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Kelly Smith, Published January 02 2010

Kindred teen drums up attention

Living in rural southeastern North Dakota, 17-year-old Evan Kraig is far from the California rock-star life he dreams of.

But it doesn’t mean the Kindred High School senior drummer can’t achieve stardom – virtually, that is.

On YouTube, he’s created 40-plus videos that have garnered 30,000 views.

“It’s the best feeling in the world,” he said of people appreciating his work.

The videos highlight Kraig’s talent drumming to hit songs in what he calls “hip-rock” – adding a rock sound to pop and hip-hop songs.

It has drummed up some supporters, but also some popularity at school.

“That’s basically all I’m known for,” he said. “Music is my life.”

Music may be his life, but he’s conceded it may not define it.

Six years ago, Kraig found a passion for drumming. Since then, the self-taught drummer ditched the trumpet and varsity basketball to play in the school’s pep band.

“He’s a great kid,” band teacher Josh Argall said. “He’s kind of a role model for the other kids.”

In fact, he spends hours each week practicing drums in his basement, taking time out only for school, homework, dirt biking and working. His after-school job at the local hardware store funds, not surprisingly, new music or drum equipment.

It’s a typical teenager’s life with a dash of rock-star dreams.

His teacher said he thinks Kraig has the skills to go on as a professional musician, but it’s a dream Kraig isn’t banking on.

“I’d love to play drums if I could do one thing,” he said. “But it doesn’t seem realistic.”

So, when he graduates in May, he plans to attend North Dakota State College of Science in Wahpeton to pursue a career as an electrician while also not giving up his beloved hobby.

After all, even if his online performances don’t score him a big gig, he said, it’ll keep up his hobby.

“I’m definitely not going to quit drumming,” he said. “I love music. I can’t live without it.”

Readers can reach Forum reporter Kelly Smith at (701) 241-5515