Published Dec 22, 2007The first time I ever heard the Flatliners was way back in the heady days of high school. My own incredibly mediocre band was recording with Brampton super-dude (and Flats producer / manager) Steve Rizen, and during the course of drum tracking, we were introduced to Rizen's co-op student. This young man, who for a long time I knew only as "Paco", had some ska-punk band that we heard was pretty good. After finally figuring out the dude's real name was "Paul", we found out his band was called "The Flatliners", and that they had already done things like "open for the Suicide Machines". Paul turned out to a rad dude, and when we finally heard his band, it blew us away; you rarely expect the kind of calculated awesomeness that the Flats possess in a band anywhere near as young as they were. Chris had a voice that sounded like one bagillion packs of cigarettes, and to this day, I don't know if he actually even smokes.
A few years later, the band is now of-age (at least north of the forty-ninth parallel). They have a new, insanely good record. They have a fresh deal with Union in Canada, and are now the youngest band ever signed to Fat Wreck Chords in the States. I turned on the radio once and heard Chris talking about NOFX. Things are looking up, and these guys deserve it.
This particular night was a free show at Toronto's legendary El Mocambo, hosted by 102.1 The Edge exclusively for members of their online club-thing. This meant for a kind of strange mix of kids who have been following the band since they, themselves, were fourteen, and older dudes double-fisting bottles of Canadian and waiting to hear something resembling that wackily self-referential "Rock Star" song by Nickleback. The band were in fine form, though, and played their whole record front-to-back. Plus encores of old songs. Afterwards, I heard Chris exclaiming to the rest of the band, "Dudes! We played for an hour and twenty minutes tonight!" That probably won't happen again. At least for a long time.
This interview happened half in front of the venue at around 2 a.m., and half in front of a Subway around the corner about fifteen minutes later. The idea had been to make the band ask themselves questions (a la our interview with the Saint Alvia Cartel), but a night of heavy, celebratory drinking caused that concept to disintegrate rather rapidly. The result was about twenty minutes of barely-comprehensible insanity that, while abundantly joyful, was utterly confusing to watch; at various points I considered simply splicing together every time someone in the background yelled, "This is going to be the best/worst interview ever!". It was just that kind of a night. Then, they drove me home. The Flatliners are just kind of of band. Show you a good time, have some laughs, and then get someone sober to take you right to your door at three in the morning.