1975 - 1983


Steve Allen spent the Wonder years along with Ron Flynt in Tulsa (Oklahoma) - "Dwight Twilley and Phil Seymour went to the rival high school" - playing guitar and working in whatever clubs he could lie his age into. "20/20 ? It was perfect, we're all 20!". Steve Allen moved first to Los Angeles to pursue a record contract, following the example of Tulsans Diwght Twilley and Phil Seymour, who had just scored a hit in 1975 with "I'm On Fire." By the time Steve Allen got a record deal with Bomp Records, Ron Flynt had arrived in Los Angeles too and with the help of Phil Seymour, they went to play on what became the "Giving It All / Under The Freeway" single. Then, Steve and Ron met an ex-Buffalo lad; Michael Gallo, 20/20's resident pop music expert. Once Michael told them he had never played in a band before, though he played drums for 8 years, he was asked to audition for the drum slot. "He was amazing," excludes Ron, "but then again, he had been sitting up in his room 10 hours day with headphones on drumming to Move, Small Faces, Easybeats, Beatles, Who, Kinks...you name it, he's got it! Mike's freshness gave 20/20 this buzzz like you've never felt. Mike was really the lightning rod in creating and promoting 20/20. The band was officially christened 20/20.

20-20 - Live

And so the 20/20 lineup was solidified, "though there was room for a lead guitarist to embellish our sound" explains Steve - first Peter Case, who had just left the Nerves, auditioned but he formed a band where he wanted to be the singer-songwriter,: The Plimsouls. Chris Silagyi was to become the lead guitarist. He joined the band and two weeks later the band were guests in Phil Spector's sunken living room and they appeared on the cover of the Sunday Calendar. With the help of Gary Valentine, they played at Madame Wong's restaurant, a place where they met Brian Wilson and Tom Petty. Tom Petty and Phil Seymour were best friends, Phil having done backing vocals and arrangements on Tom Petty's first two hits, "Breakdown" and "American Girl". At that time, they recorded a massive 15-song demo withsome standouts songs as: "I Need Someone", "Drive" (later released on the 1979 Bomp Compilation Waves Anthology Vol.1), "Screaming" (available for the first time in 1996 on the Bomp compilation "The Roots Of Powerpop" along "Drive" and "Under The Freeway"), "Out Of This Time", "Cheri" and "Remember The Lightning" (a bit of an homage to/rip-off of "American Girl", itself an homage to Bo Diddley. Aside from recording at Warner Bros Studios backing up Phil Seymour on his solo demos, 20/20 remained unsigned. But not for long....

20/20 & Phil Seymour

Phil Seymour - Ron Flynt - Steve Allen - Mike Gallo


Their reputation having grown up as a formidable live act, 20/20 got a call from Clive Davis and they signed with CBS. Earle Mankey, former Sparks' musician and producer of many powerpop bands such as The Elevators or The Quick, was the man. The first album, 20/20 was recorded and mixed in three weeks, during the summer of '79 at Sound City in Van Nuys. 20/20 came out in October '79, garnering radio play around the country for the songs "Cheri" (a classic powerpop single released all over the world) and "Yellow Pills" (which would became later the name of the Jordan Oakes' powerpop fanzine, and the title of 5 volumes of powerpop compilations. The success of 20/20 led to an appearance on American Bandstand, Dick Clark was cool with the band. Life was good.

The second album, "Look Out!" was recorded with Richie Podolor as producer (he also produced both Phil Seymour albums) starting in the fall of '80 through the spring of '81. Recording of the second album was as wild as it was long. The record was initially going to be called "Nuclear Boy" but eventually evolved into "Look Out!". The album again received critical acclaim and regional airplay with "Nuclear Boy" and "Strange Side Of Love" (a single coupled with 2 songs not available on the album and which remain unreleased until now "People In Your Life" and "Child's Play".


In the late Seventies, the term "Powerpop" was resurrected by Bomp magazine, and in a manner similar to the spread of the term "No Depression," applied to the music of bands who ignored progressive rock, stadium rock, disco, and singer-songwriter styles that topped the charts. Badfinger, the Raspberries, the Nazz, and the Dwight Twilley Band all got retroactively termed "power pop." 20/20 was among the first "new" bands to get the label. Worse still, the whole of the L.A. pop scene had already become a single movement to the media and Bomp powerpop tag became the favored way to describe it. When the enormous backlash against the Knack hit "My Sharona", it virtually ended the careers of many far superior L.A. bands, among them 20/20 and the Plimsouls, who were undoubtedly the other two most popular bands of the scene. 20/20's label could never translate radio play and sold-out shows into national chart success, so when the label wanted to do a third album, 20/20 declined, they might have better luck elsewhere. A new deal with a major label fell through, leaving the band without a label and still in debt from the initial advance, so the band released their third album Sex-Trap in 1982 on their own Mainway Records. Spurred by more critical acclaim, the album was picked up by Enigma in 1983, two songs "Sex-Trap" and "Fast Car" were remixed, one song dropped "Please Please (Listen To Me)" and one song added, the fantastic "Jack's Got A Problem", but again, the band had signed to the label "Enigma" that would later become successful before the band had any hit records. Later, Sex-Trap would be reissued (1999) in Japan with a bonus song "Best Of Your Life".

20-20 - Second Formation

Discouraged and still in debt, Allen went to work for Warner Bros. Records, and eventually moved to Nashville. Flynt moved back to Tulsa, where he dropped out of the music business for a couple of years. Bill Belknap was still living in Tulsa where he co-owns a successful recording studio and works as an engineer (he was behind the board for Stewart Copeland's Grammy-winning soundtrack to Rumblefish). Flynt and Belknap did session work together, and played in a weekend band, later doing the soundtracks for two Saturday morning cartoon shows. In November of 1995, Flynt and his family relocated to Austin. Chris Silagyi became a renowned producer and worked with Dave Alvin among others.

go to 20/20 second part 1995 - 2005

(source: Bomp Magazine, Ron Flynt, Steve Allen, Chris Saligyi, Austinchronicle.com)



20 20 - Giving It All (Bomp)

20-20 - Cheri

20 20 - Cheri (Italy)

20-20 - First Album 1979

GIVING IT ALL - 1978 (single)

CHERI - 1979 (single France)

CHERI - 1979 (single Italy)

20/20 - 1979

20 20 - Look Out - 1981

20 20 - Strange Side Of Love

20-20 - Sex Trap - 1982

20-20 - Sex Trap - 1983

LOOK OUT! - 1981

STRANGE SIDE - 1981 (single)

SEX-TRAP - 1982

SEX-TRAP - 1983

20-20 - Sex Trap - 1999 Japan

20-20 - 4 Day Tornado 1995

20-20 - Interstate - 1998

SEX-TRAP - 1999

4 DAY TORNADO - 1995


copyright fredpopdom 2003