Interview with Ekoostik Hookah's Cliff Starbuck
FP: Just for our readers who don't know: What is Ekoostik Hookah?
by Marcus Celio
June 1, 2003
Um, it's a band that's been around for about twelve years now. We started in Columbus at the South Heidelberg every Wednesday and then, um, we played all around.
FP: Do you guys own this land? (Frontier Ranch)
We're leasing it right now. It's a five year lease, with the option to buy it at the end.
FP: Why did you guys decide to do that?
Well it was either that or it was going to become a housing development. The people that own it like the way we run the shows here and they were pushing to keep it a music venue. I think the neighbors around here also didn't want it to turn into a real dense housing development, so they went to city hall meetings and made sure it wouldn't be sold to the developers. The guys that run it just wanted to retire and they couldn't really keep up with it. So they kind of wanted us to do it. It's also nice to have a permanent place so we can start putting up permanent fencing instead of every time we do Hookahville, putting up temporary fencing.
FP: You guys also travel around to separate venues, like, you're going to Bonnarroo music festival, right. Are you looking forward to that?
Yeah, we travel almost year round and Bonnaroo should be great.
FP: Is there a sense of freedom at these music festivals like Hookahville and if so, why do you feel that is?
I think that from the partying aspect, people don't have to drive home they can just camp, so I guess there's a sense of free partying (laughs). The police here are also very cool. They understand what's dangerous and what isn't, so they've been very understanding with everything. And you know, guys can wear skirts and you can do whatever you want within reason.
FP: Tell us about Hookah Fans for Food and whether or not it has been successful.
Yeah, I don't know exactly the quantities that it has been successful, but it's a great thing that started at a Cleveland show. It was started by fans, it wasn't really our idea. But they said they wanted to start a spot for the audience to bring a canned food donation. I think it started out that you got a dollar off admission price. It's really kind of out of hands. The fans collect the food and donate it to charitable organizations.
FP: As a well known musician do you ever feel a need to speak out on issues you are concerned with?
Yeah, you know, its sometimes frustrating to me to see people going overboard with drugs. I don't think that it's good to take anything that was made in a laboratory. People don't often realize how powerful what they're taking is, or even if it is what they think it is. There are some people that have a tough time with drugs and we have had some success with attempts to help out those who are having a bad experience.
FP: How do you feel about the war on terrorism and the obvious neglect of non-violent conflict resolution?
Yeah, I'm not happy about that. I'm not pro-war in any way, shape, or form.
It seems like that there are a lot of people that share the same opinion, especially at a place like this. That thought or voice amongst youth almost seems lost sometimes. It becomes, "I'm only one person, one voice.", "What can I really do?"
FP: Do you think there is hope to unite that voice?
We don't get too political on stage, but I think it's great to have publications like this to turn people on. We, unfortunately, are at the mercy of the media and what the media wants to show us and what they are allowed to show us and what kind of spin they want to put on it. With something like this (the war or the paper?), we don't have to follow those rules.
FP: Do you think that if your audience had the proper information to inform themselves with, their views would change? Would they become more active?
Well. I'm assuming that there aren't that many pro-war people out here already. I think if they did have an outlet or publication to turn to about how to get involved, they probably would be more active.
FP: How do you feel about blacklisting of artists who voice an opinion that is termed unpatriotic? The Dixie Chicks for example.
Yeah, that's wrong. When the war started I learned Bob Dylan's "Masters of War" and performed it a couple times. What the Dixie Chicks are saying is tame compared to what Bob is saying in that song. And that song still rings true to this day.
FP: What does Cliff Starbuck have planned for the future?
I'm working on composing music more and I've had some breakthroughs lately. I do write out notes like classical composing and I try to work that into playing the banjo and guitar. I'm into meshing folk and blues together with that approach. I practice the Buddha Dharma and it kind of goes hand in hand with becoming an enlightened enough person to sing something of value in a song. Something that can help people.
MASTERS OF WAR (Bob Dylan)
Come you masters of war, you that build the big guns
You that build the death planes, you that build all the bombs
You that hide behind walls, you that hide behind desks
I just want you to know, I can see through your masks
You that never done nothing, but to build to destroy
You play with my world, like its your little toy
You put a gun in my hand, then you hide from my eyes
And you turn and run following the fast foolish lie
Like Judas of old, you lie and deceive
A world war can be won, you won't need to believe
But I see through your eyes, and I see through your brain
Like I see through the water that runs down my drain
You that fasten all the triggers, for the others to fire
Then you sit back and watch, while the death count gets higher
You hide in your mansion, while young people's blood
Flows out their bodies and is buried in the mud
You've thrown the worst fear, that could ever be hurled
The fear to bring children, into this world
For threatenin' my baby, unborn and unnamed
You ain't worth the blood that runs in your veins
How much do I know, to talk out of turn?
You might say that I'm young, you might say I'm unlearned
But there's one thing I know, though I'm younger than you
Even Jesus would never forgive what you do
Let me ask you one question, is your money that good?
Will it buy you forgiveness? Do you think that it could?
Oh, I think you will find, when your death takes its toll
All the money you made will never buy back your soul
And I hope that you die, and your death will come soon
I'll follow your casket, in the pale afternoon
And I'll watch as your lowered, into your deathbed
And I'll stand on your grave till I'm sure that your dead
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