There is an “I’m yadda yadda yadda” years old thing on Facebook right now. Someone says something like, “I’m learn the cheat code to Ms. Pacman old.” It’s a cute thing that lets us be nostalgic and also self deprecating. Ok… so here’s mine: “I’m see the Iron City Houserockers on Solid Gold” old.
Many people know Joe Grushecky and (usually) The Houserockers from Joe’s thirty year career as a performer and recording artist. Most fans also know that prior to that he was the lead singer in The Iron City Houserockers, who were signed to MCA records, recorded with Little Steven, Steve Cropper, Ian Hunter, and Mick Ronson. And yes they appeared on Solid Gold.
Celebrating 40 years since their first record (Love is So Tough) was released, Grushecky and his current Houserockers are joined by original members Marc Reisman (harmonica) and Art Nardini (bass) to perform the record and some other favorites at The Crafthouse Stage and Grill in the South Hills this Saturday. The current line-up consists of guitarist Danny Gouchnour (who’s debut record we wrote about here), Johnny Grushecky on guitar and vocals, Jeff Garrison on bass, and thirty year vet Joffo Simons on the drums. The group will be joined by Joe Monroe on keys from Gouchnour’s solo band. The event is produced by legendary Pittsburgh Promoter Rich Engler.
Love is So Tough reached 201 on the Billboard “bubbling under” category and 164 on Cashbox. Despite the lack of major sales, very strong reviews came pouring in. The acclaim helped get the band top notch producers and some die hard fans that remain loyal 40 years later. The band was thought of so highly that they were able to release three more records on MCA before being dropped.
The record is the only release the band ever made with original guitarist, the late Gary Scalese. It was also produced by two-time grammy winner Steve Popovich, who discovered the IC Houserockers and signed them to his new Cleveland International Records. These ingredients, along with the band’s inexperience in the studio, led to a raw sound that many (including me) loved.
The band went on to become a cult legend in rock and roll who and had many “almost” moments. The original members also included Duke Snyder on Keys and Ned Rankin on drums. Byrd Foster and Eddie Britt played with the band on subsequent releases.
Unlike the Solid Gold performance, there will be no lip-syncing on Saturday Night at the Crafthouse. Tickets are still available here.
Chet Vincent and Birdwather opening the show. I hope to see you there at my Peak of the Week.