The Willing "Unfinished Business"

TOP STORIES :: ENTERTAINMENT Unfinished business Guys get band back together Comments March 5, 2010 By DENISE M. BARAN-UNLAND For Sun-Times Media When Rich Wigstone's copy of "Unfinished Business" arrived in the mail, he held the CD in his hand with a mixture of awe and elation. He waited decades for this moment. "I felt like a 12-year-old kid," Wigstone, guitarist, of Plano said. "Thirty-five years ago, we tried to become rock stars with all our hearts. But those days were different. You had to have a major record company backing you -- and nothing happened." Members of The Willing in 1974: (from left) David Angel, Chris Gough, Rich Wigstone, Kent Cooper, John Krahenbuhl and Dan Smith. RELATED STORIES • On the Web: Band's official site Two years ago, the six former members of Ultima Thule, now all between the ages of 55 and 60, reunited as The Willing to write and produce the 13-track recording they always desired to make. The CD features the heavy rhythm song, "Mary Ann's on Fire," about Viet Nam. A companion video is in the creation stage. The listener will hear a variety of sounds and influences, as five of the six members contributed to the songwriting and alternated lead vocals. Musically, the songs capture the essence of classic rock, 1960s British pop, modern day Indie pop and 1970s Arena rock. "We decided to do it just for fun, but strangely enough, with the new technology and trend to independency, we are seeing some early results," Wigstone said. "We are on i-tunes and on Jango airplay internet radio—7 millions listeners. It's pretty exciting for a bunch of old guys." Other members of The Willing are Dan Smith of Aurora on piano, David Angel of Aurora on bass, Chris Gough of DeKalb on bass, Kent Cooper of South Elgin, on drums and John Krahenbuhl of St. Charles on organ. In the 1970s, driven by the success of The Beatles and similar bands, Ultima Thule played clubs around the Midwest, longing to play more of their original music and less of the popular cover songs the club owners expected. When the band disassembled, each man lamented not seeing the band's recording goal reach its hoped-for end. Today, although many of the barricades to manufacturing and distributing music are gone, the road to success and notoriety is not necessarily any easier. The market is flooded with many artists yearning for the same opportunity. "Everybody who has an independent CD can get the word out," Wigstone said. Still, buoyed by responses to their Facebook page, overseas orders, and some positive reviews, members of The Willing nurture strong hopes many people will enjoy "Unfinished Business," They have even discussed making a second CD, but, for now, are declining performance offers. "We did that rock and roll touring thing," Wigstone said. "This is strictly a studio band, a good opportunity to get together with friends and to make something that will outlast us," Wigstone said. Copies of "Unfinished Business" are available at and at

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