The Flatliners

The Flatliners by Katie Hovland

Photo by Katie Hovland

The Flatliners made a stop at The Bottom Lounge in Chicago along with Lagwagon, Dead to Me and Useless ID on October 5, 2012. Fernando was able to get a quick chat with Chris and Scott at the end of a crowded hallway right before the show…

We’re Starting! Let’s start with a quick introduction…

Chris: Hello, my name is Chris.

Scott: Hello, my name is Scott, and we play in The Flatliners!

Chris: We’re the two important halves, well, two of the four people in the band, but the two important ones of the four. The other two guys are not really important, they’re not even crucial to the band at all!

Scott: We’re the voices of the band, so to speak.

Chris: Jon does do back-up vocals sometimes.

Scott: I don’t think he ever plugs in his microphone.

(laughs)

Right on!

Chris: They certainly don’t sing any good parts. Might as well try to…

Excellent.

Scott: How are you?

Great, thanks for asking. I made it here just in time.

Chris: Not many people ask you that when you’re interviewing, do they? ‘How are you?’ ‘Oh, I don’t know, oh, I’m fine?’

Let’s start with a brief genesis story; then I’d like to hear about your time in Europe.

Chris: Yeah, Scott and I actually met in kindergarten. We grew up together, same school. Jon, our bass player and I grew up on the same street. So we’ve been friends since we were about 7. Scott and Jon hated each other till you guys were what, 10 or 11?

Scott: Yeah

Chris: But then you became friends, later.

Scott: And now we hate each other again! It’s the circle of life.

Chris: Scott and I went to camp when we were 12 or so, and met Paul [drums] there. So we’d all known each other for a long time, before we started a band. And then we got together, all wanted to play music, and lights out. We just went from there and this is the 10th anniversary of the band!

Yeah, I saw one of the factoids on your site that said you were too young to drink on your first tour.

Chris: Oh yeah. We did our first tour when we were 17, fresh out of high school.

Scott: And we couldn’t even drink in Canada! 21 is too old.

We’re [BW] all from the Seattle area, so a little jog up to Vancouver, B.C., was the obvious choice. How was you’re time in Europe?

Chris: We’ve spent almost the entire summer in Europe with two separate tours this year. The first one was supposed to be half with Pennywise, the other half on our own. We did one of the 14 or 15 shows scheduled with Pennywise and the singer was hospitalized! He had emergency back surgery, so all the other shows were cancelled and we just had to scramble. We found some last minute shows with some friends and our booking agencies over there. It was pretty stressful at the end of a three-month tour—to have that happen. It’s nothing that anybody could have controlled, still hectic and stressful, but we made the most of it.

Have you heard of his recovery?

Chris: Apparently he’s OK. He just has to take, obviously, a long time to rest. That’s not something you just jump back from.

Scott: Yeah, yeah.

Chris: It’s a pretty crucial part of your physical ability—to move, especially if you’re a singer. Plus people might not realize that you use a lot of muscles in your back, in a band. Posture is key. I don’t know how I could do anything else – walk around hunched over like an old man. Anyway, we went back in August with two weeks in the U.K. and Europe, did some festivals. It was cool because it only took two weeks.

Scott: Yeah, usually we’re there for at least a month. But we were just there for a month.

Playing shows every single night?

Chris: Yeah. Usually we play a show every day. It’s very rare to have a day off.

It’s a job, right?

Chris: Well, especially in Europe. In kind of a lame sense, you spend so much money every day. You’re renting gear, renting a van, all this stuff, and you took a huge plane to get there. It’s way more expensive for your band than if you tour in Canada or the U.S. Having a day off when you’re in North America is cool because, hey, you’ve got the van. ‘We’re gonna stop the van. We probably know someone here.’

How did you get around in Europe?

Scott: We rented a van over there. It was a Sprinter van.

Chris: Yeah. It was cool because we only have a limited amount of time to see the friends we have over there. Two of the friends that we’ve become close with—they went on tour with us. We were touring with our friend Zock’s band, Astpai, and you get to see them every night at the show, you know, all day, everyday—it’s cool. You get to have that hang time.

