On a Wire

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On A Wire
Studio album by The Get Up Kids
Released May 14, 2002 (2002-05-14)
Recorded Nov 2001 – Feb 2002
Tarquin Studios, Bridgeport, Connecticut
Z'Gwonth Studios, Lawrence, Kansas
Genre Emo, indie rock[1][2][3]
Length 43:28
Label Vagrant
Producer Scott Litt
The Get Up Kids chronology
On a Wire
Guilt Show
(2004)Guilt Show2004
Singles from On a Wire
  1. "Overdue"
    Released: 2002
  2. "Stay Gone"
    Released: 2002
Professional ratings
Review scores
Allmusic3/5 stars [1]
AP Magazine7/10 stars link
Entertainment WeeklyB link
Pitchfork Media3.3/10 link[permanent dead link]
Rolling Stone3/5 stars link
Star Pulse Music3/5 stars[citation needed]

On a Wire is the third studio album by American rock band The Get Up Kids on Vagrant Records. The album was also released in two record versions: black 180 gram vinyl and limited edition picture disc.


After touring extensively to support Something to Write Home About, the band was looking to depart from their high-energy powerpop style in lieu of a slower, more mellow sound. After recording several demos, they enlisted producer Scott Litt to produce the album. According to Matt Pryor, Litt was chosen because he would be less likely to push a sound that would sell albums, as opposed to what the band wanted to write. Pianist James Dewees stated in an interview with AP Magazine that Litt "knew how to make bands sound good, but he was taking a band that was used to playing four-chord rock songs. We didn't know what we were doing." The album was recorded from January–February 2002 at Tarquin Studios in Bridgeport, Connecticut except for the song "Campfire Kansas", which was recorded in November 2001 at Z'Gwoth Studios in Lawrence, Kansas.


Before the release of the album, Vagrant Records released the first single from the album, "Overdue", accompanied by an animated music video directed and animated by Travis Millard, who also did the artwork for the album, as well as the band's second album Something to Write Home About. When the single and the album were received poorly, the label drew back much of the support for promoting the album in North America, instead trying to recoup their investments in the overseas market. A second, Europe-only single for "Stay Gone" was released, along with a music video, which can only be found on Vagrant's compilation Another Year on the Streets: Vol. 3.

The band also toured to promote the album, although it was far less extensive than their three-year stint supporting their previous album, Something to Write Home About. In the summer of 2002, the band went on a tour of the United States, supported by indie band Superchunk. In August 2002, the band went on the Vagrant America arena tour, alongside other Vagrant Records bands.[4]


While the album was received with mild praise from more mainstream publications like Rolling Stone, many smaller publications felt that the band had abandoned their roots as second-wave emo group. However, despite the criticism, the band still incorporated much of their musical growth into their follow-up Guilt Show, which was much better received.[5] However, many fans were upset with the concerts, since many of the songs on the album did not fit well with the band's usually energetic live show.

However, the poor reception of the album had a larger impact on the band's widespread popularity as a whole. In an interview with AP Magazine, lead singer Matt Pryor considered that the dramatic change in style for On a Wire seriously impacted the momentum the band had gained from Something to Write Home About, allowing later bands such as Dashboard Confessional to take much of the fan base that The Get Up Kids had previously earned.[6]

Years later, Pryor acknowledged the effect the shift between Something to Write Home About and On a Wire had on their fan base in an interview with New York Press: "I feel like the way that we rolled out On A Wire was kind of abrasive and confrontational. I think it was very polarizing to our fans. We were kind of like, ‘This is what we do, fuck you guys.’ But hindsight is 20/20; I learned from that experience."[7]

Track listing[edit]

All tracks written by The Get Up Kids.

On a Wire
2."Stay Gone"3:04
3."Let the Reigns Go Loose"3:43
4."Fall From Grace"3:39
5."Grunge Pig"4:09
6."High as the Moon"3:27
7."All That I Know"3:21
8."Walking on a Wire"5:17
9."Wish You Were Here"3:32
10."Campfire Kansas"3:04
11."The Worst Idea"3:25
12."Hannah Hold On"3:48



Year Album Chart Position
2002 On a Wire The Billboard 200 57[8]
Independent Albums 3[9]


  1. ^ a b On a Wire at AllMusic
  2. ^ Jon Caramanica (2002-05-31). "On a Wire Review". EW.com. Retrieved 2012-03-04. 
  3. ^ "On A Wire Reviews, Ratings, Credits, and More at Metacritic". Metacritic.com. Retrieved 2012-03-04. 
  4. ^ Heisel, Scott (December 15, 2001). "Vagrant America 2002 - HUGE Update". Punknews.org. Aubin Paul. Retrieved February 12, 2017. 
  5. ^ Gintowt, Richard (2004-02-27). "Guilty Pleasures". Lawrence.com. Retrieved 2012-03-04. 
  6. ^ Alternative Press Issue 204 "Say Goodnight, Mean Goodbye: The Oral History of The Get Up Kids"
  7. ^ Reiss, John (2011-03-02), Catching Up With The Get Up Kids' Matt Pryor, New York Press, archived from the original on 2011-03-09, retrieved 2011-03-04 
  8. ^ [1] Archived April 8, 2013, at the Wayback Machine.
  9. ^ [2][dead link]

External links[edit]