THE PROJECT BAND

Subtitle

BIOS

 

MARSHALL OCHMAN

Keyboardist, vocals

 

One day, the big, beautiful, smooth, medium brown tone structure appeared.  It didn’t move . . . but it moved me.  I was about 6 years of age. It drew me in like an irresistible magnet.  Pressing down upon the black and white shapes, melodies I’d heard came to life from my tinkering touch. It was a magic connection that has never been broken.  The doors have always remained open.

 

Musical training was undertaken built upon classical music, Broadway show songs and music theory.  Radio kept my ears open with a constant flow of incredibly impressionable sounds that included such artists as The Beatles, The Doors, The Supremes, The Moody Blues, The Rascals, The Bee Gees, Chicago and U2, among others.  I wrote my first song as a teenager.  Soon after, I was in my first band. The more music I heard, the more songs I wrote.  To date, I’ve written over 400 songs.

 

My recently recorded CD entitled 24/SEVEN included top musicians who have performed with the likes of Bruce Springsteen, Jon Bon Jovi, Gary U.S. Bonds and Mitch Ryder, to name a few.  My song, Nothing’s Holding Me Back, is part of the soundtrack for the independently produced film Townies.

 

With bands such as Dry Ice, Stork, Eastern Blend, Partners In Crime, Central Beat and THE PROJECT, as well as solo performances on local and national circuits, it has been a rewarding treasure to be a performer, songwriter, and singer.

 

The spirit and energy channeled through writing and performing music transports my expression of thoughts and feelings to places that are most appealing and quite revealing.  Ride on!

 

 

ANDY PRAGER

Guitar

As a child, a gift from my mother "The Beatles' Second Album", created a spark that attracted me to music from that point on.  From guitar lessons at age 8 to garage bands in Jr. High – the momentum was in place.

 

Growing up in the 70’s was a great time to be musically influenced by The Doors, The Who, The Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, Grand Funk Railroad, Grateful Dead, Humble Pie, Cream, and Credence; just to name a few.  At the time, I had no idea that ‘Classic Rock’ would survive well in the turn of the Century…..and so many years later, it turns out  one of my favorite past-times is to play rockn’roll in a live audience setting.

 

I owe a tremendous amount of gratitude to my long time musician friend John Callahan – who encouraged me to play in bands again, in 1995.  Back then, John hosted monthly jam sessions at his home in NJ.  The core members of the group had gotten together about once a year for many years, playing classic rock tunes from our heroes like Eric Clapton, Neil Young, and Jimi Hendrix.  In 2004, our band The Seoul Brothers (named after having met Callahan on a project in S. Korea) played at a benefit where we were among many acts at The Crossroads in Garwood, NJ.

 

The origins of the Andy and the Mayberrys (eventually The Mayberrys) began in 1999 and up until 2007, performed a wide range of past and current music from the 50s on, that we liked to call Classic Rock Plus: from Elvis Presley, The Guess Who, Tom Petty and Gin Blossoms….to Bonnie Raitt, Lady Antebellum, Grace Potter, and Gretchen Wilson as an example.  The Mayberrys’ debut performance in 2005 was at Cano’s Swiss Tavern.  We had also played several private parties, and at Madison Hall, The Backstage, Artana’s Rock Saloon, The Wild Hog Bar & Grill, and The Fishery.

 

In tandem, Andy’s Basement was formed in 2002 and concentrated on covering music from NRPS, The Dead, The Band, The Eagles, Bob Dylan, Allman Brothers, Pure Prairie League, and CCR.  Our playing was limited to the ‘basement’ where [instead of practicing for gigs] we just had jam sessions, until we first played-out at the beloved Cano’s Swiss Tavern in 2004.  Musical acquaintance and well-known late Freddy Frogs had invited us to open for his band.

 

After 3 years, Andy’s Basement ended and [for me] was replaced with The DelRockits in 2007.  I had a notion to seek out and find most of the original members of the group from Malverne, that I played with in 1971.  In being somewhat successful in getting the guys back together, it was a blast to be on stage with them some 30-odd years later – playing a thin slice of hard rock between the late sixties and mid-seventies…..Bad Company, Zeppelin, The Stones, The Kinks, The Zombies, James Gang, Thin Lizzy, Humble Pie, The Who, Ten Years After, and the like.  Venues were The Fishery, Tequila Murphy’s, Michael’s Porthole, and a few private parties.

 

Although The DelRockits disbanded in 2010, I was so grateful to be totally engulfed in that particular genre of music that I love.  And that brings us to the start-up of The Project.  It’s been over 8 years since its inception and our style of music reaches out to artists such as Santana, Chicago, Van Morrison, Deep Purple, and ELP that I have always longed to play.  We have been fortunate to play at Jetty Bar & Grille, The Cabana, Kitty O'Hara's, Kasey’s Rooftop 32, Crossroads Farm, Junction, and Bacaro Italian Tavern.



ELLIOT LIEBNER

Bass Guitar, b/u Vocals

It all started at an early age, when listening to DJ Cousin Brucie playing 60’s music on AM radio.  Some favorites were Elvis, The Four Seasons, and Jimmy Dean.  But that all changed for me on February 14th, 1964.  This is when Topo Gigio introduced The Beatles on The Ed Sullivan show.

