Why They’re Called… The Get Up Kids
Frontman Matt Pryor shares the story behind the Kansas City emo icons' name.
Welcome to the weekly SPIN.com feature “Name That Band!” inwhich we get the inside stories behind the mysterious monikers of some ofour favorite artists. (See past episodes of Name That Band! here.)
This week: Legendary emo trailblazers the Get Up Kids, whose hotly anticipated new album There Are Rules is due January 25 — it’s their first since 2004.
Why The Get Up Kids: “We used to rehearse in a warehouse space above a drum store in Kansas City,” says singer-guitarist Matt Pryor, thinking back to the band’s 1995 genesis. “One day we were in there throwing possible band names around and I said something about the band I was in previously: the Suburban Get Up Kids. We all kind of liked that, but I’d been in three other bands already that had names that started with ‘S’ and all three broke up pretty quickly. There was Sevasch, Secular Theme, and Secret Decoder Ring. None of them had much longevity. So I was superstitious about dropping the ‘Suburban’ part. And also, I’m not a suburban kid, so it didn’t make sense. As far as the ‘Get Up’ part, we liked the action verb aspect. The idea of being motivated was appealing.”
Previously Rejected Names: “T.K. Sherwood. That was named after our friend Trevor Sherwood. That’s about the only one. But we’ve come up with fake names for secret shows. I remember that we used the Naughty Ponies and the BTMs, which stood for the Bad Teenage Mustaches.”
Best Band Names Ever: “I’m not a big fan of the concept of band names. I think the jazz guys have it right — just use the members’ last names. Medeski, Martin, and Wood. I like that. If the Get Up Kids did that we’d be Pryor, Suptic, Pope, Pope, and Dewees. That might need some tweaking.”
Worst Band Name Ever: “Like I said, I kind of think that all band names are inherently bad. Naming a band is a really weird concept. You end up getting stuck with some name that makes a blanket statement about your band and what you sound like — and it’s usually something you thought was cool when you were 15. So I tend to just disregard band names. But I remember there was a band in the ’90s called Green Jell-O that was forced for copyright reasons to change its name to Green Jelly. The original name was bad enough, then they had to change it to something even worse.”
LISTEN: The Get Up Kids, “Regent’s Court”