Odd Man Out
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Odd Man Out

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"A Few Reviews"




-The Village Voice-------------------------------------------------------------------------------


Puberty Rocks, Even Ask Mom


Florida young´uns prove punk-pop isn´t just for old people
April 13, 2004 Village Voice


Odd Man Out
CB´s Gallery
April 10


No one in Odd Man Out is older than 16, and on Saturday they played 45 minutes of originals with a look and sound that some idiot marketing exec would probably call "Hanson With an Edge!"—really, though, it was more like a living, breathing "Green Day: The Early Years," from lead singer Louis Johnson´s sinusy voice to the way Mike Huber attacked his cymbals with sticks as long as his torso (he´s maybe five feet tall). The kid´s got a let´s-call-it-flexible sense of rhythm totally befitting someone who´s currently on the business end of the puberty bat, but with the help of Kyle Krakow (fro´d-out bassist) and Mike´s brother Matthew (taciturn guitar), he pulled off some pretty advanced hooks.

"15 Minutes" was angsty, "Average Guy" merry punk, and that kind of reggae-sounding beat in "Used to Know" is called ska, boys and girls. Plus, the acoustic "Evermore" was an interesting Jackopierce change of pace (sooo high school: "Trying to avoid you/ when walking down the hall"). Their smashup of "Barbara Ann" and Jet´s "Are You Gonna Be My Girl" was freakin´ ambitious—and damn close to perfect.

In town for one night only before returning home to open for Cyndi Lauper, the West Palm Beach teens and South Florida Battle of the Band champions filled CB´s Gallery to the rafters: Sisters pogoed alongside the stage, perma-tanned dads shouted "Rock the house!!" and moms manned video cameras in the balcony. A group of college-age aggro guys started screaming and throwing signs of the devil about two-thirds of the way through the set; they might have been mocking the boys, but what-ever. Odd Man Out just smiled blissfully under their moppy bangs, because this was CBGB, dude, and it was packed, and that´s what rock ´n´ roll is all about. And when Louis yelled, "Thank You New York!!" you had to grin, too, because you know he´s wanted to say that his whole life—all 15 years of it. He gave me a T-shirt after the show and, OMG, can I just tell you? I´m, like, totally crushing right now.

WHITNEY PASTOREK




-The Palm Beach Post-------------------------------------------------------------------------------


Odd Man Out is not your average boy band


April 9, 2004 Palm Beach Post
BYLINE: LESLIE GRAY STREETER, Palm Beach Post Staff Writer DATE: April 9, 2004 PUBLICATION: Accent Section, Palm Beach Post.com



Like a lot of guys in rock bands, Louis Johnson doesn't have a car, works only part time and lives at home with his mom and dad.

His group routinely takes over his folks' tasteful Wellington living room, tucking a drum kit, amps and microphone stands where the couch is supposed to be. If you're not careful, you could trip on the maze of cords running across the carpet, near the Johnson family's kitchen, where Louis' mom has prepared a lovely lasagna.

While your typical twentysomething band slacker might justify this sweet set-up with some hooey about needing to focus on his art rather than commerce, Louis Johnson has a better excuse -- he's 15 years old.

Louis has a learner's permit, and his part-time gig teaching music lessons is secondary to his full-time gig as a high school freshman. And because he's too young to sign a lease, moving out of mama's house is pretty much out of the question.

These guys aren't slackers either. The punk-ish/rock-ish/pop-ish quartet Odd Man Out -- guitarist Louis, drummer Michael Huber, 15, Michael's brother Matthew, 16, and bassist Kyle Krakow, 14 -- are among the hardest-working teens in Palm Beach County show business.

These Wellington and Royal Palm Beach kids are veterans of local gigs ranging from birthday parties to family festivals. They're winners of several "battle of the bands" competitions, including one at the 2003 South Florida Fair.

The boys are opening for Cyndi Lauper at SunFest next month, and they make their New York City debut Saturday night at CB's Gallery, part of the legendary punk palace CBGB in the Bowery.



And, oh yeah, they're probably the only guys in school ever to have Bruce Springsteen attend one of their concerts (at a Royal Palm green market, no less).



The novelty of their youth might get people to their shows. But members of the band, whose third album, Off the Beat'n Path, is getting airplay on WFCF 88.5 FM at St. Augustine's Flagler College, say that's not what keeps them there.

"People might look at us, see we're younger people and think, 'Let's just clap because they're young,' " Michael Huber says. "But we're good."

Battle of the Bands judges, booking agents and at least one New York City music reporter seem to agree. But Odd Man Out has more than vocal and instrumental chops. They have an easy, comfortable stage presence, seen last weekend at a technologically imperfect but enthusiastic appearance at a family festival at Sound Advice Amphitheatre.

