Joey Granati is an entertainer, recording artist, composer, lyricist, vocalist, and multi-instrumentalist on piano, bass guitar, and guitar. His music career spans over 40 years. As a member of the Rock 'n Roll group the "Granati Brothers", also known as "G-Force", he recorded for A&M Records and Atlantic Records and entertained millions of fans at the largest concert venues and night clubs across America. Becoming a Dueling Pianist in 1995 he has performed in the top Dueling Piano venues in the U.S. and has been a star at the Jelly Rolls, Charlie Murdock, and SingSing Clubs in Pittsburgh. Influenced by Mozart, Debussy, The Beatles, and Yes, Joey composes classical, new age, rock, and pop tunes. He co-wrote along with David Granati, Gary Carolla, and Jim Sparacino the song "Tell Me How to Make You Smile" that was recorded by Aaron Carter on his million selling debut CD. He has written songs recorded by the Granati Brothers, the 4th Dimensional Beings, and Mark Eddie along with commission works. Joey is also a music educator. He teaches private piano and bass guitar students and runs the “For Those Who Are About to Rock Academy”. Joey Granati along with his brothers was inducted into the Beaver County Musicians Hall of Fame in 2004.
Beginning with the Classics
Joseph Pio Granati was born in Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania, the third of the four Granati Brothers. The Granati’s were a musical family. Their grandfather Julio Granati brought a great passion for Italian opera and classical music with him to America from Rome. Julio often serenaded his grandchildren singing arias from his favorite operas. Joey inherited his grandfather’s love of classical music. At age five Joey began piano lesson withs Olive Powell. He learned to read music before he learned to read books. After his first six months of lessons he had mastered two piano books. Olive Powell told Joey’s parents that she taught Joey everything she knew and recommended that he study with a more advanced teacher. Joey began classical piano studies at Geneva College with Mrs. Margaret R. Schreyer. Schreyer had learned from a long line of pianists who traced back to Ludwig Von Beethoven himself. Joey studied with Mrs. Schryer for nine years learning the works of Beethoven, Debussy, Mozart, and Bach. He performed at the annual piano recitals that Mrs. Schreyer held at Geneva College for her students. At age 12 Joey expanded his studies learning music theory and composition from pianist and entertainer Vale Stanley. Val Stanley was also a musical actor who starred in the lead role in a production of the King and I at the Pittsburgh Playhouse. Joey credits Stanley with teaching him song structures and how to employ advance piano techniques within compositions.
Joey began performing rock music live at age 14 with his guitarist brother David and his cousin drummer Tony Bonomo in the band they called ‘OZ’. Borrowing a sound system from their neighbor Donnie Iris they played their first gig at the Patterson Township Fireman’s carnival in 1972. They went on to perform at school dances and outdoor rock festivals. While in high school Joey joined with his brothers Rick and David to form the band Salt and Pepper. They played Pittsburgh area clubs including Fat City and Morry’s Speak Easy. Upon graduating from Blackhawk High School the Duquense University Department of Music offered Joey a full four year music scholarship. He turned down the offer to pursue a career in Rock and Roll.
Rock'n the Nation
In 1976 the oldest Granati Brother Hermie left the Jaggerz to join with Joe, Dave, Rick and cousin Tony Bonomo to form the Granati Brothers. In 1977 Derek and Ray Shulman of the band "Gentle Giant" discovered the Granati Brothers playing at Morry’s Speakeasy and signed them to a management deal and to A&M Records. In 1979 A&M Records released the "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 America purchased over 50,000 copies. 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". Rock Hall of Fame member Frank Barsalona signed the Granati Brothers to his Premiere Talent Agency and put the band on tour. During a seven-month national tour in 1979 the G's performed for 250,000 fans opening 32 concerts for Van Halen and appeared with Heart, Peter Frampton, Boston, J Geils, Ian Hunter, the Doobie Brothers, and others.
