For Christian band The Flynns, rocking out is a family affair

Parenthood is a balancing act when you're a dualing dad

t's not like Isaac Flynn gets to be in Mom and Dad's band just because he's their son.

He rocks.

"You would not know that a 12-year-old was playing," John Flynn says of his youngest child.

Of course it helps that his parents call their band The Flynns. When their long-time drummer left the group, which primarily plays Christian rock at Cambridge Church in Leawood, the Flynns started breaking in their son for the role.

He progressed far more rapidly than they could have imagined, John says, and he'll set the tempo at his first non-church Flynns gig on Saturday when the band plays at Signs of Life, 722 Mass.

And just to dispel any notions that Isaac can coast along because he's the living legacy to the leader of the band, consider that the elder Flynn admits to being a perfectionist who's a little more impatient than he should be during his weekly rehearsals with Isaac.

"He does have to endure the wrath of his dad sometimes ..." John says.

"Which can be hard," Isaac interjects.

"But he's a very good student, and we work together, I think, very well," John continues.


Thad Allender/Journal-World Photo

John Flynn and his son, Isaac, have a strong bond -- so strong, in fact, that the two play in the same band. The two are pictured Wednesday at Mass Street Music, 1347 Mass., where John is operations manager.

"Yea," Isaac agrees, "and when he does push me, it's because he wants me to do my best, strive for excellence."

"After we get done really working, we get to just jam, goof around a little bit."

Isaac, a West Junior High School student, is no stranger to a father who plays dual roles in his life. John's been coaching his son's baseball teams for years. This year he reduced his role to manager of the Kansas Rebels to rule out any perceptions of bias.

"I think Isaac will tell you that he has to earn his way," John says. "I do my best to not show him favoritism."

"I think he treats me like a normal player on the baseball field," Isaac says.

But that doesn't mean John's not proud of his son. That's evident when he brags on Isaac's junior high band, the Extreme Super Secret Agent People, or ESSAP for short.

"They're a very creative band. They're surprising," John says. "They've played at our church before. We did a youth culture day and they played, and I think people were really shocked. They thought, "Oh, 12-year-olds, this will be cute.' But it was very hard-hitting and well-done."

John -- who's a guitarist, operations manager at Mass Street music and president of MSM Systems, a company that does commercial sound installation -- often offers suggestions to the young band members if he's around during their rehearsals.

Neither father nor son can think of a down side to playing together. Only perks come to mind.

"It's a great feeling when you've gotten through rehearsals and you actually are either leading worship or performing, and it just adds an extra thing when you look back there and go, 'Wow, that's my son playing,'" John says.

"Yeah," Isaac concurs. "When I went to his farewell tour for Water Deep (a previous band) and he just ripped out this solo, I was like 'That's my dad.'"

Despite generations of difference, Isaac doesn't find himself making fun of his parents' musical tastes or the music they write for the band.

"I like it a lot. It is more rock-based," Isaac says. "There's some stuff that I'm kind of like, 'Well, I wish we could rock harder on this,' but also there's some stuff that I love just playing. And I just love playing with my parents."

"It's been great," John says. "If it wasn't, we wouldn't do it."

The Flynns won't play any more gigs until summer baseball wraps up, but after that Isaac should be a regular at their appearances. And though the soon-to-be teenager isn't on the band's latest CD, John points out that he WILL be on the next release.

Isaac, still a 12-year-old despite his maturity, responds: "Woo-hoo!"


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