Did The Get Up Kids Really Invent Emo?

The Get Up Kids’ guitarist James Suptic recently apologised for his band’s part in inventing what is now considered emo, but was he right to? “If this is the world we helped create, then I apologise,” he said to Drowned In Sound, and there’s no denying ‘Something To Write Home About’ and ‘Four Minute Mile’ are seminal pop-punk albums. And considering Pete ‘Fall Out Boy’ Wentz’s effusiveness on the importance of TGUK in inspiring his own band, Suptic would appear to have a point.


BUT – and there’s always a but – has he overstated his own band’s importance? I was at Warped Tour in the States last weekend to see the fashion parade of haircut victims (The Devil Wears Prada, Chiodos) and electrocore muppets (Jeffree Star, 3OH!3, Millionaires), and precisely none of them had anything in common with TGUK. The Fall Out Boy comparison is indeed worthy, but that’s just because of the amount TGUK used to play when FOB were forming – you could easily cite the likes of Jimmy Eat World as an equal influence.

(Now, an interlude. What this blog MOST DEFINITELY IS NOT is a treatise on the birth of emo – if you want to have that discussion, here are some words to keep you satisfied: mackaye picciotto rites of spring dc hardcore embrace. We’re talking about the modern subset of what is considered emo – yer eyeliner-strewn neon-drenched pop punk-in-goth’s clothing.)

Or, what about The Ataris? Or the indie-rock bands who directly inspired TGUK – Braid, Cap’n Jazz, American Football, Jawbreaker… even Built To Spill? The lineage is direct… and if we’re talking the My Chemical Romance/My Passion-type stuff then, arguably, the histrionic likes of Queen and Muse could well be to blame (note: this is only partially a joke). Or AFI? The theatrical line between them and, say, Panic At the Disco is clear. Dashboard Confessional didn’t shut the fuck up for the entirety of the early 2000s and penetrated MTV with his wordy epithets to girls who didn’t like him, much of which lives today in the likes of, well, every pop-punk band ever.

And then there’s Weezer – their debut is kinda a set-text for this sort of thing… are we really going to blame poor Rivers for the abomination that is Panic At The Disco?

The moral of the story: everyone should listen to Jawbreaker, or something.

Go on, argue!

Stay tuned to Notes From The Underground for an exclusive Get Up Kids tour diary.