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