By Jeanie Summerville
Whatz up, babies?
From time to time, something different is brought to our fair city to try to bring us some joy, happiness, beauty and excitement and if I know about it, I must investigate! I investigate for you because I don’t want you to have to guess about anything. I’m a factual type of women and I deal with facts. So when I got the word that Kash Gold Production is bringing to town the Audio Show Band that plays old school funk, I had to see their picture. Once I saw it, I was happy because the band consist of eight artists looking as if they mean business, so I had to make the call because I too, want the opportunity to put on my dancing shoes and have some fun. And, to add to the fun, songstress Shelby McKenney and her Distinction Band is the opening act. So at this time, we bring to you the facts about the Audio Show Band and their backgrounds in music. They’ve played with the best of them and when they say they’re working with the funk, they mean it and this is what the founder had to say:
“Hello, Frost Illustrated readers! My name is Robert Stiles Jr., I’m the founder of the Audio Show Band and I’m also on lead guitar and vocals. I was born and raised in Dayton, Ohio around all the greats and we’re looking forward to performing at Link’s Ballroom on Saturday, June 14, for your pre-Father’s Day entertainment at 8 p.m.
“We’ve played in Fort Wayne once before, back in 1983, when we opened for Roger Troutman and Zapp but this time it’s different because we’re the headliner and we’re going to give you what you’ve been missing in the name of funk. I’m very much looking forward to performing for you and we’re going to put on a good, exciting show because we’re going to bring the funk back the way it use to be with Parliament, Cameo and the other greats! The way it was done in the ’70s and ’80s and what’s going to go through my mind while we’re performing is, having a great time with you as we party. There are eight members to the Audio Show Band including myself, and our musical backgrounds are extensive.
“I began my musical career as a trumpet player and picked up the guitar a few years after forming the Audio Show Band. I now play lead and rhythm guitar for the band.
“Mentored by Ron Patterson, I was encouraged to produce a full stage production show band featuring funk and old school music. I have opened for Midnight Star, Slave, Bloodstone, The Deale, Roger Troutman and Zapp, EU, Aretha Franklin and Cameo. While living in Atlanta, I continued playing and did production work for Rick James, the O’Jays and Slave. Upon returning to Dayton after about seven years, I reformed the Audio Show Band and has worked tirelessly as it’s founder to revive the band genre and we’re very funky now. I also encourage young musicians to live the dream of making music a career.
“I have recorded with the Deale and is preparing to release a single that I have recorded in my own studio that’s equipped with Pro Tools. In my free time, I engineer and run my own business. I’m also a positive member in my community and the musical scene in Dayton, Ohio and I’m making my mark one show at a time. And, now I’d like to introduce you to my band.
“Kenny Lee Bass is our music director, lead keyboardist, lead vocals and on talk box. Kenny was born in Spartanburg, S.C., and hails from a musical family. His uncle is a former member of Lakeside—Tiemeyer McCain—and he mentored his musical talents and vocal abilities, giving way to, a desire and level of professionalism unmatched in the industry. A prolific songwriter and composer, he has quite an extensive library of original music spanning decades and various genres. Upon settling in Dayton, he has been a member of some of Dayton’s premiere funk and dance bands that include: 2 Below, NV2, Trump Tight, Off the Hook, Risky Business and the D-Funk All Stars. Touring the country with these groups, he has shared the stage with the likes of Usher, Tyrese, El, Debarge, Shirley Murdock, the Ohio Players, The Barkays, Phil Perry, Roger and Zapp, Slave, EU, Najee, Tony Terry, Evelyn Champagne King, Bootsy Collins, Patra and Prince Markey D. He has developed a style and plays the talk box having been compared to the late, great Roger Troutman.
“Felicia M. Jefferson is our lead vocalist and she plays keyboards and flute. She is a classically trained musician that received her degree in Music Education from Wright State University. She has performed all over the United States with Slave, Trump Tight and the Breeders and have toured extensively in an alternative band she formed, Walaroo South. She has shared the stage with Shirley Murdock, Roger and Zapp, The Barkays, Digital Underground, Tyrese, Midnight Star, Bootsy Collins, Paul Simon, The Gap Band and the Indigo Girls. As a solo artist, she has opened for various Indie artists including the Breeders and the Black Girls. She has recorded vocals and collaborated on over seven independent projects and won Battle of the Bands in Dayton, Ohio in 1992. Recently she participated in Eric Whitacre’s, Virtual Choir 4 project ‘Fly to Paradise.’
