Flashback Flash’s website kicks off with the following declaration “Flashback Flash is vintage rock for the modern listener. They will make you feel a pleasant nostalgia of something that may not have happened.” At first, it might not be clear what they mean by that, but when they play live, the seemingly contradictory statement immediately makes sense. It is evident that the four guys in Flashback Flash – Alex Chamis (lead vocals, guitar) [Alex C], Casey Dorreity (bass), Josh Brazinski (guitar, vocals), and Alex May (drums) [Alex M] – can ingest a bundle of contradictions and make them their own, allowing for bigger, deeper, more interesting music output.

The superlatives and descriptions in their web page, “crushing, high energy, driving power, stunning flair, high octane, or blazing riffs” may, at first, seem a bit over the top, but their music and instrumental prowess backs up the written bravado. Those very words describe their playing on songs like “Deep Cut,” or “Hanging with Him,” off Beat The Clock, their album released in August 2017. These guys can rock you like a hurricane, but also do so much more. If you listen to Beat The Clock in one sitting you realize that Flashback Flash takes their straight up rock and peppers it with interesting flourishes like multipart harmonies and thoughtfully defined guitar hooks and bass lines that do harken back to music forms of days past. The title track’s intro guitar lines are so huge that if played on an arena stage, stage hands would be shooting flames. Yet by the time the choruses kick in, the band is singing harmonized “bop-bop-badda-bop’s” in a hard rock meets the Brill Building cocktail.

I have tastes that range all over the place, and I don’t want to settle into only one genre.

Flashback Flash double check their drop D tuning as they prepare to unleash the rock on an unsuspecting crowd.

Vocalist and guitarist Alex C’s versatile voice has him singing in a throaty low register growl and then, effortlessly hitting a convincing falsetto in “Voodoo.” The album turns from hard rock to the power pop of “Breaking Off The Lid” and “Better Things Ahead.” The band is not afraid to slow things down and bare their softer side in the almost power ballad “All I’ve Done Today.” The thing is, the record does not come off as a musical goulash of disconnected songs – all of them are Flashback Flash, and all are presented sincerely without ironic winks – because these guys have the talent to write all of these songs, the ability to translate them to their instruments, and the confident pluck to perform anything they like.

Alex C says “I have tastes that range all over the place, and I don’t want to settle into only one genre. Today I might feel in a Big Star mood, tomorrow it might be Foo Fighters, the next day it might be Green Day. So why limit myself? “

Casey concurs, “I think a lot of one’s song influences come from what one is listening to then and there. We purposely try to keep what we listen to varied and interesting.”

Alex, Casey, Alex, and Josh are in fact serious consumers and fans of music history, seeking out bands from long before their time and picking up their best parts. They compare the time when viewers had only three TV channels and radio was the primary outlet for new music so that people shared more music in common, while today there are countless narrowly defined music outlets. Alex C relates, “I sort of pine for that simpler time when you didn’t have so many choices. It can be overwhelming. Word of mouth is huge. I love talking about music and the history of it. If someone who’s opinion I respect recommends something I’m almost guaranteed to go check it out.”

Alex C picks up, “It was also an intentional decision to keep the songs on our album different because some of my favorite records are different in how they are presented. I am a huge Beatles fan. On their White Album, they were never afraid to do something approaching a jazz standard like ‘Honey Pie’ on the same record as ‘Helter Skelter’. Whether that is a good thing or it is a distraction that is how we wanted to approach it.” Among Flashback Flash comparisons are those to artists like Cheap Trick, The Raspberries, or Big Star – all of whom meld different influences and also happen to take cues from The Beatles – but also after they are informed by latter-day rock like Foo Fighters.

Alex C cites Queens Of The Stone Age, Jimi Hendrix, and Tom Petty as other artists who could reinvent themselves. “Just when you think you have them pegged they surprise you. Everybody nowadays is so concerned with having this rigid image and compartmentalizing music. But nobody likes just one thing. People are complicated and have vast tastes, so why shouldn’t artists too? If the sounds we like seem contradictory, I view each contradiction as a challenge – like, how can I link these two things together? I love contrast and duality. That’s why our logo and album are all black and white.”