Eddie Van Halen convinces Joey to play Bass
During the 1979 tour Joey was playing Debussy and Beethoven pieces backstage when Eddie Van Halen approached him. He was impressed with Joey’s classical music skills. Eddie said “Joey” your band needs a bass player. As you’re the best musician in the band play you should learn the bass.” Joey took Eddie’s advice. Returning to Pittsburgh after the tour, he called his friend bassist Skinny Bishop for lessons. Skinny who played bass for Gino Vinelli and Bobby Vinton, gave Joey two lessons teaching him the basic fingerings and scales. Joey took it from there and was soon playing dexterous and fast extended bass solos at Granati Brother gigs. He injected cartoon and television theme songs into the middle of his bass solos awing the crowds. In 1981 the Granati Brothers, billing themselves G-Force toured again with Van Halen. Joey doubled on bass and keyboards. G-Force appeared at 46 sold out concerts performing for over 500,000 fans in 39 cities in the U.S. and Canada. It was the third largest tour of 1981.
The Granati Brothers signed a record deal with Atlantic Records in 1986. Working with Pete Solley, who had been a member of Procol Harlem and who had produced the Romantics hit single "What I Like About You" they recorded an album titled "Enter" Due to music industry politics the album went unreleased.
Tell Me How to Make You Smile
The Granati’s opened Mulberry Street Recorders, a large 48 track studio in Coroplis, Pa in 1990 to record their own music and the music of other Pittsburgh area musicians. Jimmy “Sputzy” Sparacino former lead singer of the popular Pittsburgh band Modern Man brought a young female singer that he was producing to record at Mulberry Street. The singer recorded a song that Joey and David had written titled “Tell Me How to Make You Smile”. Later in 1991 Sputzy;s former Modern Man band mate Gary Carolla called looking for songs to record, He was producing an album for new comer Aaron Cater. Sputzy played “Tell Me How to Make You Smile” for Gary who liked it. The song was featured on Aaron Carter’’s million selling debut CD in 1992. But Joey, David, and Sputzy made no money in song royalties. Aaron Carter’s manager Lou Pearlman bankrupted the Trans Continental Record company and was sentenced to 25 years in jail for money laundering and fraud.
The Granati Brothers to perform until they broke up in 1995. Hermie Granati rejoined the Jaggerz, David went into the recording business, Rick became a paint contractor, and Joey pursued a solo career.
Joey the Dueling Piano Man
After the Granati Brothers band broke up Joey began performing as a solo pianist and at dueling piano night clubs. His first regular dueling piano engagement was at the Jelly Rolls Club in Pittsburgh’s Station Square. Joey blossomed as an entertainer using his humor and musical playfulness to make the crowds laugh. Bringing members of the audience on stage to sing and dance he made everyone part of the show. It became a fun gig. Working at Jelly Rolls Joey developed a repertoire of over 1000 songs learning both the lyrics and music. He learned the piano bar standards of Billy Joel, Elton John, Neil Diamond, and the eighties classic rock ballads. As Joey’s popularity grew Jelly Rolls sent him to their clubs in other cities to perform. Gaining a national reputation Joey became a member of a national circuit of dueling pianists known as, “The Dueling Pianos of Orlando”, He performed at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Disneyland in Anaheim, the Tropicana in Atlantic City, the New York New York Club in Las Vegas, along with clubs San Francisco, Detroit, and Savannah Georgia. He has been the number one requested guest pianist for all dueling piano companies in the United States. Joey was also hired to perform at private parties and a large corporate events for IBM, Farmers Insurance, and other companies. Joey has become on of the most recognized names in dueling pianos.
In 2001 Joey moved from Jelly Rolls to the large “SingSing” club in the Rock Bottom Inn at Waterfront in Homestead. There he became the music director hiring and rehearsing the staff of pianists. In 2006 a new Southside Pittsburgh Carson Street club called Charlie Murdock’s made Joey a part owner and hired him to create a Dueling Rock N Roll Piano Show. Joey hired band of accomplished musicians to back the dueling pianos in power house renditions of classic rock and power pop tunes. He brought in his brother David to play guitar. Opened in November of 2006, Charlies Murdoch’s quickly became popular with the Pittsburgh college crowd and was packed every weekend. In December of 2010 SingSing enticed Joey to return to their venue. He currently performs at SingSing each week.
