It’s Only Rock and Roll, But They Like It

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    By Lisa Ruefenacht

    They”re completely unassuming. Wearing plain jeans, band T-shirts and retro reissue sneakers, they look like any other college students. Under their trendy exteriors, however, lie the unique workings of Declaration, one of Provo”s many popular student bands.

    They compare themselves to seminal bands such as Sunny Day Real Estate, pre-“Green Album” Weezer, Pedro the Lion and Radiohead, and even claim they”ve invented new, self-definitive genres of music.

    “N? post-alternative, ?ber n? indie rocktronica,” front man Jake Haws said.

    “801-area core,” bassist Jon Hall said.

    “Ome, emo backward,” guitarist Jake Cox said.

    Kidding aside, the members of Declaration hold their music in high esteem.

    “[We play] rock the way it was meant to be played; we”re rock purists,” Haws said.

    Through their incessant joking, the four band members reek of cool and calm. Although they practice in Hall”s basement bedroom, stuffed to the brim with amps, recording equipment, instruments and drums, Declaration maintains a constant energy and soul behind their music.

    The band began about four years ago when Haws and Hall found one another through the ad board in the Wilkinson Student Center. After serving missions for the LDS church, Haws and Hall returned to Declaration and found Cox, who coincidentally lived across the street from Haws, through the ad board. A few weeks later, they met drummer Dan Smock through a mutual friend, and Declaration was ready to rock.

    For the past year, the band has played shows throughout Provo and Salt Lake City, starting with small mid-weekly shows at the old Muse Music and working its way up to Kilby Court. Consequently, Declaration”s fan base has grown rapidly because of its palatable sound.

    “I heard these kids talking in the UVSC library once about bands that were playing,” Smock said. “One asked, ”Is Declaration playing”? [His friend said], ”No, but I freaking wish they were!” It was pretty cool.”

    As songwriter, Haws serves as the axle of the band. Like many songwriters, his songs started out about love and teenage angst but have since evolved into more complex, worldly and often political issues.

    “I wrote our song ”Headlines” while in my Comms 100 class last year,” Haws said. “It [the class] really made me not trust the news at all. I hate the idea of people screwing with our minds and distorting reality. It [the song] is really political. It”s not even a liberal/conservative thing. It”s screwed up both ways. Nothing”s true.”

    Nevertheless, Declaration continues to have fun regardless of societal troubles and hopes to provide a positive influence for listeners.

    “I hope when people hear us it makes their day. We”re saying something, declaring something, liberating the captive masses,” Haws said.

    Declaration opens for indie-darlings The Appleseed Cast this coming Tuesday at Kilby Court, 741 S. Kilby Court (off 330 West) in Salt Lake City. Visit Myspace.com/Declaration for more band info.

    (For comments, e-mail Lisa Ruefenacht at lisaruefenacht@byu.net)