Kansas City's Get Up Kids play melodic, pop-inflected emo similar to the Promise Ring and Braid, with whom the band released a split single in 1998. The influential group -- vocalist/guitarist Matthew Pryor, guitarist/vocalist Jim Suptic, bassist Robert Pope, and drummer Ryan Pope (Robert's younger brother, who replaced Nathan Shay early on) -- debuted in 1996 with a slew of 7"s, including Shorty on the Huey Proudhon label and All Stars on Doghouse Records. Both the Woodson EP and their debut full-length, Four Minute Mile, the latter recorded with Shellac's Bob Weston, were released in 1997. The well-received albums started a growing buzz around the indie rock scene, even causing the bandmembers to field offers from major labels, which they ultimately turned down. In 1998, the Get Up Kids toured extensively with bands like the Promise Ring and Jimmy Eat World and released more singles, including "I'm a Loner, Dottie, a Rebel," which also appeared on their classic 1999 album, Something to Write Home About. Released through their own label Heroes & Villains and their patrons Vagrant, Something to Write Home About featured newly added keyboardist James Dewees and focused the scrappy energy of their promising debut into a visceral and intelligent collection of highly introspective and melodic songs that would go on to influence countless bands; the album garnered high critical and fan praise and made the Get Up Kids heroes of the emocore scene.
The band resurfaced two years later, re-releasing some of its early works as the album Eudora and hitting the road with Green Day, Hot Rod Circuit, and Weezer along the way. It wasn't until 2002 that a new album, On a Wire, surfaced, featuring more sparsely arranged and somber songs different than the stirring emo-pop of before. The relatively more upbeat Guilt Show, the band's fifth album and third effort with producer Ed Rose, appeared in spring 2004. The concert album Live @ the Granada Theater surfaced a year later, marking the band's tenth anniversary. But 2005 also marked their presumed final set of tour dates, as the guys announced around the same time that they would be calling it quits -- the apparent last Get Up Kids date was held at their hometown's Uptown Theater on July 2, 2005. The bandmembers continued on with various individual projects, including Pryor with the New Amsterdams and his kids' music project, the Terrible Twos; Dewees with Reggie and the Full Effect; Suptic with his own Blackpool Lights; and the Pope brothers with Koufax. However, the group reunited in 2009 to celebrate the tenth anniversary of Something to Write Home About with a deluxe reissue and a tour. Not wanting to waste an opportunity, they wrote an album's worth of new material that was released as a series of EPs during 2010. The first, Simple Science, arrived in April and promptly reached the Billboard charts, proving that the band still had a devoted audience. After the release of Simple Science, the band scrapped their three EP plan, instead combining the other songs with even more new material and releasing it as a full length album. The result was their fifth full-length, There Are Rules, which the band self-released through their own Quality Hill label. ~ Heather Phares