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Doug Grassel, Ohio Express Guitarist, Dies

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Doug Grassel, a guitarist for the Ohio Express, died on Sept. 21, 2013, from fibrosis of the lungs. He was 64.

Ohio Express were originally put together by bubblegum-pop producers Jerry Kasenetz and Jeffrey Katz, who also worked with the Music Explosion and 1910 Fruitgum Co., in 1967. Working under their Super K Productions, they took a band called Rare Breed, reissued their single ‘Beg, Borrow and Steal’ as Ohio Express and had a Top 30 hit with it.

But a dispute with the group led to a reshuffling that brought in a band called Sir Timothy and the Royals from Mansfield, Ohio, to replace them. Grassel was their guitar player. Kasenetz and Katz then enlisted New York singer Joey Levine (who also sang with 1910 Fruitgum Co., among other session groups) and studio musicians to play on the records, while still using the Ohio band on cover art and on tour.

Over the next few years they had a handful of hit singles, including 1968′s ‘Yummy Yummy Yummy,’ which went to No. 4.

According to the Mansfield News Journal, Grassel continued to perform over the years, often incorporating many of the Ohio Express hits in his sets. He had been hospitalized for the past four months and passed away in Germany. He is survived by three children.

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