The Darwin Project
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The Darwin Project

Cheboygan, Michigan, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2005 | SELF

Cheboygan, Michigan, United States | SELF
Established on Jan, 2005
Band Rock Alternative


This band hasn't logged any future gigs

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This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



Obtaining national notoriety is a nearly impossible task for bands stationed in Northeast Michigan. There is currently one that is well on its way to reaching that goal, however.

The Darwin Project is a rock and roll quartet who calls Cheboygan County home when they're not on the road playing or recording. Saturday they make a special stop in Alpena to do an intimate show at the Black Sheep where they will showcase their original material as well as classic covers.

Bass player Tom Marsh said the band has opened for many national acts, including Saliva, Dope, Pop Evil and Puddle of Mudd in large venues. He said performing in a smaller clubs, such as The Black Sheep, offers things larger ones can't.

"We give 100 percent every time we play, no mater what the size of the venue is," Marsh said. "Smaller places are more intimate, and the crowd tends to feel like it is part of the show than at a lot of the bigger venues. That sort of adds a different element to it."

Lead guitarist Brett Harfert said playing larger venues and opening for prominent acts does add a level of excitement and allows the band the opportunity to focus and promote its original material.

"When you play for big crowds, you have a much bigger opportunity to play for people who have never heard of us, listened to our music or seen us live," Harfert said. "It is a rush, and the adrenaline and blood really get pumping."

Currently the band is in the process of recording a follow-up to its last album, "Pushing Daisies." Last week the band unveiled its new single, "Beautiful," which was promptly played on local rock radio. The song, which will be on the still untitled disc, will be made available to the public soon, but fans will have to wait a little longer to hear the rest of the new tunes.

"The new single will be available next week on iTunes," Harfert said. "Right now we have three songs completely done, and we will finish up the others in November. It probably won't be released until next year, though, and then maybe we will have some sort of special party or show to celebrate its release."

The origin of the name of the band stems from an incident in 2002 when the band was just starting out. Ben Dratnol, one of the founding members and its voice, said they began jamming with a friend, but it was his friend's father who set in motion the band's naming.

"We started as a two piece, and my buddy's dad didn't want him in a band," Dratnol said. "His dad's name was Darwin, so we called the band The Darwin Project."

Because the band lives hours away from a large city, it relies on the use of social media to help promote its music and upcoming shows. Dratnol said there are positives and negatives to using websites like Facebook, MySpace and Twitter.

"It does help. We actually had the album to a guy in Germany who had heard us on MySpace, so it allows you to reach more people," Dratnol said. "It has also become flooded with other bands, so there is more competition, so it's a double-edge sword."

Even though they claim to get along outside of the band, some ground rules have been set to be sure everyone remains safe yet have a good time while traveling from place to place. The band's drummer, Dave Covell, who was not present at the interview, is the victim of one of these rules.

"Dave is a terrible driver, and he is not allowed to drive. He has almost killed us several times," Dratnol said with a laugh. "No really, we are brothers and hang out away from the band. That's one of the hardest things is finding people with the same ideas and drive. We all work our butts off, but we know we need to to get to where we want to be. People think it's all sex, drugs and rock and roll, but let me tell you, it is a lot of very hard work and devotion. Not just for an individual, but for the entire band. You have to get used to hearing the word 'no,' but you can't let it phase you. You just work that much harder and become that much more motivated."

The Darwin Project's L.P., Pushing Daisies, is available on iTunes and Amazon. - The Alpena News


Back To Dust EP
Pushing Daisies
Beautiful EP



The Darwin Project is a heavy alternative rock band from Michigan comprised of four passionate individuals. Their music is propelled by the strong, confident vocals of Ben Dratnol and the frenetic guitar of Brett Harfert while the tight rhythm section of Dave Covell and Tommy Marsh hold everything firmly in place. With their hardworking grassroots approach to performing live and touring they have developed a sound as solid as oak.

Finalists for 2010 Rock Your Way To The Top, 1st place winners of the Michigan Music Melee battle of the bands, The Darwin Project are determined to break down the audience/performer barrier and to play the music they love for a living. They have cut their teeth opening for popular national acts such as Pop Evil, Fuel, Saliva, Puddle Of Mudd, My Darkest Days, Cavo, One less Reason & Dope, just to name a few. Recently in the studio working with award winning producer/engineer Chuck Alkazian. Who has recorded and worked with artists such as Pop Evil, Elton John, Ted Nugent, Bob Seger and other platinum selling, award winning artists. Their latest EP is chock full of chaotic rockers such as "Beautiful" which is being played over various mainstream radio stations nationwide and featured on Sirius XM Radio, complete with a hardcore guitar riff and mid tempo cuts like "Big Jim" which explodes into a rapturous chorus that begs to be repeated.

They recently embarked on their Midwest/ US Tour in September 2012. They covered 23 states in just 30 days. From the deep south of Louisiana to the ever busy streets of New York City. Be sure to watch out for The Darwin Project at a venue near you. Their pure unadulterated energy and motivation make them a cut above the rest and a force to be reckoned with.