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Interview with Cliff Starbuck from ekoostik hookah

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Cliff Starbuck from ekoostik hookah

Interview and Photos by Scott Preston

I had the chance to sit down with Cliff Starbuck, bass player for ekoostik hookah, who have been doing it their own way since 1991. Not many bands last more than a few years, but ekoostik hookah has been delighting fans all over the country for the last 18 years. Not only that, but they also have been hosting their own music festival, hookahville, which has been occuring twice a year since 1994. This upcoming hookahville is number 31, which is returning to Frontier Ranch Music Center and features a lineup including 2 nights of ekoostik hookah, Les Claypool, Freekbass, The Wailers, Steve Kimock’s Crazy Engine, Oakhurst, Great American Taxi and many more.

Cliff is also a lover of bluegrass music, and is an accomplished banjo player. This has led to many collaborations with musicians from all over the country. Cliff’s latest journey into the world of bluegrass music is the Desperation String Band, which features Cliff on banjo & ukulele, Brian Flechsig on mandolin (from the Cincinnati 90′s band The Wildweeds), John Armstrong on string bass, Dan Cade on fiddle and Ron Slone on guitar.

Cincy Groove: How was ekoostik hookah’s trip to Jamaica last month? anything interesting happen?

Cliff Starbuck: It was fun, it was the first time we were able to rent nice amps and PA, so that was interesting. It was also the first vacation that my girlfriend and I have gone on together since Grateful Dead tour in the summer of ’90. We had a good time. Continue reading