Course of Nature, Kipe said.

Since joining the rock band, "things have been happening fast," Kipe said.

He now plays lead guitar and sings backup vocals.

The band's sophomore album, "Damaged," comes out Jan. 29.

The album's first single, "Anger Cage," already hit number 37 on the hot mainstream rock charts, according to the Web site

Tonight, Course of Nature will play two songs in Times Square during the celebration broadcast on the Fox News Channel, Kipe said.

Kipe knows what he wants next: A really big house in Malibu and "to do this for a living for the rest of my life. It's the only thing I'm good at," Kipe said.

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