Rock

Esquire Magazine named Pittsburgh the number 1 city that Rocks" in April of 2004 because of its thriving club scene and successful bands such as Rusted Root and the Clarks.  The Pittsburgh rock scene which produced many nationally known artists and many memorable recordings began in the early 1960s with a supporting cast of local record labels, recording studios and promoters.


The Pittsburgh Rock seen began in the early 1960s. Before the British Invasion storm troopers landed on the banks of the Three Rivers Doo-Wop acts and vocal groups still reined on the charts. Bobby Vinton hit the charts in 1962 with "Roses are Red" and "Blue Velvet". Lou Christie had his first hit single The "Gypsy Cried" in 1962.   The Vogues recording on Nick Cenci's Co & CE label score national hits with the singles "You're The One"and "Five O'Clock World".  
 

The British Invasion began with the help of a Pittsburgher. Alan Livingston, a native of McDonald, Pa. As the chairman of Capitol Records Livingston signed the Beatles in 1963.   He released “I Want to Hold Your Hand” in the U.S on December 26 1963 and launched a $40,000 promotional campaign. By February 1 of 1964 the Beatles had the number one single and held it for seven weeks. Their second U.S. single "She Loves You" held the number 1 spot for fifteen weeks. Livingston brought the Beatles to America to perform on the Ed Sullivan show on February 9 1964, the night that changed the music world.



The music world took a sudden shift in 1964 with the Beatles appearance on Ed Sullivan show and the invasion of British bands like the Animals and Herman’s Hermits. Suddenly many young Pittsburghers wanted to learn guitar and become rock stars. These young rockers were also fed a rich steady diet of early rock and R&B cooked up by Porky Chedwick and Mary Dee on WHOD/WAMO.  Aspiring musicians Frank Cruzi and Rich Engler were drawn to music by Porky. They wanted to play that “Funky” music. Buying guitars and Beatle boots a core group of Pittsburgh area kids formed bands and got their start playing teen dances and clubs. 

1960s Garage Rock

 

In the 1960s Western Pennsylvania teenagers clad in 69 football t-shirts and madras shorts got together in garages, basement rec rooms, and bedrooms to play basic three chord rock tunes on their Gretch and Sears Silver Tone guitars routed though fuzz boxes into small hot tube amplifiers. They jammed to the anthems of sixties: Gloria, Wipe-out, Louie Louie, Satisfaction, Pretty Woman, and Hanky Panky. Finding willing audiences they performed their bare bones music at family room parties, picnics, fire hall and Son of Italy weddings, and school gymnasium dances. They gave their groups names like “the Gents”, "The Lost Chords", "the Vibra-SonicsThe Shad Three”, "Grains of Sand", the "UFOs", the "Royals", the "Yardleys", the "Dynatones", the "Innovations" and the “Igniters”. Some recorded 45 singles and became local one hit wonders with airplay on Pittsburgh radio stations and appearances on TV dance shows.  Some went on to national success and long careers in music.


The Igniters who formed in 1963 were one of the first Pittsburgh rock bands to develop a following.  Playing both Brit Rock and R&B they lit fire to packed teen dances at the Varsity House in Oakmont and other Pittsburgh clubs.  With members Frankie Cruzi, Bubs McKeag, and Ron Foster they released a single on Atlantic Records in 1968.  The band broke up in 1970, but from the roots of the Igniters several other Pittsburgh recording acts were spawned.


While in high school drummer Joey Covington of Uniontown joined the Johnston surf rock band called the Vibra-Sonics.  The Vibra-Sonics were comprised of George Tweedy (lead), Bob Tweedy (rhythm), Bill Sabo (2nd lead, rhythm), Joe Colner (bass) and Joey Michno (drums and vocals).  They won several battles of the bands and opened a show for Simon and Garfunkel.  The Vibra-Sonic's released the single "Drag Race" / "Thunder Storm" on Ideal Records in 1964. Borh songs  from the single have been reissued on two classic surf music compilations.  Covington went on to tour fin 1965 and 1966 as the drummer with the Dick Clark Caravan of Stars, the Shangri'la's, Billy Stewart, the Supremes, Donald Jenkins and the Delighters, and the Shirelles.


The Fenways who formed in 1964 and the Racket Squad formed in 1968 were two very popular Pittsburgh bands led by vocalist and songwriter Sonny DiNunzio. The Fenwasys released singles on several national labels including Imperial, Roulette and Chess along with single on Nick Cenci’s Co&Ce label. The Racket Squad released two albums and 9 singles on Jubilee Records. Both bands entertained thousands of Pittsburghers from 1964 through 1970 appearing many times on Clark Race’sTelevision show, Channel 11’s Come Alive show, and opening up for the Rolling Stones, the Dave Clark Five, Roy Orbison, and many other acts. Their singles “Hung Up” in 1965 and “Walk” were hits on Pittsburgh radio stations KDKA, KQV, WMCK, and WIXZ. In 1966 drummer Joey Covington joined the Fenways playing with them seven days a week at the Staircase, Mancini’s, and other Pittsburgh area clubs. Joey recorded four singles with the Fenways in 1966 that were released on Nick Cenci’s Co&Ce label. Covington moved to California in 1967 and year later joined one of the the Jefferson Airplane.


