When looking for a Nest of Snakes in the garage of Urbandale’s Jason Boten, look up, not down.
Playing guitar, and about anything else since age 14, Boten’s garage has been home to a long list of bands; his newest being Nest of Snakes.
“I’ve been playing since I was a kid,” says Boten. “I’ll play everything from drums, keyboard, bass, lead — pretty much anything you see in a rock band. My daughter, however, is set for the orchestra. She plays oboe, flute and piano. We’re about as opposite musically as you can get.”
Growing up in Altoona and attending Iowa State University, Boten has been involved in the central Iowa music scene for a long time.
“I use to play at Hairy Mary’s and a bunch of other places that aren’t around any more,” says Boten. “Our first gig for the Nest of Snakes is at the Hull Tap in November. I’m pretty excited.”
The ceiling of Boten’s garage is covered with posters from gigs of his previous bands. The posters were designed by Boten, who is a graphic artist and works for the State Department of Economic Development.
“I’ve worked there for about 13 years,” says Boten. “Before starting there, I wore a suit and worked for Principal, but I wanted to help provide affordable housing, so I quit and took a job with the State helping promote affordable housing in communities. It meant a cut in pay, but it seemed like a perfect fit.”
At the same time, Boten was beginning a family and weighed more than 300 pounds, He smoked and was, he felt, generally unhealthy.
“In a day, I decided to do something about it,” he says. “I quit smoking, started walking and joined Weight Watchers.”
Since that time, more a decade ago, he has lost more than 70 pounds, ran several marathons and now rides his bike to work daily, regardless of the weather.
“It’s just not worth being so unhealthy. My kids deserve to have me around,” he says. “That being said, I’m keeping my orthopedic surgeon in business. Two weeks after I ordered my newest bike, I had surgery on my knee. After surgery my doctor just said ‘Call me when you’re ready for your other one.’ ”