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Ohio's original jam band: ekoostik hookah

If there’s truly a group that has earned the title of Ohio’s jam band, it’s ekoostik hookah
John Benson
Jun 3, 2014

There’s no better act to be returning to Ohio Bike Week then the Columbus-based outfit currently celebrating its 23rd year together.

WHAT: ekoostik hookah live.
WHEN: June 4th at 8pm
WHERE: Jack Daniels Barrel House Saloon, 101 E. Shoreline Drive, Sandusky, Ohio
COST: $5 pre-sale, $10 day of the show
MORE INFO: visit www.ohiobikeweek.com.
Naturally, ekoostik hookah garners comparisons to the Grateful Dead but the outfit also envelopes different soundscapes that contain shades of everyone from The Allman Brothers Band and Santana to Cat Stevens and Seals and Croft. 
Funcoast.com talked to keyboardist-singer Dave Katz, a Shaker Heights native who now calls Shalersville home, about the group’s latest developments, as well as its Ohio Bike Week memories.
Over the past decade ekoostik hookah has played its fair share of Ohio Bike Week dates. What comes to mind when you think about playing to motorcycle enthusiasts?
It’s always a great atmosphere there. Actually, the place we play at, the Barrel House Saloon, is a strange situation because were on a second floor and the people are on the first floor, which is interesting. I always look forward going to Bike Week because it’s always fun. There are always a lot of people there. And I like the mix of people there too. There are generally quite a few who don’t see us often and may only see us at that show, which is kind of cool too.
That said, what is it about bikers and ekoostik hookah that seems to work?
"I don’t know, I think we’ve always appealed to a variety of types of people because our style can range anywhere from full bluegrass all the way to the harder edge type stuff. There’s a little bit in there for everybody so there’s no reason it wouldn’t appeal to people who attend Bike Week."
What’s new with ekoostik hookah?
"The last thing we put out was studio release called “Brij.”
Nice title. How Steely Dan [1977 album “aja”] of you.
"It’s a phonetic thing like, ekoostik in our name. It’s definitely our best sounding album and best put together studio release we ever had. It was something we started a few years before we released it, and it was shelved because we lost a member during the recording. So we had to reconfigure ourselves and kind of put it on a back burner. There wasn’t a grand plan. We never have a grand plan."
Is ekoostik hookah writing new material at this point?
"Right now we don’t have anything in the works as far as studio goes. We’re always recording live stuff and there’s always stuff that could be put together and put out in both audio and video. So something like that could pop out at some point. And there’s some new stuff, definitely. We’re always evolving. The stuff on “Brij,” some of it was relatively new when we recorded it, some of the stuff were older songs we brought back. Whenever we’ve done a studio release it’s never been a situation where we wrote all of the songs specifically for that recording. We’ve always just kind of picked from our repertoire songs we felt like recording. But, there has been a lot of music written since we did “Brij.” 
As for ekoostik hookah’s upcoming Ohio Bike Week appearance, what do you recommend fans drink to fully experience the show?
"Most likely you’re drinking a high-end microbrew. But If I’m drinking, I’m a straight up vodka guy."
For more information, visitwww.ohiobikeweek.com.