Scott: It’s something when you’re traveling so much, that get taken for granted. But it [European tour] does get a little warm though, in the summers.

Chris: Oh yeah, we always go in the burn of summer. It’s fucking hot.

Scott: The clubs are a little old, you know, don’t have…

Chris: There’s absolutely no ventilation. That’s not a generalization.

Did you ever find yourself in a sketchy situation, fire escape routes?

Scott: Yeah—we don’t think about that too often…

[All agreed: not-good thing]

Beer helps you cool down a little bit.

Chris: Every town in Germany has it’s own beer, it’s pretty cool.

Scott: It’s never cold though.

Chris: True. Never cold.

I’ve heard that, room temperature?

Chris: That as well, there’s just never any cold beer. But I mean, whatever, beggars can’t be choosers, man. You just live the culture of where you are…and we’re doing it right. [cheers] These are cold.

Scott: Chicago rules!

And you were in Wisconsin yesterday, the source. […of the PBRs they were holding]

Scott: Yeah, we drove through Mee-lee-wa-kay.

Chris: The Good Land.

Scott: But it doesn’t even mean that, though.

Chris: Yeah, that Alice Cooper is full of shit, man.

Scott: I don’t think he’s 18, either.

Chris: Yeah, that was in a fictional world called Wayne’s World. He’s the most grandpa-ish looking 18 year-old I’ve ever seen. If I feel like I’m 45 when I’m 25, he is a dinosaur—in a child’s body. I don’t even know what I just said. I don’t really get it.

Scott: That’d make a good radio show. You really brought it out of him.

That was awesome. So, every night for the rest of the year?

Chris: This tour we have every Monday off. That’s good, like I said, because we have friends in the towns we’re playing so we can crash and keep low key, mellow—not be in the van.

Scott: Hmmm, count me out.

Chris: So, we have November off. We’ll run through ‘til the end of the month with Useless ID, Dead to Me, Lagwagon—you know, for the Fat Tour.

Scott: No shit.

Chris: Ha, yeah. Super-psyched for this month, it’ll be cool. We have November off. We’re gonna do some shows in Canada in December to celebrate the 10th anniversary.

Congratulations.

Chris: Thank you, then…

Scott: We usually take the winters off because we’re super Canadian and we like to be home for snowstorms, for some reason. But don’t really want to tour in the winter.

Chris: No, it’s tough. Anywhere you want to go to get to a warmer climate, coming from Toronto in the winter, you have to drive through at least a week of snow to get there. It’s kind of a bummer. So we usually just hibernate.

Scott: We’ll probably just lock ourselves inside…

…and eat some poutine?

Chris: Yep.

Scott: I’ll eat poutine. Hey Dave, have your ever tried poutine before?

[A friend of theirs named Dave introduces Scott and Chris to a friend of his from Grand Rapids]

So we should probably wrap it up.

Chris: I think Useless ID starts in like a minute. Lets do rapid fire.

Ok, well I’d like to know about the sound clips you use on Cavalcade. Can you give us a reference?

Chris: They’re from – it’s a British comedy troupe called The Comic Strip – that’s all we can tell you. It’s worth checking out, all their stuff, it’s hilarious. We chose them from an array of things they’ve done. It’s really, really funny.

One of our guys wrote a blog post about sound clips before punk songs.

Scott: Yeah. We like it because a lot of punk band we grew up on did it all the time.

Chris: Of course. Yeah.

Scott: I think we did one on our first record, and we wanted to bring that back. But hey, isn’t this rapid fire?

Yeah, but that was my only question.

Scott: Ha, cool!

Thanks guys.

Thank you.

This has been a pleasure and I look forward to the show.

Right on. Thank you very much.

Useless ID started moments later and crammed more songs into their strictly-30-minute set than anyone else. The Flatliners followed, playing to a very engaged crowd. They were followed by Dead to Me, who won the award for most middle fingers pointed toward the crowd. Lagwagon’s 75-minutes were excellent. I think they may be inspired by the raw, youthful energy of this tour because almost every song they played was from either Duh, Trashed or Hoss.