FLUMMOX: Artist Alyson Blake Dellinger finds community in music, artistry

by Selena Haynes | photos courtesy Alyson Blake Dellinger

If you were lucky enough to attend Boro Pride this year in Murfreesboro, you had the opportunity to hear Flummox in person. The band was formed in 2002 by Alyson Blake Dellinger and Drew Jones. They wanted a band free of genre labels, sound restrictions, and strict musical guidelines. If you heard them, you know they have been successful in that wish. 

We asked Dellinger, who is lead vocals and bass, to describe their genre and she said, “I would say maybe we’re heavy, weird, theatrical, fusion, thrash rock? Sprinkle in some progressive, psychedelic, swing funk and avant-garde, death/doom jazz?” She continued by saying, “The fact is that, on the surface, none of the members of Flummox really make sense being in the same band with each other. We all contribute a huge variety of influences while still sharing a few, key, mutual favorites.”

Maybe that is why they are a crowd favorite? No matter your musical preference, you can find something you like in Flummox.

Born and raised in Murfreesboro, Dellinger says the passion for music began when she was 12 or 13 years old. “I was really inspired by Weird Al Yankovic to start writing songs to begin with, but then I discovered bands like Black Sabbath & Deep Purple when I was 12 or so; that solidified my love for playing heavy music. I picked up my first bass guitar around that time and haven’t put it down since.”

Support that never wavered

Things are a lot different now for Dellinger than when Flummox first started. In the past few years, she started to transition. In public and on social media she is very open about her transition and, although she didn’t always plan to be so transparent, it just happened. “I was already an established musician in my general scene, so I knew I would need to publicly come out and say something to my fellow musicians and social media followers the more I presented myself as feminine,” said Dellinger. 

She said it wasn’t a surprise for a lot of people. This includes her bandmates. “My bandmates have been wonderful about it. Drew has been my best friend for around 15 years and basically told me, ‘you’ve always been a girl; straight up.’ They all call me ‘mom’ now, and it’s kind of endearing!” 

Having that support has helped empower Dellinger to share her story. She explained, “I think the main reason I have been so open about my transition is purely because of those who have been open with their’s before me. Seeing these men, women, and various non-conformists go through such a substantial metamorphosis and reigning over themselves was very inspiring to me and made me feel like it was possible for myself. I just want to be able to share my journey in the same way.”

Dellinger states she’s “privileged to have such a great group of guys who are so supportive and protective.” She also notes that her transition has not changed their musical chemistry or their group dynamic. “We just keep trying to improve ourselves artistically. Overall their support has just established a new sense of security within our little family,” said Dellinger.

A magical moment

 Live performances are consuming most of their time right now. Dellinger says her favorite part of performing is “the energy that courses through me and the audience when I’m in the fray of it all.” She also says music is the most crucial outlet in her life. “Nothing comes close to it,” she says, “there’s something about putting together a really good song that tops anything else. I just try to channel whatever I’m feeling or whatever I’ve got going on into my sounds.”

Since she is a native of Murfreesboro, I asked if she could have imagined having a pride festival there when the band first formed. Her answer basically echos many others, “Not really, no. At least not any time soon.”

Dellinger did say performing at pride was “magical.” She continued, saying, “It really was one of the most amazing moments in my life thus far. Standing on a stage in the middle of Murfreesboro town square and announcing myself as a ‘queer trans woman born and raised in Murfreesboro, TN’ in front of so many people in my community was a hallmark for my entire musical career and personal life.”

Dellinger is not used to being up on a pedestal. “If someone says I’m an inspiration or something, I just respond with, ‘No, you!’ I don’t really see myself like that; I feel I’m more inspired by the people and music around me than vice versa,” said Dellinger. 

Once they complete their current tour circuit, Flummox plans to take some time away to write and record new tracks. They are also planning to film some new video releases in 2020. Be on the lookout for new live dates in Spring 2020.