"Everybody, let's jump!" Matt screams during their encore, Storybook, and immediately a row of seven or eight jeans-wearing and mini-skirted chicks in the front row of Sound Advice's secondary stage begin pogo-ing up and down as if on a spring. Much screaming ensues.



Suffice to say, the kids aren't bad looking. And the girls have noticed.

"Should I have them sign my shirt?" Kaylee Arcadipane, 14, of Wellington, asks her friends as they crowd around a picnic table where the band is signing autographs.

"They're really good," confirms Kaylee's friend Deborah Ackerman, also 14 and of Wellington, who's followed Louis' musical career since his last band, The Supermonkeys, "played at Louis' bar mitzvah."

While their talent and goofy, good-natured personalities make them fun to watch, Odd Man Out relies on a supportive crew, otherwise known as their parents. Their music teacher, Melody Stuart, is their manager. Louis' dad, Al, a former professional musician, is their engineer, and Louis' mom, Shallie, provides food for the rehearsals.

Band dads Dr. Elliot Krakow and Rich Huber help to carry and set up gear, while band moms Morgan Krakow and Grace Huber make sure everyone's wearing ear plugs, drinking enough water and having fun. They even occasionally drive rideless fans back to Wellington.

"We try to keep this in perspective," Rich Huber says, relaxing in the relative quiet of the Johnson's patio during a recent rehearsal, which is going only until 10 p.m., because it's a school night.

"We want everything for them, but there are a million bands out there. So they have other things on the back burner," he says. "They have other interests, but they love music, and this forces them to spend time with their parents."

"It's like a parent might be if their kid played soccer," Elliot Krakow says. "I'm not rooting against anybody. I'm just rooting for my kid and for the band."



Brother factor

The Odd Man Out story, like that of the Kinks or Oasis, starts with two brothers: Matt and Michael Huber. The boys, who took lessons at Boomer's Music in Wellington, needed a bassist for a showcase they were going to play. They went through five bassists "who weren't as interested in being in a band as we were," Michael says.

Enter Kyle Krakow, who had known Louis for years but hadn't seen him much until he entered Bak Middle School of the Arts, where Louis was in seventh-grade. "He was this little sixth-grader, and he came up to me and said, 'Hey, what bands do you listen to?' " Louis remembers.

The two old friends found they had a passion for punkish rock, and Kyle happened to accompany Louis to an Odd Man Out rehearsal where another bassist wasn't working out. Kyle, who'd recently started playing again after "getting a bass on my 10th birthday and getting bored with it," nailed the part.

"Kyle's a freak with the bass," Michael confirms.

When the band started two years ago, they mostly did covers, but now their material is largely original, with each of the band members tapping into his teen-boy soul to create songs. As a band, the members all share a love of the arts -- Kyle's a visual artist, Louis is a vocal major, Michael is into photography and Matthew likes making videos.

And in unintentional romantic solidarity, "we were all dumped by girls within two weeks of each other," Matt says. "But we're not sad. We make fun of breakup songs."

Although very much a group, each guy in Odd Man Out has a distinct personality. At risk of starting internal band conflict by typifying them, it appears that Louis is the quirky, creative one, Kyle's the loud, crazed bassist with the mane of dark, Slash-like curls, Michael's the cute, gonzo drummer and Matthew's the slightly brooding, deep one.

Odd Man Out
The one with that wild, flying hair!
Kyle Krakow, bass and vocals, Wellington
Age: 14
School: Eighth-grader, Bak Middle School of the Arts
Influences: Rancid, Flea of Red Hot Chili Peppers
Favorite Album: Disc two of Vans Warped Tour 2003, featuring Rage against the Machine.
Fun fact: Didn't pick up a guitar until two years ago.

The one with the cool glasses!
Louis Johnson, guitar and vocals, Wellington
Age: 15
School: Ninth-grader, Dreyfoos School of the Arts
Influences: Rancid, The Beatles and bandmate Matt, ´because we all want to be Mathew. We´re always trying to equal him.´
Favorite Album: Rancid, Life Won't Wait; The Beatles, ´either Help, Revolver or the one with Strawberry Fields.´
Fun fact: His first band, The Supermonkeys, played his bar mitzvah.


The sensitive one!
Matt Huber, guitar and vocals, Royal Palm Beach
Age: 16
School: 11th-grader, Royal Palm Beach High School
Influences: Green Day, Offspring, Less Than Jake
Favorite Album: Rancid, . . . And Out Come the Wolves; Green Day, Dookie
Fun fact: Was on way home from a bus trip to Sea World when he got the news the band was playing CBGB. He got so excited ´I threw the phone in the air, and it wasn´t even my phone.´


The crazy drummer!
Michael Huber, drums and vocals, Royal Palm Beach
Age: 15
School: Ninth-grader, Royal Palm Beach High School
Influences: Chad Sexton of 311
Favorite Album: Taking Back Sunday, Tell All Your Friends
Fun fact: Answered Mom's cellphone when Bruce Springsteen called.



