Gretchen Kelly begins with the story of one of the most wild and exciting nights that she’s been a part of as a show booker for the Oregon Express. She goes in depth about the Saturday night when local band The Professors took the stage. The Professors are a fuzz-inspired, psychedelic rock band that featured heavy riffs and 1960s style songwriting. Their style of music made them a big draw and would capture the audience’s attention anywhere they would perform. The Professors were more than just a band that would come and play music; they became one of the premiere acts in town. The band decided that it needed to take a break, and after 14 months they decided to return to playing live. The band came to Kelly one night and expressed their interest in coming out of their hibernation and playing at Oregon Express. The show would be the very first the band would play after their hiatus. Kelly jumped on the opportunity and agreed to book the gig.
A typical live music show goes as follows- crowd will show up and grab a seat in the viewing area where the show takes place. The staff quickly serves everyone without really having any issues throughout the duration of the show. Number of people will roam around, back and forth between the two sections of the bar. At the end of the night, everyone walks away completely satisfied. A pretty typical night at any venue.
But you never know how the evening is going to go. The night that Kelly talks about was a night that the script was changed. It’s the nature of the beast when it comes to setting up live shows. Before the night of the show, Kelly warned the staff that because of the popularity of The Professors there will be a need of additional help that night. As the night came, one of the staff called off due to illness. Being short staffed seemed okay at first due to the low volume at the start. Then out of nowhere, the crowd came in large numbers. The bar was difficult to move around as soon as everyone came in. Kelly goes on to end the story explaining that this was the second biggest night of door money that she ever obtained, right behind the CD release of another Dayton local band The Rebel Set’s Ghost Town Silence. After her story wrapped up, Kelly proceeded to fire up The Professors song ‘Pay the Price’.
Kelly, along with Emily Wegh, hosts a weekly show called Queens of the Scene on RadioPureGently.com. Radio Pure Gently is an internet radio station that has been in production for a couple of years now, and is still growing. The website began when Rob Puricelli was doing an internet radio show in 2010. Puricelli was producing his own show on a community based station Radio Thetford. The show was based in his home country in England and it focused on independent music. Unfortunately, Puricelli couldn’t continue the show due to his employment changing and other commitments.
Four dedicated listeners of Puricelli’s show felt that there was a void afterwards. After getting together and doing some talking, they decided that they would set up their own radio station together. On August 16th, 2012, Rohan Tarry (Bristol, UK), Larry Lang (Dayton, OH), Chris Duff (The Midlands, UK), and Micky Dodds (Armagh, UK) each did a half hour set, and would have their shows broadcast every Thursday at 7pm (UK time). The four men would call their project Radio Pure Gently because Tarry thought that it sound very similar to Puricelli. On August 16th, 2012, the first show went live. In 2013 Terry passed on his slot to Matt Clayton, who resides in Sellersburg, Indiana. In the summer of 2013, RadioPureGently.com was launched, and the focus turned to promoting and introducing new bands, artists, and musicians.
Kelly has been part of the scene in Dayton for many years. She started waiting tables and helping out the bands that played at Oregon Express. In 2007, the folks that were setting up the shows decided to step down and recommended Kelly to take over.
“I had no experience in booking bands”, Kelly said during our conversations. “However, I knew that I could be good at it, and I developed a system that worked.”
Kelly would book one band for Saturday nights, and have them bring in any 2 bands that they wanted. By coordinating shows this way, Kelly gives the bands all the control of door sales and how it trickles down. It also is a wonderful opportunity for the band that was originally booked to have another band come in and play. In 2009, Kelly decided to step down as booker. She returned to the position after the owner of Oregon Express called her up and asked her to come back. “I am so very glad the owner called, because I missed being a part of the Dayton Music Scene. It’s where my heart is.”
For Emily Wegh, home is a little farther away. Born and raised in the outer parts of Chicago, Wegh decided to study marketing at the University of Dayton. Wegh loved the campus and the friendly atmosphere, but what really drove her were the opportunities for community involvement. Currently, Wegh works in the UD dining services on campus, where she met Kelly. The two quickly bonded over the local music scene, along with independent music. “She eventually ended up asking me if I would be interested in doing a radio show with her and the RPG guys,”Wegh explained. Being part of the show, along with her majoring in marketing, has also given her another job. “As soon as the guys found out that I’m a marketing major, I was promoted to heading up our marketing campaign.”
Queens of the Scene, which debuted on January 21, 2014, is a two hour show broken up into two parts: one hour features Kelly, and the other hour features Wegh. Kelly dives into more of the music that is being played and produced in the Dayton scene. The New Old-Fashioned, Motel Beds, Shrug, SOHIO are among some of the local bands that Kelly presents on her segment. Wegh explores other independent artists in her hour’s segment. She also dives into how the songs and/or artists she has played as impacted her. On the Valentine’s Day show, Wegh jokingly played music about love and heartbreak. Both hours are full of great music, both local and from around the world. Each week, both ladies record their vocals and insert the music into the recording software program REAPER. With the vocals and music in place, the ladies will then transfer it to Micky Dodds. The original idea was for both Wegh and Kelly to produce the show together. Unfortunately it hasn’t been able to happen due to the schedules. Kelly and Wegh do plan to eventually have them both do the show together instead broken into two segments.
The road is paved for Radio Pure Gently to really make a splash, especially over the pond, Kelly explains. “I was talking to my friend in who lives in London, Shamus Dark, who is a jazz singer. We were talking about how RPG will be adding more programing and he message me something that I though was interesting. The live music scene is slowly dying in the UK. There was a program on BBC about all the small venues that have closed in the last few years. They’re called ‘toilet venues’ because they’re so small, but it’s where Oasis, Manic Street preachers, Pulp and many others started out. It’s all very worrying. He thinks RPG and others like it can help save the real music versus the television talent shows.”
The shows on the website are constantly working on improving not only their sound, but also their content. Independent artist and bands all over the world are being able to have their music played. Listeners can go to this website RadioPureGently.com, or they can click on to http://mixlr.com/radio-pure-gently/chat.
For Kelly, Wegh, and everyone involved with Radio Pure Gently, the experience of being a part of the website is thrilling. “It’s especially exciting for me to be working on something like this because it’s so diverse and international. It has been a terrific and one of a kind experience for me so far, and I’m really stoked to see where it continues going,” Wegh said.
Kelly added, “We all love doing this. It’s like having a bunch of new brothers.”
Queens of the Scene is broadcast every Tuesday afternoon at 2pm when you can also hear more stories just like the one about Kelly’s wild and magical Saturday night with The Professors, and of course more music.