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Uh Huh Baby Yeah!

Uh Huh Baby Yeah! Catch Them if You Can

Kevin Gibson

The new EP by Uh Huh Baby Yeah! has been out just a couple of weeks, and it's already making waves. It's been getting glowing reviews, and the band's release party at Diamond's yielded a packed house and sales of about 250 CDs. That's more than a lot of bands sell in their existence.

Since this five-piece Louisville outfit broke through with their album Till Death Do We Party, they've been gearing up for more. They signed with Little Heart Records in 2009, started touring you know, the usual rock 'n' roll stuff.

One particularly ballsy and possibly quite strategic move they've decided to make in 2013 is to not play any shows in their hometown. That's right, if you weren't at the CD release party for Trash Talk on April 19, you're going to have to shell out some gas money to go see them.

Currently, they have shows booked in Nashville, Myrtle Beach, Brooklyn and Toledo, as well as some dates in Michigan, West Virginia and North Carolina. That's a lot of traveling, but it's all part of the plan.

Blake Stalhut - Uh-Huh Baby Yeah

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Blake Stalhut - Uh-Huh Baby Yeah Blake Stalhut - Uh-Huh Baby Yeah

Uh-Huh Baby Yeah

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Joe Brock - Uh-Huh Baby Yeah

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John Braboy - Uh-Huh Baby Yeah

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Sean Smith - Uh-Huh Baby Yeah

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Kevin Fletcher - Uh-Huh Baby Yeah

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Kevin Fletcher - Uh-Huh Baby Yeah Kevin Fletcher - Uh-Huh Baby Yeah

"You hear bands all the time say, 'We didn't set out to be rock stars,'" said front man and main songwriter Kevin Fletcher. "We are trying to be rock stars. But at the same time we want to make money doing it [now] so we don't have to work jobs. We want to make this our career and get our tunes heard in every house in America. Every band has to pay its dues and move on, and that's what we're doing."

That's kind of how Fletcher and his bandmates operate they just tell it like it is. That's evident on Trash Talk as well, which features songs like "Whores Will Be Whores" (which is about his ex-wife) and "Dead Friends," which is about some former bandmates.

"We've been approached by the guys who left the band [regarding] if the song was about them," Fletcher said, "and we said, 'Absolutely.' They didn't take too kindly to it."

And we can only wonder what Fletcher's ex must think. Then again, not many women get the privilege of having a song written about them. Hmm.

In any case, Fletcher doesn't mince words. Trash Talk, he said, "puts it all out on the table."

And while Till Death Do We Party was, as you would expect, a straight-ahead "party album," the band set out to add some substance when it came time to write the current release.

"It came down to, we can make a part two or we can start all over again," Fletcher said. Doing something different "seemed like the way to go. We wanted to write an album that was more tangible. These songs reflect that."

He continued, "You hear a lot of bands nowadays, they just write songs to write songs there's no substance to it. We didn't want to be that band."

He believes the combination of pop hooks, rock intensity and in-your-face subject matter (blended with the band's lingering good-time attitude) is a recipe for success. His bandmates agree, which is why everyone in the band has committed to riding the Uh Huh Baby Yeah! horse as far as it will go.

"I think every band's main goal is being successful and making it in the world of music," said guitarist John Braboy. "This year, our main focus is getting our music out to everyone we can and touring as much as possible. We want to be a household name and take over the world."

"My goal is [for Uh Huh Baby Yeah!] to become a household name," said drummer Sean Smith. "To get this band as far as possible. To be able to quit my day job and make money doing exactly what I love. I want it all."

That's definitely telling it like it is.

FROM CREATURES DO THEY RISE

Prior to dubbing themselves Uh Huh Baby Yeah!, Fletcher and his band which now includes Braboy, Smith, Blake Stahlhut (bass) and Joe Brock (guitar) were known as the Creatures. Not a bad name, but when they signed with Little Heart Records, label head Bryan Puckett discovered there was another active band using that name.

Regardless, the fact is, in this age in which the Internet rules all, "the Creatures" isn't exactly search-engine friendly well, at least not if you want to stand out and be easily found.

"We had a song called 'Uh Huh Baby Yeah,'" Fletcher said. "If you Googled those words, you would find our song," so they chose that as a band name.

"If you really want to be found on the Internet, come up with something crazy," he added.

It's true, and this was just one step in their chase to be a household name. Or at least a name that any household can find using a search engine.

The band actually had a download-only album prior to the release of Til Death Do We Party, the little known Sex Panther. Asked about that album title, Fletcher chuckles and says, "'Anchor Man' was a very big movie at the time."

Truth is, Uh Huh Baby Yeah! has been playing under various names and with various lineups since around 2004; Fletcher and Smith are the two members who've remained constant.

"We started right after high school and we just kept moving on," Fletcher said. "Originally … It was a very pop punk sound, like Saves the Day or New Found Glory."

And the original goals of the band were not necessarily what they are today.

"I realized early on in life," Smith said, "that the quickest way to pick up chicks is to pick up an instrument."

Well said. Fletcher began playing music and even writing songs at around the age of 9 or 10, and originally played drums. Smith played in the school band, and carried his wisdom of musicians as chick magnets into rock 'n' roll.

Fletcher, however, cast aside the drums because he wanted to be in more of a leadership role.

"I realized I loved being out front a little more, so I started playing guitar and realized I could sing," he said. By the time he was 16, he had his first "real" band.