Greg Lovett / The Palm Beach Post
Odd Man Out performs at the Spring Family Festival at the Sound Advice Amphitheater on April 4.

• Audio: Listen to Odd Man Out
• Video: Watch the band´s video
• SunFest: Band to play on Friday, April 30

"I write songs about life," says Michael, lyricist of Imaginary Me, whose chorus goes, "The fountain of youth/ forever young/ Our lives have just begun/ because we're forever young."

Meanwhile, Louis clarifies that "Matt's songs are kind of teen angsty" -- as evidenced in his I Got Dumped ("I got dumped/ but it's OK/ I'm over it.")

Not that Matthew corners the market on emoting -- other sample lyrics include "Loneliness is all I feel when you're gone" (from Kyle's Chains) and "I know everything about you/ Your favorite color's red/ And I'm messed up in the head for even tryin' " (from Louis' Storybook).

"Most of us write the music first and then the lyrics, which is why we sometimes forget the words," Kyle says.

When that happens, the band says, they take it in stride, because they're all friends. And unlike the Kinks' Davies boys or Oasis hooligans Noel and Liam Gallagher, neither the Hubers nor any other band members have had disagreements that require medical attention.

"It's really rare. All of the families have two kids each, and none of them hate each other," says Shallie Johnson, Louis' mom.


Disciplined schedule

For the past two years, the guys have kept to a regular practice schedule, hitting competitions, showcases, festivals, birthday parties -- "anywhere that would let us play," Matthew says.

And Saturday, CBGB is letting them play, which is a big deal not only to the boys, all fans of the Ramones and The Clash, who played there in the 1970s, but just a big deal in general.

"I would be nervous if it wasn't all of us together," Kyle says.

CBGB's assistant booking agent Aaron Collins says he listens to 25-50 demos a week. Only about five of those groups will ever play at one of CBGB's stages.

"You could tell there was a lot of talent for their age. We don't get that many bands this young, because typically they're not really ready to play out yet. Most younger bands just sound like noise. (Odd Man Out) is beyond their years," Collins says. "New Yorkers recognize talent when they see it."

More New Yorkers might get a chance to express their opinion now that the influential Village Voice newspaper put the boys' appearance on the "Voice Choices" section of its Web site. Louis found an e-mail address for Voice freelancer Whitney Pastorek and invited her to check the band out.

Intrigued, the writer says, she asked for a CD and liked what she heard.

"I thought their Web site and press materials in general were adorable, and I was happy to discover that their CD wasn't half bad," Pastorek wrote via e-mail. "But more than that, I was fascinated by the music scene in Florida... where teenagers compete against adults in Battle of the Bands competitions, where (they) get a chance to open for Cyndi Lauper, where their parents are their roadies and let them come to New York City during the school year to play a show at CBGB's!"

Odd Man Out, and their parents, are trying to keep their burgeoning success in perspective. So far, no one's planning to go solo or develop an unbearable ego, and they're looking forward to Saturday's New York show "even if no one's there," Matt says.

Once they've conquered CBGB, the boys are setting their sights on the rest of America -- "I can't wait until our first tour," Michael says excitedly. "That's gonna be chaos. Nonstop chaos!"

Ah, but before chaos comes homework, plus more local gigs, more family dinners and more time to make sure they get it right. Meanwhile, Odd Man Out says they just want to keep it simple.

After all, "we don't want to forget what it's about," Kyle says sagely, nodding his curly head. "It's all about the music."

Spoken like a true rock star.

leslie_streeter@pbpost.com


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The Boss drops in on band, courtesy of Mom


April 9, 2004 Palm Beach Post
BYLINE: LESLIE GRAY STREETER, Palm Beach Post Staff Writer DATE: April 9, 2004 PUBLICATION: Accent Section, Palm Beach Post.com

At their March 13 gig at the Veterans Park Green Market in Royal Palm Beach, Odd Man Out welcomed a special audience member; Rock legend Bruce Springsteen.

Apparently, The Boss, who visits Florida each year when his daughter rides in the Winter Equestrian Festival, works out at Ultima Fitness in Wellington. And that´s where Grace Huber, mother of Odd Man Out drummer Michael and guitarist Matthew, is a personal trainer.

"I went up to him and said, ´I work here, and my boys are in a band,´ "Grace Huber said, "He was really nice. I told him about CBGB´s and that they were playing a gig locally. He asked for directions."

Alas, Springsteen didn´t make it to that gig, although Grace Huber says he asked about it the next time he saw her. He even asked about their next gig - "But he didn't come that time either," she said, "And then he went back north."

