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Rob Pope comes home with Spoon, but the Get Up Kids are still alive and all right

Rob Pope (right front) joined the band Spoon in 2007. Other band members are Britt Daniels (front) and (back row) Alex Fischel, Eric Harvey and Jim Eno.
Rob Pope (right front) joined the band Spoon in 2007. Other band members are Britt Daniels (front) and (back row) Alex Fischel, Eric Harvey and Jim Eno. Tom Hines

Rob Pope has three families these days.

One is the family he’s raising with his wife: a child born last summer and a second child on the way. Another is the band Spoon, for which Pope has played bass since 2007. The third is the Get Up Kids, the Kansas City band he co-founded in 1995. Lately, he has been spending time with all three.

“I’ve been having a blast,” he said. “(In March), the Get Up Kids did some shows on the East Coast. It was a really good time. We’re working on bigger plans for the fall to cover most of the States.”

Monday night, Pope will be back in Kansas City with Spoon headlining a show at the Midland theater. Spoon is touring on “They Want My Soul,” the band’s eighth studio album and its third with Pope. “Soul” was released in August 2014, more than 41/2 years after its predecessor, “Transference.”

“It was such a fun record to make,” Pope said. “We were coming off a really long break, which Spoon had never really done before. So we didn’t feel as pressured. We took our time and concentrated on making the songs really great.”

The band worked with producer Dave Fridmann, which was a highlight of making the record, Pope said.

“He’s got such a cool approach,” he said. “It’s very nonmusical. He produces in a way that’s not like, ‘Oh, this bridge should do this’ or that uses a lot of music terms. He’s looking for a sound that will evoke feelings, things that will immediately spark someone’s interest. He can create things in ways that a lot of times aren’t traditional or musical. The guy’s a wizard.”

“Soul” made a lot of best-albums lists at the end of 2014. National Public Radio listeners voted it their seventh-favorite album. It was No. 13 on Pitchfork’s end-of-the-year list. It made Rolling Stone magazine’s top 30. Pope credits the band’s leader, Britt Daniel, Daniel’s songwriting and Spoon’s recording process, which is all about servicing the song.

“The songwriting is so strong,” he said. “Britt did a great job. I love playing those songs live. I wish we would play all of them.

“A lot of the recording process was collaborative. Everybody throws out ideas about what part should be what, no matter what part you play. We’re all just trying to make the song the best it can be.”

Spoon will tour hard through the end of June, then pause and hit some summer festivals. During its downtime, the Get Up Kids will wind up again. Their eight-show summer tour includes stops in the South (Florida and Georgia) and Manchester, Nottingham and Kent in the U.K. More shows are expected in the fall.

“We’ll do two to three weeks at a time,” Pope said. “We’re not looking to kill ourselves. When we’re around each other too much, it’s not very much fun.”

Pope has been part of a touring band for 20 years. After the Get Up Kids said farewell in 2005, he joined the band Koufax with his brother, Ryan, the drummer for the Get Up Kids, and also became a member of White Whale, a local band headed by Matt Suggs, formerly of the heralded Lawrence indie-rock band Butterglory.

Then in 2007, Spoon called. Pope said all of the experience he’d accumulated with his other bands prepared him well for joining Spoon.

“I had so adapted to touring and that entire lifestyle,” he said. “I’d been doing that since I was 19. So it was no shocker when I started with Spoon. It was very second nature. Having had a lot of relationships with band mates and music people early on in life allowed me to have healthier relationships later on.”

Pope doesn’t get home much these days. His parents moved away from Kansas City, so his only familial tie in this area is to his brother, who is in a few music projects, including Kirsten Paludan and the Key Party, and who runs the Bourgeois Pig, the Lawrence bar and coffee shop the two brothers co-own.

So he focuses on his own family of three, soon to be four, who this summer will move from Brooklyn, N.Y., to Worcester, Mass., where his wife has family.

“We bought a house and we’re headed that way,” he said. ‘We’ve got another baby on the way; we’ve got to get out of Brooklyn.”

But this weekend, he’ll get a quick and hearty dose of his hometown and the clan of friends he left behind.

“I don’t get back to Kansas City enough,” he said. “I’d love to make it back more. But when I do come back, it’s like wrangling a bunch of people who want to get on the guest list. Waves of people come out of the woodwork, and I love it. I roll through in like 20 hours. There are so many great friends and people I care about it’s hard to give everybody the time I’d like to.”

To reach Timothy Finn, call 816-234-4781 or send email to Follow the Back to Rockville blog on Twitter @kcstarrockville.


Spoon performs Monday night at the Midland theater, 1228 Main St. Sweet Spirit opens. Showtime is 8 p.m. Tickets to the all-ages show are $25 in advance, $30 day of show.