Dayton expat Dale Walton enters digital age with new music



Although he now calls St. Paul, Minnesota home, Dale Walton will be forever linked to Dayton’s original rock scene.

The rocker and longtime manager of Gem City Records in downtown Dayton was among the first wave of local upstarts that released pivotal singles and albums in the early 1980s like Toxic Reasons and Dementia Precox.

Unlike many of his contemporaries, Walton is still writing and recording new music. Last month, he released the digital single, “Smile in a Mad Dog’s Eye.” It was engineered and produced by Walton’s son, Evan, and Ro Lorenzen, who both perform on the track. The moody mid-tempo rocker also features a killer saxophone solo by Allison Payonk of Twin City acts Alien Book Club and Static Panic.

“It’s a new single but it’s one of those songs I’ve had in my hip pocket for years,” Walton said. “We started it about two years ago and then Evan took it to his producer, Ro. She’s just incredible. I played guitar and bass on it and, of course, did the vocals and they took it from there.

“It’s kind of a dark song,” he continued. “I was a little worried people wouldn’t listen to the whole thing, but I love the jazz part. The sax player, Allison Payonk, is in a couple of really big bands up here and she was just great.”



Along with the release of the new single, Walton has made remastered versions of older albums like “Double Knot Spy” (1990) and “Life and Death” (2009), which are available on Bandcamp and on all major streaming platforms for the first time. He credits that decision to Evan, 27, who is currently a senior in the music business program at Berklee School of Music.

“The only thing I had on Bandcamp was the anthology, ‘23 Years,’ and the album, ‘Madness and Dreams,’ from 2017,” Walton said. “Then, in 2019, I put out ‘Next to Last,’ which is kind of an acoustic album. I actually did really well on Bandcamp with all that stuff. Then, Evan came to me and said, ‘You need to put all those older releases out on the different streaming channels.’ He was right. I actually have a lot of followers so I’m glad to have it all available on streaming.”

Walton is pleased to know his music has reached South America as well.

“I guess ‘Smile in a Mad Dog’s Eye’ is actually getting airplay in Fargo,” Walton added with a laugh. “And Brazil too. It’s not a mass audience. It’s a selective audience but all any songwriter wants is to just get your stuff heard.”

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