The Knights of the Auto Order Proudly Present: The Auto Body Estimate: Vol. II, #100, June 2010

This email marks the one hundredth Auto Body Estimate. The first was sent, by postcard, in December of 1990. Click here for a glimpse of all past estimates.

Two of the venues mentioned in that first missive, Fernando's and Crossroads, have fallen by the wayside, but not the Auto Body Experience. Well, okay, I am the only remaining member of the 1990 version of the band, but let's not get fussy.See the various iterations of the band here.

You can see where this is headed, can't you? It's a like a clip-show episode of the Simpsons, where the entire program is created by pasting together excerpts from old episodes. Well, as Bart Simpson hypocritically wrote on the chalkboard of the 100th Simpsons episode, "I will not celebrate meaningless milestones."

Recycling old bits isn't the only thing the Auto Body Experience has in common with America's favorite non-prehistoric cartoon family. We both hold humor in high esteem, which is good because we both are populated with funny looking characters. We also share longevity: their first episode aired within a year of our first gig (which I believe was at the 400 Bar on Sunday, September 23, 1990).

A lot has happened in the intervening decades. My grandmother used to have a sign on her wall that said: "Experience is the comb life gives you after you lose your hair." My variation is: "Farsightedness is the gift life gives you when hairs begin growing out of the top of your nose." Hey, what I can t see can t hurt me, right?

My social life has certainly changed. I used to visit bars and parties more regularly, and I used to drink a lot more at both. Unfortunately I never drank enough to forget what happened, only enough to say all sorts of stupid things I'd regret the next day. Oh, how I would curse the demon alcohol: "Why did I say THAT?"

Today it's all I can do to leave the house after sunset, thanks in part to toddler-induced sleep deprivation. I don't dare drink once I get somewhere or I'll instantly fall asleep. Sadly, I still say all sorts of stupid things I regret the next day, only now I don't even have alcohol as an excuse.

"Oh, that was the carbonation talking, man!"

The changes aren't all bad. In my more social past if I was attracted to a woman, and didn't muster up the courage to try to flirt with her, I'd regret it later and feel like a complete social failure. Today with each averted flirt, I become more successful as a faithful husband. And I am a wonderful husband, at least on the monogamy scale, if not so much on the guitar budgeting side of things.

What else has changed?

The band has changed. Not just the individuals themselves, but the number of members as well. In 1990 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 I am 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.

I swiped that last paragraph, Simpsons-style, from our website. Perhaps I've grown lazier as well.

Well, to combat that laziness, we've booked two gigs for July. Coming up very soon on Thursday, July 1 we'll play a free, lunchtime, all ages show on the Northrup Mall at the University of Minnesota. We'll start at high noon and play a one hour set with trumpeter extraordinaire Dan Frankowski.

Then on Friday, July 9, we'll return to our beloved Eagles Club (2507 E 25th St, Minneapolis: 612-729-4469) where the cover is $5 and we'll play two sets starting at 8 PM.

Two gigs in the month qualifies as busy? I think I just exposed the secret to our longevity.

Love, Scott Yoho, Grand Pooh Bah, The Knights of the Auto Order

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