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Moonlighting: The Get Up Kids

Discussion in 'Article Discussion' started by Melody Bot, Apr 25, 2016.

  1. Melody Bot

    Your friendly little forum bot. Staff Member

    This article has been imported from for discussion. All of the forum rules still apply.

    By their nature, musicians are creative. Just because they find success doesn’t mean they don’t like to explore new genres or shake things up. Sometimes their new music doesn’t gel with their current band. Sometimes a band goes on a Ross and Rachel type of break, but the music has to keep flowing. Moonlighting is all about the side projects, the passion projects, the weird and wacky that branch out from the original act.

    The Get Up Kids are your older brother’s emo. In their early years, the band members looked like they walked on stage immediately after bagging groceries or tutoring middle school kids. This was long before emo became associated with Hot Topic or bangs. Matt Pryor certainly has some growl to his vocals, but overall the band’s music is approachable, agreeable, heart-on-your-sleeve rock. This is music you wouldn’t be afraid to play in front of your mom. With a catalog featuring grainy distortion (“Coming Clean”), acoustic sing-alongs (“Campfire Kansas”), and new-wavey exploration (“Shatter Your Lungs”), it’s clear The Get Up Kids have never been worried about creating one type of music. The other projects from these members reflect that versatility.

    Reggie and the Full Effect (1999 – 2013)

    Primary member: James Dewees

    James Dewees has always seemed like the Kramer of The Get Up Kids, so it’s not surprising that his project is eclectic. It’s pop punk, dance synth, light piano, screamo, Schwarzenegger inspired goofiness with plenty of drunk skits in-between the songs.

    Reggie and the Full Effect is all about amusement. I doubt that Dewees had any qualms about mixing genres or inserting humor when putting together the Reggie discography. The guy made an album called Under the Tray, and he literally hid the CD under the tray of the case. People called stores to complain about empty CD cases. Classic.

    Musically, this project is further away from The Get Up Kids than any other on the list. Dewees sneaks sincere, emo adjacent tracks like “The Return of the Bling” onto his albums, but clownishness reigns king. And that’s okay. Because clownishness created “To the Fruit Wizards of Donnington,” an ode to those assaulted by trigger happy Gandalfs:

    Hey wizards, it’s hard to believe, how much fruit you can fit up your sleeve. Hey wizards, would you kindly let me know, when you’re running out of fruit, so we can move on with the show?

    The song is too damn catchy, and it should be a featured track on the Castle Crashers 2 soundtrack (make a sequel already!).

    Listen: “Get Well Soon” – “Congratulation Smack And Katie

    The New Amsterdams (2000 – 2013)

    Primary member: Matt Pryor

    I’m betting Matt Pryor started The New Amsterdams at least partially because he wanted to see what he could accomplish with his voice, an acoustic guitar, and little else. His early albums are folk inspired with a serious, earnest tone. Yes, this is a pretty far cry from Reggie and the Full Effect.

    There’s more liveliness on Worse for the Wear, with added instrumentation fleshing out the songs. It’s a change for the better; Pryor’s voice sounds best accompanied by more than just some strumming. After The Get Up Kids broke up in 2005, Jim Suptic released an upbeat album (more on that soon), while Pryor nailed his inner demons to the wall with Killed or Cured, an interesting concept that features two versions of each song on the album.

    The New Amsterdams released quite a bit of material, but I’m going to focus on At the Foot of My Rival to end this piece. In 2007 wrote a review of the album for, and it’s the only review I regret writing. Here’s the conclusion of that review: “Some albums become as close as old friends while others are scattered and lost throughout the years, forgotten. It’s a shame At the Foot of My Rival seems destined to fall into the latter category of my album collection.” I was wrong. Buy the album, because it’s some of Pryor’s best work.

    Listen: “Turn Out the Light” – “Stay on the Phone

    Blackpool Lights (2005 – 2010)

    Primary member: Jim Suptic

    If you find yourself watching a Matt Pryor solo show, please don’t holler out asking him to play “Ten Minutes.” It’s one of The Get Up Kids’ most popular songs, and it was written and sung by guitarist Jim Suptic. With The Get Up Kids in his rear view mirror, Suptic focused on new music with his band Blackpool Lights.

    Blackpool Lights only released one full-length, but Suptic and his new bandmates created an alright record. This Town’s Disaster is good pop rock even if it doesn’t feature many standout tracks. “Empty Tank” has a fun hook, and Suptic shows decent range on “It’s Never About What It’s About,” adding a bit of raw edge to his vocals.

