Figure out the funk Dayton


Figure out the funk Dayton

Dayton, it is time you figured it out already.

Embrace your funk before your funk is a historical footnote.

Jump on funk’s funky back and ride it as if it were that dog-faced dragon thing in the “The NeverEnding Story.”

Follow it over clouds, through valleys and wherever.

The reaction to the death of Ohio Players great Leroy “Sugarfoot” Bonner last week illustrates that funk is still alive and well in America’s heart.

The frontman’s passing was big news.

His death in Trotwood made The New York Times, Rolling Stone, the Associated Press wire, BET, Spin, The Los Angeles Times, NPR, CBS and even TMZ.

This is not to mention the social media frenzy as fans tried to determine if the up-until-recently-touring 1970s guitar hero was actually gone, but never forgotten.

I am going to beat the dirty drapes here (I wrote about this subject back in Sept. 2011) and once again say “figure it out Dayton.”

For years I have wondered why this city doesn’t celebrate its funky native sons (and daughters).

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.

Nashville claims country. Cleveland has taken ownership of rock. Detroit has Motown. Memphis embraces soul, Elvis and Sun Records.

Dayton thus far has turned its nose up at funk.

Perhaps despite the city’s will, it is known for funk.

Dayton was repeatedly referred to as the “Land of Funk” on the nationally syndicated Tom Joyner radio show the Monday after news of Sugarfoot’s death broke. UCLA professor Scot Brown is writing a book on Dayton funk.

This is not to say progress has been made on the funk front.

Late last year, artwork honoring Roger Troutman of Zapp was installed on the former site of Troutman Recording Studio near the northwest corner of the Salem Avenue and Catalpa Drive.

Dayton resident Michael Sampson says the Land of Funk Museum and Hall of Fame will open mid-March on the first floor of the Legacy Center in the Wright Dunbar Business District.

The museum will have a display honoring Ohio Players, the international superstars behind “Fire,” “Skin Tight” and “Love Rollercoaster.” Sampson hopes local musicians will loan the museum additional artifacts.

That’s great, but it is time to ramp it up.

Money is always a factor, but seriously Dayton, figure it out.

Where is Zapp and Roger Memorial Parkway or Faze-O Boulevard?

A funk festival could draw them in from around the county.

It would be tragic if this community let its funk die. It would be outrageous if its players were not properly honored.

So, one last time, figure it out.

What do you think?

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