In my early years of going to see live music in Dayton, I went to many memorable shows at McGuffy’s House of Rock in east Dayton, off Burkhardt Ave. It’s always been a great general admission venue, which is so much more fun than seated shows. In the last few years, the line-ups just weren’t calling to me, and it fell off my radar.
In 2014, the venue was sold to new owners. Now named Oddbody’s Music Room, I was cautiously optimistic about the venue’s future. When I first met with the new owners, Neilson Hixson, Skip Murray and Richard Eckhardt, I knew this historic space was in good hands. I was so impressed by their professionalism and dedication to bringing not only great sounding shows, but a more diverse offering of musical acts.
In the last couple years I can attest that have done a simply fantastic job bringing our former stomping grounds to new heights. What’s new? Well other than a fresh coat of paint, the sound and light system has been revamped and cranking! It’s definitely one of the best indoor venues in the regional area.
I got a chance to catch up with Neilson about his thoughts on taking a chance on the venue, the local music scene, and how to keep up with this exciting spot:
1. What inspired you to open a music venue? What an exciting venture!
It’s really simple. I think we’re crazy. This is a tough business, make no doubt about that. So many highs and lows. I’ve been promoting shows for well over 20 years and we had an opportunity to maintain this iconic Dayton stage. We took a leap of faith and did it.
2. Let’s say someone hasn’t heard of Oddbody’s Music Venue. How would you describe it? What differs it from other venues in town?
We look like a classic mid cap rock club that you’ll find scattered around the country. The room might not be fancy but what we really have going for us is our stage and production capabilities. And that’s really what matters doing what we do. The stage and the team we have running it. We put it on a pedestal to honor it. The production of a concert is hands down the single most important part in all of this. And I think the patrons, the fans, who come and see these artists really feel that.
3. You have been involved in the Dayton music scene for a long time. How has the scene changed over the years? Thoughts about it’s current state?
When I got started doing all this stuff I was primarily booking and promoting metal. That’s always where my heart has been. And the metal scene is still pretty solid around here. Great local artists and when we bring in these larger touring bands generally the attendance at the shows remains good. In the last two years I’ve learned a lot about other music scenes in Dayton. Some are extremely strong, others hit and miss. But there remains a lot of extremely talented local talent. Bottom line is the bands and the people actively attending shows will change over time. Change is constant in the music business. But if you book the right bands at the right time people will come out to see them. You absolutely can’t take anything for granted though. Just simply booking a band and expecting people to buy tickets will run you out of business as quickly as you started it. Getting butts in the seats remains hard work. And if you are not willing to do the work this business is not for you. That sure hasn’t changed much.
4. What advice would you give to musicians? Regarding promotion and/or professionalism?
Decide who you are. Are you doing it for fun or is this a business? Are you just happy being a local band playing some gigs here and there or are you going to try to “make it”. Are you willing to put in the work? Look it’s just as crazy being a young touring band as it is a venue owner. But it’s what we do. It’s in our blood. Practice your instrument, develop a sellable product, invest in your product, and fully commit to your product. Build a team to help you sell your product. It’s like running any other business. It’s not easy, you have to take some leaps of faith. You will still probably fail. But you only live once. And who wants to go through life thinking you never tried to do anything. In a matter of minutes venue owners and stage managers can see what choice you’ve made. Think about that too.
5. You have some amazing shows coming up. What’s the best way for way for people to keep up with the schedule?
www.oddbdoys.com or www.facebook.com/oddbodys would be the best two places to check out the always changing musical calendar! (Editor’s Note: You can always check the DMM Calendar for upcoming shows as well.)
How to go? Located at 5418 Burkhardt Ave, Dayton OH 45431
An easy 10 min drive from downtown Dayton, via US-35 East
Get out and support the Dayton music scene!!