Today the venerable Ohio jamband institution, ekoostik hookah, offers two announcements about the departure of band founder, bassist and vocalist Cliff Starbuck. With no plans to end their nearly twenty-year career of playing music, ekoostik hookah will continue playing music, hosting Hookahvilles and touring. Here is Cliff Starbuck’s statement and a follow up from the other members of ekoostik hookah:
After a lot of careful thinking, I have decided to leave the band. Having played with Hookah for almost 19 years, it was an extremely difficult decision, made even more difficult by my love for my band mates and our music. Naturally I’ll be coming back to sit in periodically, but after New Year’s Eve you’ll be enjoying a new bass player.
It has been an amazing privilege to spend so many years playing with this band, and I’ll always be grateful for the experiences I’ve had along the way. I’ve gotten to travel all over the world to play music that I love with all my favorite people. I’ve been extremely lucky, and there’s no other way I would rather have spent these years. I’m proud to be the musician that I am today, one that I could never have become without the influence of everyone in this band. I know my decision to leave might be surprising and hard to understand, but I’m asking for your support and trust on this. 19 years is a long time for anyone to do the same thing, let alone someone with my short attention span. I feel strongly that this is the right time in my life to explore new options and try new things. It’s very sad to be leaving the people with whom I’ve shared so much, but I’m also excited about the prospect of going new places and seeing what the future might bring. A significant change in my life is essential for me to evolve, not just as a musician but as a person.
It’s natural to be resistant to change, especially when it comes to altering a formula that’s been so successful for so long. Sometimes veering off from the inevitable path will make the trip more interesting, and ultimately more fulfilling. The band is in the process of finding a bassist who will live up to and probably eclipse my legacy. I’ll pass on everything I’ve learned, but it’ll be nice to hear new ideas and a fresh perspective on the bass lines.
Words are inadequate when it comes to trying to express my gratitude for all of your support, and for the good music and good times we’ve all had together. I’ll miss you all and look forward to when our paths cross in the future.
And ekoostik hookah responds with this public statement:
While we are sad to see Cliff go, we respect his decision and wish him the best in whatever he ends up doing. It has been a great honor to be able to spend all of these years together making music and building the wonderful scene that surrounds and supports ekoostik hookah. From a dingy bar in Columbus to Amsterdam, from tiny crowds in Alabama to massive Hookahvilles, it’s been an amazing ride. One that would have never been possible without Cliff.
Cliff will be playing with us through the end of the year, his last show being at The Newport in Columbus, Ohio on New Year’s Eve. We will then be taking a 6 week break to work in our new bass player. While Cliff will be missed, we are confident that we will be as strong as ever when we return. It will be exciting to see what this change brings to our music. In the meantime, we plan on making the most of these last few shows with Cliff, and we’ll be looking forward to having him come back to sit-in with us on occasion.
See you soon,
Dave, Eric, John, and Steve