“It was a great experience from a musical standpoint,” Elias said.
In his senior year of high school, Elias began playing in his first garage band, Mirage. At the time, local radio stations were doing a lot to promote up-and-coming local bands.
“What got us started was a contest at our local train station that was held at a location called Bus Station in Dayton,” Elias said. “We put the band together to compete in it.”
Elias played keyboards and sang lead in Mirage, and the group made tapes of several songs.
“It was incredible,” said Elias. “They had a massive sound system and a lot of Stebbins’ friends came to see us. It was a great time.”
The band was together for about a year, but broke up once the lead guitarist graduated from high school.
After graduating in 1981, Elias went on to study at the University of Miami at Oxford, majoring in chemistry in hopes of one day becoming a doctor. By her junior year, however, Elias became interested in studying law.
“I wanted to make the world a better place,” said Elias. “I got a degree in chemistry, but I went to law school at Pepperdine University in California.”
While in college, Elias continued to play in bands, initially chants, but developed lasting friendships through music.
“I also played in two other bands,” said Elias. “In the meantime, I met the musicians I ended up playing with on Stranger when I started the band some 26 years ago.”
After graduating from law school, Elias lived in California and worked at a law firm. He married his fiancée, Amanda, while in college, and the couple eventually decided they wanted to move back home to be closer with family and friends, who moved to Centerville in his early 1990s. rice field.
Elias was hired by LexisNexis and remained with the company until her retirement last July. During his time at LexisNexis, he received over 10 patents on software related inventions, traveled the world and experienced different countries.
As a member of Stranger, Elias has experienced the opening of large-scale national acts like REO Speedwagon and Foreigner.
“We started playing small venues and then festivals, like any other band,” Elias said. “We immediately started feeling like rock stars.”
In Stranger, Elias plays keyboards and rhythm guitar after being self-taught in college. He also sings lead vocals and plays bass.
Now that he’s retired from his full-time job, Elias has more time to focus on his music. He and Stranger drummer Rob Horting founded a cover band, Seconds to Surrender, which performed songs by The Police and Irish rock band U2.
“The band evolved with different members coming and going,” said Elias. “We auditioned a lot of people and found some great guitar players, but we needed someone who understood the effects of the guitar.”
In addition to Elias and Hating, guitarist Thad Bisset and bassist Sean Kelly joined Seconds to Surrender. Elias continues to perform on The Stranger, along with Dayton radio personality lead vocalist Jeff Stevens.
“We started the band before the pandemic,” Elias said. “But for 2020, all gigs have been cancelled.”
The band has continued to rehearse as much as possible and is now working on transitioning from an event band to a party band and playing bigger venues.
“When people come to see a concert, they like to dance and have fun,” Elias said. “
Elias said Dayton in particular is a great place for music, and many of the local bands started out in garages and are doing well, continuing to perform locally and nationally.
“We live in an area with really diverse music,” Elias said. “You don’t have to be in Nashville or Southern California to find good musicians. You can find them here.”