Keyboard magazine -- October 2005

 

Unsigned Artist of the Month

 

You can tell from the start that the Auto Body Experience had loads of fun making this disc. A little bit Phish and Weird Al, a little bit Tower of Power and Squirrel Nut Zippers, keyboardist Trey ZehrGrimm and the six other fine musicians in Auto Body entertain throughout with tight arrangements and clever, off-beat lyrics. Be sure to check out “Tom Fixed His Spit Valve Spring”, a melodramatic “Devil Went Down To Georgia” doppelganger that pays homage to trumpeter Tom Twiss’ heroic quest to play a gig, despite an equipment malfunction. Bad puns aside, Forgotten Lots is a blast. (Michael Gallant)

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Fresh Air -- August 17, 2005

Auto Body leader Scott Yoho's dreams come true when he's interviewed by Terry Gross herself on the National Public Radio show “Fresh Air”.

Click here to hear the entire interview.

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Vintage Guitar Magazine, Volume 20, No. 03, January 2006

An indescribable record from an almost indescribable band that hails from Minneapolis/St. Paul. The ABE plays pop music... well, it goes a little deeper; they have a horn section that uses arrangements reminiscent of early Chicago. Scott Yoho's vocals are earnest, and the band's arrangements are brilliant, punctuated by sounds you don't see coming until they round the corner and hit you over the head.

Yoho's guitar work is wonderful -- like an amalgamation of Robben Ford, John McLaughlin, and George Harrison. And the lyrics... ah yes, the lyrics. "Six Friends" has a dark Steely Dan-style arrangement and lyrics about six "friends" in the fridge. "Terry Gross" is a lyrical tribute to the NPR host. "Swap Meet" is about, well... a swap meet. "Tom Fixed His Spit Valve Spring" tells the tale of a gig to which many in the Upper Midwest can relate. "Holes" is sung from the vantage point of a bug, I think.

Anyway, you get the idea. Every song is extremely clever, both musically and lyrically.

Yoho's guitar playing is always right on the money. The liquid jazz feel of "A Cave Beneath My Cube" lets him showcase his chops. "Inside Out" has a virtuoso solo. And the biting lead guitar of "Swap Meet" helps propel the tune.

This is ABE's fourth record, and I know I'm going to look for the others. You should probably join me. - JH

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The Star Tribune includes the ABE in “The big gigs: Critics' concert picks for Oct. 14-20”:

Doggedly following his own muse, Scott Yoho, mild-mannered mastermind of the Auto Body Experience, has come up with 14 fresh gems of devilishly droll and hummable pop on the new local CD "Forgotten Lots." Tonight's release party promises catchy songs about such unlikely topics as self-absorption, CPR and trumpet repair, plus a love song to a six-pack and a salute to public radio's Terry Gross -- who took the bait and booked Yoho on her show "Fresh Air" this summer. (Tom Surowicz)

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Rift Magazine, Issue #8, November 2005

St. Paul's The Auto Body Experience play a unique blend of jazz-driven, harmonious pop music combined with erudite, pun-filled lyrics. The band's fourth CD, "Forgotten Lots" is full sometimes cringe-inducing quips, but is nonetheless an enjoyable album due to the band's sharp, clean sound and formidable musical talent.

The opening track, "A Cave Beneath My Cube", sets the tone for the bulk of the recording. This song mixes elements of rock, jazz, ska and a hint of polka over singer/guitarist's Scott Yoho's lyrics about digging a spider hole underneath his cubicle in order to hide from the drudgeries of office life. The opener is followed by "Everyone Deserves Job That's Challenging," which laments the idiocy of those who can't seem to do their jobs correctly. This song veers dangerously close to outright arrogance, but redeems itself at the end with Yoho's self-deprecating line, "I struggle to be clever with the words/But I still fill my basement with CD's that no one's heard." The thematic strangeness continues throughout the disc, reaching its nadir with "Annie," a song about a young student falling in love with his school's CPR dummy.

An album full of songs such as these can easily fall into the "one listen novelty record" category, but Yoho manages to keep his lyrics just clever enough to keep "Forgotten Lots" from falling into this trap. His unique wit, combined with the band's superb musicianship that seamlessly blends jazz, blues, rock, and a healthy dollop of '60's style pop, makes "Forgotten Lots" a great album for those that enjoy their music a tad quirky and well-crafted. (Todd Harrison)

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"Weird Al" gives the new CD a thumbs up: "I've been listening to Forgotten Lots in my car all week and having a lot of fun with it. I hear a definite Zappa influence on several songs - very cool!" - Al Yankovic, August 5, 2005

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Smother.net http://www.smother.net/reviews/world.php3?ID=323

"Oh puns. How we love you. But the Auto Body Experience isn't just a clever pun. They're a hyper-active rock-n-roll band that uses catchy pop hooks to its advantage and manages to have great results. They employ liberal use of brass instruments like saxophone and trumpet along with interesting additions like t-bone, bassoon, vintage keyboards, and a myriad of Latin and orchestral percussion. The vocals are light and keep it fun with bouncy and sometimes hilarious lyrics. Check 'em out, NPR's Fresh Air has already!" (J-Sin)

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The Evolution of Media http://www.eomentertainment.com/artists/The_Auto_Body_Experience/Forgotten_Lots.shtml

"Since the beginning of the rock 'n roll (1950's) era, on through to the present day, one truism is that talent can spring from almost any city or town in America. This theory has been proven time and again, as illustrated by such previously unlikely locales as Omaha, Nebraska, Phoenix, Stockton, California, Portland, Oregon, Seattle, and, of course, Athens, Georgia. Now we can officially add St. Paul, Minnesota to the list, thanks to the Auto Body Experience.