Pittsburgh Blogger Sam Janisko, in his June 2011 article “Pittsburgh’s Church of Rock, Charlie Murdochs!” raved about Joey’s Granati:
“This guy is the definition of awesome. He is the spitting image of Jack Black’s character in the School of Rock, and he delivers some of the best hairband screams you will ever hear…. Not to mention, he is also awesome on the bass guitar and, well, pretty much just kicks ass in every way.”
New Age Composer
During his early days with the Granati Brothers Joey played and experimented with the latest keyboard synthesizer technology. He added many interesting electronic effects to the live music of the Granati Brothers. He also record short electronic pieces for WDVE that were used station promos for several years during the early 1980s.
Tell Me How to Make You Smile
Whilst they ran Mulberry Street Recorders, Joey and brother David formed a think tank new age music duo named the "4th Dimensional Beings". The 4th Dimensional Beings are composers of lyrical ambient classical and rock influenced electronic music that voyages into the space-time Continuum. They recorded an album of kaleidoscopic instrumental soundscapes titled "Alien History".With pieces titled “Air”, Prophet. “All That I Can Do”, and "Where Truth Lies” it is space music for the dreamers and friends of the Universe. The album was released via the internet and was heard on many electronic music internet radio stations. Several of the compositions from the Alien History album have been used for national commercials and infomercials along with video soundtracks,
Return of the G Brothers
The Continuing Adventures of the Granati Brothers The Granati Brothers reunited in 2002 to record their independently produced CD, "G-The Continuing Adventures of the Granati Brothers. Joey wrote and co-wrote the music and lyrics of eight of the tracks on the album including the songs Resolution, the Sun in Your Eyes, Listen for a Change, and Tuesday. Drawing on his classical roots Joey used a string section featuring members of the Pittsburgh Symphony on the song Resolution that was aired on XM Radio.
In 2006, Joey, along with his brothers David and Hermie wrote the Theme Song "Reach For The Light" for a TV documentary called "The Actors Journey Project". The documentary was written and produced by Stanley Livingston, who portrayed the character "Chip" on the hit 1960’s TV Show "My Three Sons". This is an ultimate "How To" guide to making it in Show Business.
Joey has also recorded commercials with former Wings and Moody Blues guitarist Denny Laine.
In 2007, Joey and David Granati, in association with nationally recognized Comedien "Mark Eddie" composed and produced a Theme Song for esteemed Actor "C. Thomas Howell". Mr. Howell is the host of a nationally syndicated Radio Show titled "The C.Thomas Howell Show", and this theme song opens and closes all broadcasts. Mark Eddie also recorded his Dahntahn song with Joey and the Granati Brothers.
Joey’s admiration for his boyhood hero President John F. Kennedy led him to become involved with the JFK Lancer organization. JFK Lancer commission Joey to write a song and produce a music video in tribute to JFK titled “The Torch is Passed” Joey and Sherry Fiester co-wrote the song which was inspired by JFK’s inaugural address in which he challenged a new generation of Americans carry on the Torch to fight for the civil rights, equality, and freedom. Joey performed the song in Delay Plaza in Dallas on the 22dn Anniversary of the death of JFK. He performs at JFK Lancer national conference which is held annually every November in Dallas.
For Those About to Rock Academy
In the summer 2003 working with the Lincoln Park Performing Arts School Joey and David Granati ran a summer program called “The School of Rock”. The program was inspired by the 2003 Jack Black film "School of Rock". Joe and David worked for several weeks with a group of teenage musicians teaching them the basics of putting together a rock n roll show. To give them experience they took them to perform at jam sessions in area clubs before and held a final show at the Lincoln Park School. After the success of the “School of Rock” summer program Joey, David, and Cathy Stewart founded the “For Those About to Rock” Academy based as David’s Maplewood Studios in Ambridge, Pa. They run several sessions a year.
Future plans for the Piano Man
Painting is One of Joe Granati’s hobbies. He hopes someday to take a year off from the key boards to disappear to a secluded spot in the South of France away from music to paint the day away. In the meantime you can find him playing a dueling piano show or a Granati Brothers concert.