Hermie Granati is a killer keyboard player, a vocalist, song-writer, producer, and a Zombie. You heard of the "One Man Band"...well Hermie is the "Many Band Man". He has performed and recorded with the Granati Brothers/G-Force, the Jaggerz, B.E. Taylor, Joe Grushecky, Bo Diddley Jr. Phweet Phwew, Coconut, and other groups. Hermie has appeared across the U.S. and Canada at major concert venues with some of the biggest names in rock and roll from Van Halen to Bruce Springsteen. As a session musician he has performed on dozens of recordings including those of B.E. Taylor, Joe Grushecky, the Jaggerz, Norman Nardini, Wil E Tri, DT Takos, The Naked Citizens, Mike Stout, Chizmo Charles and others. His compositions have been recorded by the Granati Brothers and the Jaggerz. He has also produced recordings of the Granati Brothers, the Jaggerz, Chismo Charles and other artists. Hermie was inducted into the Beaver Valley Musicians Hall of Fame in 2004 as a member of the Granati Brothers.
Hermie Granati has devised ways to make the keyboard player "as flamboyant as a guitar player." Using a high-hitting, two-handed approach, Granati added frills to ordinary octaves and trills.-Michele Ramstetter The Buffalo News
Boogie Woogie Todler to Teen Rocker
Born in Beaver Falls Pennsylvania Hermie began playing piano by ear at age 3. He performed an original song in recital at age 4 and wrote boogie woogie songs at age 5. Hermie cut his first record with his first group "The Shad Three" at age 12 in 1963. Jerry Reed, who later founded Jeree Studio, recorded two sides in his basement studio. Side A featured Hermie singing his own arrangement of the classic "Louie Louie" with a jamming boogie piano solo. Side B was an original by Hermie titled “Baby You Turn Me On”. The Shad Three were comprised of Hermie on piano and vocals, his younger brother Rickie on snare, and their neighbor Keith Galentine on guitar. The Granati Brothers became lifelong friends with Jerry Reed that day and went on the earn a national recording contract with Jerry's help a few years later.
High School Rocker
Hermie began his professional music career began while he was in high school. He performed weekend gigs with bands in Pittsburgh and Youngstown area clubs.
One of Hermie earliest bands was the Grains of Sand aka “Phweet Phwew” (the name sounded like a 1930’s wolf whistle). The band featured Rich Engler on drums, guitarist Max Kendrick and bassist Skinny Bishop who later played with Gino Vannelli and Bobby Vinton. They became popular playing Tri-state area colleges..Phweet Phwew opened several big shows including appearances with David Bowie in Pittsburgh, Yes in Erie and shows with King Crimson, UFO, Bob Seger, Mike Quattro, and Sha Na Na. Phweet Phwew played all original music and recorded songs written by Hermie. Rich Engler performed with Phweet Phwew through 1972 until he retired his sticks to become a full time concert promoter.
Next in Hermie's career came a stint with Coconut, a Youngstown band whose members included B.E.Taylor, Gary Markasky, and Myron Grombacher. They appeared frequently at Youngstown's Tomorrow Club. Markasky later became a member of the Michael Stanley Band and Grombacher player with Rick Derringer and Pat Benetar.
The Jaggerz Part 1
Hermie co-wrote the song "I'll Be Okay In the Morning" with Donnie Iris for the Jaggerz 1975 "Come Again" album that was released on Wooden Nickel Records. Hermie then joined the chart topping band playing with original members Jimmie Ross, Donnie Iris, Bill Maybray, Benny Faiella and Jim Pugliano. He played keyboard and sang vocals with the Jaggerz at their many packed appearances at the Staircase Lounge, Mancini's, Villas and other Pittsburgh area clubs. After Jimmy Ross left to join the Skyliners in 1975, the Jaggerz broke up..
A Gentile Giant Discovers Granati Brothers
After Hermie left the Jaggerz he joined with his brothers Rick, Joey, David, and cousin Tony Bonomo to form the Granati Brothers in 1976. Playing original tunes, reggae, jazz fusion, and rock the G-Bros quickly became a big draw packing clubs in Western Pennsylvania.
On a visit to Beaver Falls, Pa. Ray Shulman of the UK band Gentle Giant saw the Granati-Bros play at Morry's Speak Easy. Ray was in Beaver Falls visiting his wife Barb's family. Barb, an old friend of the Granati's. took Ray to Morry's. Impressed with their sound, original music and talent Ray and his brother Derek became managers of the Granati Brothers. Working with Ray Shulman the Granati's recorded a demo tape at Jeree Studio with their old friend Jeree Reed. Ray and Derek shopped the tape and landed the Granati Brothers a recording contract with A&M Records.
The Schulmans brought their booking agent Frank Barcalona, owner of Premiere Talent, to Morry's Speakeasy see the Granatis play. Barcalona, now a member Rock and Rock Hall of Fame member, signed the Granati Brothers to his prestigious Premiere Talent Agency and put them on tour. Premiere also represented Springsteen, Santana, and Van Halen.
In 1979 A&M Records released the Granati Brothers "G-Force” Album. Major rock FM stations throughout America, including WMMS, WMMR, KROQ, WNEW, and WDVE gave rotation airplay to the songs: "Nite", "You Looked So Good", "What in the World", and "It was You". Fans across the country purchased over 50,000 copies.
Trouser Press exclaimed "the Granatis are just spunky popsters with a fine sense of what's catchy. Their blend of genuine cool ("Nothin" and "I Can Do Without You") and uncynical enthusiasm gives the Bros. the charm of a modern Young Rascals (or Badfinger) and that's most promising indeed."
