An entire generation of indie music fans was raised on the sounds of the Get Up Kids — a breakthrough band who helped usher in the “emo wave” of the late 1990s. Now defunct, the band reunited for a tour a few years ago, but they won’t be playing any dates soon, despite the clamoring of their legion of admirers.
However, if you’ve been holding your breath awaiting an Atlantic City performance, the time to exhale has finally arrived. The seminal indie rock band’s prolific frontman Matt Pryor will be arriving for an intimate performance at The Boneyard this weekend. Foregoing his usual bandmates, Pryor will perform a set of fan favorites in a stripped-down, acoustic setting.
Both with his full bands and as a solo artist, Pryor has embraced the “do-it-yourself” ethics of the punk generation.
“I’ve never tried to be on the radio or a major label,” he explains. “I’ve always valued control of my own things over everything else.”
Pryor cites the positive aspects of maintaining creative control, along with the possibilities it affords, as being the main reasons behind this decision.
For The Boneyard gig, Pryor will be transitioning not only from a full band to a solo artist, but also from his usual electric surroundings to an acoustic approach. This transformation brings along with it certain technical issues, but none that the guitarist isn’t prepared for.
“All of the songs work in an acoustic setting,” he says. “Some are more complicated and take a little more time to translate, but all of them were written on an acoustic guitar, anyway.”
Fans can put this process to the test as Pryor is culling his setlist entirely from online requests. With several bands and a solo tunes to draw from, the possibilities are endless.
“I usually make up the setlist on the spot,” he reveals. “But this time we’re doing a poll on Facebook, so I’ll be playing what the people want to hear.”
Interested fans can cast their ballots up until the day of the performance. Those without an Internet connection can attempt the analog equivalent, by simply screaming out their suggestions during the show itself.
“I just try to write songs that are honest,” Pryor says. “I’ve written about everything under the sun.”
He’s even explored the world of children’s music, but tends to keep that separate from his more adult-themed works.
“I’ve been a father for a long time now,” he says. “But I don’t write songs about my kids — I write them about my life.”
Pryor is also an advocate for utilizing technology and social media to spread his music around.
“You don’t make money off of records,” he explains. “And that’s just the just the way it is.”
Rather than rallying against torrent sites, YouTube, or other new forms of distribution, he fully welcomes them.
“Complaining about it isn’t going to do any good — you have to look at these things as ‘jumping off points’ for what else you can do,” Pryor says.