Alternative metal band Future Leaders of the World was led by singer/guitarist Phil Taylor, a Buffalo native who relocated to San Francisco after high school. At a Puddle of Mudd gig, he befriended Mike Flynn, who would later serve as the group's manager and financed Taylor's first three-song demo tape. Upon returning to Buffalo, Taylor formed the first incarnation of Future Leaders of the World with bassist Toby Cole and drummer Carl Messina. The fledgling trio drove cross-country to Los Angeles to record a demo session, but creative tensions soon forced Cole to exit from the lineup, and with the late 2003 additions of bassist Bill Hershey and lead guitarist Jake Stutevoss, Flynn negotiated a deal with Epic Records. Future Leaders of the World's debut album, LVL IV (aka "Level Four") appeared the following autumn, but in the midst of an extensive live schedule that included a series of dates on the Sno-Core Tour the band received word that Epic planned to terminate their contract and dissolved. After settling in Little Rock, AR, Taylor assembled a new Future Leaders of the World lineup in 2005 with former Evanescence members John LeCompt (guitar) and Rocky Gray (drums) as well as guitarist Jack Wiese and bassist Thad Ables. This revamped roster later adopted the name Machina. ~ Jason Ankeny, Rovi