Eventually he stopped playing guitar to become a full-time singer and front man. He feels putting on a show is a key to winning over an audience.

"I have nothing against bands that don't have physical front man," he said. "But there's something that's missing. If you think about the '80s hair metal bands, that's just over the top. You never could have accomplished that without a David Lee Roth running around. With Vince Neil, it's the same thing."

The band seems to agree that the current lineup is working nicely. Fletcher calls Smith his "right-hand man," and says, "Without Sean, none of this would have ever been possible. Well, without all of them."

Braboy joined about five years ago when the band was playing as Heartbreak Kid. He was in the same social circles OK, he actually said, "We all partied and hung out a lot" and was already impressed with what they were doing musically when he was asked to come on board.

"I definitely jumped at the chance to join, as they were well known in the local circuit and had a lot going on at the time," Braboy said.

"He has been integral in songwriting process for this EP," Fletcher said of Braboy.

Joe Brock also came into the fold around that time; his brother plays drums for Emanuel, another well known Louisville-based act. "Joe's one hell of a guitarist," Fletcher said.

The band's newest member is bassist Blake Stahlhut, who moved to Louisville from Toledo last year.

"He's been a good friend of ours for really long time," Fletcher said. "Our bass slot has opened up so many times. He happened to be right place right time. He picked up and moved here the guy's got dedication."

GET THE JOB DONE

That dedication goes back to what the band is trying to accomplish, which is becoming rock stars. Let's face it, Louisville has had its share of success in recent years, from My Morning Jacket to Houndmouth (OK, they're from New Albany, but it still counts). Why not?

They've figured out their formula, they've found a label and champion for their music in Little Heart Records, and they've made the commitment to touring. All this band needs now is for the right song to find the right ears. So, what exactly does Uh Huh Baby Yeah! sound like?

"People ask about the genre, and I say, 'You know what? We're a pop-rock band,'" Fletcher said. "We write pop songs with a rock sensibility. It's heavy in parts, its poppy in parts. We take all our influences and combine them all together. It has danceable elements too."

Fletcher is the first to admit that they were a "party band" not so long ago, just after a fun time and writing songs that reflected as much.

On Till Death Do Us Party, "We set out to write a party album. We had been in heavier bands, and bands that took themselves too seriously," Fletcher said. "But we've all gone through a ton of shit, grown up a lot. Some of us have been divorced and remarried, we've been through the rumor mill you know, growing pains."

The result, then, was the more honest and in-your-face Trash Talk.

"You hear lot of bands nowadays, they just write songs to write songs, there's not substance to it," Fletcher said. "We didn't want to be that band."

The new EP includes six songs, including "Dances With Wolves." Of that song, Fletcher says, "'Dances with Wolves' is probably the most party-esque song on the album. It opens up showing the heavier side we've pulled into this new album, and also picking up where we left off [from Til Death Do Us Party]."

The song is about getting a bit too drunk and "going home with a girl you may or may not have meant to."

This song is also the favorite of both Smith and Braboy.

"I love how it just gets stuck in your head," Braboy said. "As a writer, this is the goal of any song. It's such a great opener to the record and grabs you as soon as you hear that first yell from Kevin."

"It's a booty-shaker and really gets the kids up and dancing," added Smith. "That's a great feeling to have helped write something that people can connect with and use as the soundtrack to whatever good time they are having."

There's also a song on the record called "C*ntroversy" that Fletcher says digs deeper emotionally than the song's title might indicate.

"That song is a means of confession," he said. "It's basically an apology and a way of redeeming myself for all the things I did before. Things are angry [on Trash Talk] but there is still that apologetic tone in the album as well. … It's a way of burying the hatchet and confessing that, yeah, I did some shit wrong, too."

Similarly, "You Creep Me Out" is about moving on from a situation and building a boundary. "Ocean of You," however, is a bit of a departure musically, but carries a similar theme.

"It's almost a jazz song, but not quite," Fletcher said. "It's about, 'We're moving on, we're all happier and everyone else we know is happier, and we've all managed to become better people because of it.' It's more directed toward my current wife, I guess. I couldn't have moved on without her, that's for sure."

And of course, there's the single "Dead Friends," which also has a video. All in all, Uh Huh Baby Yeah! seems to be the all-American rock 'n' roll dream in the making.

To hear Puckett talk about Uh Huh Baby Yeah!, you'd think they're already there. About Trash Talk, he said, "I think it's probably best things those dudes have ever written. Stellar."

"The band is the band I have always wanted to be in," Smith said. "We are dancey, we're rowdy, we have an element of danger. And all the guys are my brothers. We can laugh and fight and scream and hug it out and still get together and play the gnarliest music you've ever heard."

"I love the dynamic we have as a band," Braboy said. "Even with the many lineup changes, we still manage to push forward. Everyone has done their part to get us to where we are today. … In the end, it doesn't matter who wrote what or did this and that, as long as it's all of us together we're unstoppable."

"I think it's just the perseverance," Fletcher said. "It takes time, I guess, for people to understand how serious you are about what it is you're doing."

And so it is with a take-no-prisoners attitude that Louisville's Uh Huh Baby Yeah! sets out to conquer the world, one set of ears at a time. As noted previously, if you didn't see them April 19, it may be a while before you get the chance again.

"It's taken us a long time to get any respect in Louisville," Fletcher said. "People know who our band is here, but it seems like people just didn't give a f**k. I feel like things are finally turning a bit. Now people are starting to pay attention."