Project DNA
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Project DNA

Band Pop Rock

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Project DNA

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Unlike so many indie artists whose personal and creative stories are somewhat one dimensional—i.e. working hard on the local scene, hoping to conquer the world now--he also offers a sizzling slew of exciting story angles to draw fans deeper into the Project DNA experience. DNA is short for “Do Not Ask” –the multi-talented artist’s sly response to anyone who asked what he was up to while this fascinating musical undertaking was in development.

While he’s not a jazz musician, KC is a famous jazz hotbed and homegrown legends like trumpeter Lonnie McFadden (of the McFadden Brothers) have jammed with Project DNA. Blecher turned to happier, lighter pop recently, but everyone in town knows him as a driving force of the renowned veteran hard rock band Amadius. And then there’s the matter of Blecher conceiving Project DNA after making it three rounds on American Idol and auditioning for Simon, Randy, Paula and Kara last season. When Idol didn’t happen, it was time for him to find another outlet for the poppier side of his artistry—and before forming Project DNA, he and his wife sold everything they owned (including lovely home on a lake) so he could have the financial backing to pursue music like never before.

The infectious songs and bright spirit that drive Project DNA have been part of Blecher’s creative life for a long time—they were just overwhelmed by his years of success playing with Amadius, which has released three independent albums. His bandmates thought the pop material he was writing was too fluffy for their sound, but the handful of tunes Blecher put into their sets (including the quirky mid-tempo rocker “In A Minute”) became among their most popular and inspired fans to sing along. With Amadius on hiatus in 2008, he put out the word that he had a new concept brewing and allowed serendipity to take its course, with onetime Sly and the Family Stone bassist Beaver Howard coming on board, followed by top regional musicians Funkasaurus Rex (drums), Blaze Barrett (lead guitar) and backing vocalist Kendall Williams.

Blecher and his stable of versatile musicians had four practices together before heading to the studio. This live band has also performed with Blecher at local charity events like the March of Dimes’ Bikers For Babies and a benefit at the Mitsu Sato Hair Academy for the Dream Factory—an organization that helps makes dreams come true for children. As Blecher sees it, his band is comprised of artists from diverse backgrounds who have been brought together by a mutual love for music, influenced by everything from rock to pop, blues and jazz bringing their own unique style and musical personality to the fold. Blecher’s range of influences starts with grunge, Metallica and Weezer—this side comes out with Amadius—and includes everything from MC Hammer to any band that ever wrote a catchy pop hook.

A notorious happy hook writer, Blecher has a blast engaging in the peppy, calypso inspired pop of “Dance With Me,” a song he wrote when he and his wife Heather were first married; he would walk around their apartment playing guitar in his underwear and she would try to kick the axe out of his hands, till she was practically playing it with her feet—an unusual kind of dance, but a dance nonetheless. Emotionally, Project DNA runs the gamut from the playful horn band funk energy of “Callypso” to the more heartfelt and poignant “Empty Promises,” which Blecher’s frequent collaborator Ed Ganey—who Blecher playfully describes as a “scary ZZ Top character”—wrote about his recovery from addiction and ultimate embrace of a more spiritual life. While Blecher did multiple vocal takes on most of the songs, he proudly nailed his leads on the crunchy pop-rocker “Innocence”—about a girl with a cheating heart—in just two.

“I’m really enjoying the opportunity to bring Project DNA to a wider audience, and it’s wonderful to finally have an outlet for this other side of my musical personality,” he says. “I spared no expense and believe this is the starting point for the next phase of my career. Besides being more creatively fulfilling on a personal level, it gives me a chance to touch people in a whole new way. I’m the guy who hangs around before and after the shows, meeting everyone he can, and it’s nice to share this part of myself after keeping it under wraps for so long.”