Celebrating the History of Dayton Music
By Kyle Melton
For nearly 50 years, the humble metropolis of Dayton has given to the world a number of genre-defining musical acts that have gone largely unnoticed at home. Some have served as beacons for music lovers the world over, elevating Dayton to near-mythical status as an unlikely wellspring of talent. This weekend, local promoter DJ Misterkid [aka Louie Wood] will present a two-night tribute to the legacy of Dayton’s music with his Dayton Does Dayton Tribute Show at Canal Street Tavern.
Over the past two years, Wood presented a number of tribute shows featuring bands such as Talking Heads, Nirvana and The Cure. Last fall, as he was promoting his 80s tribute show with Rev. Cool on WYSO’s Around the Fringe program, one of the participants of that show planted the seed for Dayton Does Dayton.
“Rich [Reuter, guitarist for Nine False Suns] asked me if I ever thought of doing a local band tribute,” recalls Wood. “Within two weeks, I called Rich and [stage manager] Jay [Madewell], and we all took on the task of getting bands.”
“For me, the driving idea for this show was paying tribute to other local bands who have had an impact on me,” Reuter explains. “It’s a way to celebrate the bands and the songs that I continue to listen to.”
In sharing their desire to draw attention to the rich musical traditions that emerged from Dayton over the years, the organizers of the festival contacted a wide variety of bands. With their selections, the bands culled from the distant past as well as recent history, they provide a wide scope of what Dayton music is all about.
“Some [bands] are covering their heroes from the past and some are covering their current friends’ bands,” explains Madewell. “Others are covering nationally known ‘hits’. There has always been a diverse range of interesting original bands in Dayton, now we’re going to mix it up and pay tribute to those who came before us.”
“Most people I know don’t even realize Dayton has ever had popular bands,” admits Greg Lewis, bassist for Nine False Suns. “The bands that are known don’t really play anymore, but I do think it is important to show these people the styles of music Dayton has produced.”
“I felt it was important for someone to represent Dayton punk,” says GeeGee Bradley, performing as bassist for GeeGee’s Punk Rock All-Stars. “I grew up going to hardcore punk shows. I grew up going to see bands like Haunting Souls and Fathom Theory. Those old shows left an impression on me to this day. I think our set will be a great history lesson on 30 years of Dayton punk.”
“The Ohio Players was the first band that jumped out in our minds,” explains Bob Hinton [aka Ghastlee] of Splattertude. “Funk was what Dayton was known for before punk and we love both, so we’re going to punk the funk on with that one.”
While paying homage to musical legends that emerged from Dayton and made an international impression, many of the performers feel a sense of camaraderie celebrating and sharing the stage playing material from Dayton’s past and present.
“I view this thing as sort of collective bargaining power,” continues Chris Wright, guitarist for C. Wright’s Parlour Tricks. “With so many bands involved, spanning so many genres, there is a good chance a couple people might show up to see this thing. That’s no small feat anymore.”
Playing host for the event, Mick Montgomery and Canal Street Tavern serve as an omnipresent reminder of nearly 30 years of Dayton musical history.
“For me, that’s the venue that I really associate with Dayton music,” Reuter says. “It’s always been a place where bands could play in front of an audience receptive to hearing original music. I think it’s got a place in the hearts of a lot of local musicians.”
For those interested to discover the rich musical traditions of Dayton, this event serves as an excellent introduction. With material spanning recognizable names such as Guided By Voices, The Breeders, Brainiac, Toxic Reasons and Ohio Players to local favorites from past to present such as Mink, Mondolux and Jesse Remnant, listening through each evening’s sets should provide acknowledgment of the wealth of musical talent that springs forth from Dayton.
“A lot of people don’t fully understand how great our local scene is until they get to experience something like this,” says Corey Montgomery, guitarist for Sleep Fleet. “Shows like this really bring the community together and remind us why we picked up instruments in the first place.”
“I still feel that people who managed to get their music heard out of our area code are owed respect,” concludes Jason Short, drummer for Suicide Hill. “In some cases, these people are heroes of mine and I can think of one that had a profound impact on the way I hear ‘music’. Your heroes don’t always have to be from England, New York or L.A.; they can be from your backyard too.”
DJ Misterkid Presents Dayton Does Dayton will take place on Friday, Jan. 28 and Saturday, Jan. 29 at Canal Street Tavern. Admission is $5 for each night. 18 & up. Doors at 7 pm. For more information, visit www.canalstreettavern.com
Reach DCP freelance writer Kyle Melton at firstname.lastname@example.org.