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A Kansas City musician looks to 2022: 'It's important to not get my hopes up too much'

The Get Up Kids drummer Ryan Pope takes a break from setting up his kit in RecordBar, where his band was preparing to perform Dec. 23, 2021.
Carlos Moreno
KCUR 89.3
The Get Up Kids drummer Ryan Pope takes a break from setting up his kit in RecordBar, where his band was preparing to perform Dec. 23, 2021.

Ryan Pope, drummer for the Kansas City rock band The Get Up Kids, says he's grateful to be playing live shows once again but cautious about how COVID-19 will affect next year's tour.

As the U.S. ends its second calendar year of the COVID-19 pandemic, KCUR wanted to hear from members of the greater Kansas City community about their experiences and reflections.

Ryan Pope is a founding member and drummer of the influential Kansas City rock band The Get Up Kids. He's also the owner of The Bourgeois Pig, a coffee and cocktail bar in Lawrence, Kansas.

Like many bands, The Get Up Kids had most of their shows canceled last year. In 2021, they started playing shows throughout the Midwest and even joined a festival in Birmingham, Alabama. But with COVID-19 worsening once more, their planned European tour has been pushed off to 2022.

"We were not surprised at all," Pope tells KCUR's Nomin Ujiyediin. "I was disappointed, but I also completely understand why. It's kind of the mentality of, well, if we're gonna do this, let's make sure it goes well and it's safe and as much bang for your buck."

Interview highlights

On his experiences as a musician and a business owner

It's been a lot of ups and a lot of downs. We were fortunate enough to get to go out and play some live music, play some shows, and had a great time doing that. But most of the touring that was supposed to happen all got pushed to next year. That's mainly due to, you know, venues not really having much faith in people coming out and ticket sales have been down across the board. So that's been, it's been kind of, you know, hit or miss.

Things at the bar and the coffee shop actually have been pretty good. The last six months felt almost like normal.

On returning to live music performances

It was actually really exciting. I heard it so many times people saying, "This is my first live concert since COVID." You know, we basically waited until everyone was vaccinated or at least had the opportunity to be vaccinated. And all the music venues were vaccine only.

So that gave people, you know, way more confidence to go get in a room or in a small club, everyone singing loudly without masks on.

On the differences between 2020 and 2021

It was a lot different because even us as a band felt way more comfortable all getting in a room together and practicing. And I mean, before that everyone was, you know, pretty terrified of everyone. They're like, "Well, what's your friend group, who have you talked to? Who have you been, you know, spending your time with? Is someone sick in your family or your friends?"

So I think a lot of that initial anxiety has gone away. Again, I owe that to all of us getting vaccinated.

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