Matt Pryor: Red Letter Days: Softcover Book

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Softcover Book

Red Letter Days is the debut novel from Matt Pryor (The Get Up Kids, The New Amsterdams, The Terrible Twos).

Red Letter Days follows the life of a musician growing up, on the road, and pursuing his dream of being a successful musician. Taken from journal entries from 1990–2000, the book is a collection of short vignettes about Pryor’s experiences crisscrossing the country (and the continents) with the band and the cast of characters he meets along the way told via first-person accounts of his most memorable moments.

  • 5.5" × 8.5".
  • 228 pages.
  • Black and White.
  • Printed in the USA.
  • 22 rare & never-before-seen photographs (Michael Dubin, Paul Drake)

About the Author

You already know Matt Pryor as the frontman for the long-running acts The Get Up Kids and The New Amsterdams as well as an accomplished solo artist. His first book Red Letter Days is an intimate glimpse into his life from 1990–2000. “This was never meant to be a book about emo or even the band in particular, I didn’t want to write about the ‘scene.’ That is already well documented,” he explains. “I just wanted to write a book to see if I could do it. It’s the same way I felt when I was sixteen and I wanted to make an album: I don’t really have a reason, it’s just something I wanted to do.”

The result is a collection of short vignettes about Pryor’s early life, his struggle with childhood Diabetes and what it was like crisscrossing the country (and the continents) with his band in the days before iPhones and texting. It’s a snapshot of a time period that feels nostalgic yet familiar. “Every one of the stories in the book is one that I’ve told backstage, at a bar or on a porch,” Pryor says. “I just wanted to translate them from an oral tradition to a written one.” From playing shows in nontraditional venues to detailing the cast of characters he meets along the way, Red Letter Days gives insight into how Pryor processed this time period through first-person accounts of his most memorable moments.

“I have found—and this is fairly recently—that things I write don’t really hit me like that until later,” Pryor responds when asked about how it felt to revisit this era on an emotional level. “In the moment I just think that’s a cool song, lyric or story; it seems to be that I can only really connect on that level once I’ve had some distance from it.” Whether you were at one of those sweaty all ages shows in the ’90s or have only discovered his music recently, Red Letter Days is a document of that era told in a conversational tone that is as entertaining as it is endearing. (As told by Jonah Bayer)

About the Publisher

Washed Up Books is an independent publishing imprint founded in 2017 by Los Angeles-based music historian Tom Mullen. Their previous titles include Anthology of Emo Volume 1 and Anthology of Emo Volume 2. Tom Mullen is also the founder of Washed Up Emo, a podcast with over 200 interviews with notable musicians with the emo genre. He’s spent time at Equal Vision, Vagrant, TVT, EMI, Atlantic, Universal, and Sony, where he was a 2016 Clio and Cannes Lions winner for his work with Bob Dylan. In 2007, he founded Washed Up Emo, a destination for the entire history of emo. The site has been featured in The New Yorker, AV Club, Pitchfork, Billboard, Spin, Paste, Village Voice, Stereogum, Chicago Reader, Noisey, and Brooklyn Vegan.