Afterflash

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

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.


TrewinHeadshot2Jim 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.


ChrisCroppedIn the mid-70’s Chris Theobald died in a tragic car accident just north of Oelwein, Iowa and any thought of the original band members to play again was immediately extinguished.


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:


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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

Palmer

David Palmer – Reno, NV

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.

 

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.
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

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.)

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.

 

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:

Mazziotti

Jim Mazziotti – Bend, OR

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). 
HawkeyeSoundCard
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.

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


 

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


From the archives…

 

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Official poster

 

 

The Afterflash Reunions

PickledPig

 

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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.

reunion pose

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!

ODR Article2

Article from the Oelwein Daily Register – July 3, 2017

 

A couple short videos of the Afterflash reunion on Facebook:  

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One comment on “Afterflash
  1. Don says:

    A lot of great music, beginning in the 50’s, came out of Iowa — from the Greenwood Inn in Des Moines to the Starlight in Waterloo and the Coliseum in Oelwein. Young and old musicians alike played gigs at ballrooms, bars, radio and television — along the Mississippi to Clear Lake, Iowa City to Red Oak. It was amazing and at least a 40-year run, maybe more. Among the greatest of the R&R of that time was AFTERFLASH.

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