Dayton Funk Forever brings the spirit
of 70s soul to Oscar’s


(L-R) Joseph Hamp, Patrick Coyne, Brandon Guthrie, Adam Uhlenhake, Scott Forney,
and Bill Dixon. Not pictured: Kainan Shank.

By Tim Walker

Mention the Dayton music scene to most people, and two things may come to mind: lo-fi and funk. And with this area having given birth to such legendary artists as the Ohio Players, Heatwave, Junie Morrison, Slave, Roger Troutman and Zapp—to say that our Midwestern city was ground zero for the funk music scene of the ‘70s and ‘80s is not the exaggeration it may at first glance seem to be. With big hits pouring out of our area for years, songs like “Boogie Nights,” “Fire,” “More Bounce to the Ounce,” “Love Rollercoaster,” “The Groove Line,” and “Doo Wa Ditty,” Dayton definitely earned its spot on the funk music map, and the rump-shaking influence of many of those local artists can still be recognized on the hip-hop and soul music charts to this day. Tear the roof off the sucker, indeed.

Dayton Funk Forever is a high-energy seven-member band, complete with a horn section, that pays tribute to all of those classic, funky grooves we all danced to, and Brandon Guthrie, drummer and founder of the group, wouldn’t have it any other way. The band will be performing at Oscar’s Bar & Grill in Vandalia this Friday, April 27, at 9 p.m., and it promises to be a great evening of funky, get-down tunes.

“I started the band,” says Guthrie when speaking to the Dayton City Paper by phone recently. “And we’ve been around for about a year and a half now, so it’s a pretty new band. We’ve only played five or six shows so far. We’re primarily a funk band, and we’re a seven-piece. We have a three-piece horn section we perform with. As a cover band, we do a mix of classics—hit songs like ‘Jungle Boogie,’ ‘September,’ and ‘Brick House,’ along with a mix of local area funk band stuff, too. We love to get into the deeper cuts… just a whole mix of stuff.”

“We like to get people dancing,” he continues with a laugh. “That’s what we’re going for.” Dayton Funk Forever is made up of Guthrie on the drums and backing vocals, Joe Hamp on keyboards and vocals, Patrick Coyne on guitar and vocals, Scott Forney on trombone, Adam Uhlenhake on saxophone, and Bill Dixon on trumpet. Underneath it all, Kainan Shank, who just joined the band a few months ago, keeps the groove alive on his bass guitar. “Kainan is awesome,” says Guthrie. “He’s 22 and the youngest one in the band, by far. The rest of us are a bit older.”

One detail about the band members which should be mentioned—Dayton Funk Forever may just be the best-educated band in the Dayton area. “We have a lot of school teachers in this band—Joe is a music teacher at a Dayton-area Montessori School. Our horn players are music teachers, as well. Scott Forney teaches in Oakwood, and Adam Uhlenhake is the band director at Oakwood High School. We have a lot of fun—we try to make sure all of the main Dayton funk bands are represented in our shows,” Guthrie says. “The Ohio Players is the standard—they are just the greatest. But there are a lot of other bands, and some of them were big in the late 70s, early 80s, like Zapp and Roger, so we do some of that. We started pulling out some talk box, some Roger Troutman stuff. We do try to keep a good mix of Dayton stuff in there.”

Unlike so many local bands, Dayton Funk Forever doesn’t play often. The band chooses to perform occasionally so they can keep the set list fresh and keep their fans coming back for more. Surprisingly, the show at Oscar’s is currently the only show the band has scheduled for 2018.

“We don’t play a whole lot of shows,” explains Guthrie. “We try to only play out once or twice a month. In the past, when I was playing in different bands, it almost seemed like we kind of abused our audience by dragging them out to so many shows, just over and over, Thursdays, Sundays, whenever. Now what we’re trying to do with this project is to cultivate a good relationship with our audience this time around, and really try to
not overdo it.”

Sound business practices are a solid concept for Dayton Funk Forever, combined with educated players and a killer set list. If brains and talent have anything to do with it, this band seems poised to keep bringing the funk and burning up the Dayton music scene—occasionally, of course—for years to come.

Dayton Funk Forever will be performing Friday, April 27 at Oscar’s Bar & Grill, 320 N. Dixie Drive in Vandalia. The show starts at 9:00 pm. For more information, visit www.daytonfunkforever.com, www.oscarsdayton.com, or call 937.890.8655.

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Tim Walker is 51 and a writer, DJ, and local musician. He lives with his wife and their two children in Dayton, where he enjoys pizza, jazz, and black T-shirts. Reach DCP freelance writer Tim Walker at TimWalker@DaytonCityPaper.com

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