A Dream Come True



The FlashJam Backstory

Lingering in the shadows of an elusive music career, unfolds a saga steeped in passion, regrets, and the rise of an epic platform that will fundamentally alter the landscape of musical collaboration forever.

Embark on the journey of Jim Lee, the visionary behind FlashJam, whose musical soul was sparked amidst the heartlands of country music, and set ablaze in the raw, electrifying expanse of rock.  His journey into the music scene began at the age of 13, when his neighbor, Buzz—a Harley-building biker with the soul of a rock god—became his unwitting mentor.  Buzz's band, a motley crew of leather-clad virtuosos, became a fixture in Jim's life, their rehearsals a soundtrack to his formative years.  The ambiance of those sessions, thick with the scent of cigarette smoke and stale beer, and the strains of "Cat Scratch Fever" etching themselves into his memory, became the crucible in which Jim's musical aspirations were forged.

The band welcomed Jim into their fold, offering him a glimpse into the brotherhood of music and mischief. This initiation was more than a mere adolescent adventure; it was Jim's baptism into a world where music was not just created, but lived. Though he had yet to claim an instrument as his own, Jim was already searching for his entry point into this captivating world.

Jim Lee's story is a narrative where every setback is a setup for a comeback, and every performance is one step closer to a dream come true.

Larry Mitchell and Jim Lee
taking a  break from drum practice.
Summer, 1988

Rock Of Ages

It was the summer of 1988 and heavy metal hair bands were all the rage.  My best friend Larry Mitchell (left) was a drummer, and his brother Dave was a guitarist, and they had their own little band going.  I didn't play an instrument yet so I kinda fell into singing with them, and they said I sounded pretty good, which was a surprise to me, so I started singing leads at that time.

Larry had two drum sets, what the luck?!  He taught me how to play and I had finally found my instrument.  We were obsessed with playing drums, and we'd play songs together in sync and would start over any time we f'd up until we could get through the song together with no mistakes.  Luckily for his parents, they got to hear it all in stereo!

"It's a long way to the top if you wanna rock and roll" - AC/DC

Jim Lee's High School Band "Expressions"
Top Left to Right:
Brian Lowman, Jim Lee, Randy Ker
Bottom Left to Right:
Brett Ker, Ty Moyer

Early Band Successes

By 1990, after moving across town, I was on the lookout for a new band. At my new high school, I met Brian Lowman and discovered our shared music tastes, leading to a jam session. Brian, more impressed with my singing than my drumming, invited me to his band's practice. Surprised to learn he was in a band, I joined them and was amazed by their talent, especially the drummer, Ty Moyer, who mastered Neil Peart's songs. The band, reminiscent of Van Halen with its brother duo, decided to make me their lead singer after that first practice.

We quickly started performing at parties and events, winning the high school battle of the bands and a significant competition at Heritage Square in Golden, Colorado, in 1991. Despite stiff competition and performing songs like "Tom Sawyer" by Rush and "Live Wire" by Motley Crue, we clinched 1st place, fulfilling a bold prediction I had made to the band. It was a pivotal moment, with a large audience (including the future mother of my children), solidifying our belief in our musical potential. The band was buzzing with ambition, dreaming of MTV and rocking to the top, buoyed by growing fan support. This period marked the beginning of an exciting journey, fraught with challenges.

In reality, none of us had any idea what to do next.  This was our time...and we were searching, but ultimately lost our way.  Described by legendary band manager Doc McGhee, "Anyone can start a band and crap out a song or two, but not many have the vision to go the distance...you need someone to guide you through the fu*king wilderness."

"Jimmy quit and Jody got married, I should've known we'd never get far" Bryan Adams

Jim Lee's First Single

The Real World

After high school, I faced the stark realities of adulthood. Determined to gain independence, I prioritized work over my music career, believing I had plenty of time for music later. I kept my passion alive by jamming with friends whenever possible, longing for the day I could dedicate myself to music again.