Forgotten Lots is the 4th album from this bunch of Midwestern madmen, masterminded by Scott Yoho who sings lead vocals, plays guitar, and writes the songs. Ah yes, the songs. When the songs have these kind of titles--"A Cave Beneath My Cube", "Copernicus Was Wrong", "Terry Gross" (the host of Public Radio's "Fresh Air" show), and "The Man Beneath the Stairs"--the only thing a listener can do is just sit back and enjoy the insanity.

But there's method to this madness; Yoho's Beatle-esque/'60s radio pop (I'm thinking of the Buckinghams) sensibilities serve him well and the band is up to the task of playing his sophisticated melodies. One of things that make this band stand out is their self-contained horn section, comprised of Max Wendt (saxophone) and Tom Twiss (trumpet, flugelhorn, and the memorable subject of "Tom Fixed His Spit Valve Spring"); but the rhythm section of Tom Larson (bass), Trey ZehrGrimm (keyboards), Kent Peterson (percussion), and Dean White (drums) more than hold up their end as well.

Well played and sung songs, with witty, brainy, and universal lyrics ("EDAJTC" stands for Everyone Deserves a Job That's Challenging, a sentiment we can all relate to), what more does one need? When it comes to Forgotten Lots by the Auto Body Experience, nothing!" 4.5 STARS (Reviewed By Gina)

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Music Morsels http://www.serge.org/1005albumcapsules.htm

"The horn driven rock sound from this veteran Minneapolis act does not have the metallic ska thump of the Bosstones or Less Than Jake, but it rocks of its own accord. With more jazzy, bluesy and classic rock influences, the ear pleasing musical backdrop allows you to also pay attention to the often wickedly humorous lyrics. Songs like Everyone's Fault, the Otis Redding meets Phish Inside Out and the driving Terry Gross are a few of the real stand outs."

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Twin Cities radio station The Current (89.3)

The Morning Show hosts Dale Connelly and Jim Ed Poole played seven songs off Forgotten Lots during the week of our CD Release Party http://minnesota.publicradio.org/radio/programs/morning_show/listings/2005/08/08

The Local Show host Chris plays "a Cave Beneath My Cube" and discusses the band with David de Young from howwastheshow.com http://minnesota.publicradio.org/radio/programs/local_music_with_chris_roberts/

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ink19.com http://www.ink19.com/issues/january2006/musicReviews/musicA/autoBodyExperience.html/

Occasionally, I get a disc I fall in love with on the first bar of music. Auto Body Experience's Forgotten Lots grabbed me immediate with its jazzy, funny "Cave Beneath My Cube." There's a story, great lyrics and a well-played, enjoyable sound, making for a transcendental listening experience. Auto Body Experience consists of 7 guys from St. Paul, MN. Besides being fine musicians, they have a clear sense of humor. Kent Peterson does the Auxiliary Percussion, Tom Twiss runs the flugelhorn and Scott Yoho handles group memorization. Heck, anyone can have a guitarist and a drummer, but here we have a band with a Professional Crowd Augmenter.

I think it's the material that grabs me. When not playing Anoka and the greater-Hibbing area, these boys have Dilbert-style desk jobs, and one of them seems to have had a fling with Resusi-Annie. These are my kind of guys, worrying about spit valves and blaming the world for every minor personal failure. In a way, these guys are a bit like They Might Be Giants, but with softer lyrics and a larger sound. Drop this on the player for your next second date, and see how things go. (Carl F Gauze)

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ImpactPress.com http://www.impactpress.com/articles/winter06/musicrwinter06.html

What an inventive record this is! This is side-splittingly comic rock that is heavy on the horns. They're all about capturing the zeitgeist of middle class American life, poking fun at a variety of topics, such as office life, childhood, science, and the pathways underneath Disney World. It sounds at times inspired by Mr. Bungle, with the way the horns lead the music down some truly bizarre pathways. More fun than shaking a wet stick at an old dog. (Don Pflaster).

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Star Tribune http://www.startribune.com/919/story/150771.html

In a year-end article titled "the critics' ballots", freelancer Tom Surowicz lists Forgotten Lots as the #6 album of the year, and Six Friends as the #1 song of the year.

