The original band line-up consisted of vocalist Frank Bach, guitarist Bob Rasmussen, bassist Gary Rasmussen, and drummer Victor Peraino. The band was closely related to the MC5, as both bands' members lived in White Panther Party founder John Sinclair's commune. In May 1968, Sinclair moved the commune to Ann Arbor, Michigan and both bands followed. The Up served as the opening act for the MC5 during a September 1968 show at the University of Michigan's Union Ballroom in Ann Arbor.
This show was attended by Elektra Records president Jac Holzman; Holzman was impressed with both the MC5 and The Stooges (who were the concert's second act) and offered both bands contracts. The Up did not get signed to Elektra and unlike the MC5 and The Stooges, the band never received a major record label contract.
The Up continued to play gigs at the Grande Ballroom and other local venues. In 1969, the MC5 ended their association with John Sinclair and the White Panther Party; The Up took the place of the MC5 as the main musical outlet of the party's propaganda. The Up disbanded in 1973 and faded further into obscurity.
In 1975, the band's bassist Gary Rasmussen later joined Sonic's Rendezvous Band, a Detroit rock scene supergroup featuring former members of the MC5, The Stooges, The Up and The Rationals. In 1995, a retrospective album titled Killer Up! was released containing all of The Up's song recordings.
The album contains all of the band's singles, songs from a recording session at Head Sound Studios in Ypsilanti, Michigan and several live tracks recorded at the Agora Ballroom in Columbus, Ohio in 1972. John Sinclair states in the album's liner notes that, "It's common to name the MC5 and the Stooges among the forefathers of what they call punk rock, but it was their associates in a third band, the Up, who could more accurately be identified as the real precursors of punk."