The AFTERFLASH Band was founded in the summer of 69.’ Two members of the North Iowa band, The Orphans of Luv and two members of a Northeast Iowa band, The Thirteenth Hour left their bands to form AFTERFLASH.
The band included members Jim Trewin on lead guitar, David Palmer on keyboards, guitar and harp, Chris Theobald, on bass and Jim Mazziotti, the lead singer and drummer.
Booked through the Fred T. Fenchel Entertainment Agency (inducted into the IRRMA Hall of Fame in 2004) in Mason City and Samar Music Productions in Oelwein, Iowa, the band played in numerous ballrooms, high schools, colleges, community halls, outdoor venues and clubs throughout Iowa and Minnesota and Wisconsin. The band was based out of Oelwein, a small city that is no stranger to producing exceptionally talented musicians, including several already in the IRRMA Hall of Fame.
The AFTERFLASH play list was made up of a diverse mix of music, allowing them to play from an extensive play list from Top 40 to blues. They were as comfortable playing for a high school or college homecoming dance to the iconic River City Free Trade Zone in Iowa City or a local street dance. They loved experimenting with their music at a time where experimenting was an idealistic and complicated word in society and in music
In 1971 the band recorded their first 45 rpm single in Oelwein on Hawkeye records and at the Milt Campbell, Oelwein studios. The A side of the recording, Leave Myself To Die was written by Jim Mazziotti and Chris Theobald. The B side recording was a cover by Adam Blessing, titled Cookbook . Both are still performed today by Iowa bands and the 45rpm recording has been a popular collection record among collectors.
In 1971 the band began going their separate ways. They played their last job in 1971, after playing well over 125 jobs in just a short two-year stint. Pretty amazing since 2 of the four members were high school kids, one a freshman in college and one a 18 year old working carpenter and farmer. All four were just teenagers.
The band really never had closure when they stopped playing in 1971. “It just happened,” said Jim Mazziotti, the lead singer and drummer for the band. “It’s been almost a half century ago, but I remember that we played a job and, for whatever reason, never played as a group together again.” “No arguments, no fights….we just stopped playing and went our own ways,” he concluded.
- David Palmer was in school at Wartburg College working to secure a degree
- Jim Trewin wanted to pursue musical and other opportunities in the western United States and moved to Denver,
- Chris Theobald, who was an incredible bass guitar player, was in a solid relationship and decided to be married.
- That left Mazziotti, who became a sought-after pick up drummer with numerous country, rock and jazz groups.
After Mazziotti left AFTERFLASH he worked with a popular Charles City based band, CREED for a year. While playing most weekends, Mazziotti focused and secured a music performance degree from Upper Iowa University, and after completion of his degree, joined the family music business, Samar Music of Oelwein and Waterloo and continued working and playing dates in Iowa, Wisconsin and Minnesota in his own duo, The New Revue and his single act until about 1996. He performed liturgical music for years as a guitarist and vocalist and sang at literally hundreds of weddings across the midwest. Over the years he worked, at one time or another, with some incredible local and nationally known artists including Nashville acts; Wanda Jackson, Tommy Cash and Janie Ryan and many musicians already in the IRRMA Hall of Fame.
After college, David Palmer did further study at Iowa State University in Ames where he also found a niche in teaching guitar. He did so in a private guitar teaching studio in Ames, Cedar Falls (where he also had a couple other business’s) and York, Nebraska. He played with a few musicians for a decade before making a move out west.
Jim Trewin, who had been a part of the guitar teaching staff at Samar Music in Oelwein, made his way to Denver after the groups’ break-up, played some music and worked in several trades before moving to Bend, Oregon and has been a talented and gifted print designer in the graphic arts business for some 25 years and looks to retire in 2017.
As fate would have it, in 2002 Mazziotti sold his business’s and moved to Bend, Oregon where he found AFTERFLASH guitarist, Jim Trewin was living. The two have, from time to time, gotten together to play some music, but Mazziotti has long ago retired his custom Rogers drum kit and plays mostly guitar as a hobbyist.
Just three years ago, and out of the blue via Facebook, Trewin and Mazziotti connected with David Palmer who now resides and works in the stock market in Reno, Nevada. And after more than 40 years the three original members of the group gathered in Reno, NV. in 2016 to play some music and plan for a reunion gig in Bend in 2017. They also gave a special toast to their friend and fellow musician, for whom they loved, Chris Theobald, who many say was one to the most naturally talented young bass players to ever come out of Oelwein, Iowa.
In their own words:
“I think we demonstrated amazing maturity for being young kids. When we practiced we approached it seriously. We worked hard and worked smart.
The Fred Fenchel Talent Agency booked many jobs for us, but we booked many more ourselves and even took the initiative to promote our own appearances by renting community halls and handling entire event’s. We fronted the money many times.
No doubt, we had our wild side, like any teenager does, but we were disciplined and focused. We never missed a job and we were always on time and came home in one piece,” said Mazziotti.
