The Get Up Kids - Matt Pryor
How has it been touring again and seeing everyone coming out and supported the band one more time?
MATT: Touring has been a constant for all of us anyway since the band broke up, I'd say, so that part hasn't been too weird. The different part is that we're just touring all together now. It is interesting to find out how the crowd has changed and who still gives a shit and who doesn't. It's cool though, it's been really good so far.
Has there been anything noticeably different with touring now from when you guys had toured as a band before the break-up?
Well James isn't doing drugs anymore, and everyone is a little more health-conscious. We try to acknowledge the fact that when we get on each other's nerves, we need to get away from each other for a little bit as opposed to just egging each other along. It's a healthier thing now.
I know you've been busy with the NEW AMSTERDAMS plus putting out solo stuff. What has everyone else been busy with?
James has been doing REGGIE AND THE FULL EFFECT, and he also toured with NEW FOUND GLORY and MY CHEMICAL ROMANCE as a keyboard player. Rob is in SPOON. Jim started a record called the BLACKPOOL LIGHTS, and they put out a record independently a couple years ago. Ryan has been running a studio, and he and Rob also run a bar in Lawrence, where we live. He's also been doing some bands like ROMAN NUMERALS.
When I saw NEW AMSTERDAMS at the ICC a while ago, you played "Out Of Reach." At that point, did you think you'd ever play with the full band again?
That didn't really come up until probably April of last year so at that time, no, I didn't think that was going to happen. I didn't really see that THE GET UP KIDS would tour again. It was over and done with in my mind. Part of that was that we weren't really getting along with each other at all. We went to a SPOON show in Lawrence in April of last year and all hung out at their bar. It wasn't weird anymore. I actually remembered that we were all friends again at that show. We decided to just play a show and see what happened...
So the other shows back stemmed from that first one doing well?
Well, we were like... We had talked about doing that show, and then the idea of playing Bamboozle came up so we did some investigation into that. Then we were like... if we're going to do Bamboozle, we have to make sure that A) we don't suck and B) we are enjoying ourselves. For better or for worse with this band, we cannot fake it. If we're having a bad time, we do not play well *laugh*. So that's when we really wanted to test out a first show back. There was already some interest in doing other things at that point, but we needed to prove it to ourselves.
On that note, has this tour been positive for you guys?
It has been extremely positive. It's been really hot until just the last week. I've been playing acoustic for the last few years though so jumping around, playing a lot, and sweating a lot is very different. It's maybe a little too long of a tour, but we are all positive with this.
When did the idea of re-releasing Something To Write Home About with a bonus DVD come about?
Basically, it was kind of a bullshit reason for us to start playing shows again *laugh*. We were like, we need a reason to do it. We noticed that we had a ten-year anniversary of that album. We weren't sure what else we would put on it so we went through video. We had all this archived footage. We wanted to have something that looked and sounded good though, not just all these archived bootlegs. That's when we decided to do a tenth-anniversary concert of that album. It's cool, it is what it is. For me personally, I'm into looking into the future, not looking into the past. I like to celebrate the past, but not dwell on it.
Speaking of the future, it is on the tables to record new stuff as a band?
Yeah, actually we are playing two new songs tonight! We recorded nine songs, and we're going to do three more. What we are going to do is a series of three four-song 7 inches on record. Taking it back a bit... All our records have come out on vinyl, and that's where we are coming from. We had to fight for it tooth and nail to a degree because Vagrant was never into the idea. Now we're just going to do that for a while. That's our plan for next year at least because we won't be touring that much.
For this tour, how did this lineup of bands come together?
KEVIN DEVINE's been a friend of ours for a long time. He and I did an acoustic tour together last year. THE LIFE AND TIMES are from Kansas City and are friends of ours from back home. Both the bands that were on the west coast with us were discovered through our booking agent. He just sent out samples of some bands he thought would fit. They turned out to both be really good. There is a band called MANSIONS who is on the second half of this leg of the tour, and I haven't had a chance yet to hear them. I heard they were pretty good.
Since you said that THE GET UP KIDS won't be touring much next year, are you going to go out solo again?
Absolutely, that's my plan. I have a bunch of songs recorded. It's hard to decide what should be NEW AMSTERDAMS songs versus just under my name. I don't really know. I dwell on these things a lot, but it really doesn't matter in the end. People who are fans of the NEW AMSTERDAMS stuff will love the solo stuff too. It's all ultimately just me putting it together anyway.
Is there any area of the country that you just can't get enough of when you're on tour?
We always have really good shows in the Northeast, and we have a lot of really good friends up here. I really enjoy going to the Northwest because I'm a really big tree guy... Like I am into the trees and mountains, and I feel very at-ease up there. I hate going to the desert... can't handle it. It's too damn brown.
You guys have come back at a time where it seems a lot of bands have been reuniting. Is it nice seeing old friends getting together that you toured with?
Absolutely! Yeah, I think it's great as long as everyone's doing it for the right reasons. You know, just because they love doing it, not because they are broke or something. You know what I mean? We hung out with all the guys in BRAID in Chicago not that long ago, and we were trying to convince them to jump up and play a song. They didn't do it though... oh well. Yeah, we are operating under the mindset that this is the next chapter of what we do. It's a celebration of the past, but it's also an initiation into the future. We don't dwell into it. Kids are like, "It makes me feel 18 again!" That's great, but let's all just carry that all into the next thing.
Is there any area you didn't really get to tour as a band before that you want to now?
We were actually supposed to play Alaska in March, but the volcano thing happened so we weren't allowed to go there. We were supposed to play in Hawaii a couple years ago, and that didn't pan out either. Those are two places I'd really like to go. They are two of the five states we've never played in. Alaska, Hawaii, Mississippi, New Hampshire, and West Virginia.
I'm from New Hampshire... That is a very tough area to get a venue. [we diverge into a side-conversation about New Hampshire, Vermont, and the outdoors before getting back on track.]
I talk to a lot of bands who say that between shows, they hang out on the bus and play video games or whatever. What do you guys do when you're on the road?
Jim's the only video game guy. James is really into watching Seinfeld and Curb Your Enthusiasm re-runs. He has me hooked on Battlestar Galactica now. I'm up to my ears in it. I'm almost done season 2. Our stage tech Justin has gotten us into really old-school professional wrestling. He's into what he's into!
[At this point, Matt had to do some sound=checking so we had to cut things off. A huge thank you to him for being hospitable and enthusiastic about the interview!]