Wednesday, July 13, 2011

The Getup Kids -- a middle class Insane Clown Posse?

If you're like me, you spent several hundred nights in high school and college at small music venues and a few of those bands you saw ended up being sort-of famous. Now when someone annoying talks about their favorite obscure band at a party, you get to say In 1994 I saw them open for Letters to Cleo at The Haunt and they sucked. And Letters to Cleo sucked too.

But for me, one chance encounter with an unknown band stands above (or rather below) the rest. At the time I had no idea that the four dudes dressed like my grandpa who I saw play in the fall of 1996 in the basement of a Kansas City coffee house were destined not just to be somewhat famous, but were in fact founding members of one of the worst genres in the musical spectrum.

I recall seeing the term "Emo" in various mid-90s zines without having actually heard the style or knowing anyone who had. It was often mentioned in zines that also discussed punk, hardcore, ska, and other DIY underground movements and sub-movements of the decade. Later, when Emo rose to pop prominence, I read that The Getup Kids were cited as one of the genre's prime influences, and realized that I had seen one of their very first shows.

Those little circa 2002 emo kids would have killed to have been me in that coffee shop basement in 1996, except not in the way they think. Because if they were me at that age they would have been listening to Frank Zappa, Lou Reed, and DANZIG (basically the same stuff I listen to now!).

Why didn't I heckle them when I had the chance? The whole world would be a differ ---- a BETTER place!

What compels someone to play and/or listen to Emo? It's this simple: they're L-A-M-E. Emo kids are (were? is it still going on? I dunno the only emo show I ever went to was the one I'm writing about) basically middle-class Juggalos. They think they're part of something, but are actually missing out on everything.

Why do all the good bands who never quite made it break up but all the sh*tty ones get back together (Dammit We March, I daydreamed about you guys frying the audience at the Grammy's! Gil Mantera's Party Dream, we need you now more than ever!)? All those and more are gone, but 15 years later somehow The Getup Kids remain, and are commanding $17 at the door this Saturday night at The Southgate House. The thought that these guys are going to haul $2-3K out of that place early Sunday morning is well...hmmm...ummm...okay I won't end with some snappy thing about robbing the vans of high-paid emo bands.