The Granati Brothers song "Go Crazy" was featured as the opening cut of A&M Records "Propaganda" compilation album that includes the Police, Squeeze, and Joe Jackson.
Arena Tours and Van Halen
During a seven-month national tour in 1979 the Granati Brothers performed for 250,000 fans appearing with Van Halen, Heart, Peter Frampton, Boston, J Geils, Ian Hunter, the Doobie Brothers, Aerosmith, Sammy Hagar, J. Geils.and others. The highlight of the tour was an appearance before 62,000 fans at the Superdome in New Orleans. In 1981 the Granati Brothers, billed G-Force toured with Van Halen and performed for over 500,000 fans in 39 cities in the U.S. and Canada appearing at 46 sold out concerts. It was the third largest tour of 1981.
Granati Brothers RecordingsThe Granati Brothers signed with Atlantic Records in 1986 and recorded an album with producer Pete Solley titled "Enter: G-Force" that was went unreleased due to record company politics. The Granati Brothers broke up in in 1995 and the members pursued independent projects. They re-united in 2002 to record the CD "G The Continuing Adventures of the Granati Brothers". It featured several songs written or co-written by Hermie and his powerful rendition oThe CD was recorded at David Granati's Maple Wood Studios and was mastered by Brian Foraker, who has worked with Moby, Heart, Yes, and others. The album featured members of the Pittsburgh Symphony on the orchestral backed song "Resolution" and other tracks. XM Radio featured the song "Resolution". The CD was a top seller in the classic rock genre on Amazon.com. Gene Godfrey named the CD "the best of 2003" on his internationally syndicated radio show "Classic FM". The album included several songs written and co-written by Hermie along with his killer rendition of the Beatles 'Oh Darling'. Reviewer Phillip Harris of Pittsburgh Magazine wrote:
"G is melodic rock with nods to Journey, Queen, Jellyfish, early Van Halen and the Beatles (they do a cover of keyboardist Hermie's show-stopping "Oh Darling" with a rockin' solo that Paul could only dream about). The harmonies are fantastic, and the playing professional and never self-indulgent.
Australian music critic George Thatcher praised the album writing: "there is definitely something for everyone, and not only is it good value, it's a good replacement therapy for the poor excuse that is today's popular music."
Jaggerz Part II
After the Granati Brothers disbanded in 1995 Hermie rejoined the Jaggerz performing with them for several years. Hermie produced and arranged the Jaggerz 1998 album "And the Band Played On" that features his original tune "Feels Good". In its review of the album the Allmusic Guide critic wrote: "Heartfelt soul music from Pittsburgh, ...The soulful self-contained group excels on stirring renditions of the Five Stairsteps' "Don't Waste Your Time," the Manhattans' "Kiss and Say Goodbye," the Four Tops' "Love Music," and a devastating medley of the O'Jays' "Stand in for Love," and the Sensations' "Please Baby Please" that'll bust your heart."
Hermie also recorded with the Jaggerz on the 2001 release "Re-Rapped By Request". He sang lead vocals on the cut "Who's That Knockin?'.
Jamming with Grushecky
In 2002 Hermie recorded with Joe Grushecky on his "Fingerprints" release. Hermie also appeared on the Houserockers compilation "Pumpin' Iron and Sweatin' Steel". Joe and Hermie have performed together on numerous occasions including gigs with Bruce Springsteen at the Stone Pony and the 2004 Flood Aid Concert in Pittsburgh..
Scott Mervis of the Pittsburgh Post Gazette wrote. "Flood Aid raised more than $270,000 for the cause, but its musical ramifications weren't revealed until the Houserockers struck at the heart of the Cultural District with "Pumpin' Iron." It was played in all its fist-waving glory with a round robin of blistering solos from Reisman, Bill Toms and Hermie Granati. In fact, during Granati's nearly acrobatic keyboard attack, Springsteen, who's seen it all, had the expression of a man who'd never seen anything like it".- Pittsburgh Post Gazette Dec 4, 2004"
B.E. Taylor Band
Hermie has been performing for 18 years as a vocalist with B.E.Taylor on his annual Christmas concert series at Heinz Hall and sold out concert halls in Ohio, West Virginia, and Western Pennsylvania. The tour draws tens of thousands of fans annually. The B.E. Taylor Christmas concert has been broadcast on 200 PBS stations across the country. Hermie brings down the house each year with his stylized renditions of "Please Come Home For Christmas" and the Beatles 'Oh Darlin". Hermie recorded with B.E. on several of his releases "Try Love" (1997), "Christmas Volume 2".(2002), "One Nation Under God" (2004), and "B.E. Taylor Christmas 3" (2012).
TV and Dueling Piano Act
Hermie appeared on the critically acclaimed WQED Television Tribute to the Beatles that featuring his signature version of 'Oh Darlin', complete with the electrifying double-hand piano solo style that is uniquely his own.
When not playing with the Granati Brothers, B.E. Taylor, or the Jaggerz Hermie can be found playing dueling piano shows and running open stage nights at clubs throughout Western Pa, Ohio, and West Virginia. He also performs in a duos with singer and country star Bryan Cole and singer Shari Richards. Hermie performs in many charity events such as the annual Zanafest, the annual Rhythms of Life concert, and the Robin Cole Man Up Jam.
But underneath it all Hermie is a killer. Appearing as a menacing zombie in the 1985 George Romeo movie "Day of the Dead" Hermie and his brothers killed the evil bad guy at the end! In the climatic scene of the movie, they attack the evil villain Captain Rhodes and dine on his intestines.