“Robert (Bobby “D”) Davis is our frontman and lead vocalist. Bobby was born in the Gem City, Dayton, Ohio and is a product of the ’70s and ’80s funk music. Bobby has developed his skills as a vocalist, entertainer and high energy frontman for the Audio Show Band. He has toured the world traveling to Japan, Korea and Taiwan. He has also toured nationally with groups such as Marquis Show Band, Full House, New Beginnings, Krewhouse and Slave. He has shared the stage with artist like The Gap Band, Zapp and Digital Underground. He has now found his home with the Audio Show Band and continues to perform and entertain young and old alike.
“Kenny Crawl is our percussionist and dancer. He was born Feb. 12, 1963. A dedicated and devoted musician for over 30 years, he started playing percussion instruments in high school and joined the Audio Show Band in 1978. He went on tour with Whitney Houston in 1988. After the tour, he traveled to Hong Kong playing professionally until 1991. He also played with Slave, SOS Band, Lakeside, Shirley Murdock, Stone City Band, Midnight Star and Zapp. His ultimate goal is to continue touring and to record albums.
“Paul Hawkins is our drummer and he’s a seasoned performer that has played with a variety of bands covering many genres of music. He studied at the University of Dayton and has traveled to Singapore, Korea, Hong Kong Japan and the United States with bands such as DaWop, Slave and Coast 2 Coast. Paul has been a member of some of Dayton premier funk and dance bands including Trump Tight, 2 Below, Risky Business, D-Funk All Stars and the Flexx Band. On the national stage Paul has played with the likes of Confunksion, Aretha Franklin, the Ohio Players, Roger and Zapp, Tony Terry, Tyrese, The Barkays and Evelyn Champagne King. He also recorded a single with Risky Business entitled ‘Get it Right’ that was featured on the WBLZ Summer Jam Album and received notable airplay. Other highlights include, a featured article in Modern Drummer Magazine in 2004 and notoriety among his peers and fellow musicians.
“Dirk Dennis is our bass guitar player and he grew up listening to artists such as Al Green, Sly and the Family Stone, Kool and the Gang and the Ohio Players. He began his musical career by first playing the lead guitar. He then moved on to play the bass guitar at the age of 15. He began honing his skill by playing with local bands in the Dayton area. He also did studio recordings with various members of the Ohio Players, Slave and Sunn. Dirk played bass professionally with the group Slave from 1995 to 2008. During this time, he shared the stage with artist such as Morris Day and the Time, Bootsy’s Rubberband, Ready for the World, Confunkshun, Barkays, Cameo, SOS Band, Brothers Johnson, Lakeside, Brick and New Birth to name a few. By collaborating and networking with different musicians, Dirk made a connection with Lamorris Payne aka LA Sky of the Rick James Stone City Band. Dirk continues to play, record and lay down the funk with the band. Dirk joined Audio in 2013 knowing that we are a high energy funk band and that fit right into his wheelhouse.
“And then we have, Kenny ‘Ken-Dog’ Moore on guitar and lead vocals. Kenny was born and raised in Dayton, Ohio and he started playing guitar at the age of 12. Coming from a musical family, he learned by watching his uncle, a blues singer, Jimmy Baker. Growing up, Kenny has played with many local groups including Capri, Prodigy, Shade Band, Caution, Off the Hook, Trump Tight and the Flexx Band. Kenny has always been a funky guitar player and a longtime member of the Audio Show Band. Kenny continues to spread the funk.
“So ya’ll come on out because we’re going to have a funky, good time and I promise you, you’re going to have a ball.”
Now in closing I say, wow! That seems to be the only thing that’s coming out of my mouth, other than, I can’t wait and I hope to see you there. So until next week, you’ve been Up Close with Jeanie. Bye, bye babies.
P.S. If you would like The Spotlight shined upon you or someone that you know, all in the name of love, just send me an e-mail to upclosewithjeanie@yahoo. com. I’d love to hear from ya.
P.P.S. I’d like to thank all of you who have been sending me e-mails to give me some feedback on our journey. Keep up the good work and to those who haven’t, please feel free to do so because I’d love to hear from you too.