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The Bath Salt Zombies rise for New Year’s Eve at Oddbody’s

By Matt Clevenger

Photo: Graham Woodard (second from right) and the Bath Salt Zombies looking fresh to death at Oddbody’s, Dec. 31; photos: Adverture Studios

The Bath Salt Zombies may seem like a strange name for a bluegrass act, but this is no ordinary folk band.

“The simple truth is, when you’re 300 year-old zombies, only the finest Himalayan bath salts can keep you looking as young, fresh, and luscious as these boys do today,” lighting designer Randy “Noodles” Day explains. “I was the original Bath Salt Zombie; I was actually a zombie when my mother was pregnant with me, so I’ve been a zombie since before I was born.”

Zombie-fication hasn’t been too much of an obstacle for the band. Originally formed in central Florida, the group took off quickly, playing more than 100 shows in its first year, then releasing two full length albums and an EP. “We actually formed at the end of 2012,” guitarist and vocalist Graham Woodard says. “We had a couple of line-up changes and really got started in 2013.”

“We formed as a band in Florida, but Zane [Bowman], our banjo player, and Dan [Croley], our drummer, are from Ohio,” he says. “They had just moved to Florida recently when we formed as a band, so Ohio is like our home away from home.”

Currently in the midst of a U.S. tour, The Bath Salt Zombies will appear at Oddbody’s Music Room in Dayton on Sunday, Dec. 31, with Glostik Willy as part of its well known New Year’s Eve party. The two bands met over a year ago during a show they both played in Fairborn.

“We first met Glostik Willy like a year and a half ago,” bassist Tucker Cobb says. “We did a show at One Eyed Jack’s in Beavercreek with them in 2015.”

“We actually played New Year’s Eve with Glostik Willy last year,” Woodard adds. “They’re awesome.”

The Bath Salt Zombies sound can be hard to explain; a blend of bluegrass, punk rock, and creepy ‘60s psychedelia, it has been called “grunge grass,” “hippie pirate music,” and “hoodoo grass.”

“We’ve been described many different ways,” banjo player and vocalist Bowman says. “My personal favorite is psychedelic carni-grass.”

The band also puts on a unique live show, complete with costumes, full stage lighting, and other effects. “We do quite an elaborate stage show, and we actually have a lighting designer that travels with us,” Bowman says. “We [use] black lights. It’s something to be seen.”

“The stage show, it’s very different than anything you’ve seen before,” Day explains. “It’s kind of one of those things we tell people to come out and see it, because a lot of the things we do, people just don’t do them. We have a lot of really crazy lighting effects to set moods and morph the band into other characters as the songs progress.”

“I keep putting on this really awesome light show, and these knuckleheads keep getting in the way,” he says.

The band has released three albums so far, starting with Hairy Women and Farm Animals (2014), and Six Feet Under the Big Top (2015). Its latest release, Embezzled and Butchered Ballads (2016), is an album of cover songs selected by band members and fans.

Bowman says. “We released a covers album about a month ago; it was all songs that we have been performing, we just kind of picked our favorites and our fan favorites.”

The band is currently working on two upcoming albums that should be ready for release in about a year.

“They’re actually both going to be concept albums,” says drummer Croley. “One is a full-length, and the other is an EP. We’re pretty excited about it.”

“We haven’t really decided which one we’re putting out first,” he adds. “Right now, we’re just starting the process.”

After the show at Oddbody’s, the band will continue its tour, which includes a stop at the Old Crow Bar in Middletown on Wednesday, Jan. 4. They will also stopmin Greenville for a special demonstration at D.A. Music Studios.

“We’re conducting a ‘School of Rock’ in Greenville, which is Zane and Dan’s hometown,” Woodard says. “That’s going to be a lot of fun. We’re actually having local music students and people taking lessons at the local music store come in and have like a seminar with us.”

Funding for the The Bath Salt Zombies comes from an unlikely source, as Day explained at the end of our interview. “There’s definitely one more thing you should mention,” he says. “The way that we fund this whole thing and are able to subsist as a band is this amazing beard oil that we have.”

“The music was really kind of a spin-off of the beard oil,” he says. “Dr. Murphy’s makes our own custom brew; it’s The Bath Salt Zombies’ Beard Oil, and it’s made of all the freshest organic ingredients.”

“It’ll cure what ails you,” he says. “If you have a bald spot, it can help to cover that right up. If you’re beard is out of control, it’ll help you with that; even if you’ve got the AIDS, I tell you three drops and no more. It’s available on our website. Actually, it might not be available on the website, but it should be in the next couple of days. We just got a new shipment, and I assure you it’s the most amazing thing you’ll ever have on your face.”

The Bath Salt Zombies will appear Saturday, Dec. 31, at Oddbody’s Music Room, 5418 Burkhardt Road in Dayton. Glostik Willy, Subterranean, and Flow Poetry are also on the bill. Tickets are $10-15; doors open at 5 p.m. For more information, please visit TheBathSaltZombies.com or Oddbodys.com.

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