Get Up Kids defines emo genre

It is hard to label many modern music groups with a particular style because they blend musical styles to form their own unique sound. There are rap-metal groups, pop-punk groups and a host of other genres out there. With all these blended sounds, bands can often form outfits having many different stylistic influences and tastes.

Take Missouri-based quintet Get Up Kids for example. Many listeners might label the band’s music as a punk rock group because of its crunching guitar riffs and upbeat rhythms. However, listening to the band’s heartfelt lyrics and powerful melodies, fans can often fall prey to categorizing the group as an emo band (a style of punk music featuring serious emotional lyrics and melodies).

But the band’s radio-friendly sound and college-esque style and look lead some to call Get Up Kids an indie-rock group. In an interview with The Hatchet, Get Up Kids lead singer and guitarist Matt Pryor said the band labels itself simply as a rock-and-roll band.

Any band with two guitars, bass and drums is a rock-and-roll band, he said laughing. We get called `emo’ more often than `indie-rock,’ but we think both are stupid. We have no opinion on punk. People can call us anything they want to.

Get Up Kids can definitely be labeled as a hardworking and original outfit. The group formed in 1994 in their hometown of Kansas City. Pryor said it was hard to get acts in their hometown because the city lacks a receptive music scene.

Honestly we didn’t ever play shows in Kansas City. Pryor said. The last show we played there was the first one in two and a half-years.

With influences ranging from the Afghan Wigs, the Pixies, Weezer and Jimmie Eat World, Get Up Kids members began playing local shows and writing songs reflecting upon personal experiences while they attended school. Band members took breaks from school to tour and record their first full-length album, Four Minute Mile (Doghouse), which quickly gave the band national recognition.

Get Up Kids began its first supporting tour in 1998 with well-known punk act MxPx. The band soon started headlining tours. While they soon moved on from small basement shows to packed clubs, Pryor said the band enjoys both scenes.

As long as there are people who like the band, then they are equally good, Pryor said. The group does, however, enjoy headlining tours rather than being a supporting act.

After playing shows, putting out new music and gaining fans the group decided to make the jump to a major label. The band decided not to sign with the Los Angeles-based label Mojo Records after nine months of frustrating contract negotiation.

(Mojo) dropped the ball, Pryor said. There is one awesome guy at Mojo and everyone else is an idiot – including the owner.

Pryor said the band decided to stick with minor labels and has no plans to try for another major-label deal.

We’re happy with the way things are going, Pryor said.

Get Up Kids is currently signed to Vagrant Records and its own label, Heroes and Villains Records, which they created in 1999.

The group is on a 42-day U.S. tour for its most recent album, Something to Write Home About (Vagrant). Get Up Kids tours about nine months out of the year and has performed overseas in Europe, Australia and Japan.

Pryor said the band is going to start creating new music when the current tour ends.

We are going to start writing after the tour, and recording at the first of the year, he said.

Get Up Kids is a group that transcends musical stereotypes and categories. No matter what category one places the band in – punk, emo, indie-rock or just good old rock ‘n roll – any listener can easily get caught up in the group’s appealing and unique sound. Get Up Kids is a band that can easily stand up in a genre of its own.

Get Up Kids plays Sunday, Oct. 1 at the 9:30 Club, 815 V Street NW, with special guests The Anniversary, Jebediah and Koufax. Doors open at 7:30 p.m. and tickets cost $10.

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