Roaring Down Thunder Road: Darlin’, You Know Just What I’m Here For

Sep 16, 2017 | 19957 Views | 3 Comments

I took a road trip with "Born to Run" yesterday. It's the 40th anniversary of Bruce's groundbreaking album, and there's no better way to experience it than by blasting it in your car, with the windows open and the wind blowing back your hair. Cars and tunnels and backstreets and highways are just as central to the LP's cast of characters as the losers and loners and tramps. My trip to the South Hills of Pittsburgh lasted the entire length of the album. From Rt. 22 East and the harmonica opening of "Thunder Road," right down to... Read More »

Pumpin’ Some Pittsburgh Labor Day Love with The Iron City Houserockers

Sep 4, 2017 | 18326 Views | 1 Comment

There’s no city in America that defined labor quite like beautiful, hardscrabble Pittsburgh. Our workers produced the big, hard, heavy, clanging things that made the world go 'round: iron, steel, aluminum, glass, massive rotors, giant generators. Nobody worked as hard as Pittsburghers. And nobody wrote and sang about the working class lives and loves of Pittsburghers quite like the fabulous Iron City Houserockers. The band's early lineup included founder, guitarist and vocalist Joe Grushecky, bass player Art Nardini, drummer Ned Rankin, guitarist Eddie Britt, keyboardist Gil Snyder, guitarist Gary Scalese, and harmonica player Marc Reisman. These guys... Read More »

And the Score is Love-Love: A Teenage Tennis Tale

Sep 1, 2017 | 3360 Views | 2 Comments

"Where the boys are, someone waits for me," Connie Francis once sang. And just where were they waiting in my sleepy little hometown in the slow, sweet summertime? Well, let's just say it wasn't at our old cracked-concrete tennis court. But for me, it was someplace to go, and go I did - back in my pre-car, pre-cash mid-teen years. Every night after dinner, my friend Ann and I would dress to impress and make our way up cemetery hill to the courts to see and be seen. Guys would come and go. Some actually lobbed... Read More »

The Sex Pistols Invade America. First Stop: Pittsburgh?

Aug 5, 2017 | 23481 Views | 1 Comment

I remember sitting in study hall one day during my senior year of high school, speaking in hushed tones with a couple of friends about a band that was just starting to rear its spike-haired head on the pages of Circus and Creem magazines: The Sex Pistols. Who were they? Or rather, what were they? In the early months of 1977, no one outside a small circle of die-hard British fans had even heard their music. The band’s first single, “God Save the Queen,” and sole studio album, “Never Mind the Bollocks, Here’s the Sex Pistols,”... Read More »

Roll Up, Roll Up — for the Greyhound Bus Hippyland Tour!

Jun 12, 2017 | 12282 Views | 6 Comments

So, you're trippin' with your blue-jean baby down a marijuana-scented street, wearing your tie-dyed shirt, love beads and huaraches, when you hear an announcement blaring from a packed tour bus: “Now, ladies and gentlemen, if you look to your left you'll see a hairy hippie passed out in front of the Phật Phúc Noodle Bar. Ahead on the right you’ll notice a parade of shaved-head Hare Krishnas -- such a happy lot, wrapped in their orange gauze! Oh, and do you see those scraggly kids carrying signs that say 'drop acid, not bombs'? They're the pinko-loving,... Read More »