Music Medley

The Flaming Doublewides burst onto the scene

Photo by Submitted
Drummer Amanda Cassin (right) and guitarist Jon Loomis (left) speak about their experiences playing in the Flaming Doublewides.

Sound the alarms, this is not a drill. It’s the Flaming Doublewides. 

This local cover band has members spanning a number of generations who have been exposed to all different kinds of artists and styles of music. This band covers anything from classic rock to blues and even country.

Amanda Cassin, the youngest member, is a second-year accounting student and drummer of the band. Katie Vagnino, a former visiting assistant professor at UW-Eau Claire, is the lead vocalist. Laura Sommer, the bassist for the band, owns her own cooking business in Eau Claire and finally Jon Loomis, a creative writing professor at UW-Eau Claire, is the lead guitarist and back-up vocalist.

As for how the band got here, well, members have come and gone, said Loomis. He said the band was without a lead vocalist and when he saw Vagnino performing at The Livery, he could not pass up the opportunity to extend an invitation.

Cassin said she joined after hearing about it through a member of another band she was a part of in the spring of 2019. Loomis said there is a lot of communication “through the grapevine” in the Eau Claire music community.

Loomis said he’s been playing guitar since he was 11 years old and enjoys the creative aspect of being in a band.

“It’s another kind of creative outlet,” said Loomis.

Although Loomis is a creative writing professor, being in a cover band has its limits on creativity. They have played a few originals that have gone “OK,” but for this band specifically, covers are a better fit, Loomis said.

“I write fiction and poetry mostly that are really like, wordy,” said Loomis. “There’s so much great classic music out there.”

Some examples of the music they play includes songs from Eric Clapton or the Rolling Stones, Loomis said.

Cassin said her experience playing music began when she took piano lessons in elementary school. What has led her up to this point is just sticking with doing what she enjoys, but also gaining experience after school, Cassin said.

“I was in a garage-punk kind of band with some friends in middle school and high school,” said Cassin.

She also has experience playing in a jazz band, a funk-rock band and most notably, a Led Zeppelin cover band.

“I just kind of started sitting in with random people,” Cassin said. 

Some popular places that the band plays at include the Mouse Trap, Acoustic Cafe and the Stones Throw, said Loomis. The band also enjoys teaming up with a band called Weapons of Brass Destruction, and will be doing so for their next performance on Halloween at the Stones Throw, which is a 21+ venue, Loomis said.

The name Flaming Doublewides was inspired by another band from Delaware called the Doublewides, Loomis said. Loomis said all of the original band members had sat down together to brainstorm ideas for a name.

“We’re all…wide,” said Loomis.

Loomis said they googled “Double Wides” and needed an adjective to add in front of Doublewides so as not to copy the group from Delaware. Someone shouted “flaming” and the name stuck.

When it comes down to what makes the members happy about playing together, Loomis said he loves the social activity he receives out of performing.

“The band is pretty much my social life, right?” Loomis said. “I have work life and I have family life and then my social life really is the band.”

For Cassin, it’s the people.

“They’re all super talented and very cool people all around and whether we’re jamming out or just hanging out. It’s always a fun time,” Cassin said.

Plueger can be reached at [email protected].