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About the Band

ARIEL formed when George Petersen and JJ Jenkins, who after playing in top-40 bands, decided they needed an outlet for their prolific original songwriting. ARIEL soon became became a Northern California live music staple, playing venues from intimate clubs to large festivals. "In Mendocino" (ARIEL's first single release) received massive West Coast airplay and brought the band some national attention. On the strength of this popular single and the band's solid reputation as a live act, ARIEL has been lucky enough to have been featured in large concerts supporting luminaries such as Santana, Eddie Money, Starship and John Lee Hooker. ARIEL's debut GREETINGS FROM ARIEL! album featured the singles "Stuck in Traffic" and "An American Girl." GREETINGS was followed by INTERNATIONAL WORLD. Recorded in multiple languages, it’s title track--a rock anthem to world peace--has been heard in various forms in nearly every country in the world. The album also yielded the haunting hit "Poem for Cassandra." ARIEL's EVERY WEDNESDAY NIGHT album documented the band's occasional acoustic coffeehouse shows. ARIEL performs live as a five-piece, featuring JJ and George with bassist Walter Bush and guitar virtuosos Chris LaRocca and Kristian Habenicht.


George Petersen

Raised in San Francisco, George Petersen was originally trained in violin, but learned drums and guitar after his family moved to Italy. George played with American and Italian bands, doing mostly club work, but occasionally appeared in concert, opening for acts such as The Searchers. George returned to America for college, turning his studies to entomology, media and chemistry, eventually obtaining degrees in each. During that time, he also wrote dozens of bawdy songs that have shocked and delighted thousands at the Renaissance Pleasure Faires. While working on a Master’s degree in film, he began writing for various publications and in 1981 accepting an editorial position with Mix, the world’s leading professional audio magazine. Widely respected for his knowledge of recording technology, George has written five books, 800 articles and lectured extensively worldwide on all aspects of audio production. However, music remains his first love and he and co-founder JJ Jenkins have co-produced dozens of records and performed hundreds of gigs with ARIEL.


JJ Jenkins

A native of Alameda California, an island in the San Francisco Bay, JJ is a guitarist, keyboardist, and songwriter. JJ has been writing and recording songs with George Petersen for the past 20 years both for ARIEL and other artists. He occasionally performs solo and with other bands and produces records for a variety of artists. JJ is also a musicologist of note specializing in compositions of the early 20th century. His songwriting influences include (in no particular order) the Beatles, Becker and Fagen, Don Henley, Frank Loesser, the Gershwins, Duke, Dylan, Arlo, Woody, Fats (both of ‘em), Hoagy, Mozart, Nesmith, Nilsson, Newman, Smokey, Stevie, and the late, great Warren Zevon. JJ and George are also the authors of “Crazy Campsongs,” a whacked hardback collection of children’s songs illustrated by famed MAD magazine artist Jack Davis.


Walter Bush

Bassist/guitarist/multi-instrumentalist extraordinaire Walter Bush originally hails from Yuma, Arizona. Captivated with acoustic and electric bass, he practiced day and night, and won the prestigious Louis Armstrong Jazz Award at age 16. Majoring in music at Mesa Community College and Arizona State University, his focus was bass, but he excelled in both classical guitar and composition. “I wanted to write like Frank Zappa and play like Stanley Clarke,” says Walter. Among his many varied influences, he cites Zappa, Chick Corea, Led Zeppelin, Oingo Boingo, Rush, Slayer, Mingus, Gustav Holst and Rimsky-Korsakov. After playing in various bands in the Phoenix area, Walter relocated to the San Francisco Bay Area where ARIEL was lucky enough to find him. Playing bass (and whatever else is needed) with ARIEL, you can also catch Walter’s searing lead guitar work with Solomon, playing constantly around the Bay area.


Christian La Rocca

Originally from the San Francisco Bay area town of Hayward, guitarist extraordinaire Chris La Rocca began his music career opening up the legendary ARIEL acoustic shows for three of its four year run. In high school, he formed his own band, Purgatory's Gate to feed his appetite for metal, garnering a rabid following playing around the Bay Area. Chris' influences include The Beatles, Iron Maiden, King Diamond, Buddy Holly, Opeth, Built To Spill and Death. His favorite guitarists include Andy LaRocque, Janick Gers, Chuck Schuldiner, Doug Martsch, Mikael Akerfeldt, Peter Lindgren, Brett Netson and Joe Satriani.  Currently, Chris is well-known in the Los Angeles area as the voice of metal on radio station KXLU, and when not gigging with ARIEL, he can be heard around town fronting his bands, The Shannons and Eyes In The Fog.


Kristian Habenicht

From the World's Garlic Capital of Gilroy, Calif., comes Kristian Habenicht, who not only plays screaming lead guitar with ARIEL, but has the enviable reputation as the band's "sharp dressed man." Kristian originally played in high school bands with ARIEL's Chris La Rocca before being accepted into the famed Berklee School of Music, where he majored in guitar. A multi-instrumentalist (guitar/bass/drums/keys/harmonica), Kristian's influences include Hendrix, Prince, Robert Johnson, Son House, Clapton, Stevie Ray, Satriani, Steve Vai and Stravinsky. One of Kristian's recent activities is building custom guitars and his current fave is a purple Strat with onboard DSP effects.

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About the Band
George Petersen
JJ Jenkins
Walter Bush
Chris LaRocca
Kristian Habenicht