Dayton needs to do something with the funk



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Dayton needs to do something with the funk

Memphis loves its soul.

Nashville claims country and Cleveland has taken ownership of rock.

Why, oh why, won’t Dayton latch on to funk and ride it like a love roller coaster?

It seems to be a financial and cultural waste that this community still hasn’t paid a major homage to the music genre fostered here — mainly in the 1970s and ’80s — that continues to inspire hip-hop and rock artists today.

Something funky — a festival, a museum, an amusement park ride called The Nose — could mean big bucks for the funkytown.

A 2005 report by Team NEO, a development organization, placed Cleveland’s Rock Hall of Fame annual economic impact on Cuyahoga County at $107 million, according to the Cleveland Plain Dealer.

It’s put more than $1.5 billion into region’s economy since opening in 1995, the newspaper reported a year ago.

Granted, funk is a much smaller category than rock, but there are clear possibilities for something cool here.

And why not? Dayton has a genuine claim to “the funk.”

Influential acts such as the Ohio Players, Zapp and Roger, Faze-O, Heatwave, Sun, Slave and Lakeside were formed in Dayton or have Dayton-area members.

And there are still acts such as Cha Buddha, a group that plays Fridays at J Alan’s downtown, celebrating funky music locally.

The city’s Dayton Originals website gives local funk legends props.

“Dayton’s funk masters made the citizens of their city proud and deserve a standing ovation in posterity for sharing their inimitable artistry so generously while putting the world on notice that Dayton is truly ‘The Land of Funk,’ ” it says.

The Stax Museum in Memphis has Isaac Hayes’ peacock-blue 1972 “Superfly” Cadillac El Dorado.

The Motown Museum in Detroit has one of Michael Jackson’s stunning jeweled white gloves.

Surely, Sugarfoot from the Ohio Players could donate a pair of blinged-out bell bottom jeans to The Land of Funk Museum.

The museum would include funk acts from Ohio and the rest of the world, too.

There could be a wing devoted to funk pioneer James Brown. Cleveland’s Dazz Band could donate a joystick or a whip.

Cincinnati’s Bootsy Collins could contribute a pair of star-shaped shades, a guitar, or a gold tooth.

And who wouldn’t want to see the original diaper worn by the late-great Garry “Diaperman” Shider.

If not the original, a Madame Tussauds constructed replica.

Readers respond

Last week, Amelia asked if technology raised or lowered empathy?

Here are some responses from readers. Join the conversation at

• “I don’t think it has as a whole. I think we are better connected to each other, and better informed. This phenomena is disturbing, but it’s really no different than everyone slowing down to a crawl at the scene of an accident in hopes of seeing blood. We are all guilty of that.” — Wayne Foutz

• “Yes, it has and made people lazy and dependent.” — John Highley

“Sad but true. This is a sign of the overall deterioration of our society.” — Ron Bowman

What do you think?

What does the Dayton area need to create jobs and generate more revenue?

Contact this columnist at arobinson @DaytonDaily or send a tweet to

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