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We're Not Listening

Las Luces, Las Cruces - Put'emup, Put'emup, pt. 3

Put’emup, Put’emup was horrifically unorganized for a while. They didn’t have a manager, nor did they have a tour manager or the means to actually go anywhere other than Chicago. Merch was out of the question, although a demo was eventually recorded, courtesy of the music building and Chance’s killer recording system on his laptop. There were only four songs on this demo – “Mirror,” “Smile This Out,” “22 and Nothing,” and “My Beard is my Armor.”

They’d sell them outside of the venue before and after shows for five bucks each, and it was around that time at the end of 2006 that they made a FlySpace page. They gathered even more attention around the area and added a few cover songs to their setlists alongside some more original tunes, and combining the high-energy charisma of the band’s frontmen with the powerful backdrops, the band picked up speed.

2007 was the year that Mick graduated from the university, the oldest member of Put’emup, Put’emup, and logically, this meant that he had the least on his plate. He’d jumped right into managing the band and taking care of publicity, getting gigs at a few more venues in the Chicago area, and he even scored a few paid teaching assistant positions to rake in some more cash while putting his degree to use. Things were looking up.

2008 was an even bigger year. Chance graduated, leaving just Andy and Anthony to finish their education (neither of them wanted to cop out and waste their scholarships on something so iffy), and that summer, nobody other than Raimundo Asbury took his wife and adopted son on a road trip with the intention to hit up as many small venues as possible.

He didn’t really plan on being a talent scout when he drove out of Gainesville that June. Really, all he wanted was to just listen to the local sounds of the cities he was hitting up, sharing that music with his family, and Put’emup, Put’emup’s favorite venue in Chicago was on that road trip’s itinerary. At first, he wanted to keep Not Listening local – but hell, a band full of Yankees couldn’t hurt, could it?

Of course they knew who Rai was. Anybody who had an ounce of punk history knowledge had to know about the figurehead of Florida punk. After the show, as Mick was selling demos to the concert-goers who liked what they heard from the pop-punk quartet, Rai was one of those patrons, and Mick had to do a double-take to realize just who was standing in front of him.

“Sorry, this is probably a stupid question,” Mick stammered, “but…are you Rai Asbury?”

Rai nodded and laughed. The rest is history.

Put’emup, Put’emup was signed to Not Listening Records in the late summer of 2008, but an official release wouldn’t happen until the next year, since half of the band was still very much in college, knee-deep in portfolio reviews and computer coding jargon. Rai understood this and never rushed them to put something out just because they were signed – but he did recommend something that would make their eventual release not seem so sudden.

In the summer of 2008, Fire Motion was recording their full-length record, “Get Yer Act Together, Fool!” One of the songs on this album, “Sweet Like Pepper,” was really pretty blank compared to the rest of the tracklist, and that band had come to the conclusion that a guest singer could turn it around and knock it out of the park. So they got in touch with Not Listening’s newest talent and asked their co-singers if either of them would be willing to contribute.

That’s how Andy ended up singing the bridge to an otherwise forgettable song, gathering the attention of not only loyal Fire Motion fans, but followers of Not Listening in general – it had given them a sliver of hype, and before long, Put’emup, Put’emup’s dinky little demo was being ordered from all across the country, and even from different parts of the planet.

The four of them hadn’t really given much thought to continuing their music as a full-time career. They’d been raised to believe that their paths of study would dominate their lives and that the chances of them being successful in music were slim to none. Yet, as 2009 came around, everything felt so surreal – and reality was just that much sweeter.
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Two more chapters and an epilogue, and then this story is done!