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

Sep 4, 2017 | 24566 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 | 8567 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 »

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

Jun 12, 2017 | 15319 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 »

Motor City Mavericks: The Pleasure Seekers and Suzi Quatro

Jun 3, 2017 | 14143 Views | 2 Comments

When a group of sisters got together in the early '60s to come up with a name for their rock and roll band, they turned to that greatest of reference guides -- the dictionary. You could always count on ol' Funk and Wagnall for inspiration. Or even Merriam and Webster. (Kids, you can Google those names.) Leafing through the large tome, they came across the word "hedonist." Definition: a pleasure seeker. Bingo! Formed in Grosse Pointe, Michigan, in 1964 by 17-year-old Patti Quatro, The Pleasure Seekers were born of Beatlemania and bred on Detroit muscle. The original... Read More »

What Did You Do in the War, Daddy?

May 28, 2017 | 25040 Views | 2 Comments

“What did you do in the war, Daddy?” That’s a question most kids eventually get around to asking when they learn their fathers served in the armed forces. Almost all of my childhood friends had dads who served in either World War II or the Korean War. In those days it wasn’t uncommon for veterans to keep their war stories to themselves, especially those who fought in battle or witnessed atrocities. The men who went to war back then were of a generation steeped, for better or worse, in silent suffering. They shared a collective stiff-upper-lip consciousness.... Read More »