The Get Up Kids keyboardist James DeWees is the primary and founding member of Reggie and the Full Effect, a similarly emo act that tows around an extra bag of tricks (and a louder keyboard). While the musical content is comprised of the sappy love songs you'd expect, when mixed with tracks like "Drunk Girl at The Get Up Kids Show," "Your Girlfriends Hate Me (Free Moustache Rides Remix)," and "Canadians Switching the Letter P for the Letter V, Eh?," Reggie's act is entirely less serious than his other band, and possibly the entire genre altogether.
In a recent interview, I asked James about The Get Up Kids and their responsibility for what has (in my opinion) become an increasingly fabricated style.
"We were there in the beginning of it," he admits, "but half the blame goes to the Promise Ring ... Sunny Day Real Estate can take some of that blame, too."
James is quick to point out that most of the newer emo bands (fabricated or not) have been ripped off by major record labels, and are therefore broke.
"The labels are going after younger and younger bands because they don't know better yet. They don't know they're about to get their asses handed to them."
James says The Get Up Kids almost signed one of these bunk deals when they were still teenagers. His advice to younger bands is to talk to an attorney—one who doesn't work for the label—and work with people you trust, because in the music industry, business is "kind of like X-Files shit: [There's] all of this top secret stuff that you just aren't allowed to know."
For instance, he says that bands who get large recording budgets often have to pay the taxes on it themselves, and that it's commonplace to get a small chunk of cash up front, sign a contract for several records and then never make money from record sales.
"They don't tell you that stuff when you're signing this contract; they just wave cash in front of little kids' faces. They're like, ’there's women, and it's a crazy lifestyle you want to live, you'll be famous.' But signing autographs isn't that much fun when you're broke."
So maybe that's why these emo guys are so sad.
Luckily, James owns 51 percent of his music, which might explain the lightheartedness you're likely to experience at his live show. Along for the Reggie ride are two of James' "international" side-
"You definitely won't see another show like it all year," James says, "and if you do, I'll give you your money back."