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.
“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.
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:
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.
From the archives…
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
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!
Perhaps Nici can send me one or two clips of your live performance? Choose ones that you especially like.
JoAnn Mazziotti – Maybe she has videos?: https://www.facebook.com/joann.mazziottigray?hc_ref=PAGES_TIMELINE&fref=nf