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By : Shawnie Brando

10 min read

There's a thoroughness that exists in HardCore, especially Boston HardCore, an intense scene of violent austerity if there ever was one, that doesn't exist within other musical spheres. A thoroughness of mind, a thoroughness of spirit, a thoroughness of physicality and most importantly... a thoroughness of action. You need… to get… involved. It's not a scene for spectators. Bands need to be formed, shows need to be booked, zines need to be written, venues need to be hunted down with extreme perseverance and after all that's done...the dancers need to bleed. If you don't take on the responsibility...who will? It's all on you. Getting involved isn't difficult but you have to want it. There's no wall that separates us from each other. In our eyes, that little kid out on the dance floor for the first time is as important as the veteran onstage just for the simple fact that he's here and participating in this thing. The only wall we have is the one that separates us from the rest of the world out there and personally, I've never given a fuck about what they're doing out there and more importantly, neither did Jimmy Flynn. 

Jimmy was nothing else in this life if not a thorough Boston Hardcore kid of the highest order. He did everything through a HardCore lens for HardCore kids for HardCores's sake. From booking absolutely LEGENDARY gigs over the past 20+ years under the brilliant and hilarious Hardcore Stadium banner to playing in bands like Shot Dead, Mind Eraser, New Lows and Downhill Fast which are, in this writer's opinion, some of the most criminally slept on bands of his era. He did everything a real deal HardCore kid accepts as sacrament. He made zines,  he made fliers, he danced and stagedove with the best of us...and he even has a couple of mosh pit fist fights under his belt (that's important). If you witnessed a Boston HardCore gig in the past 20 years, there's probably an 85% chance that he had something to do with it. In the annals of Boston HardCore history, from now on you're gonna have to mention his name in the same breath that you mention Al Barile, violent punch/kick slam dancing, militant straight edge, FSU, Suburban Voice and This Is Boston Not LA as far as people or things that have had a profound impact on our scene and defined us through the decades.  And yes… he's that important and I'll fight anyone who disagrees. 

He couldn't have been older than 16 when I met him. A very sweet, funny and sincere kid with a baby face that endeared me to him immediately. He and his friends would come into the record store I worked at in Quincy and peruse the Punk/Hardcore section for bands they were hungry to learn about but had yet to hear as they were still very young and not regular show goers at this point. Me being the elder punk, I'm four years his senior and had been steadily attending shows since ‘94, he would endlessly pick my brain for scraps of information about shows I'd seen or bands I was playing in. It really impressed me when I told him my band's name, a band no one cared about then or now, and he knew that we had recently played a show on Calumet St in Mission Hill with Proclamation and Close Call in some basement attended by no more than 20 people. It was the type of minutiae that riddled his brain at all times and would come to define his character over the years. Not just facts about Punk and Hardcore but odd facts that had to do with anything Boston related. I've never met a person who was more proud to be a Bostonian than Jimmy and I've never met another person who put on for this city like he did. I'm sure he not only saw it as a calling but as a duty to make Boston Hardcore a thing to be respected across the globe. As a lifelong Bostonian myself, I can't properly explain how insulting it is to see kids come here year after year and use the city for their own purposes, get what they want out of it and then move to New York and spend the rest of their lives talking about how awful it is here. It's a cross you have to bear as a native and that's why Jimmy's love and effort to make this a better place for all of us was so endearing and special. It's a constant uphill battle but I doubt he ever thought about moving to New York. Fuck New York! Now and forever. 

There's a million things I want to say about Jimmy right now that I tragically don't have the space for. He was my friend. He was the little brother that earned every bit of my respect and far surpassed me in almost every regard in the 25 years I've known him. I can't stop thinking about his baby face… a face that has sadly disappeared in recent years due to whatever condition he was in. A Quincy kid to his core. The silliest of geese. An incredibly intelligent and sweet human being with one of the most delirious and insane senses of humor I've ever come across (he once sent a Xmas card to The Model that read "Dear Model Cafe, you suck! Merry Xmas. The Sillouette.”) In another time he would have been a Dadaist… I'm sure of it. But lucky for us..he was a Boston Hardcore kid. To his very bones. A legend in the field really. And I firmly believe that's how he'd want to be remembered more than anything. So congratulations did it. You're a legend...and Quincy will still murder your fucking city.

The proceeds of this article have been donated to the "Memorial Fund for Jimmy Flynn, Hardcore Stadium," which will go directly to his family to cover funeral costs.

—Shawn Martinson

Originally published in-print in Boston Compass Newspaper #166 February 2024


Check out all the art and columns of February's Boston Compass at



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