“The record is thirteen songs, but we actually have at least thirty more that are ready to be recorded. At one time, we considered putting out a double record with harder songs on one disc and softer songs on a second to show the contrast. We jokingly co-opted a Josh Homme quote saying ‘[Our music] should be heavy enough for the boys, but sweet enough for the girls.’” Casey says “In the end we decided to narrow it down to a mix of songs that were a representative fit for where we are right now and where we think our audience is.”

So how did Flashback Flash begin its road to musical enlightenment? Alex C and Casey have been friends and music collaborators since high school in Durham, North Carolina. Casey recalls, “The first night we hung out, we wrote a song together, staying up all night trudging through the process to complete it.” They began writing more together and formed a band named House Of Cards. “I swear we had the name before the TV show came out, but once it did, we could not play anywhere without getting asked ‘You named your band after the show?’” The music featured a lot of dropped tunings and sounded like early Queens Of The Stone Age, probably heavier than we sound today,” Alex C exclaims.  He and Casey both worked at a major music retailer, so music was top of mind most of their waking hours. Five years ago, the two made the decision to move to Atlanta to try focus on making something of their music.

When Josh Brazinski and Alex May joined Casey Dorrierty and Alex Chamis, the quartet’s chemistry brought out creativity and energy heard on ‘Beat The Clock’.

Alex C and Casey started in a new city, with a new band name, as they now branded themselves Guilty Gears, and with new jobs at the Atlanta branch of the same music retailer, where they soon met co-workers Josh and Alex M. The pair joined with a drummer named J.R. and played as a three-piece for about a year and a half, their on-stage development leading them to churn out more tightly arranged songs. Several songs on their album “Hanging With Him”, “Better Things Ahead”, “No Reaction”, and “Voodoo” were written during this period. Just as Guilty Gears was hitting a nice stride, J.R. announced he was moving to Florida. Not only did Casey and Alex C need a new drummer, but they had also decided they needed a second guitarist to be able to do more texturally and recreate live the new songs they were writing. It was helpful that they worked in a place where many of their co-workers were musicians and they put out the word that they were seeking new members. Josh knew their tunes and originally, he tried out for the drum position. His drumming effort was commendable but not the right fit. The pair liked his taste in music, his complementary guitar style, and his cool Les Paul, so they suggested he join them on guitar.

In late 2016, Casey was offered a chance to go on the road in the Midwest for eight months with a band needing a touring bassist. Everyone agreed that it was unique opportunity and that Casey should do it. “I didn’t know any of the band members or their music, but thought I needed to have this experience to help me grow as a musician and see if this is something I wanted to do.”

This is about a long-term plan for musical growth and development.

Casey returned in the spring of 2017 to rejoin Alex and Josh as they prepared to begin recording. “At this point after a hiatus we were more of a recording project than a band,” says Alex C. The trio was already adept with the basics of recording with Pro Tools, and their friend Randy Drake jumped in with additional production and technical oversight. They decided to record all parts except drums direct to digital so they could take their time building song layers and parts rather than be under pressure paying for limited studio time. “Randy is a good guy and such a character. He was constantly wanting to experiment with recording trickery ‘What if I did this?’ for example, taking a vocal track, running it through filters, delays, reverb, and pitch shifters to where it sounded like some otherworldly instrument texture. Randy even took an unintentional snort I did on a take and dropped it down to a low frequency. We took a drill to the bass strings, too. We have little bits like that buried across the record. It was a fun process to hang out with our friends and make interesting music. We did not constrain ourselves to how we were going to recreate these tracks live. It was fun to explore and see where things took us. I am a big believer in letting the recording process happen.”

“I love contrast and duality. That’s why our logo and album are all black and white.”

Yet, the group still did not have a drummer. They had known Alex M from their music retail days and that he had gone on to pursue sound engineering and doing drum session work. Alex M shares “I had done several sessions at that point but just for smaller, contained projects. I was interested in the chance to get to work on a larger body of songs in a single project, so I was game.” Alex M. took rough mixes of songs and recorded drum parts against them in a small drum studio. He admits he initially played conservatively but in the middle of a pack of audio files he played full tilt “just to mess with them.” The other three heard that part and knew that was what they wanted out of drums in their band and gave Alex the hard sell on joining – after all, he already knew their tunes! They were ready to get back to being a band, but wanted a new moniker. Brainstorming and URL searching led to many names that were already in use. Alex C. recalls “Something ‘Flash’…like Jumping Jack Flash…that would be good…Flashback…no we don’t want to be mistaken for a 70s cover band. We kept bouncing back around to the ring of Flashback Flash and we knew no one could have that URL taken! Said repeatedly, it reminds me of the swing of a pendulum.”