During this period, I ventured into real estate school and led a more conventional life, but music still called to me. I wrote and recorded an original song, "I Didn't Expect That From You," which received encouraging feedback from a Billboard songwriting contest, reigniting my desire to pursue music.

In 1998, my girlfriend Jen and I, who was at our pivotal battle of the bands performance, visited Nashville. The trip was inspirational, filled with visits to iconic music locations, and solidified my resolve to make music my career. I even got a tattoo to commemorate this promise to myself.

However, life had other plans. Jen got pregnant and that meant postponing my music career to focus on family responsibilities. Despite my aspirations for Nashville, balancing a new family and a music career seemed unattainable. I held out hope for a more opportune time, but it never arrived.

"Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans" John Lennon

Ally Realty & Finance

Ally Realty & Finance

The pressure was on and I had a family to support.  So in 2001, I started my own real estate and finance company and it became pretty successful.  Ally Realty & Finance would offer something completely unique in the marketplace by combining real estate and mortgage services together.  By doing so we would lower costs and increase convenience for the real estate consumer.  

Six good years rolled by until the housing collapse started in 2006, and then I was in the trenches getting hammered!  It was a real roller coaster, but we made it through!

Killin' Time

Yet, by now I'm 35 and time was really ticking away.  My dream of making it in music was slipping away and I was scared of living a life with an unfulfilled destiny.  

So I start knocking on music's door again.  This time would be a bit different, and it would spark a chain reaction...

The Genesis of FlashJam: Harmonizing the Key Components

Explores the foundational journey of FlashJam, tracing the convergence of the elements that led to it's creation.

"Music is a language that doesn’t speak in particular words. It speaks in emotions" Keith Richards

Walker Williams

View From The Drum Set

Walker Williams Band

In 2007, I sought a new band via Craigslist and was contacted by the bass player of Walker Williams' band, a well-known country act in Denver. Excitedly, I awaited further news, but after an initial response, silence ensued.

My First "FlashJam" Like Experience

Out of nowhere, during a post-Christmas Guitar Hero session with my kids, Walker's band called, inviting me to audition live at the Grizzly Rose on a very busy Saturday night.  Despite my attempts to prepare, communication was scarce until Walker sent over a daunting list of 50 songs right before the audition. At the venue, he selected just three songs for me to play. Despite having never rehearsed with the band, the performance went surprisingly well, emphasizing the universal language of music.

"Stick Around"

Post-performance, Walker's comment "stick around" signaled my acceptance into the band. However, the challenge of learning over 50 songs with little rehearsal time was daunting. My stint was short-lived, culminating in being cut before a show opening for Jake Owen. Despite the disappointment, the experience was invaluable, highlighting the unpredictable and exhilarating nature of live performances combined with the magic of impromptu collaboration on stage.

This experience sparked the realization of how thrilling and enriching spontaneous live music collaboration could be, marking my intense appreciation for such moments.

"While wasting our time hesitating and procrastinating, life goes on" Seneca

Mitchell's Halloween Bash

Left to right; Amy Mitchell, Rich Garcia, Amy ?, Dave Mitchell, Jim Lee, Larry Mitchell

Big Business

Fast forward to 2017, my old friend Dave Mitchell was organizing a Halloween party and invited me to play drums for a band he was assembling. His wife Amy, who wasn't a musician, agreed to learn keyboards just for the event, starting with "Don't Stop Believing" by Journey, which she executed perfectly. Rich, the bassist, hadn't played since high school and had to purchase a bass for the occasion. Larry, living in New York, couldn't attend rehearsals but would fly in for the party. The lead singer, another Amy and a professional vocalist, was excited to join us for a change of pace from her usual gigs.

The Second "FlashJam" Like Experience

This eclectic mix of novices, intermediates, and a pro created an exceptional music performance, marking one of the best parties I've ever attended. Despite limited rehearsal and not fully knowing each other, our shared knowledge of the songs led to a stellar performance. Dave even handed out trophies, making the event memorable and sparking the band name "Big Business" with a funny backstory.

