A young rock veteran
It’s Friday afternoon and a teenaged Chris Cresswell groggily walks down the halls of Alexander Mackenzie High School. He feels particularly beat. Out the night before, rocking it with the rest of the Flatliners, Cresswell already has missed the first two periods, but he soldiers on, despite knowing he’s going to hear it from his parents and teachers the next time he sees them. It’s worth it though, he thinks. It’s all he wants, to play in a band, and he can’t wait until high school’s over so he can do it fulltime.
It’s not that Cresswell hated school though: “I liked a lot of my teachers, I liked a lot of my classes, but I always wanted to do the band [thing],” he says. “I never wanted to be there longer than I had to.” Transfixed by music growing up, Cresswell and fellow music junkies headed up north to Newmarket to hear the exciting sounds of ska punk. Not long after, they would become the Flatliners, one of Toronto’s most celebrated punk bands today. “It was a place that really shaped our minds as far as what kind of music we were starting to really enjoy, what music we wanted to create ourselves,” Cresswell says. “We were going to shows at 13. By the time we were 14, we started [our band] the Flatliners.” The name came about after Cresswell, along with buddies Scott and Jon, decided in the Mackenzie halls to go home for the night to think of five names for the band. Unbeknown to him, a trip to Blockbuster would provide the perfect name.“I was just looking around for a movie, and I saw Flatliners on the wall,” Cresswell says. “I thought that was a really cool name.” The next day they met up to discuss the name in Ms. Bhatia’s photography class, a favourite of Cresswell’s. They argued about it when going out to take photos of a nearby ravine and even when developing the photos of the ravine. “In the end we ended up going with the one I chose. I didn’t even think of five names, I only thought of one,” Cresswell says. Oddly, no one in the band has seen the movie, and they have no intention of doing so. “We made this pact we never want to see it ’cause what if we named our band after a movie that we think sucks,” Cresswell says with a laugh.
Despite struggling to find fanss when they started touring, all at age 17, the Flatliners have since released their third album, Dead Language (which has received positive reviews thus far) and Cresswell is pleased with the band’s progress. “We’re happy with where we are,” Cresswell says. “If that continues to improve, that’s awesome.”
Cresswell and his band the Flatliners have toured since they were 17