The Suburban Get Up Kids formed on October 14, 1995, on guitarist Jim Suptic's 18th birthday. They later decided to shorten their name to The Get Up Kids. Matt Pryor explained to Spin
how the name came about: "I said something about the band I was in previously: the Suburban Get Up Kids. We all kind of liked that, but I'd been in three other bands already that had names that started with 'S' and all three broke up pretty quickly. There was Sevasch, Secular Theme, and Secret Decoder Ring. None of them had much longevity. So I was superstitious about dropping the 'Suburban' part. And also, I'm not a suburban kid, so it didn't make sense. As far as the 'Get Up' part, we liked the action verb aspect. The idea of being motivated was appealing."
In 1996, The Get Up Kids spent their savings on the recording of their first single, "Shorty/The Breathing Method." Matt Pryor spoke to 17 Dots
about the experience: "There was a guy in Lincoln, Nebraska…this guy, Mike Mogis, who does Bright Eyes and stuff now - he would charge you by the song instead of by the hour - so it was like 300 bucks, we could drive up to Lincoln, three hours away, the van broke down on the way there… We put it out ourselves and then mailed 7 inches to everybody that we could possibly think of."