The Auto Body Experience is a horn-driven rock band from St. Paul, Minnesota. They play off-kilter songs written by bandleader Scott Yoho. The lyrics are often humorous and typically cover unusual topics. They might discuss digging tunnels under workplace cubes, disprove theories of heliocentric solar systems, or fondly recall CPR manikins. Stylistically, the music ranges from cartoon jazz to ska, Latin to guitar-driven pop, and reggae to gospel - often all within the course of one song.
The band formed in 1989. Since then they've shared the stage with such swell artists as Adrian Belew, Brave Combo, Dread Zeppelin, Moxy Fruvous, and Something Fierce. On 8/17/05 Scott Yoho's life goal was achieved when he was interviewed by Terry Gross on Fresh Air. Scott and the band have also been played on other national radio shows like Dr. Demento, Car Talk, The Splendid Table (they do have a cheese song), and were once heard on CNBC. Michael Feldman's What D'Ya Know has featured Auto Body Experience CDs as booby prizes. The band has toured across three states, been featured on nearly every Twin Cities radio station, and performed at most local venues. Some places have even had them back a second time.
In '89 the band was a quartet. Now it's a septet. There are two prevailing theories about this growth. The first is that it's an attempt to have the number of current members remain higher than the number of members who have quit over the years, maintaining a positive turn-over ratio, thus de-emphasizing the fact that the bandleader is a tyrannical megalomaniac and impossible to work with. The second theory has to do with the continual expansion of the universe, and is just plain silly. Their initial plan of world-wide pop domination has been continually revised over time. Today they aspire to earn enough at each gig to cover the cost of sending out their promotional postcards.
Tom Larson has toured all across the United States as well as Brazil, as a sound engineer and tour manager. He's publicly amplified music by the late Michael Hedges and his bass phenom cohort Michael Manring, the Cape Cod singer-songwriter Patty Larkin, and local greats Tina and the B-sides. As a roadie for Total Music Systems he's hob-knobbed with the likes of David Bowie, Van Morrison, Shirley MacClaine, and Kidd Rock. For Tom, however, the pinnacle of name-dropping is the fact that he is a close personal friend of David J. Russ. Recently he won a poker bet with Rob Meany, forcing Rob to let him rain down deep bass in Rob's band Terramara.
Since inspiring "Tom Is Late", Tom has worked hard to disprove allegations made in the song. In response to the line: "He's single, he's unemployed, he's fine!" Tom married and got a job. But he's still tardy. Tom, his wife Mary, their daughter Siri, and two gigantic Akitas (Indigo and Joe), live in an unassuming home in an otherwise quiet, secluded neighborhood, not unlike members of the witness relocation program.
Other than the fact that he has a large group of Lutheran female fans, not much is known about Kent Peterson. While he plays percussion and sings in the ABE, he's also been sighted playing the bass in other Twin Cities groups. Scott can personally vouch for having seen Kent perform with Tubby Esquire, JJ's Zydeco Paydirt, and the Explodo Tones (with Dean White and Scott's pal Nate Westgor). Beyond that Kent's a man shrouded in mystery -- the kind of man who would conveniently "forget" to submit his biographical information to the webmaster, just as Al Capone simply forgot to pay his taxes.
Tom Twiss plays trumpet, sings back up vocals, does some light percussion, and is responsible for the band's flash cards.
In high school, the underage Tom Twiss received a jazz scholarship from Southern Comfort. He says it was a very influential event. Tom started at St. Olaf College as a music major, but realizing his limited earnings future, switched to the lucrative field of Philosophy. Later, desiring to double his wealth potential, we went back and finished the music major also. Despite his classical background, he still enjoys playing the Auto Body's "devil music."
Tom's attendance at jazz and classical master classes/camps have included those by Clark Terry, Alan Dean, Jay Sollenberger, Joe Williams, Chris Woods, and Chuck Mangione (no kidding!). He's played with only a few local bands (Tina and the B Sides, Vic Volare) because the Auto Body is the only band really willing to "hire" him (and we use that term loosely).
Max Wendt plays the saxophones in the band. He's played with various twin cities jazz groups, including the Things quartet with fellow Auto Body alum Jim Guckenberg. Max has also played with Tina and The B-Sides and Vic Volare. Max played a gig with the Tommy Dorsey big band, but he's not supposed to admit that, as it would reveal the fact that it was a pick-up band that night and not the real thing. Once he ALMOST played in the Green Bay Packers' sideline band.
Max went to the Lawrence Conservatory of Music in Appleton Wisconsin (where he DID play a concert with Charlie Haden) and received degrees in saxophone performance with an emphasis in jazz and music education. He now has a day job as a mad scientist.
Max, his wife Laura, and their daughter Julia live with Moses (the black lab who used to pace the fence) and Kobe (the Shepard mix who Moses makes pace the fence for him).
Dean White played piano at age 6, but by the time he was 10, switched to drums to meet chicks. Early on he learned how it feels to play to an empty room, perhaps in part because his high school rock band was named "Sold Out". While studying at UWS he was further disappointed to discover that pianists get more chicks than drummers.
Dean did stints in LA (studying at MIT) and Vegas, where he was the original drummer for the still-running "Legends in Concert" show. He traveled to Japan to play with Toshifumi Hinata in "Apple", and moved back to the Midwest in a misguided attempt to lead a sane life. In addition to the ABE, Dean plays in a variety of cover/ original/jazz/ rock/ R&B groups. Today he lives with his son and some swinging chicks (his wife and daughter).
Scott Yoho plays guitar, performs the lead vocals (not to be confused with singing, which is more pitch-based), and writes the music, lyrics, and horn arrangements for the group. He accomplishes this in the spare time gained by watching no TV whatsoever. (Bullwinkle on DVD is fair game, however.)
Scott is a graduate of Brainerd High School, MIT (no, not the Massachusetts school that would ensure increased earning power and prestige, - The Musician's Institute of Technology in Hollywood, California), and the University of Minnesota where he got one of those lame "make-up-your-own-free-love-kind-of-program" undergraduate degrees after nine years rigorous study.
Scott has been featured in Guitar Player Magazine, nominated for Minnesota Music Awards, toured with 60's pop star Gene Pitney, and played his fair share of radio and TV commercials, wedding gigs, and similar tuxedo-clad shenanigans. His pant leg once appeared on Entertainment Tonight.
Scott lives with his wife Becca and their pound-mutt Snickers, who is renowned for his ability to climb up on the counter and eat up assorted ink pens, entire closed bottles of prescription antibiotics, and full bunches of bananas. Scott, Becca, & Snickers expect the arrival of their first human baby this September.
Trey ZehrGrimm sings and plays keyboards in the Auto Body Experience as well as numerous other groups (many including members of his bizarrely musical family), and is a coworker (and former subordinate) of Mr. Yoho. He grew up on the road in a lounge band headed by his parents, and never fully recovered from the experience. Once planning to use his Biochemistry degree to go into criminal forensics, he hoped to become the first ever lounge-lizard coroner.
Some of his musical interests and influences are (in no particular order) Monk, Brubeck, TMBG, Phish, Beatles, Weird Al, Cake and the Swedish Chef. When not playing music, he enjoys playing cards, writing "alternate" lyrics to existing songs, obsessing over the Minnesota Twins, watching CSI and spending far too much time in front of a PS2.
Trey survived living in Wisconsin, and has recently escaped to South Minneapolis where he resides with his wife, Jennifer, and a sizable menagerie headed up by Molly, the laziest Basset Hound on the planet.