The Knights of the Auto Order Proudly Present: The Auto Body Estimate: Vol. II, #46, May 2001


I recently attended a jazz brunch where a trio of piano, drums, and upright bass performed. While largely apathetic to the piano and drums, the audience seemed particularly responsive to the bass solos, applauding appreciatively as they concluded. Sensing this, the band began to feature the bassist, and his solos became more frequent and progressively longer.

I felt sorry for the guy - he undoubtedly thought he was having an "on" gig, and was really connecting with the crowd. In reality the audience was encouraging him only because his instrument wasn't very loud, and his solos provided a welcome window of opportunity where they could hear each other speak.

Although playing with the Auto Body Experience, even when shoehorned into two booths at a converted Taco Johns, is always fun, many music gigs can be quite unpleasant. I am thinking, or course, of my experience in playing wedding receptions, where I have, on occasion, been ashamed of the choice of music, its execution, my sorry post-retirement rental tux, and the fact that on our last break one table asked if I'd take their dishes away.

But there are even more demeaning jobs. I saw the conclusion of a NASCAR race the other day. All cameras were focused on the winners' circle. Behind the head of the victorious driver were several grown men bouncing into the frame holding up boxes of the products they're trying to promote; in this specific case boxes of Cheese-Its. While this job undoubtedly pays better than mine, offers travel options, and even gets you into a lot of stock car races, it seems to lack the honor and dignity of even the lowly wedding band guitarist/busboy.

Talk of reduced honor and dignity always makes me think of politics. My friend Nate thinks that whenever a politician speaks on TV, instead of the on-screen captions listing things like their political party affiliation and constituency, their sponsorship should be listed, something like: "Senator Jesse Helms, brought to you by Standard Oil, Dow Chemical, and Hostess Cupcakes." I'd add that their major contributors' names should be emblazoned predominantly on their outer garments as well, just like NASCAR racers. If a side effect is that such garments are unattractive, perhaps future interns will be spared from scandals. Additionally, if we could force lobbyists to jump up and down at all televised political events, holding up boxes of crackers in a demeaning fashion, I wouldn't feel too bad for them, provided they were spared from singing "The Wind Beneath My Wings".

Time for my last political comment of the month. A mandatory waiting period has recently been suggested for abortions as well as gun purchases. In spineless fear of offending potential CD purchasers, I won't express my views on either of those topics, but I do think there are many situations where a legal waiting period would be an excellent idea. Certain hair colors or styles might require a waiting period, undoubtedly, as well as any urge to vote Republican, wear lyrca slacks, or miss either of our next two gigs. We're playing at the Uptown bar on Thursday, May 10 before Terramara, and again on Thursday, June 28 with Joylab. Both gigs have us playing first (9:00-ish) and feature just two bands, so we'll get a little more time to stretch out, perhaps even with some bass solos (provided they're well-received).

-Scott Yoho, Grand Pooh-Bah, Knights Of The Auto Order

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