A decade ago, when grunge bands were no longer encompassing the emotional turmoil felt by the next generation, angst-ridden adolescents sat on their bedroom floors yearning for a style of music that would provide them with some solace during the awkward, unnerving high school years.
That’s around the time that alternative rock uncovered its sensitive side, which in turn fostered bands like The Get Up Kids.
Hailing from Kansas City, Mo., The Get Up Kids infused its music with heartrending lyrics and softer melodies to allow kids to understand exactly what “constants aren’t so constant anymore” means in their own lives.
Though The Get Up Kids formed in 1995, its debut album, Four Minute Mile, was not released onto the alternative scene until 1997. Matthew Pryor (vocalist and guitar), Ryan Pope (drums), Robert Pope (bass), Jim Suptic (guitar) and James Dewees (keyboard) recorded Something To Write Home About in 1999 — an album that not only launched their careers, but also Vagrant Records, which later signed other popular bands like Dashboard Confessional.
Despite its success, The Get Up Kids disbanded in 2005.
Each member of the band joined other music groups to keep their skills sharp. In fact, they have all played in a handful of bands since the initial break-up, including White Whale, Spoon, Reggie And The Full Effect and My Chemical Romance.
Yet this hiatus can only last so long. The Get Up Kids is returning to the music scene, bringing that sentimental adolescent experience to a whole new audience with the re-release of the groundbreaking album that put the band on the map: Something To Write Home About.
Along with the new issuing of the record, the release features a DVD of live performances in the band’s hometown, plus seven downloadable bonus tracks from the original demos. To promote the re-release, The Get Up Kids planned a headlining tour, which kicked off in Kansas City on Sept. 11.
“We all got together when Spoon was playing in Lawrence, Kan.,” Matt Pryor said. “It was mellow and fun hanging with them, and the tension was gone — not super stressful. We talked about it and we couldn’t see why we couldn’t do it. We thought, ‘Let’s do it for fun.’”
The Get Up Kids has been doing just that since it began gearing up for the new tour. The band reunited in November 2008 to film a 50-minute DVD, where the members perform the album from beginning to end.
The DVD gives older fans a chance to reconnect and reminisce about the shows back in the day, and will give new listeners a chance to check out what the band is all about. With close, multi-camera shots and home video vibe, it gives fans a chance to feel like they are not just watching a video of its shows, but that they are actually a part of the experience.
Pryor and the band made sure to give longtime devotees the chance to see what The Get Up Kids look like behind the scenes. It is also there to expose younger music enthusiasts, as well as people who may not have ever heard of them before to them.
“People who saw us back in the day like to come out and pretend like they’re in their 20s again,” Pryor said. “We’ve also got their brothers and sisters starting to like the band. They hear that we have influenced bands that they like, and they want to hear what we are like. I love both of these kinds of fans.
After years of turmoil within the group, it appears the members have finally found common ground.
“From an internal level, we’re more grown up about stuff,” Pryor explained. “Not getting totally hammered all the time; everyone just gets along better.”
They have been having fun getting ready for their tour and promoting their album, but will there be a new The Get Up Kids album in the near future?
Not even Pryor knows the answer to that question.
“We’ve been writing and recording off and on,” he said. “We don’t know if we’re gonna do a traditional new record or just release singles. We’re taking it light for now to see.”
He is much more inclined to talk about the tour and how excited the band members are to be back with their fans.
“We’ve been given an excuse to come out and play some shows, and we are really glad for that,” Pryor said.
While the 14-year-old uncomfortable teenager may be older and less self-conscious now, The Get Up Kids tour allows these now-adults to go back and reminisce about a more awkward time and listen to the very songs that pulled them through it.