The Undecided was a punk band from Steinbach Manitoba, Canada. The band was active for 20 years from 1993 to 2013.
The Undecided originally formed in Steinbach, Manitoba as a punk band in 1993 under the name “Chucklehead” with members John Paul Peters, Steven Dueck, Mike Kehler and Ian Walsh. Later that year they released an 8 song demo titled “ScHroNk”. Shortly after the release of “ScHronNk” the group debated changing their name. After a long discussion lasting several weeks, friend and future lead singer, Matt Fast, suggested the name “The Undecided” as the group couldn’t decide on a new name.
Under their new name “The Undecided”, the group released a self-titled 10 song demo tape in May 1994. The demo tape became known as the “Handcuffs” demo referencing the cover photo of a pair of hands in cuffs. Later that year, Ian quit the band and Matt Fast joined as the new lead singer.
In March 1995, The Undecided released a third demo tape titled “You Bought This Sucker”. This 8 song demo would be Fast’s first with the band. For this demo the band enlisted the services of John Sutton who would later go on to play bass in the Weakerthans. Sutton recorded and produced the demo in John Paul’s parent’s basement. The band was naive and foolish enough to think that this demo might get them signed to a label and proceeded to send demo tapes to various labels including Fat Wreck Chords, but to no avail.
In April of 1996 the band once again enlisted the services of John Sutton and set out to record their first CD at “The Butcher Shop” which was the home studio of Mark “the butcher” Chapman, now better known as “Barney” Propagandhi’s sound guy. This self-titled album known as “the orange album” for its orange CD featured 13 songs. Once again, the band sent the CD to various labels including Fat Wreck Chords, but again, to no avail. However, the band did receive a signed letter from Fat Mike noting that “You guys are pretty good. We’re not interested in putting anything out right now, but keep in touch, and send us any new material in the future.”
With contact numbers collected through John Sutton and Book Your Own Fucking Life, the band set to work planning their very first tour. In July the band set out on a month-long tour taking them from Winnipeg to Vancouver down to California and back. During this tour the band played 15 shows including one at the famed 924 Gilman Street venue in Berkeley, California.
In early 1997 Mike left the band and Chris Peters was recruited as the new bass player. In the summer of 1997 the band headed out on an eastern Canadian tour with John Paul, Steve, and Chris’ other band Officer Down. Later that same year GoodFellow Records released the compilation The Difference Between Us featuring a previously unreleased song by The Undecided titled The Challenge.
In 1998 Chris was kicked out of the band, and Dan Thomas was recruited to play bass. That summer the band travelled to Cornerstone Music Festival in Bushnell, Illinois and played the Impromptu Stage where Bill Power from Tooth and Nail records watched the band's set. Bill expressed interest in signing the band and requested some demo recordings. During this time the band continued to play local shows and record new songs.
During this time the band’s song Forgotten featuring John Paul on lead vocals was included on local compilation nothing’s open after 10 put out by the Level Ground festival.
The Undecided signed to Tooth and Nail records in early 1999 and became the first Canadian band signed to the label. In early July the band once again travelled to Bushnell, Illinois for the Cornerstone Music Festival. Not having a slot to play at the festival, label mates Ghoti Hook invited the band to play a few songs on their set. After the festival the band was supposed to go on tour with Ghoti Hook, but due to not having the appropriate work visas for the United States, the band had to return home following the end of the festival or risk being deported.
On July 20th the first The Undecided song titled General Delivery was released on Tooth and Nail Records Songs From the Penalty Box Vol. 3.
On August 30th The Undecided’s first full-length on Tooth and Nail was released. The self-titled debut featured a whopping 18 songs which were a mixture of new songs and some older ones re-recorded from the 1996 self-titled independent release. The album was again produced and engineered by John Sutton at Private Ear Recording.
Later that year that band also appeared on an Underworld Records compilation featuring an older version of the song Disfigured. That same year the song I’m Not Strong appeared on a Cuddlefish Records compilation.
The band was picked up by The Militia Group booking agency and after acquiring the necessary work visas they set out on a North American tour with label mates Dogwood. The tour took the bands all the way from Florida to Alaska, California to Manitoba, and everywhere in-between.
In early 2000 the band embarked on another cross-country U.S. tour, this time with label mates Hangnail. This tour took the bands from Oregon to Florida, California to Delaware and everywhere in-between. Shortly after the conclusion of the tour, the band was dropped from The Militia Group.
On October 10th Tooth and Nail released Songs From the Penalty Box Vol. 4 featuring the song Lifted which would become one of the more popular songs on the band’s 2001 release
In July 7th the band’s second album More to See was released on Tooth and Nail. That same July, the band appeared on the Kansas, St. Louis, Indianapolis, Milwaukee, and Minneapolis dates on the Vans Warped Tour.
Later that summer, the band played its last American show in Souix Falls, South Dakota
In 2002 Tooth and Nail released Songs From the Penalty Box Vol. 5 featuring an unreleased song by the band titled Beautiful. This would be the last song of the band released by Tooth and Nail as the label chose not to offer the band another album.
On October 30th, 2002 The Undecided’s song Land of Opportunity appeared on the Dawson’s Creek episode Living Dead Girl (S6.E6). The band only found out about their song being on the episode after a friend who watched the show told them about it.
Near the end of the year, Steve joined the hardcore band Figure Four who were signed to Solid State Records. Given Steve’s touring and recording schedule with Figure Four, the band decided to recruit drummer Jonny “Downtown” Williams to replace Steve. The band continued to play local shows while still writing and recording new material.
In 2004 The Undecided had two previously unreleased songs: Nigel, and Don’t Throw it Away along with a re-recorded version of the song Beautiful featured on the River City Rawks Class of 2004 compilation put out by Power 97 radio station.
In 2005, The Undecided recorded four new songs with drummer Jonny ‘downtown’ Williams titled: Tragedy of Loneliness, Trade the Stars for City Lights, When Silence is a Sin, and Forgotten Children. During this session the band also re-recorded Nigel. These five songs formed an unreleased EP the band titled: Tragedy of Loneliness. These recordings wouldn’t be shared or released in any form until about 15 years later when the band shared the digital files on a Tooth and Nail fan page.
During this period, the band continued to play local shows, although they became fewer each year. As the band played fewer and fewer shows, Steve rejoined the band who was at this point only playing 1 or 2 shows a year.
Although the band never officially broke up, their last show was played on April 12th 2013 at the Royal Albert Arms. The bill also featured The Bonaduces, Clipwing, and Dangercat.