Name: Six Elements
Styles: melodic Progressive rock, symphonic rock, art rock
Members: Michael (Misha) Shengaout
Participants and Significant Session Musicians:
Stanley Whitaker – vocals
Jeffrey McGahren – guitars
Dave De Marco – See Dave’s site here.
Marc Norgaard – See Marc’s site here.
Current Affiliations: Stanley Whitaker – Oblivion Sun; Dave DeMarco – Crack the Sky
Previous Affiliations: Stanley Whitaker – Happy the Man, Pedal Giant Animals; Dave DeMarco – Oblivion Sun, Battery Apple.
Albums: Primary Elements (release date March 5, 2012)
Highlights: Heavy use of woodwinds (clarinet and flute); inspirational lyrics (Kipling’s poem “If”); the songs in the album are organized using the oriental concept of the Five Elements.
by Michael (Misha) Shengaout
Stan was recovering from his cancer treatments when he got a call from bassist Dave De Marco, his former band mate from “Oblivion Sun”. Dave told Stan about some session work he was doing for a band in Atlanta. “The band’s vocalist didn’t work out and they’re looking for a replacement. I think you’re a good fit,” he said. Stanley wasn’t sold on the idea at first; the music was not as adventurous as that of his previous groups. But when he took a look at the lyrics, everything fell into places. He realized that the words and music of each song were chapters of one big story of life. Not surprisingly, Stanley wanted to be the one singing it.
As Jeff was sorting out his existential questions, he received a call from his brother Matt, a lawyer. Matt said: “I met a guy in court. He said he was working on an album and needed help developing the guitar parts. I think you may be what he’s looking for”. After years of disappointment, Jeff was skeptical. This was probably another one of those “I’ve got a great idea for an album” band with a lot of big talk and about three chords scribbled on scratch paper. After talking to the guy for an hour on the phone, he still wasn’t sold. Jeff realized that this was a serious thing when the guy dropped by his place; the first thing this fellow did as he walked into the room was open his bag and pull out… no, not a piece of scratch paper with three chords scribbled on it. He pulled out a thick stack of sheet music with a full score for each song on the album. There was a separate score for each instrument. This was definitely serious!
He knew that he might be onto something good when his daughters, 5 and 3 years old, ran into the room where he was doing a playback of the music he had just written and asked him to play it for them. Once he started playing his melody, they started jumping and dancing to it. Then they demanded that he play it again. And again. And again… That was the best compliment from the world’s most demanding critics.
But Misha didn’t want to write just any music. There were a lot of ideas that helped him to find a new taste for life – the philosophy of Plato, the psychology of Karen Horney and Victor Frankl, the sociology of Erich Fromm, the poetry of Rudyard Kipling, the ancient oriental concept of the Five Elements that he learned from his wife. He wanted to make music that would bring these ideas to life and be a testimony to their transformative power. He had a new dream now and the name of this dream was “Primary Elements”, the first album of his new band Six Elements.