Two Thousand and Ten has been a huge year for the members of Indiana pop-punk/”emo” group, Grown Ups. They’ve toured Europe, released a huge record on a foreign label, received critical acclaim for their efforts and are gearing up for a coveted slot on this year’s The Fest IX in Gainsville, Fla; all things that most young bands can only wish for. But it wasn’t just luck that got them where they are; they also happen to be really, really, good at what they do.
Hailing from Michigan City, Indiana, the four boys grew up in the looming shadow of the often overwhelming Chicago music scene. More specifically, the Chicago punk scene can be a tricky nut to crack. With so many major concerts going on on any given evening, standing out can be a difficult task.
Fortunately for the young men who would become Grown Ups, they were very observant of their past failures and successes as musicians, as well as those of bands around them. “We graduated high school in summer 2008,” said founding member Doyle Martin in an interview, “We started Grown Ups at the beginning of 2009 and we knew exactly what we wanted to do as a band. Before we did any kind of touring, we sat down and recorded a demo so we could have something to distribute as we began touring.”
The decision to record the demo right off the bat was a wise one. “We were confidant about our music.” said Martin “We wanted to have some recordings immediately available so that if people liked us live, they could pick something up.” Just by chance, one of the people who picked up their demo at a show was Motion City Soundtrack keyboardist Jesse Johnson.
“Jesse saw us at a show in Grand Rapids, MI and told us how much he liked us.”, recalled Martin, “We gave him a demo and he gave us his contact information.” A few months later, Martin received an unexpected email from Motion City Soundtrack’s manager. “Their manager said that they were in Chicago and that Justin (Pierre,lead singer and founding member of MCS) wanted to come to our house in Michigan City to “jam” with us.”
“When Justin got to the house,” noted Marin, “he brought a camera man with him to record everything. We didn’t plan on it, but our jamming turned into an actual song.” Shortly after their high-profile jam session, the band was summoned to meet Pierre in Detroit to record the song, “Are You Kitten Me?” (which would show up, sans Pierre, as “Are You Shitten Me?” on their full-length).
The band’s sound, which could most humorously be described as Death Cab For Cutie doing a Kid Dynamite cover set, attracted more attention that just Justin Pierre. British record label Big Scary Monsters jumped at the chance to release what would become the band’s debut record, More Songs (note: The album will be re-released in the states this month by Top Shelf). “It was through Big Scary Monsters that we were given the opportunity to tour Europe.” Martin mentioned. “It was awesome”.
While the band is taking it easy following their European tour, they have big plans to tour Canada and the East Coast in the near future, as well as to continue writing and recording. The band is slowly making their way down to Gainsville for The Fest, but they are stopping at The Dojo for a highly anticipated show with Ohio pop-punks Delay and local arena-sludge trio Full Rainbow.
Sure, Grown Ups’ sound could be labeled as “emo”, but don’t think that this is merely some flash-in-the-pan fad for suburban crybabies with overpriced haircuts. This is honest, interesting, intricate homegrown rock and roll. Don’t miss out on this.
"Are You Kitten Me" ft. Justin Pierre