Two Line Filler (or 2 Line Filler) was one of the best appreciated and most successful emo bands to come out of Canada in the 90s. And everything they did was amazing! Every release was a masterpiece. I wouldn’t say this band was underrated, because they got a load of attention back then, but they surely are forgotten, and that shouldn’t be.
Two Line Filler formed in the summer of 1991 from two members of the band Just Another (Matt White and Kevin Mellors) who wanted to do something a little more Fugazi/7 Seconds type hardcore. They recruited Paul Schedlich on bass, and he came up with the name of the band, though the reference is forgotten. The bands first recorded material, early versions of songs taped in their basement jam space, has since been lost. But in August and September of 1992 they would record the instrumental material of what would become their first EP “Reinforced Arms for Better Life”. Matt went in studio alone with Simon Head to record the lyrics, which dealt with his straight-edge views. The rest of the band hated it, and it marked the beginning of inner tensions between Matt White and whomever else was on the other side. The 7″ was released on Me First Records which was a Grrrl Edge label based out of Etobicoke, no doubt a perfect label for the subject of the release. One of these songs, “Need to Help” was used on the Input Rage Records compilation “Stereophonicus Disruptus”, also in 1992. By the end of the year, Allan Shaw was asked to join the band as second guitarist. In January 1993 they once again met up with Simon Head and Pete Hudson to record their first demo tape, this time at Friendly Pirate Studio (now called Hallamusic). “Trash” was where the band started to really stand out as a serious emo band. The music was typical hardcore punk of the early 90s, but Matt Whites amazing voice would bring it to the forefront. And with this demo, they started to gather contacts and play serious shows. The demo was sent to quite a few record labels including New Red Archive, Break Even Point and Conquer the World. Though New Red Archive was interested, the band signed with Break Even Point due to their great roster of bands and bigger distribution. New Red Archive did however acquire about using certain songs from the demo for an upcoming compilations entitled “Hardcore Breakout USA Vol. 2”, which took two years to finally get released.
Having been asked for a release by a close friend, Dave Partridge, who was starting up Last But Not Least Records, he took two songs from the “Trash demo” (“It’s Time” and “Leave”) and let him use it. With very little motivation for artwork or band information, he let Simon Harvey handle everything. The other side featured Fadeaway, which was very straight-edge and serious, as opposed to what Dave made of the 2LF side of the split. In created a true split, where neither band was connected. The split would be released in time for their summer 1994 tour.
In late December of 1993, the foursome worked with producer, Scott Campbell, on what would become their first album “So Far Lost”. Even though the band felt the production was too buried for their liking, they accepted it anyway. The record wouldn’t be out until the end of the summer, so they booked their own tour to get a buzz going. Using “Book Your Own Fuckin’ Life”, they set up a tour in the US and Canada that begun on May 16th and would last until mid June when their van broke down in Nebraska. The rest of the west coast shows were canceled as well as a couple east coast dates on their way back. To add to the financial difficulty of making it back home, as some of the promoters ripped them off, Matt’s character was alienating the rest of the band. Not very long after coming back, Paul, Al and Kevin would quit the band and create Drop Forge. Matt White was left alone, but would refuse to let the band die.
In the summer of 1994, Matt White then joined Chokehold for a full US tour. upon returning, he asked drummer Matt Beckman and bassist Josh Fletcher to join as Two Line Filler’s new rhythm section. But their participation only lasted a few months and Matt continued writing material on his own.
By the spring of 1995 New Red Archives was asking 2LF for a full length album. Matt White locked himself in his bedroom in early May and wrote the entire record in a week. He went in studio with Simon Head who also played drum and bass on the record, and was welcomed by Al Nolan to do some vocals on the record. The recording session was quite tedious once again, and Simon Head’s love of the bands music was the reason for his toughing it out. In fact you can hear him yelling “Stop, Stop Stop”, and in the following bit. Matt white was always one to create his own timing in his songs and with an amazing playable technique. Nick from New Red Archive paid for Matt to go to L.A. and remix the entire album in three days with Steve Kravac, even though Simon Head had done a great job to begin with. Unfortunately the original mix of the album has since been lost. “Listener” remains today a huge classic, and to me a perfect album. It was also the only time the band was credited as “Two Line Filler” as opposed to “2 Line Filler”. Simon and Matt also collaborated on a two song recording session later that year which would produce the great classic tracks “I’m Just Fine” and “Openly”, the first of which was used on the Second Nature Recordings compilation “A Document of Nothing” and the second would go unreleased until New Red Archive’s 2005 compilation “Hardcore Breakout USA Vol. 3”.
For the 1995 and 1996 tour Matt first recruited Pat Dupuis on guitar, by recommendation of Al Nolan and Mark Holman. Pat audition at Matt’s house and though he came from a heavier musical background, he was invited to join the band. Pat then asked his friends Johnny Drew to come play drums and Mike Calder on bass. However after the first two Ohio dates with Pennywise, Pat left the band. This line up recorded their side of the split with Pezz in 1996 as “Bittersweet Vol. 3” in Memphis, with producer Peter Hudson once again. The split was released by Bittersweet Records but after the first pressing, which was split in half for both bands, the label folded with no copies left. There are very little copies of this split and I believe it is the rarest release of the band. The band then found Al Biddle and Colin Clark to come in for a three weeks east coast/midwest tour with Enkidel. On their way back, Vinny from Bettersweet Records would land the band a show at CBGB’s where they would be approached by Dave Prior of the major record label Arista Records. A meeting was set up in a NYC hotel room, where Matt and the band discussed the possibility of releasing an album on the label. Matt would take the opportunity to run his mouth the entire meeting long, ruining all chances of a major label signing. Mike Calder, Al Biddle and Colin Clark would form Dead Season that following weekend. The line-up would manage to record two songs “Life Just Isn’t Fair” (aka “Screams the Kid Again”) and “Reassuring” before parting ways.
Matt would continue to write some material as 2 Line Filler here and there on the side, but his reputation as a hard to deal with character left him with little band support. In 1997 Mayfly Distribution was putting together a compilation entitled “A Benefit Compilation Brought to You by Mayfly”, on which the song “Sorry” from the “Trash” demo was used. In 1998, New Red Archives used “Home” from “Listener” on their compilation “At War With Society”. In 2000, he collaborated with Nick Pye and Dan Burke on two final songs, “The Time to Live” and “Reassuring”, which never got released. Finally, New Red Archives released the second song from the post-“Listener” two song recording session, “Openly” on the third and final “Hardcore Breakout USA Vol. 3” in 2002.