Element 115

Band Biography
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As America's first band with a virtual character, and the world's only band with
an extraterrestrial, Element 115 has been a trendsetter since day one.

On the leading edge of technology with their virtual musician, "AL," Element 115 brings a family-oriented rock show enjoyed by more generations than any other band in Phoenix!

Incorporating the best aspects of classic rock, and visual and computer technology of the 21st century, this act lifts spirits and promotes self-empowerment with clearly understood lyrics and harmonies, reminding the listeners of everyone's inherent power and capability to improve humanity with their thoughts and daily actions.

You've never seen anything like an Element 115 show!

In 1995, Michael and a host of other players started an Arizona rock band with a few goals in mind.

  1. Write great music (like the '70s and '80s rockers)
  2. Affect change (there is a lot of good that needs to be done)
  3. Be able to understand the lyrics (at least make sure they are heard)
  4. Never, ever quit!

Members come and members go, but the project must continue. In June 2004, while searching for a drummer for the band, Michael thought out loud, "If only I could create a drummer that played whatever I played..." which was followed by Kevin, the former keyboard player with his now famous saying, "If you could do THAT..."

The first version of ALAL Plays His First Element 115 Halloween Party in 2004Two weeks later, AL 1.0 (the first ufo alien drummer) was playing "All Right Now" by Free. It took a week to teach AL a new song and have him ready to play it. By Halloween, AL was performing two sets of music with the band at their annual Halloween Bash.

In March of 2005, Element 115 opened for the Lynyrd Skynyrd cover group "Free Bird" in Fountain Hills, Arizona, played The SETS in Tempe, several other clubs around the valley, and on New Year's eve, the band performed at Fat Cats in Phoenix.

Element 115 at PF Chang's RnR MarathonIn 2006, the fledgling group played shows in Phoenix at Barwinkles in Glendale Ariz, many shows at Big Daddy's in Phoenix (now Toso's), Joe's Grotto in Phoenix, and the P.F. Chang's Rock 'n Roll Marathon. In February of 2006, AL 2.0 was in design, resulting from Michael's concept of a MIDI-to-animation converter. He coded that up, and wrote another program to run a fully synchronized show from the stage, and Element 115 (version 3) went LIVE on March 11th.

In June, the 12 foot plasma video wall was debuted at Big Daddy's. We gratefully acknowledge Michael's long-time friend Robert Paca for helping the band acquire the components! We finally had a show at Big Daddy's where Carla didn't throw a shadow on AL, but we blew the breakers (including the kitchen!) at least 3 times.

Marquee Theater concert

In 2007, the band played some big shows, including the Marquee Theater, (shown in the Channel 10 video on the videos page), a benefit show for one of Michael's high school buddies George Esahak, the Gila River Casino in Phoenix, a live performance/interview on Channel 3 (also on video page), and the band's first Roswell UFO Festival over the 4th of July. "That was the first time the band felt like 'celebrities' and it was really fun," says Michael. The stage was setup for Alan Parsons and WAR, who were playing the following night.

Chase Masterson from "Deep Space 9" performs with Element 115Everyone wanted to be on stage with AL, but two guests performed with the band that night. One was Vyktoria from Sedona, Arizona, who performed "Portrait: He Knew" from Kansas with the band, and the other was the actress from Deep Space 9, Chase Masterson, who sang "Jesus Is Just Alright" from the Doobie Brothers.

In July of 2007, Kevin left the band and Jess, just 15 years old, took over full time at keyboard and 2nd guitar. Jess wrote his first lead break (the 2nd one in "Just A Party") and learned piano parts fast! "It's easier with YouTube available to show you how it's done", Jess says. The work was hectic from the last two weeks of July until September, as Michael put an impossible schedule together to release an album.

Jess in his new roll as guitarist/keyboardistElement 115 CD jacket2007 saw the band's first album release titled "Element 115" with 10 songs and an instrumental intro. The CD Release party was at Club Red in Tempe, and shows were also performed at The SETS in Tempe (a Christmas benefit for the Salvation Army), and First Friday and Big Daddy's in Phoenix.

In 2008, Element 115 was invited to play both Rock The Bayou, and Rocklahoma concerts. The time it takes to set up an Element 115 show is prohibitive when the promoter is trying to get 15 bands in and out in a single day per stage. The band had to decline those invitations, but decided to try their hand at touring, anyway. Financing, coordinating, managing, and engineering the tour by themselves, the group started the tour at home in Phoenix at Castles & Coasters, and had the stereo stolen from the band's Suburban in a parking lot where two police officers were supposed to be on guard.

Next, the band played such cities as Las Cruces, New Mexico, El Paso, Texas, Safford, Arizona, and Roswell, New Mexico twice. On the way to the 2008 Roswell UFO Festival, where the band was the headline act for the four-day celebration, the transmission on the Suburban went out, the trailer hauling the gear ate tires, but the show was a huge success with over 1,000 people in attendance, and 1,000 more watching on the internet from around the world.  Nina Hagen performs a song with Element 115Nina Hagen, a famous entertainer from Germany performed a song with the group that night. Of all the songs on the list, she chose the same one that Chase Masterson sang the year before.

The band lost money on the trip though, and realized they needed to go back to the design board to figure out what really mattered to them, and how to survive while doing it. (Remember rule 4 from above?)

Oh yeah, and Jess cut all his hair off in December.

Skye 2009In 2009, Element 115 played two shows at Skye in Phoenix, probably the nicest show room in the valley. After that, they started writing the 2nd album, "Shattered Paradigm," Jess started college, and the economy of Arizona went to hell in a hand-basket. Realizing that Phoenix isn't the place for a show band to get performance time (remember The Spiders had to move to Detroit to be Alice Cooper, and The Beans went to San Francisco and became The Tubes), the group decided to focus on creating a two hour show of just Element 115 music, and marketing it wherever opportunity opened its door. "The message still needs to be heard, and if the people like the music, they just might get the message." - Michael

In 2010, the band spent most of its time writing songs and surviving the economic crash which hit Phoenix so hard. The songs "Time of the Signs," and "Brighter Days" on the upcoming album were heavily influenced by this contrived economic manipulation and implemented destruction of the middle-class in America.

When describing Element 115, people use comparisons to other bands as reference. Boston, Def Leppard, Van Halen, Yes, The Doobie Brothers, Whitesnake, Alice Cooper, and several others have been mentioned. One reviewer compared us to Van Halen and considered that an insult! Let it go on the record now that we're proud to be compared to any of those groups!

Come back soon, as this page is just beginning.

You can still see the old site here.