So imagine Michael Huber´s surprise when, a few weeks later, "we were in the car, and my mom´s cellphone rang, I answered it and (I hear) ´Hello, is Grace Huber there?´ I said, ´Yes,´ and he said, ´This is Bruce Springsteen.´ "

The third time, apparently, was the charm, because The Boss was coming back to town. And he finally caught the teen group´s act, got his picture taken with them and chatted about music- -- he knows a thing or two about being in a band, after all.

"My mom was freaking out," bassist Kyle Krakow reports.

"And my guidance counselor saw the picture and said, ´He touched your shoulder!´ " guitarist Louis Johnson added, "She was hyperventilating."

The boys admit that before meeting Springsteen they might not have recognized his face, "but we all knew he was famous, and a rock star," Louis says, "He was nice."

Grace Huber says Springsteen, who she says has since called to say hello, thought the boys were pretty nice, too -"He said he really enjoyed it. And he went out of his way to come see them," she says. "I think it meant a lot to them."

©leslie_streeter@pbpost.com


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Odd Man Out - The Village Voice & The Palm Beach Post & more...


"Subtropical Spin"

SUBTROPICAL
Subtropical Spin

Sound of Adrenaline (EC Records)
By Jonathan Zwickel

Published: Thursday, May 12, 2005


Good punk is all about vintage. Squeeze the grape before it's ripe and the result is tart and shallow; let it stay on the vine too long and the fruit loses its freshness and vitality. The juice coming from the Wellington four-piece Odd Man Out is at its prime -- just old enough to know the frustrations of maturity, still young enough to stay optimistic and enthusiastic about getting over them. Sound of Adrenaline is Odd Man Out's first studio full-length, revealing a band immediately in touch with all its promise and talent. These kids can blow a bubble-gum line like "I am just a boy, and I don't know how to dance" and follow it up a few tracks later with a clever, piss-off rant called "I Don't Care Anymore" -- a song of smirking liberation that includes a "Yankee Doodle" riff and the self-deprecating complaint "People say the lyrics are too emo -- emo standing for emotional." While Regis and Kelly, who hosted OMO on their morning show last year, might want you to believe this is a bunch of teenagers in a novelty band, the depth of songwriting, self-aware wit, and serpentine vocal arrangements prove the group is far more nuanced. There's just enough pop in this punk to make it mall- and parent-friendly, but the swishes of ska and hard rock keep it interesting to the post-high-school set. Clearly, just because they're not old enough to drink doesn't mean they don't know what the good stuff tastes like.

- 'New Times' (Ft. Lauderdale, FL)


Discography

Since 2002 Odd Man Out has released five CDs... their very first recorded CDs were titled 'Say Cheese' and 'Extra Cheese'. They then released 'Live from the Recording Studio' in 2004 and 'Sound of Adrenaline' in 2005. The Band's newest release, 'Self Destructive Puppets Take Control' is due out in early March, 2006. There are audio clips of the new album on the band's website, www.oddmanout.ws. In addition, you can listen to the first two minutes of each of the 10 songs on 'Sound of Adrenaline' by visiting www.CDBaby.com and typing in 'Odd Man Out'. The band's website also features some earlier video clips including their live performance from May, 2004 on the Regis & Kelly show.

Photos

Feeling a bit camera shy

Bio

Odd Man Out formed about three years ago. All four teens (ages 16-18) hail from the same south Florida neighborhood and have remained fast friends. OMO has been inspired by The Matches, Goldfinger, Green Day, The Beatles and Blink 182. Since each boy writes, arranges and can play all the band instruments, they have a special appreciation for the 'total' sound of their finished product. With an enviable work ethic and and 'electric' stage presence, OMO has a live performance savvy and sound far beyond their years. Their music has already brought them to a national television audience when, in May of 2004, they appeared live on The Regis & Kelly Show. They played to standing ovations and a packed house at NYC's famed rock club, 'CBGBs'. They've also earned rave reviews from NYC's Village Voice as well as a whole host of South Florida publications. Odd Man Out took top honors in the South Florida Fair's battle of the bands and has played the mainstage at 'Sunfest', the premier music and arts festival of South Florida. They've even played for the 'boss' himself, Bruce Springsteen. (And Bruce thought they were great). Every member brings a unique 'style' to the band's music as they take turns writing new songs (over 60 originals, so far!). Throughout it all, they have remained very modest about their success. Their lyrics are appropriate for all ages and their animated performance style is always a crowd pleaser. Odd Man Out's appeal is boundless. They're young enough to capture the hearts of children and good enough to impress the most demanding music lovers. The New Times of South Florida calls them, "Pop punks of startling sophistication". The Village Voice described their music as "...freakin' ambitious- and damn near perfect...like a living, breathing 'Green Day: The Early Years". It's a treat to see four great kids doing what they love, and doing it so well.