By Brian O'Neill
It was supposed to be one night only. Instead, it has lasted 16 years and counting.
Since 1997, Two Man Advantage, a band from Long Island, N.Y., has been fusing lyrics about hockey with its punk rock style. It’s a unique combination that extends even into its live performances. The band has its own jerseys, with its Two Man Advantage logo emblazoned on the front, and the members wear various pieces of hockey equipment and refer to parts of their sets as “periods.” Even encores are hockey-inspired.
“Sometimes the audience will call for an overtime,” said Jeffrey ‘Captain’ Kaplan, one of the band’s guitarists and a New York Islanders fan. “They’ll start chanting – ‘O-ver-time! O-ver-time!’ – to get us back to play a couple more.”
The band even keeps score during shows. Nothing official, Kaplan said, it’s just a way to grade themselves. If they perform in front of an energized audience, they get the win. Play to a handful of people in a small club and they get shut out.
Two Man Advantage came together when they guys were supposed to play a friend’s Halloween party in 1997 dressed up as hockey players. The party ended up being cancelled, but the band later played a show on Long Island and the rest is history. The guys have since released four full-length albums and four split seven-inch records, including their latest split with the Blackout Shoppers, released Oct. 1.
The key to the band’s longevity is friendship. They’re all close buddies who love combining their passions of hockey and punk.
“When we stop enjoying it, we physically can’t do it anymore or people are no longer interested, we’ll stop,” Kaplan said. “Until the time comes, there’s no reason to not keep doing what we love.”
They haven’t taken sticks and nets along on a road trip in years, but don’t be surprised if they stop to play a pickup game.
“We’re all late 30s to mid-40s, so we’re not quite as athletic as we used to be,” Kaplan said. “If we showed up somewhere and someone wanted to throw us a challenge and we have some time, it would be fun to do.”