Cruisin’ for a bruisin’

Cruisin’ for a bruisin’

Garage duo The Holy Smokes play Blind Bob’s

By Justin Kreitzer

Photo: [l to r] Joe Dannin and Joey Beach of The Holy Smokes; photo: Sophie Dannin

If you didn’t happen to catch their electrifying performance at this year’s Dayton Music Fest, you are in luck because The Holy Smokes, will bring their pummeling performance to Blind Bob’s on Thursday, Oct. 24.

Formed in mid-2012, the relatively new Dayton-based duo consisting of guitarist/vocalist Joey Beach and drummer Joe Dannin create a frenzy of punk-inspired grunge and blues-soaked garage rock that recalls the early sound of such current benchmark bands as the White Stripes and the Black Keys. Setting them apart, though, are Beach’s soulful, howling vocals, recalling Kurt Cobain at his fiercest and setting the scene for their heavy riffing and stomping rhythms to plow you over.

Earlier this year, The Holy Smokes released their promising debut album, Deathsticks, via local independent imprint F.M. Recordings to great local praise. More recently, they issued The Holy Smokes vs. Army Of Infants, a split EP with fellow Dayton garage-punk practitioners Army Of Infants. Currently, the duo are writing and preparing to record their second album and prepping to release a 7”.

In anticipation of their upcoming show, Joey Beach spoke with the Dayton City Paper about the band’s formation, their place in the Dayton scene, their musical influences and more.

How did The Holy Smokes form? What other musical projects were you each involved in prior?

We formed last summer and would just hang out in Joe’s basement during the day and jam. It started as kind of an experimental project for us, but once we got some songs fleshed out, I think we realized that we should keep doing it. Joe had been drumming for a while, and I had been in some other bands, including Ragtag – a duo that played around Dayton for a couple years. – Joey Beach

I can hear some ’90s grunge-era melodies embedded in your gritty blues-rock.  Who are some of your musical influences and did any Dayton bands inspire you?

We’re both ’90s babies and grew up around music, so I think the whole grunge/post-grunge thing will always be a part of us. We have pretty varied tastes in music, but our mutual influences for The Holy Smokes would be more current garage rock bands like Black Lips and Ty Segall, but also older stuff like Captain Beefheart and Howlin’ Wolf. You’ve got to respect all the great stuff that’s come out of Dayton, and right now we’ve got a lot of great bands that have inspired us in a “we better step it up” kind of way. But that’s a good thing. – JB

Your debut album, Deathsticks, was released this past February by the Dayton-based indie punk label F.M. Recordings. What is your connection to the label and how has the response been to the music?

We started going to Recreate because they always have cool [stuff] in there. We ended up getting to know Dustie and he offered to put out the album as a limited release. The initial response was good, so we did a full release and now I think it’s about time to start something new. – JB

More recently, you released a split release with fellow Dayton band, Army Of Infants.  Both bands are blazing a blues-rock trail through the scene right now. What does that sense of community within the music scene, and especially in Dayton, mean to you?   

Army Of Infants are some cool dudes, and we like to play with them as much as we can. I think particularly in Dayton there’s a general level of respect and support shared between bands, and it’s great because everyone benefits from that sort of thing. – JB

The frenetic Spanish-influenced guitar flurry unleashed on “Conquista” is my favorite song, and I am sure that would be a blast to play live, but what is your favorite song to play live and why?

We’ve got a few new ones we’ve started to play out, and those are really fun. There’s one called “Please, Please” and it kicks our ass every time, but you’ve got to challenge yourself or else it gets boring. Even with our older songs we shake things up to keep us on our toes, and that definitely makes it more interesting. – JB

What can we expect from your live show?  

I play guitar and sing and Joe plays drums. It’s pretty straightforward and we’re not trying to razzle dazzle, but you gotta give the audience something to look at, because that’s half the show. We want to make it worthwhile to go to a show. – JB

What does the future hold for The Holy Smokes?  

We’re writing a new album and booking more shows both in town and out. The album is expected to be out sometime next spring, and SXSW is looking like a possibility. – JB

The Holy Smokes will perform Thursday, Oct. 24 at Blind Bob’s, 430 E. Fifth St. Army Of Infants and Ossicles are also on the bill.  Admission is $5 at the door for 21 & up. Doors open at 8, music begins at 9:30. For more information, please visit

 Reach DCP freelance writer Justin Kreitzer at


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