I remember we played live in the ‘studio’ and i don’t recall any overdubbing and i don’t recall an enormous number of run throughs even. It was in the old house that Milt Campbell had the studio in…in Oelwein.
I recall I was using my Leslie 145 and my grey Farfisa combo organ (with the large sticker “Make Music Not War” on the front which was in the Oelwein Daily Register once (photo by Lee Bonordan who was a fan of the band came to lots of our gigs.)
My goal then with my rig was to make it sound as much like a Hammond as I possibly could. A Hammond was what I wanted but it was hard enough moving the Farfisa and Leslie around…the rest of the band would have crapped their pants had I gotten a Hammond then!
Oelwein is a place to be proud of music wise. Just a side note, but I always remember in the little town on a Friday or Saturday late afternoon you would see the bands like Afterflash and The Pages and others loading up, gassing up and getting u-hauls at that station at the top of North Frederick and heading out to play gigs all over NE Iowa. We helped the local economy!
Submitted by David Palmer
Thoughts from drummer Jim Mazziotti on the recording session:
I do remember that when writing the lyrics for “Leave Myself To Die,” that Chris Theobald insisted that we NOT use the word “Baby.” He was insistent! He said he would only allow “Lady” since his name was going to be on the composition. That is about the biggest controversy we ever had! We all loved being together and working on material.
Submitted by Jim Mazziotti
From the archives…
The Afterflash Reunions
In 2011, lead guitarist for the band, Jim Trewin somehow stumbled onto David Palmer, a guitarist and keyboard player for the band while surfing the Internet. Jim found that David Palmer was living in Reno, Nevada. He hadn’t played music in years! So, 40 years after the break-up, Jim reached out to David and asked if he might be interested in coming to Bend, just a 7 hour drive, to play a high school graduation party. David was unable to make it then, however, in 2016 Mazziotti and Trewin grabbed a couple guitars and a scrapbook and headed to Reno to meet up with David Palmer. “It was like we had never been apart. Sometimes you see people after years and years of being separated and you just reconnect. I can’t explain it, but it was like we had just played a gig the week before. Man, it had been 40 years since we had seen each other,” said Mazziotti.
Before leaving Reno, the three talked about playing one more time for a combination party celebrating the retirement of Jim Trewin from his job in Bend and the graduation of Mazziotti’s son, Christiano, from college. So they planned a “final” gig. “I think our sudden break up in 1971 left us feeling a little empty inside for over nearly a half a century.
Fact is, on May 27th, 1979 the world lost Chris Theobald, who had played bass guitar for us, to a tragic car accident in rural northeast Iowa. At the very least the three of us wanted to honor Chris Theobald with a “final” gig. We all loved Chris,” said Mazziotti.
“Listen, we have a million stories, as you might imagine. From my standpoint, the biggest story of this band is that four kids formed a band in 1969 from two pre-existing groups, The Orphans Of Luv (from Hawkeye & Fredericksburg, IA.) and The Thirteenth Hour Band (from Oelwein, IA.), played our butts off, and in the end, some 46 years after our last job, and on June 24, 2017, the three remaining guys and two stand-in’s, gathered together, set-up their gear in a second floor 9 X 12 bedroom, revived our 1969-71 song list, practiced for 4 hours and played a three hour gig that celebrated a retirement and graduation and had the people at the venue jumping, laughing, dancin’, and partying.” said Mazziotti. “That is exactly how our friend and fellow band member, Chris Theobald would have wanted it. In the end…this was for him,” Mazziotti concluded.
In another twist, AFTERFLASH announced their final appearance in a Facebook post several months before the planned job. To Jim Mazziotti’s surprise, an Oelwein, Iowa native, that had frequented the Iowa music store the Mazziotti family owned back in the 80’s, saw the post. Dan Falck, who now lives in Portland, Oregon, just a few hours from Bend, told Mazziotti that he might attend. The next step for Mazziotti was to make contact with Dan to let him know they needed a bass player to play the bass, left empty by former bass player, Chris Theobald. So, Dan Falck loaded up his gear and came to Bend to play. “It was just phenomenal to have Dan join the band for this event, “ said Mazziotti. “Dan has played professionally for years and added so much to our efforts,” Mazziotti emphasized.
In a final twist, Mazziotti’s son, Christiano, a drummer and guitarist and the recent college graduate for which the event was partially planned. He actually turned down a music scholarship at Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma/Seattle to play football, but loves to play music. Jim Mazziotti decided to slide over to guitar for the evening and allow his son to play in place of himself. “Truth is,” said Mazziotti, “I haven’t seriously played drums since August 12th of 1988. It’s a long story, but I knew Christiano could play the parts…and he did fantastic,” he concluded.
Some 46 years after the final song had been played, AFTERFLASH was back, likely for the very last time. But, what a time it was!
A couple short videos of the Afterflash reunion on Facebook: