Interview and Photos by Scott Preston
I had the chance to chat with Dave Katz, vocalist and keyboard player for one of my most favorite bands in the world, ekoostik hookah. My experiences with the band go back 15 years, hundreds of shows in 3 different countries (The U.S., Holland, and Jamaica), 23 hookahville’s, and a few thousand photos.
Cincy Groove: So this year is bringing up hookahville 29 and 30, has it sunk in that there has been 30 hookahville‘s?
Dave Katz: Actually now that you mention it, no. I think overall its pretty impressive, there aren’t too many festivals that have ever gone that many. Although its a little deceiving, since there are 2 a year but still.
Dave Katz: Yeah, we have done most of them. Although now its nice to just goto hookahville and hang out now.
Cincy Groove: Has there been somebody that you have performed with at hookahville that has really impressed you?
Dave Katz: I was really impressed by Arlo Guthrie. With him I didn’t know what to expect. I didn’t really know if he could hold a crowd for an hour and a half by himself. Holding a crowd for that long with the type of music he does, talking, story telling and stuff like that with a crowd that is certainly familiar with his name but not necessarily familiar with his work. I was impressed, I though he was incredible. I am a guy who is easily bored when it comes to going to shows and I thought Arlo was amazing. Arlo Guthrie. is at the top of my list.
Cincy Groove: Is there a venue that you (ekoostik hookah) really would like to play at, that you haven’t had a chance to yet?
Dave Katz: I probably could give you a list a mile long. For what we have done and what we have accomplished I think we have it the bulk of them. It would be nice to play Red Rocks someday but its not like we feel we have missed out because we haven’t. We have played enough cool places that I feel very lucky.
Cincy Groove: Now that John Mullins has been back for a while, are there any plans for a new studio album?
Dave Katz: We have no plans for anything (LOL). We haven’t talked about it, but if you ask certain members of the band theres nothing more that they would like to do than get into the studio and do a full studio album. On the other hand there are other members of the band that its not that big of a deal. I would like to say in the future that we would be able to do it again, but there are no plans for it to happen anytime in the near future.
Cincy Groove: What do you do when you are not playing music?
Dave Katz: Sports. I’m a big Cleveland fan. I spend most of my time with my wife, family, kids. I love to be home. Its all about family.
Cincy Groove: I know you are a big KISS fan. how many times have you seen them?
Dave Katz: If I’m not mistaken, its been 5 or 6 times. The first time I saw them I was 10 years old. I even remember the snow storm we had to dig ourselves out of in the parking lot.
Cincy Groove: Have you ever had the chance to meet any of the KISS band members?
Dave Katz: Yeah actually, an odd story. When I lived in Los Angeles in the 1980’s , the band I was in then, Haven, we were all extra’s in a movie, “Never Too Young To Die“. It starred Gene Simmons, Vanity and John Stamos. I had a meal on the lot at the same table as Gene Simmons and I got to talk to him for a little while. He was a very nice person on that particular day. I don’t remember what we talked about but he was very nice and we had fun doing the movie. Gene played an hermaphrodite, king of the freaks. The scene we shot was a bar scene where he was a lead singer of a band and he came out wrapped in a big pink bow and high heels and sang “It takes a man like me, to be a woman like me” lol.
Cincy Groove: You mentioned the band you were in the 80’s, Haven, do you talk to those guys anymore?
Dave Katz: I actually saw all of them except for one last year, unfortunately at a common friends’ funeral. I had been in touch with my old drummer on and off and the guitar player for a couple years. But I haven’t really stayed in close contact with any of them.
Cincy Groove: Is there somebody you would really like to see play at hookahville that hasn’t yet?
Dave Katz: I could give you so many that I would love to have there. Most of them is unrealistic, is what it comes down to. I would love to have James Taylor play, that would be phenomenal, but it isn’t going to happen lol. I’m not going to sit here and say everybody who I ever wanted to come , has come and played, but again I feel really lucky that the names that have been there, have been there. Its amazing some of the names we have had that just don’t go out and play every festival. It was amazing Bruce Hornsby played at hookahville. He just doesn’t go and play every festival. Its amazing Willie Nelson played at hookahville. One of my favorite things was The Neville Brothers, I have always been a monster fan. I like the bands that are unique to hookahville and haven’t played every single festival.
Cincy Groove: What do you think about the dedication of ekoostik hookah’s fans?
Dave Katz: Its an amazing thing. Its flattering as well that people are as into the band as they are. Its certainly something you hope for having the dedicated fans we have. The type of people we have as fans, we are lucky to have that type of people. The people that are there truly for the music are some of the most grounded people. People who are very comfortable with themselves and thats very important. Its good to see people who can be their own people. I think you get a lot of that at our shows.
Upcoming ekoostik hookah performances:
1/11/2008 – Cliff Starbuck & Colin John, Screamin Peach, The Thirsty Ear, Grandview, OH
1/18/2008 – Dave Katz and John Mullins, Stanleys Pub, Cincinnati, OH
1/25/2008 – ekoostik hookah, Seven Timbers Live, Dayton, OH
1/26/2008 – ekoostik hookah, Cardo’s Chillicothe, OH
02/22/2008 – ekoostik hookah, The Kent Stage Kent, OH
02/23/2008 – ekoostik hookah, The Newport Music Hall Columbus, OH
02/29/2008 – ekoostik hookah, Martyr’s Chicago, IL
03/01/2008 – ekoostik hookah, Headliners Toledo, OH
04/4/2008 – ekoostik hookah, Hookah in the Hills at Poston Lake Guysville (Athens), OH
04/5/2008 – ekoostik hookah, Hookah in the Hills at Poston Lake Guysville (Athens), OH
4/12/2008 – ekoostik hookah, Annie’s Cincinnati, OH