Kent band makes for a nice, warm musical ja-Coozy

Allison Bugg

While the Kent music scene is thriving with talent, the members the of Kent-based band, Coozy, decided to jump in head first.

After taking more than five months off to add a guitar player and record a demo CD, the group is booking local shows for this spring.

“We really needed to put some songs on a CD because it gives venues a sample of our music,” said Todd Wheaton, senior conservation major and bassist. “Now, hopefully, we can book some bigger and better shows.”

And interestingly enough, the band’s name stems from a beer Koozie, or can wrap.

“We’re all big collectors of Koozies,” Wheaton said, “So we thought it appropriate to call ourselves Coozy.”

The band formed in December 2003 after endless late-night sessions and got its start playing shows in Kent with the former group Stool Creak Circus. In addition, the group often plays at Peabody’s in Cleveland.

Coozy members include guitarist and lead singer Aric Frank, drummer Joel Simpson, hand percussionist and backup vocalist Gary Miller and Wheaton on bass. The most recent addition to the group is guitarist Steve Cummings.

“The second guitar adds a lot to our sound,” Wheaton said. “It really fills in the empty space I thought we had before.”

Coozy has a wide-ranging playing style, he said. The band plays a mix of reggae and funk.

“We don’t want to sound like any other band out there and that’s why we concentrate on producing unique rhythms and beats,” he said.

The group’s musical influences are far and few between, including Outkast, Sublime, 311 and Bob Marley.

Wheaton said the band’s first priority is making music while having fun.

“As a group, we’re not necessarily looking to go big time or get signed by a record label,” he said. “A little recognition from time to time is all we need. We like playing for our fans.”

If there’s a band out there that loves what it does, Coozy is it.

“We’re always coming up with new ideas for songs, and we usually play all originals with one or two cover songs per show,” he said.

Everyone adds their two cents when it comes to a new song, he said. Frank writes the lyrics while the others write their own music.

“We’re in what I like to call a comfort zone right now,” Wheaton said. “We all have part or full-time jobs and enjoy making music on the side.”

For more information and a list of upcoming shows, visit

Contact local music reporter Allison Bugg at [email protected].