Jonathan Schang Of District 97 Modern Drummer Drummer BlogsHi, Modern Drummer readers! Although you probably haven’t heard of me, I’m delighted MD has graciously offered to allow me to contribute to their blog! Like many of you, I started out banging on pots and pans at home and desks at school, and generally driving anyone within earshot quite insane. Eventually I found a more efficient way to drive people insane: a drumkit. It’s been full speed ahead ever since!

After going to Berklee College of Music, studying drums with the legendary Paul Wertico at the Chicago College of Performing Arts, and generally exploring the Chicago music scene, I eventually decided to form a rock band. A progressive rock band, you might call it, and we call it District 97. Yes, I know the label “prog rock” conjures up images of dorky guys that practice their instruments way too much (and yes, we do have four of those), but this band has a (not so) secret weapon that set us apart—women!

These are not just any women; they are Chicago Symphony Orchestra virtuoso cellist Katinka Kleijn, and 2007 American Idol Top 10 female finalist Leslie Hunt. You might wonder what in God’s name an American Idol alum is doing in a progressive rock band—a perfectly reasonable reaction. To answer that question, all you have to do is listen; what she’s doing is kicking some serious backside.

Aside from being the drummer in D97, I have taken the lead role in the band’s compositions, and I encourage all drummers to explore the wonderful world of melody and harmony. It may take some getting used to, but it’s very rewarding and will open up new avenues in your drumming as well. Those in the Chicago-land area can catch D97 performing regularly. We’re also playing a few national festivals in the near future. Check out for more on the band.

We recently signed to Lasers Edge Records, and our debut CD, Hybrid Child, is for sale at—Hybrid-Child__LE-spc-1057.aspx.

For more on Jonathan Schang and District 97, go to To watch a video of their song “I Can’t Take You With Me,” go to