 

Shortly thereafter, my Grandfather bought me a 10-dollar guitar.  I took guitar lessons, then some friends and I played “I Want To Hold Your Hand” for our 5th grade class.  After organizing a few bands throughout Jr. High and High School, my group won a Battle of the Bands and proceeded to play at the Senior Prom.  This led into seeing many concerts at the Fillmore East in the early 70s, where I was greatly inspired by the Allman Brothers and was learning to play their songs.

 

While attending CW Post, I worked at WCWP radio station.  I had the fortunate experience to broadcast live from the CW Post Dome.  This deepened my interest in playing music and performing myself.  I had worked with headline bands such as Grateful Dead, Jethro Tull, Jefferson Starship, Hall & Oats, Todd Rundgren, and Fleetwood Mac.  The education was priceless and their examples of musical perfection lives with me today, over 35 years later.

 

In the year 2000, the Inner Soul was formed from a group of musicians during a large jam session where I played.  This 9-piece group eventually twindled down to 3 and is still together today, playing a full spectrum of classic rock and oldies at local establishments such as Alias Smith & Jones and McArthur’s Park.  It is now known as the L.I.E. band, and the initials are for Larry, Ike, and Elliot.

 

Prior in the early 90’s, I engineered at JB Studios in Rockville Centre.  Many years later, Ed Fleck who was a patron of the Studio, was reforming his trio and needed a bass player.  I performed on his weekly TV show Ed Fleck Music on Cablevision covering songs from Jimi Hendrix, Johnny Winter, Jeff Beck, and Joe Walsh.

 

From 2007 to 2010, I was the bassist for The DelRockits.  Andy Prager had asked me to join the band after knowing me from the Tuesday Open Mic at The Fishery.  And in December of 2010, THE PROJECT was formed.  This band has all the ingredients for having fun while working toward being successful.



MARK GOTKIN

Drums & Percussion, b/u Vocals

 

Music for me started in the late 50’s listening to Du-op, Rockabilly, and watching Dick Clark’s American Bandstand.  At age 11, when I saw the Beatles on The Ed Sullivan Show in 1964, I immediately wanted to be like Ringo and play the drums.

 

About a year later, I had a cousin who played in a band in Lake George for the summer.  After that season ended, he set up his drums in my house for two weeks and that’s when the bug bit me. I played with some guys from high school - my first experience playing with other musicians and in a band.

 

However, in 1972 Broken Arrow was my first real band playing out.  We did shows at Freeport’s Right Track Inn, some Mineola bars, high school dances, Sweet 16s, and also played a free concert at Herricks High School.  The band lasted only two years, but we had a great time covering Allman Bros, Doobie Bros, Moody Blues and also tackled some originals.

 

Then in 1976, I hooked up with two childhood friends to form an original band – The Slugs.  We were considered new wave punk and played CBGBs, Max’s Kansas City, Gilder Sleeves, and a steady gig at a Westbury joint called the Rock Pub.  Our music style was in line with that era, like the Ramones and Talking Heads.

 

After The Slugs, between 1982 and 1985 I jammed with different folks to experience other types of music such as Jazz, Country, Blues, Motown, and other Rock styles.  Then I took a break from playing for a few years.

 

I joined a new band The Haze in 2001.  After practicing for two years, we were ready to play out.  I gigged with this classic rock cover band until 2008.  And in 2009, I was invited to play with CENTRAL BEAT - a pop classic rock and English invasion cover band, playing mostly 60s and 70s.

 

In the The Project, both the music and the musicianship are great, and it’s been huge for me playing our impressive variety of Rockn’roll.



CYNDI HAZELL

Vocals

I am one of 10 musical siblings.  My mother Rose Izzo played six instruments and sang, and my father played two instruments and sang.  I have 6 brothers and 3 sisters who all sing and play instruments as well.  The oldest, Vincent Izzo is a classical pianist.

 

We grew up singing everything from Opera, Classical, Broadway to Oldies.  I performed in all of the High School musicals with my siblings.   And during my college years, I performed in wedding and cover bands.

 

My dream was to perform in Theatre musicals and dramas.  In 1985, I performed at the Edinburgh Festival in Scotland in two shows: ‘Working’ and ‘Uncommon Women and Others’.  Then I returned to Europe in 1987, to tour with the musical ‘Hair’, playing the lead role of Sheila to audiences of up to 15,000.

 

While living in St. Maarten in 1999, I sang with local calypso bands and a Latin band from South America.  Since moving back to Long Island, New York, I’ve been with local bands, have performed in local theaters & talent shows, and sing with my own projects.

 

My sister, two brothers, and I sang as The Topsingers Family A Cappella Group from 2008 up until 2015.  We sang oldies and standards at the Boulton Theater, Patchogue Theatre, the Lead East Convention in Parsippany, NJ, and restaurants around Long Island.

 

In 2005, I performed the Star Spangled Banner at a local sports function in West Hempstead, Long Island.  I also sang the Star Spangled Banner at Citi Field for the opening of the NY Mets game on May 4, 2016. 

 

I love to sing all genres of music.  THE PROJECT welcomes me to sing Classic Rock tunes where artists such as Linda Ronstadt, Joan Jett, Grace Slick, Melissa Etheridge, Aretha Franklin, Carole King, Carly Simon, Bonnie Raitt, and Tina Turner are featured.  It is wonderful to be with this talented and diverse group of musicians.