An Idea Flashes

The day after the party, inspired by the success of Mitchell's Halloween Bash and reflecting on my past experiences, including the audition with Walker Williams, the concept of FlashJam crystallized in my mind. The mix of different skill levels, schedules, and the ability to come together spontaneously for a fantastic performance confirmed my belief in the concept's viability.

"Lose your dreams and you might lose your mind" Mick Jagger

The FlashJam logo was designed by FlashJammer Jorge Angelini.

Putting It All Together

Feeling a sense of urgency and fearing I might miss my chance to pursue my dream, I realized that time was running out. This moment felt like my final opportunity to make a significant impact in the music world. My vision was to create FlashJam, a platform that would break down the barriers aspiring musicians often face, such as lack of collaboration opportunities, exposure, and growth. FlashJam would provide resources covering both the artistic and business sides of music, offering musicians a chance to achieve their dreams.

I aimed to give musicians access to premier stages, help new bands build a fanbase, and increase their visibility to venues. FlashJam was conceived as a second chance for people like me, an easy way for busy individuals to engage in live music performance. It was designed to be an all-encompassing portal for musicians at any stage of their career, from beginners to those aspiring to play at iconic venues like Red Rocks. Catering to all ages, genres, and intentions, from casual fun to serious career aspirations, FlashJam would uncover the true gem of pursuing a passion in music.

"All bands eventually break up because of one or more of the four P's: power, property, prestige, p**sy" - Dave Mustaine, Megadeth

Buckshot Creek

Left to Right; David Long, Tracie Dettmer, David Dran, Kelly Sheridan, Jim Lee

Launching the Dream

The journey to launching FlashJam began with a clear need: assembling a stellar band. Despite my efforts and numerous ads, finding the right mix of people proved more challenging than anticipated. Clashing ideas and the intricate dance of band chemistry often felt like climbing a mountain without a peak.

In a twist of fate, I shifted strategies, opting to join an existing band that could align with FlashJam's vision. That's when David Long reached out for an audition, marking the start of an exciting adventure.

Transitioning from Sin Wagon to Buckshot Creek

David's band, known as "Sin Wagon," was a dynamic and skilled group that I joined in 2018. However, the inevitable band drama unfolded, leading to a split. In the aftermath, David, Kelly and I, along with a new addition, the talented guitarist David Dran, formed "Buckshot Creek." This new formation felt right, and after the launch of FlashJam, Tracie Dettmer joined us, enriching our sound further.

Our journey took an abrupt pause with the onset of Covid, casting uncertainty over FlashJam's future. Yet, in the face of adversity, the foundation for something transformative was laid, proving that the dream of FlashJam was far from over.

"It's one thing to be hungry; it's another thing when you're starving for greatness and starving for success."  Dave Grohl, Nirvana

The barn where the first FlashJam
experiment took place.

The Barn Jam Experiment

During the quiet of the Covid era, I hatched an idea for a musical flash jam experiment. Eager to play and suspecting others felt the same, I posted an invitation on NextDoor for a "Barn Jam." The concept was simple yet innovative: select a few well-loved songs, invite musicians to join, and play through each song on our first attempt, shifting the focus from rehearsal to live performance. The enthusiastic response confirmed I was onto something special; it was clear musicians were craving this kind of connection.

This inaugural flash jam session turned out to be a unique gathering of talent—none from Buckshot Creek could attend, so it was an assembly of new faces. Special thanks to Ernie Galicinao and Drew Kasch for diving into this venture with me from the start, marking the beginning of what promised to be an exciting journey.

"As long as a man has the strength to dream, he can redeem his soul and fly."  Elvis Presley

The Wild Goose Saloon
FlashJam's first venue

FlashJam Launches at the Wild Goose Saloon

Following the success of the barn jam, I set my sights on scaling the concept by introducing it to a bar setting. Despite initial enthusiasm from a couple venues, progress stalled until a serendipitous encounter with my cousin Bob Garcia at a family reunion in the summer of 2022 revealed he had purchased a bar. Recalling our old discussions about opening a bar and sharing a passion for live music and entrepreneurship, I saw an incredible opportunity with Bob's Wild Goose Saloon. This venue, boasting a vast stage and state-of-the-art sound and lighting, offered the perfect launchpad for FlashJam.

