Buckeye Beat

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Willis the Zipper

Warren, 1971-73

Willis the Zipper - "freaky" name, with a sound to match. This group from Youngstown played a unique style of progressive rock with influences of Frank Zappa, King Crimson, Jethro Tull, and Emerson, Lake, and Palmer. They played the Youngstown and Cleveland clubs like Old McDonalds in Girard.

Willis the Zipper included Gary Boggess on keyboards, an acclaimed player who was influenced by Keith Emerson and also a early user of the Moog synthesizer and Mellotron. Paul McDonald played flute and sax, Pete Knapp on trumpet, Jim Toti on drums (all three had previously been in My Uncle's Army Buddies). Jim Toti left and was replaced by Jose Ortiz.

The band never released a record but had a good fan base. In 1973 Boggess, McDonald, amd Knapp wanted to move in a jazz-rock direction so they started I Don't Care