Flamin' Amos

Gary Pagelow, Richard Zeier, Stu Balliette, Tim Zeier
photos by Tim Barringer

The Roots of Rock... Madison, Wisconsin

When I took hold of my first electric guitar at age 14, learning to play popular songs of the day was the primary objective.  However, once I had a handful of chords under my belt, I soon began crafting my own songs, and before long, had a stack of notebooks full of what I believed were solid hits.  It was at this point I realized that I needed other musicians to perform this material.  Fortunately, there were other kids around the neighborhood, and in my own house that had an interest in playing in a band.

I found out pretty quickly how most kids who were anxious to play in a rock band were much less enthused about playing home-grown songs. I needed to find players that could understand my vision.

Within a couple years of experimental jam sessions and evaluating who the likely suspects might be, we settled on a close-knit group of four friends and brothers to form what would become Flamin’ Amos.  We wound up gigging around the Madison area for a few years and built a repertoire of over 30 original songs. 

The music player below contains a small sample of music from the band.  Unfortunately, Flamin’ Amos as a group never made its way into a recording studio of any kind, so all that’s available is live cassette recordings of club concerts and basement rehearsals.  

A couple songs in the player were recorded later without the full band.  “Free Love” was recorded at a buget studio in LA with a drummer named Tom that was hanging around the studio and agreed to play on the song for a burger and fries.  More recently, “Verses of Destiny” was recorded at Pearl Music in Hollywood and is the only Flamin’ Amos song so far to be fully produced (adding to the speculation of a revival album).

Just hangin' out at the house...

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Richard (age 12) with brothers Tim and Neil

Only in Wisconsin, where bands grow on trees

Flamin' Amos Film Project (be warned: may be offensive)

This was a High School film class project between Stu and Richard, but associates of the band like Tim Barringer and Ken Strand joined in along with others in less visible roles.  It was originally shot on 8mm film that has no sound capability, so the audio was added much later.  It’s pretty much unscripted teenage nonsensical mischief, and of course, involves smoking pot.  

Even though the video was shown to film class students at the time, YouTube has flagged it as age restricted.  This means to see the video; you must first have a YouTube account and be logged in.  Clicking the “Watch on YouTube” link on this page will take you to YouTube but you must be logged in to see it.

At the time the film was shot, possession of cannabis was a felony in many places, so naturally the film was controversial and drew red flags.  However, the liberal teachers in the Arts department felt that the entertainment value of the film would inspire other students more than offend them, so they continued to show the film to other classes.  At some point, before too long, someone from school administration got wind of the film and demanded that it be destroyed.  The story becomes a bit sketchy at this point, but somehow the film disappeared and then mysteriously resurfaced again many years later.  Enjoy if you dare.