Eager to drum up support, I reached out to Tracie Dettmer, a well-connected and musically inclined friend, to leverage her extensive network and involvement in various clubs. After our first meeting, Tracie was on board, enthusiastic about promoting FlashJam.

Presenting the concept to Bob and his co-owners, Chris and Lola, we decided to push forward with the initiative. Despite initial challenges in coordinating with the Karaoke organizer, which led to a tense confrontation on launch day, we persisted with our plans for FlashJam's debut at the saloon.

As I set up the stage, facing an almost empty venue, I was engulfed in a mix of solitude and internal peace, knowing I had poured my heart into this venture. The uncertainty of the night's outcome weighed heavily, but I remained hopeful. To my relief, the venue quickly filled, ensuring the event's success.

It turned out to be a massive success!  The energy and excitement among musicians and audience members alike were infectious, with each performance bringing a fresh and dynamic experience. The unique collaboration among diverse musicians captivated everyone, creating an atmosphere of anticipation and enjoyment.

The next day brought another milestone: Music Connection Magazine featured FlashJam, marking our entry into a respected music trade publication just 24 hours after our inaugural show. This success laid the groundwork for regular FlashJam events at the Wild Goose Saloon and plans for global expansion, proving the power of perseverance and innovation in music.

"Songwriters write songs, but they really belong to the listener" - Jimmy Buffett 

"Get On Down" The Page After

FlashJam band, The Page After, wrote and recorded an original song about FlashJam called "Get On Down."  It's a brilliant song that describes the essence of what it is and how it feels to FlashJam.  It's a testament to the positive effect FlashJam has had on our lives and the community we've become.  It's a call to action to "get on down" to FlashJam, with the promise of how it will change your life, like it did for them.  

I am grateful to these fine musicians for sharing the experience of FlashJam in such an impactful and unexpected way.  Its really amazing to have a theme song written about FlashJam.  Given the effort it takes to write and record an original song, it's a really special gift and such an honor.  My thanks to The Page After.  

The Page After band is comprised of Mike Suydam; lead guitar, Drew Kasch; saxophone, Wade Bolling; drums, Steve Bonz; lead vocals and lyricist, Richard Linwood; bass, Elise Corinne; vocals, Eddie Oliva; guitar, and Jim Mann on keys.

"It'll Change Your Life...Like It Did For Me" - The Page After

Jim Lee

Photo Credit: Erica Long

Are you yearning to play music and perform?

So here we are!  As a musician, you understand the power of connection, the thrill of performance, and the relentless pursuit of your dreams.  My journey with FlashJam resonates deeply with these sentiments.  Imagine a place where your passion for music and the exhilaration of live performance converge, creating unforgettable experiences. FlashJam is not just a platform; it's a community where musicians come together to share, grow, and shine. It's about the exhilaration of creating music in the moment, about the unexpected magic that happens when you collaborate with fellow musicians, some you may have never met before.

From my early days yearning to be part of a band, to the exhilarating experiences with FlashJam, this story is a testament to the transformative power of music. This platform offers you the chance to ignite your passion, to perform on premier stages, and to be part of a vibrant, supportive community. Whether you're a seasoned musician or a band just starting out, FlashJam welcomes you to showcase your talent, learn from others, and grow as an artist. It's a chance to live out your musical dreams, to inspire and be inspired, and to be part of something truly special. Join FlashJam, and embrace the opportunity to make music that touches hearts and creates lasting memories, and realize the gift of your highest personal potential in music. 

 Now you know why FlashJam is a dream come true.  Thank you for sharing our journey and our story.  Thank you for sharing the dream.

I Challenge You To Try FlashJam For Yourself;

It's an opportunity for growth, learning and recognition.  I believe you have what it takes to achieve your dreams in music.  Do not let them pass you by!

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