Flashback Flash rocking Sweetwater Brewery 8/25/2018

With four members locked in place, Flashback Flash has played across the Atlanta region over the past twelve months. They have continued to win over fans, venues, and other bands wherever they go, because despite their dedicated precision in the studio, they play with big, contagious energy even while keeping all the interesting parts and harmonies intact. Casey is sometimes known to climb Alex M’s drum kit and otherwise rock around like a whirling dervish as they all get into their music.

The guys attempt that 80s album cover disaffected stare.

The band is working on new recordings in addition to playing shows. They still carve out time to keep learning and honing their craft. Casey explains. “This is about a long-term plan for musical growth and development. We have developed a work ethic of pushing ourselves to play out and do the work to earn those chances. We think you can make the best of any situation wherever you are. It is up to you.” Alex C continues, “It is about persistence. You also have to have a good product.” While the four continue to devour all the interesting music inspirations they can, Alex C notes, “Inspiration doesn’t always come just from music. It can be philosophy, visual art, novels, even comedy. I read a lot of philosophy books in my spare time, and I get inspired by that stuff a lot.”

Summing up the motivation that drives their desire to create, Alex C opines, “There is something to be said for really genuine music. The thing we can say is that whether you like all of our styles, we really mean it, and the band and our music matters to us. We live, eat, and sleep this band. For what it’s worth, everything is a 100% effort on our parts to give the best we can to ensure people enjoy themselves. The bottom line is that we want to connect with people through our music the way so much music has connected with us.”


Grapevine Profile: Flashback Flash
5 Desert Island DiscsAlex Chamis:
1. The Beatles - Rubber Soul
2. Queens Of The Stone Age - Songs For The Deaf
3. Poor Valentino - Poor Valentino
4. Tom Petty - Greatest Hits
5. Nick Drake - Pink Moon

Josh Brazinski:
1. Cartel - Chroma
2. Metric - Fantasies
3. Third Eye Blind - Ursa Major
4. Foo Fighters - In Your Honor
5. The Shins - Port Of Morrow

Alex May:
1. Muse - Absolution
2. AFI - Sing The Sorrow
3. Periphery - Periphery II
4. The 1975 - The 1975
5. Linkin Park - Hybrid Theory

Casey Dorriety:
1. Cage The Elephant - Cage The Elephant
2. The Shins - Wincing The Night Away
3. Franz Ferdinand - Franz Ferdinand
4. Queens Of The Stone Age - Lullabies To Paralyze
5. Them Crooked Vultures - Them Crooked Vultures
First concertAlex C:
Dave Matthews Band at Alltel Pavilion (Raleigh, NC)

Cartel at the old Masquerade

Alex M:
Tampa's 97X Alternative Rock Festival (AFI, Evanescence, Hoobastank)

Collective Soul at the Tabernacle (1996)
Favorite concert in AtlantaAlex C:
Shaky Knees Spring 2017 and Paul McCartney 7/13/2017

Cartel at the old Masquerade

Alex M:
Muse at Gwinnett Center 2/27/10

Queens Of The Stone Age at Music Midtown 2014
Favorite area restaurants/hangoutsAlex C:
Smith's Olde Bar, Star Bar, Fellini's Pizza, Majestic Diner


Alex M:
Grindhouse Killer Burgers, The Tabernacle, The Masquerade, Fellini's Pizza

Little Five Points. Piedmont Park, Pho 24, The Vortex
Memorable gigs around townSmith’s Olde Bar with Alannah McCready (4/13/18)
Fuzzstock at Star Bar (6/01/18), Smith's Olde Bar with Rock n' Roll Animals (6/23/18), The Masquerade 7/24/18,
Casey - All the times I hurt myself performing at the Star Bar
Special Flashback Flash question! Most irritating guitar lick overplayed at a music retailer:Alex C:
Sweet Child O’ Mine

Crazy Train

Alex M:
Stairway To Heaven

Sultans Of Swing
flashbackflash.com/store , iTunes
Favorite Atlanta music siteAtlanta Music Grapevine!