Afterflash

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Afterflash 1969-1971. Front left to right: Jim Mazziotti, Jim Trewin, Chris Theobald. Back row: Dave Palmer

 

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The AFTERFLASH Band, formed in the summer of 1969 and was one of northeast Iowa’s top rock bands.

 

The Oelwein, Iowa based band made up of Chris Theobald, Jim Trewin, Dave Palmer and Jim Mazziotti,  played many ballrooms, college campuses, high schools and community halls throughout Iowa from about 1969-1971.

They played their last job back 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.

 


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“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.


Recording

In the recording studio mixing with Milton Campbell. Recorded a promo 45rpm original song “Leave Myself To Die.” and “Cookbook”. In the photo from left, Jim Mazziotti, Jim Trewin, Randy Hibbin (in back) and Chris Theobald

Here are the thoughts of keyboard player David Palmer on the recording session:
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 of course (don’t remember where).

 

I was only on the original ‘Leave Myself To Die’ side however. I remember we were fired up and felt it was a ‘big deal’ to do this. I also recall it was somewhat after The Pages did their single ‘Sugar on the Road’ b/w (i forget) by ’10 Years After’ which was like ours (Cookbook) somewhat obscure although not as obscure as Cookbook.  To this day, I have never heard of the ‘Damnation of Adam Blessing’ (the band that originally did ‘Cookbook’), never seen any albums by them and have not a clue where Jim, Chris or Trewin found it. I liked the song when we did it in Bend.

 

I recall I was using my Leslie 145 and my grey Farfisa combo organ (with the large sticker “Make 45Music 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.)

 

When I hooked it all up and plugged it all in picked up a radio station on the Leslie!!! which had never happened to me in all the places we played ever…Uncle Milt got it all worked out but don’t know what he did.

 

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!

 

This was at the time when bands were moving from combo organs (also known more or less as pieces of shit then) to real Hammonds/Leslies. Although, there are still people who love the old Vox and Farfisa organs and there are still web sites praising them. Dylan used them on one of his recent albums (with Augie Myeres from Sir Douglas Quintet and the Texas Tornados) and they have their niche still. The Pages at this time were toting around Hammond and Leslies I recall. By the way, it is not easy to make a Fart-fisa sound like a Hammond and coupling it with a Leslie is sorta strange but I was not the only player to do so I remember.

 

I remember we were very happy with the results of the recording and to be honest when I listened just recently to the singles after what 40 plus years I was still impressed especially with ‘Leave Myself To Die’…nice original song…good singing and the music wasn’t bad and the song told a story. I was happy with my part I know.

 

Palmer

David Palmer – Reno, NV

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!


Thoughts from drummer Jim Mazziotti on the recording session:

My recollection has faded over the years regarding the recording.  I remember that the entire session and the pressing of 500 45rpm records was around $500.  Milt gave us the freedom to use our own label. We decided to use the HAWKEYE label that was unique to us (at least I know of no other recording company by the same name). 

 

As you may remember, Milt’s studio was “homespun.”  I remember that he had echo and reverb available and was able to dub in the sound of a jet taking off for the beginning of “Leave Myself To Die.”  At the time, we all thought the jet sound was pretty cool. 

 

I remember doing everything, with the exception of the vocal, in one run, on both recordings.  No editing, over-dubbing, etc. We were in and out.  I  know Milt enjoyed working with us and was very open to our ideas.  A very nice man.

 

We might have done it in a weekend (Saturday and Sunday), but I can’t be sure.  I know that David Palmer could only come on one of two days to record his “keyboard” part with the rest of us on our original, “Leave Myself To Die.”  He was in and out and really had a very little or no role in the composition of our original, and any decisions….other than playing his part.

 

David was a full time student at Wartburg at the time and for the last year he wasn’t able to practice as often as we would have liked.  That was just the situation. No anger…..just took us a bit apart.

 

Our connection with the Fred T. Fenchel booking agency in Mason City was basically set up by David.

 

Mazziotti

Jim Mazziotti – Bend, OR

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. 

 

JimSpeechListen and watch Jim Mazziotti talk  about planning the reunion and finding the lost 45’s of  this recording.


From the archives…

Official poster

 

 

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.

The Afterflash Reunions

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Afterflash Reunion 2016

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.

Chris Theobald

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.

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Afterflash Reunion 2017. Left to right: Jim Trewin, Jim Mazziotti, Dave Palmer, Christiano Mazziotti, Dan Falk

 

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.

onstage

 

 

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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.

dave and Dan

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!

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Article from the Oelwein Daily Register – July 3, 2017

 

Notes: 

Live Video:

https://www.facebook.com/nicimazziotti/videos/10101962269867633/?fref=mentions

 

Perhaps Nici can send me one or two clips of your live performance? Choose ones that you especially like.

https://www.facebook.com/jim.mazziotti/videos/10210920894911963/

 

Facebook connections:

https://www.facebook.com/jim.trewin.7?fref=ufi

https://www.facebook.com/Afterflash-250847584937811/

JoAnn Mazziotti – Maybe she has videos?: https://www.facebook.com/joann.mazziottigray?hc_ref=PAGES_TIMELINE&fref=nf

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