Hip Shot Blueh add an element of youthful exuberance to the local Rock scene

Believe it or not, it all started with Beverly Hills 90210. (Don't laugh, it takes courage for people to admit they actually watched that show). Hip Shot Blueh lead singer Zach Holbrook and guita

Apr 5, 2001 at 2:06 pm
Hip Shot Blueh

Believe it or not, it all started with Beverly Hills 90210. (Don't laugh, it takes courage for people to admit they actually watched that show). Hip Shot Blueh lead singer Zach Holbrook and guitarist Matt Eckerle say they started playing together about eight years ago, when they would meet, watch 90210 and play music. These jam sessions evolved, and they added bassist Eric Brass and drummer Ron Gerdes.

The guys have all known each other since their days at the all-male Covington Catholic High School. Gina Kohlhepp, the female voice of the band, was across the street in the all-girls school.

After high school, when some of them went off to college, getting together to jam was something reserved for holidays. Eventually, holiday jam sessions became gigs at the Strasse Haus.

Then it got serious. According to Holbrook, the band "decided we (were) going to make a real concerted effort of this, so we decided to incur debt."

That debt would be in the form of their first CD.

Actually, they say this is their first "real CD." There have been other recordings, including an all-live, 11-song CD made in five hours in a friend's basement. While the band members admit it wasn't their best work, Holbrook says it was good experience to have done that before they spent money on a real studio. It also gave them an opportunity to weed out some songs they didn't like.

They recorded Forgive Us For Being Overly Excited at UltraSuede Studios in Cincinnati last October. The CD's title (and cover photo) really speaks volumes about the personality of this band.

"We were like kids in a candy store in the studio," says Eckerle.

Almost all of the band members agree that there is a "little kid" quality at work, and some of their stage antics might be considered proof: Holbrook has been known to sing upside down, sing in only his boxers (and Marvin Gaye songs at that), or sing "Squeeze Box" by The Who, while doing pushups. Really, they all say it is all about fun.

"We're a fun group of guys," says Eckerle. "And our music is fun, too." While they are having fun, though, they'd like to try out some other venues.

"We haven't really broken into the original music scene where you're playing BarrelHouse or Bogart's," says Holbrook. "That's where we're intending to head."

They have noticed a big difference in the kinds of audience they see in Cincinnati vs. those they play to in Covington, a difference between being entertainment and being background music. In Cincinnati, they say, the audience seems to be more focused on the original stuff and Covington tends to be more of a Classic Rock crowd. In fact, one Covington audience once paid them $200 just to play "American Pie."

"A band is not a band unless you've got a good crowd," says Gerdes. So these guys say they do their best to keep the crowd participating. Or at least right up to the point where it involves doing a Lynyrd Skynyrd song.

Even though this band clearly wants to be known as an original band, they offer some interesting cover songs. For example, they create themed medleys, such as a rap medley (Fresh Prince, Rob Bass, Vanilla Ice, etc.) and a Marvin Gaye love medley that includes "Let's Get It On" and "Sexual Healing." They say the key to cover songs is just adjusting them to your own style.

According to drummer Ron Gerdes, Hip Shot Blueh is acoustic, folksy, Blues-Rock that is funky at times. Gerdes says that Hip Shot Blueh would be the offspring of the Dave Matthews Band and the Barenaked Ladies, as raised by B.B. King.

HIP SHOT BLUEH play at the Mad Frog this Sunday. You can check out other upcoming gigs on their Web site at www.hipshotblueh.com.