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HowWasTheShow.com http://www.startribune.com/919/story/150771.html

Auto Body Experience (Friday, March 31st, 2006, O'Gara's Garage, St. Paul) review by Maren Amdal

The Saint Paul smoking ban went into effect at 12:01 a.m. on Friday March 31, and, being a person who values my lungs, I drove across the river to vote with my dollars in support of the new ban. O'Gara's Garage was completely empty when I arrived at 8:45 to hear Auto Body Experience, but by the time their set started at 9:00 p.m. sharp, as promised, the room was full. It was an interesting mix of people; working class folks and college-aged kids, as well as a handful of white-haired couples showed up to see a band they all seemed more than just familiar with.

The show started with a quick sound check and a short, upbeat song, "The Auto Body Experience," which simultaneously introduced the band and gave every one of the seven members an opportunity to double check their mikes. Sax player Max Wendt, who joined the band in 1994, had driven out from his new home in Wisconsin to play his last gig with Auto Body Experience. After the first song, band leader Scott Yoho took advantage of an opportunity to create a few comedic moments. Max was presented with a band parting gift - an official Cheese-Head - and Scott read an email from Max's mother in-law reminding Max that he now lives only two hours from his in-laws. The easy banter created a connection with the audience, and showed how comfortable the band is together.

Two catchy songs later, including an apparent audience favorite "Cave Beneath my Cube," the band realized that none of Kent Peterson's (percussion and vocals) mikes were working, but remedied the problem quickly and smoothly moved onto the next song. The performance seemed to fly by - the songs were well-arranged, well-paced and interspersed with rippin' solos.

Seamless transitions between musical styles within and between songs created interest and kept the audience listening to lyrics like, "Science has shown that the whole world revolves around you," from the edgy-bluesy song "Copernicus Was Wrong." One song that everyone seemed happy to hear was "Tom Fixed His Spit Valve Spring," a funny spoken word tune about an experience trumpet player Tom Twiss (trumpet, flugelhorn and vocals) had in 2001 when his trumpet spit valve had broken on the way to a gig and he repaired it with duct tape.

Witty lyrics, tasteful reverb and well-arranged back up vocals added color and flavor to a performance already driven with two percussionists and a rockin' keyboard player (Trey ZehrGrimm, keyboards and vocals). During one song, the lyrics referred to "A Taste of Honey," and the horns cleverly slid in a melodic line from the well-known jazz song. A dash of swing in this horn-driven rock band was not surprising, but was so well done I was reminded of Cherry Poppin' Daddies and Big Bad Voodoo Daddy.

I was also reminded several times during the show of the Bare Naked Ladies, both because of fairly serious and intelligent lyrics set in comedic songs like "Holes," and the band's tight vocal sound. With a hint of Zappa, a bit of the Beatles, and a lead voice reminiscent of Weird Al, this group of stellar musicians is as humble as they come. Their easy rapport evidenced their tremendous respect for one another and created an environment where everyone, on stage and off, could just enjoy the music.

The house beer was not the best; the Cork Brown Ale tasted too much like Sassy Sandy's Belgium Wheat and that wasn't a good thing. My friend described it this way: "It tastes like the Canterbury tales would smell." The sound system was slightly louder than deafening, but that is just this gal's opinion. And I was slightly less impressed with The Root City Band, who was up after Auto Body Experience. It was a bit of a let down to go from the intensity and energy of a long established seven piece band with horns to the younger, less-experienced, smooth-vocal, bluesy four-chord-song-style of Root City Band. Alex Rossi, who fronts Root City Band, has a great voice, and a good style. I liked the Root City Band well enough - I just had a hard time transitioning from such a great "Auto Body Experience." For just an hour-long set, the brilliant orchestration and flexible professional musicians made this band an easy pleasure to listen to. It was my first Auto Body Experience; I'm hooked.

Dave Romm http://www.romm.org/CD4.html#mpls05

My friend Laurel has recommended many great groups I'd never heard of, the most recent is The Auto Body Experience (who are from St. Paul, but that's close enough) They've been performing for over a decade, and I got their most recent CD.

Forgotten Lots combines Big Band arrangements with bouncy rock tunes, Beatles-like background harmonies and a gentle sense of humor. Imagine Wayne Newton channeling Dilbert, sort of. Scott Yoho is the lead singer "and frequent memorization seminar participation" who wrote all the songs and did the arrangements. Scott wants to be interviewed by NPR's Terry Gross. When he gets a bad grade in class it's Everyone's Fault but his own. He wants to leave his job to come home to Six Friends which Scott says is about beer but a band member from Wisconsin interpreted as "that Dahmer song." Many of the songs are comments about Scott at his day job. For his music gig in 1992, "the crowd demanded both Herb Alpert and some Polka" so Tom Fixed His Spit Valve Spring. He conscientiously took a CPR course and promptly fell in love with Annie.

Forgotten Lots is an unexpected pleasure, since I usually know about guys like these but they were under my radar. I've been hanging out with musicians at sf cons, and tend not to go to bars to hear music; my loss, I guess. I've already played a cut on Shockwave: Guess which one. Recommended; more than iPw. Note to self: Get the other three Auto Body Experience CDs.

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