Ken Leighton 4:11 p.m., Sept. 3
RIYL: The Cock Pits, Claude Coma and The IV's, the Stingers, the Monroes, Harlequin
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Singer/guitarist/keyboardist Rick Elias attended Azusa Pacific University, a local Christian college, and first earned local notice with Harlequin, a keyboard-heavy mid-1970s progressive rock band in the same vein as Yes, Genesis, Starcastle, and local Andy Robinson's group Horsefeathers. The group was seen regularly at local venues like Straita Head Sound and the Adams Avenue Theater.
Elias made several solo records with the Rick Elias Band, which included drummer Bobby Sale and guitarist Marc Intravaia, as well playing with local one-hit wonders The Monroes (“What Do All the People Know”). They released one 45, “I Break Down” b/w “Man Alone” and reportedly also did a popular version of “Walk Away Renee” which never made it to vinyl.
Elias moved to L.A. in 1984 and within a few years was recording with producer Niko Bolas (Neil Young). In 1990, Elias signed to Alarma Records, which released his Christian rock album as Rick Elias and the Confessions, a band which also included Intravaia and Sale. Their single “Confession of Love” peaked at number four on the national Christian Top 40 chart as published in Contemporary Christian Music magazine.
Elias later wrote songs for the Tom Hanks film That Thing You Do and released several contemporary Christian CDs on his own and as part of the Ragamuffin Band.