LaFlamme's mother was from a Mormon family in Salt Lake City, and when he was eight years old, the family moved there to be near her family. LaFlamme had been studying violin since moving to Los Angeles at the age of five, and in Salt Lake City he won a competition to perform as soloist with the Utah Symphony Orchestra.
After briefly serving in the U.S. Army, he returned to the music scene in San Francisco in 1962. During the 1960s he performed with a wide variety of notable San Francisco acts, such as Jerry Garcia and Janis Joplin. He first formed the band Electric Chamber Orkustra, and later, an early version of Dan Hicks and His Hot Licks. Then, in summer 1967 he joined It's A Beautiful Day. Their eponymous LP was released by Columbia Records in 1969, containing their biggest hit, "White Bird". Gary Posie changed his name to his stage name David LaFlamme so to protect his orchestral reputation.
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