    “Maybe Just Maybe” is the track that has always stood out for me, though. If you’re single or in a healthy relationship, you’d probably roll your eyes at the lyrics:

    I’m reading through your lies, I can see it in your eyes. All your words untrue. Oh maybe, just maybe we’ll pull on through.

    But misery loves company, and when you’re down, commiserating with Suptic feels pretty good. The lead guitar, heavy on sustain, meanders into and out of the song like a lost puppy, emphasizing the defeatist tone. Thanks for sharing the pain, Jim.

    Listen: “It’s Never About What It’s About” – “Blue Skies

    The Terrible Twos (2007 – 2008)

    Primary member: Matt Pryor

    Well ain’t this just adorable? When I heard Matt Pryor had started making children’s music, I thought the idea was cute, but I doubted the music would appeal to me. I was sort of wrong. Though I don’t need help with my numbers (“two plus two is four” is a lyrical example), The Terrible Twos make fun, boppy music. It’s the kind of music that brings to mind the rainbow colored xylophones kids like to whack at.

    One problem I’d expect with children’s music is extreme repetition. How many parents want to listen to lyrics like, “the wheels on the bus go round and round, round and round, round and round?” I don’t care about that school bus or its occupants. The Terrible Twos mostly avoid this problem by keeping their songs short and sugary sweet. Most are less than two minutes long.

    The best part about The Terrible Twos is hearing Pryor sing about wanting cookies, never wanting to grow up, and, of course, varying sizes of poop. And he sings from a child’s perspective without sounding patronizing. Pryor has a son, after all, so it probably wasn’t too difficult for him to tap into his own inner child when crafting these songs. If you have kids, you should definitely check this out. And if you prefer your poop songs sung by emo icons, check it out!

    Listen: “We Can All Get Along With Dinosaurs” – “Grumpy Bug

    nl5011 likes this.
  2. Is Moonlighting going to be a new regular feature? This seems cool
  3. efp722


    Great idea for a feature and I am so stoked to see one of my favorite bands get a shout out.

    But didn't Reggie just put an album out in 2015?
  4. Mass_As_Shadows Apr 25, 2016
    (Last edited: Apr 25, 2016)


    No the album came out in 2013 and also a 3 song X-Mas Ep.
  5. Mass_As_Shadows


    I'm big fan of the Get Up Kids and have spent a lot of time lately listening to the Nothing to Write Home About Podcast. Which if you have time or space for anything podcast about the music industry I recommend! This was a nice introductory piece for the Get Up Kids members projects but what of Matt Pryor's three solo albums from when he retired the New Amsterdams (or the Lasorda one off)?
  6. efp722


    ah right. thanks!
  7. highfidelity203

    Hailey, It Happens Prestigious

    This is a very cool feature - i hope it continues
  8. Nate_Johnson

    CCRN, MSN Prestigious

    What about Coalesce? James was the drummer for them for some time.
  9. Joshua Kerney

    we win at life, again.

    Worse For The Wear is an album that I come back to time and time again. I love it.
  10. Mass_As_Shadows


    That was before he joined the Get Up Kids. Four Minute Mile was recorded as a four piece and James started collaborating with the Get Up Kids for the Red Letter Day EP released in 1999. He joined the Get Up Kids as a full time member at some point between that and the beginning of recording for Something to Write Home About.
  11. Nate_Johnson

    CCRN, MSN Prestigious

  12. Dan O'Neill


    What about Rob Pope? He's in both The Get Up Kids and Spoon, which I always found kinda crazy. He's gotta be a busy guy.
  13. Boy do I love me some Reggie. He's one of a kind.
    Dan O'Neill and Spencer Rhoton like this.
  14. Frinet42

    Regular Supporter

    This is an awesome feature, I hope it becomes a regular thing!
  15. Thanks for the feedback, everyone. It's an open feature, meaning we're invited the staff contributors to write Moonlighting features for other artists if they feel the urge.

    I definitely though about including Spoon, but I decided to stick with side projects that are clearly driven by a Get Up Kids member. The Popes have been part of other acts, but I don't think they themselves have started any other projects.
    Dan O'Neill likes this.
  16. Dan O'Neill


    That makes a lot of sense, alright! Great article, by the way. :)