For most of us, punk rock is a refuge when things get tough, both for those who listen and maybe even more so for those who play. But what happens when tragedy strikes, and playing music cannot be a part of your life anymore? Read on below to learn more about Dylan Flynn’s story.
Meet Dylan Flynn. As a teenager, he set out as many of us did to start a punk band with his high school friends. One friend already had a guitar, and another played drums, so Dylan convinced his mom to buy him a bass. It sounds like the story of thousands of punk kids, some of whom played a few shitty basement shows and gave up, and some who are still playing today. But that’s where the similarities end. Before Dylan could ever play his new bass, however, an accident caused Dylan to suffer a traumatic brain injury that left him with limited use of his left side. He could no longer play bass.
Dylan grew up in Northern Idaho, but was living in the Pacific Northwest at the time of his accident. By then, he was fully invested in punk rock, after first hearing Blink-182 and Diesel Boy and finding some punk comps in a local record store. Playing in a band with two friends seemed like the logical next step, but what do you do when you have a bass and can’t play it?
Dylan is a humble guy, and credits his longtime friend Brian with the idea that bridged punk rock and charity. Dylan decided to use his never-been-played bass as an instrument of good: he was going to get musicians to play it, and raise money and awareness for the Brain Injury Association of America. And so began Pass the Bass.
In the years since Dylan’s tragedy, Pass the Bass has put Dylan’s beloved bass into the hands of punk icons like Fat Mike (NOFX ), Matt Freeman (Operation Ivy), Mark Hoppus (Blink-182 ), Ken Casey (Dropkick Murphys), Chris 2 (Anti-Flag), Jay Bentley (Bad Religion) and Bryan Kienlen (The Bouncing Souls), as well as Greg Hensley of Dylan’s first favorite punk band, Diesel Boy. The effort has raised over $3,000 for the Brain Injury Association of America.
Dylan, a self-proclaimed “odd man” who thinks “normal is boring,” is working on new ways to broaden the scope of Pass the Bass, first by designing t-shirts, and in the future with compilations and even concerts. Dylan also has plans to write a book about his experiences and the charity. His main goal is to raise money for brain injury treatment and support, but also to raise awareness of the lifelong effects that brain injuries can have on a person.
Today, Dylan struggles with memory issues and a sense of pessimism that he says was not present before the injury. He seems totally optimistic about his cause, however, and hopes to see his favorite bassist, Dan Andriano of Alkaline Trio, play his bass live onstage.
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