Progressive Rock Pioneers

by | Nov 21, 2017 | Spotlight

 These three young gentlemen are bringing back a classic sound experimenting and fusing together elements of jazz, rock, and grunge. This band is known as, “Initiator”, a power trio consisting of young music innovators. Let’s meet the band: Dennis Atlas, vocals and keys, Michael Whelan, guitars and bass, and Mike Hetzel, drummer. These young men have been playing music since toddler years and have made it more than just a hobby, but a passion. They all had slightly different influences. Atlas was inspired by bands like Styx and Dream Theater. Whelan was into Kansas and Nightwish, and Hetzel was interested in The Beatles and Rush. That’s quite an eclectic mix of experimental, rock and jazz-fusion.
Back in November 2010 at William S. Hart High School (where Dennis met Michael) during a Battle of the Bands contest, they exchanged information and a few texts later they ended up jamming at Michael’s house. This is where it all started to get serious. The duo, were writing songs together and discovering that they had a lot of common musical ground and furthermore made a great team. The beginning of this adventure was fine-tuning their original motifs. They spent several years developing their sound and working on their craft of becoming better songwriters. They discovered Mike Hetzel on you-tube performing drum covers of all their favorite music that they enjoyed. After one year of deliberation, they proceeded to contact him on his channel. It was there, they found their meaning to create music together.
The band performed over the course of a year before deciding to record a full-length album. Atlas and Whelan already had an entire album’s worth of material that they brought to the table to record with Hetzel. They are currently working in the studio recording their record which is expected to be completed and released by early 2018. These guys are living out their dreams and making strides with their continuous hard work and effort.
The band plans to finish their album, followed by a release and then tour to support the record. They are excited to develop their stage presence and put out a great show. These guys are young, motivated, talented and have a business plan in place. They are starting to gain interest from music industry representatives. Initiator is looking forward to start touring here locally in Southern California and eventually expanding to Northern California and out to the Midwest states. In the next few years, Initiator will develop their name and brand and continue to seek opportunities in International tours with other artists.
The band is also considering building a team as far as management and promotion are concerned, which is confirming that this band has business savvy skills and a goal in mind. As of now, Initiator has a few managers and promoters interested in them, as the band is increasing their fan base and all opportunities that present themselves. This young, power trio has all the right ingredients for success, including their relentless pursuit of stardom. Their music is a good mix of power progressive rock mixed with jazz fusion and a hint of experimental. In the final words about their live show, Atlas states, “We are an explosion of musical energy and tenacity.”
You can also listen and check their tour schedule at: and they are also available at: to contact, listen or book the band. 



A Model Citizen Beautiful Inside and Out

 Liliana West is doing it ALL: a successful real estate consultant, wife of 28 years to Bill West, a Walt Disney Imagineer, loving mom of an amazing 13-year-old son, antique dealer, local volunteer, and to top it off… a runway model! Liliana emigrated from Poland in...

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