When Dave Grove initially formed The Run Up in late 2016 from a combination of friends who are members of popular Indianapolis punk bands Lockstep and Think Tank, he already had half an album of material written.
But election results in November conspired to shift his focus.
“Donald Trump got elected president and I was obviously taken aback,” Grove explains. “I started looking at the lyrics of my songs and saying, ‘This changes everything.’ And I literally went through and rewrote lyrics to some songs to reflect what had just happened. After the Orlando shooting, I’d written ‘500 Guns.’ And along with all the Keystone Pipeline stuff was when I wrote ‘Black Snake Killers.’ After many shootings by police officers against young Black men, I wrote ‘Race War.’ It just started falling more in that direction.”
These songs and a few of the less political ones, including “Living in the City” and Grove’s punk love song to Indianapolis, make up The Run Up’s stellar debut The Other Side, which the band debuted this past Saturday in front of a packed Punk Rock Night audience at the Melody Inn.
“I was pleasantly surprised since we were the only local act on the show,” Grove says of the response they received for the album release. “I didn’t know how good the turnout was going to be. It definitely felt packed in the club [that] night, and everybody stayed to the end. The show flowed really well; all the bands were really good, and nobody played too long, which I think was a real key. I think a lot of the time when bands play clubs like the Mel, anybody who tries to play too long, you really blow the flow of the whole show.”
What really stands out about the album itself is how well the band manages to capture their live sound in a studio setting despite having recorded the album piece by piece in layers. The album’s best feature is the band’s gang-style backing vocals, which Grove says they recorded all in one night into a single microphone.
“Literally the first day of recording was Craig [Meenach] and I recording the bass and drum tracks together to get a good bed track going,” he says. “When we finished those we brought Michael [Allen] in and recorded all his guitar parts, and then with a scratch vocal already laid down, we got everybody together in a room and all of us just howled into one microphone to record most of the backing vocals. A lot of the bass stuff I recorded during the bed tracks got kept for the final album. So it was really us playing live together in a room, and as much of that vibe as I could keep in there was going to stay there. A lot of that ended up happening.”
The Other Side will be available at future shows on CD, he says, which will be the only way fans can get a copy of The Run Up’s cover of the Rolling Stones’ “Sympathy for the Devil” (for obvious streaming reasons). But the rest can also be streamed or purchased via Bandcamp.
“We literally just got the physical CDs the day before the show,” Grove says. “So we’ll have them at all our shows, but honestly we’re just as happy if you find us on Bandcamp and spread the word that way as well.”
None of the members of The Run Up are strangers to the Melody Inn stage in any form, and at this point in his life, Grove says the band’s ultimate focus is on playing shows for those who want to hear their music while maintaining a healthy sense of reality as to where punk rock can actually take them.
“At this point, I’m in my late 30s. I’m not under the delusion that I’m gonna go on tour, get discovered, get signed, and be in some huge punk band,” he says, laughing. “This is a glorified hobby, and it’s one of the best hobbies you could have because you get to hang out with friends, create something, and have fun. That’s really all I’m out here to do. I don’t really need to go and be homeless for a month, just as long as I get to play the Mel every couple of months and do maybe some regional shows and play for people who really want to hear us. That’s all I really want to do.”