Singer/guitarist/keyboardist Rick Elias attended high school in Kearny Mesa, where he played in teen bands such as Harvest, featuring guitarist Marc Intravaia, bassist Nick Perpich, and drummer Kenny Austin. He was later a student at Azusa Pacific University, a local Christian college.
He 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 his old Harvest bandmate 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 Ragamuffins band.
In 2018, it was discovered that Elias was battling brain cancer. A GoFundMe campaign to raise money for medical expenses was organized by Marc Intravaia. However, Elias passed away April 3, 2019 after battling brain cancer and pneumonia.