Well it's official. The Get Up Kids are on the road and will soon make their way to the golden state. Unless you've been living under a rock, you probably knew this anyway, especially if you're a fan. After 15 years together, the quintet from Kansas City, who begrudgingly accept the genre classification of emo, have a legion of fans, still dedicated after more than a decade of musical evolution.
Their latest album, There are Rules, was released in January and features an unexpected foray to the dark side, even for this a band known for its melancholy lyrical themes. They'll be playing High Desert hipster venue Pappy and Harriet's in August. In the meantime, front man Matt Pryor took a few moments to chat with me from the road in St. Louis about reunions, artistic visions and that pesky four letter word emo.
Matt Pryor: We didn't really have anything in mind. We didn't have a calculated plan of what we wanted the record to sound like, the only thing we did discuss was we wanted it to be a rock record. There's no acoustic guitar on it or anything like that.
We would get together, almost in a songwriting experiment and hole up in Ryan's sun room, and try to write a song a day. And then we just would flesh them out in the studio.
I think there's things on there that we maybe would have edited out on previous records if they were too weird, but on this record we really just kind of wanted to embrace it-- there's some dark stuff, there's some heavy stuff, we just wanted just let the songs take us wherever they did and not be like 'oh I don't know that doesn't sound like our old stuff.'
I've got to be honest, the video for "Rally Around the Fool "was a little disturbing
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Yeah, I think it works with that song, The song is kind of creepy too.
Anytime after a breakup there tends to be a honeymoon period followed by long stretches together in a van. Are you guys still feeling the honeymoon or has the reality of the road set in?
Things are really good. Our honeymoon was I guess you could say was really brief, it was a handful of shows then we decided to go on the road again. I think just being older and being able to just not let things fester and to be like "you know what, you're being a dick," then we'll fight and it'll be over. But also moving forward creatively and doing a new record and we're really happy with the way it turned out it helps.
I think if we just got back together two and a half three years ago and I think if we were just playing the old songs over and over we would have killed each other.
I'm sure you're tired of answering questions on the emo classification but I was wondering if you see any value in the classification-- maybe as it relates to earlier bands in the genre?
I think the term is stupid. I think it's really just a marketing term and it's kind of invented by people who want to categorize the same way every detail oriented thing of rock & roll is. We don't really think about it very often. A lot of the bands we grew up with or were big influences on us touring or we started touring with I think the biggest positive thing of that it was a very DIY mentality. You know "Let's get out of Kansas City and go drive around the country and play music."
Speaking of reunions, another legendary band you guys recorded a split with in 1997 is recording again. Braid. Any thoughts?
I'm in favor of it. I think they're very talented people, they're a great band so I'm excited they're going to make music. I'd be excited if they were getting back together at all but especially excited that they're going to write new stuff.
Looking to the future, can you offer any predictions on where the Get Up Kids will be ten years from now?
As long as we are continuing to enjoy what we're doing I don't see any reason to see why we wouldn't do it, but you know I can't see into the future beyond just that.
Are there any places that you're looking forward to playing?
Actually when we get to Pappy and Harriet's it's on our way home from Japan and Australia. We're going to get top play Taiwan and New Zealand so we're pretty excited about that.