Nashville, TN (April 3, 2019)
Singer, songwriter, guitarist, keyboardist, producer and Ragamuffin Rick Elias passed away April 2, 2019 in Nashville after a several month long battle with brain cancer.
Elias was born in San Diego, CA where he attended Azusa Pacific University. One of his early bands, Harlequin, was a keyboard-heavy mid-1970s progressive rock band in the same vein as Yes, Genesis, and Starcastle.
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 Christian music label, Alarma Records, which released his self-title rock album as Rick Elias and the Confessions, a band which included drummer Bobby Sale and guitarist Marc Intravaia. Their single “Confession of Love” peaked at number four on the national Christian Top 40 chart as published in Contemporary Christian Music magazine (CCM).
Listen to “Confessions of Live” here:
Elias released several contemporary Christian CDs both on his own and as a founding member of the Ragamuffin Band, formed by the late Rich Mullins in the early ’90s. His first solo record was named as one of the top 100 Greatest Christian Music Albums by CCM Magazine.
Rick Elias Releases:
Rick Elias & The Confessions (1990, Alarma)
Ten Stories (1991, Frontline)
Blink (1998, Pamplin)
Confessions of a Ragamuffin (2000, KMG) (compilation album)
Bootleg (2003) (compilation album)
Elias also wrote songs for the Tom Hanks film That Thing You Do (in which he appeared as a player in the Playtone Orchestra), as well as for Dawson’s Creek and My Big Fat Greek Wedding. In the studio, Elias produced records by Michael W. Smith, Amy Grant, Rich Mullins, and Aaron Neville among others.
In the summer of 2018 Elias announced to friends and family that he had been diagnosed with brain cancer. His longtime friend and band mate, Intravaia, organized a GoFundMe campaign to raise money for medical expenses. A benefit concert was also held with members of the Ragamuffin Band and performers from the Jesus Record.
While recently suffering from pneumonia, Elias passed away Tuesday, April 2, in a hospital ICU surrounded by his family.