By Ed Karvoski Jr., Contributing Writer
Westborough/Marlborough – On May 26, the Westborough Senior Center’s “Party in the Parking Lot” moved indoors due to high humidity. Inside, the Marlborough-based band Flashback played classic rock-‘n’-roll oldies along with Motown and country hits.
In addition to appearing at community events in and around Marlborough, Flashback has worked a number of Boston gigs. They scored six seasons of shows prior to Red Sox games outside Fenway Park on Jersey Street (formerly known as Yawkey Way).
Bandmates are founder Paul Giardina, guitar/vocals; Jeff Chapman, lead vocals/bass; Darrell Jackman, drums/vocals; and Jim Rennie, lead guitar/vocals. A scheduling conflict prevented Rennie from taking part in the Westborough show.
Westborough Senior Center Director Alma Demanche welcomed everyone to the concert. Noting that Flashback’s last show there was in 2019, she jokingly added, “Even though there’s only three of them here today, I didn’t get a discount.”
State Rep. Danielle Gregoire (D-Marlborough) good-naturedly countered from the audience, “They could be at Fenway Park, so you’re lucky to have them here.”
Speaking on behalf of Flashback after the two-hour show, Chapman said, “It was great to see people enjoying us and dancing.”
Forming Flashback band
When Giardina formed Flashback in 2005, he first approached Rennie. They had played together in a band while classmates at Marlborough High School, where they graduated in 1968.
Chapman was next to join Flashback. He and Giardina had played together in the 1970s rock-‘n’-roll band Chickweed.
Jackman joined Flashback in 2012 when they needed a drummer. He and Giardina have known each other since the 1970s through the Marlborough Men’s Softball League.
Giardina noted, “What makes the band work well together is that we’re all good friends.”
Red Sox pregame shows
From 2014 to 2019, Flashback performed pregame shows outside Fenway Park. They worked a total of 37 shows in six seasons. Along the way, NESN featured them in pregame coverage.
Flashback got hired by the Red Sox entertainment coordinator after he searched the web for New England bands. He found the Facebook page “Flashback Band Marlboro MA” and considered them a good fit for Red Sox fans.
“The vendors love us because we keep people out there, eating and drinking,” Chapman relayed. “We do a lot of interaction with the audience.”
Once, Chapman noticed a woman photographing the show from behind them. The woman explained that she wanted to embarrass her children. Chapman obliged by crooning a 1980s tune with her that was originated by the southern rock band Georgia Satellites.
“I got her to sing the song ‘Keep Your Hands to Yourself’ with me,” he recounted with a laugh.
Post-performances, the bandmates can watch the Red Sox games from the State Street Pavilion.
“They won the first seven games that we played there,” Chapman noted.
Giardina added, “We must have brought them good luck.”
The band’s next Red Sox pre-game shows are Monday, June 28, to Wednesday, June 30.
Entertaining the community
Flashback frequently provides music at community event stages – and elsewhere. They bring music to the streets onboard parade floats for Marlborough Labor Day and Northborough’s Applefest.
Additionally, Flashback regularly performs at Marlborough’s Union Common as part of the city’s summer concert series. This year, they’re scheduled for Thursday, July 29, from 7 to 9 p.m.
It’s a particularly favorite gig for the Marlborough-based bandmates.
“Marlborough is our hometown,” Chapman said. “Our families, including grandkids, and a lot of friends get to come see us. It’s an exciting chance to play for people of all ages.”