District 97 - Biography

This band's profile is 'invisible', meaning that it's much less prominent on the site - either because it's incomplete, or maybe doesn't entirely fit MS format.




District 97 is the only Progressive Rock band in the world to feature an American Idol finalist and a Chicago Symphony Orchestra virtuoso cellist.

The band was formed in the Fall of 2006 by drummer Jonathan Schang, keyboardist Rob Clearfield, bassist Patrick Mulcahy and guitarist Sam Krahn (eventually replaced by current guitarist Jim Tashjian). The foursome from Chicago honed a no-holds barred style of Liquid Tension Experiment inspired Instrumental Rock before deciding the right vocalist was needed to complement their sound; enter 2007 American Idol Top 10 Female Finalist, Leslie Hunt. With a look, sound and stage presence comparable to a young Ann Wilson from Heart, Leslie's dynamic performances pushed the band into a new direction that forged a unique marriage between accessible, catchy vocal melodies and an adventurous instrumental prowess.
After attending a show and being highly impressed, Katinka Kleijn, cellist extraordinaire from the world-renowned Chicago Symphony Orchestra, joined the band. She was followed shortly thereafter by one of Chicago's finest young guitarists, Jim Tashjian. With this new lineup of peerless musicianship in place, District 97 began wowing crowds and establishing a devoted fanbase through packed shows at legendary Chicago venues such as House of Blues, Schubas and Martyrs', along with appearances at festivals such as CalProg 2010 in Whittier, CA.

In May 2010, the band signed with Laser's Edge, the foremost home of new Progressive music. Laser's Edge oversaw worldwide physical and digital release of District 97's debut effort, Hybrid Child, released to worldwide acclaim in September 2010. Recorded with two of Chicago's best engineers, Manny Sanchez and Chris Harden (Billy Corgan, Fall Out Boy, Umphrey's McGee etc.), the album balances a meticulous attention to detail and studio-craft with the visceral power of a rock band firing on all cylinders. Running the gamut from Meshuggah-inspired metal, the epic majesty of Yes, and the melodicism of the Beatles, Hybrid Child unveiled District 97 as a true force to be reckoned with, and one that has taken the music world by storm. With fans ranging from high school students to world-class musicians such as Bill Bruford, Carl Palmer and Roine Stolt, it appears no one is immune from the alluring new sounds of District 97.