As instrumentalists the Racket Squad played back up to the “Vogues” on their number 4 national hit “You’re the One”.  The Vogues recorded Sonny DiNunzio’s original song “True Lovers’ that is featured on their “Best Of” and “Greatest Hits” albums.


The “Fantastic Dee Jays” formed in 1965 and released several singles and an album in 1966 on Terry Lee’s Stone label. The album sold well in the Pittsburgh area but was not distributed nationally. It featured several original Brit Pop style songs "Get Away Girl", "Love Is Tuff", “Two Tymes Too”, “Mr. Sad” and “Shy Girl”.  After the opening for the Rolling Stones at West View Park's Danceland in 1966 they disbanded.


The Swamp Rats were formed and produced by DJ Terry Lee with former members of the Fantastic Dee Jays.  Lee released a series of singles in 1965 and 1966 that have become garage band classics re-released on the albums "Disco Sucks" and Disco Still Sucks"

The Arondies released their debut single with two original songs "69" and "All My Love" on Terry Lee’s Sherry label in 1965.  Terry Lee broke ‘69’ on his radio show and other top 40 Pittsburgh stations played it heavily.  During the summer of 1965 “69” was a smash hit in Pittsburgh that sold as quickly as it came off the presses. It sold over 1,200 copies in its first two days and sold over 10,000 copies in a month. Bruce Eder of Allmusic.com wrote: "69" is regarded as a garage rock instrumental classic.” 


Challenging the Beatles on the charts was a band that broke out of Pittsburgh in 1966- Tommy James and the Shondells. Two of the Shondells were Pittsburghers: Mike Vale and Ronnie Rosman. They had two No. 1 singles in "Hanky Panky" (1966) and "Crimson and Clover" (1968) . They had five other top ten songs including "I Think We're Alone Now", "Mirage", "Mony Mony", "Sweet Cherry Wine", and "Crystal Blue Persuasion". Selling millions of records they received 23 gold singles, and 9 gold and platinum albums. During 1968-69 they sold more singles than any other artist in the world, including the Beatles.


Pete Hewlett had first success at age 16 when he was the lead singer and guitarist of "Peter's Pipers".  The Pipers won a Pittsburgh Battle of the Bands contest at West View Park in 1966 qualifying them to compete in a national battle of the bands.  Finishing in 6th place nationally, the Pipers came to the attention of Phillips Mercury Records who signed them to a record contract.  The Pipers released three Brit Pop singles on the Philips label in 1968 that were produced by Dick Corby:  Airplane / I Didn't Believe Her, Groovy Weekend / Helping You Out.  The Magic Book / I Don't Know What You're Waiting. 

As a freshmen at Salem College Gary Van Scyoc joined the group the Dynatones and recorded with them at Gateway Studios in Pittsburgh. Hanna Barbera records signed the band and released the hit single "The Fife Piper" in 1966.  In 1969 Gary recorded with the band Pig Iron on their Columbia Records release. Pig Iron's music was brassy hard rock in the style of Chicago and Blood, Sweat & Tears. The group toured the U.S. playing large outdoor festivals with The Rascals, Blodwyn Pig, Bob Seger System and Chicago. In 1970 Gary joined the band Elephant's Memory for their album "Take It to the Street" that included the number 50 hit song "Mongoose".  Gary went on to record and perform with John Lennon on three albums and on national televsion.

Formed in 1965 the Jaggerz, scored a local hit in 1969 with the Steals Brothers funky song “Gotta Find My Way Back Home” that was produced by R&B wizards Gamble and Huff..  They scored a number 2 national hit with the Donny Iris song “The Rapper” in 1970.  Ex Igniter Frankie Cruzi joined the Jaggerz in 1971.  

National Stars

In 1965 drummer Chris Frantz joined the Pittsburgh band the Hustlers. They moved to New York in 1969 renaming themselves "the Beans" for a steady gig at the Electric Circus.  Chris left the band in 1970 to attend college where he met fellow student David Bryne and formed a band called the Talking Heads.

Symphony trained drummer Art Tripp, from Mt. Lebanon, played with Frank Zappa's Mothers of Invention for from 1967 to 1970. He appeared the the album "Ruben & The Jets" (1967), Uncle Meat (1969), and Weasels Ripped My Flesh (1970).  in 1970. Art Tripped joined Beefheart's Magic Band taking on the stage name Ed Marimba. Tripp recorded and performed with Beefheart over a five year period through 1975. 

Bassist Billy Cox from the Hill District joined with guitar master Jimi Hendrix in 1969 to form the band the Gypsy Suns and Rainbows. Cox  backed Hendrix at his historic performance at Woodstock in August of 1969.  The Gypsy Suns broke up after Woodstock. Hendrix then formed the funk based the trio Band of Gypsys with Cox on bass and drummer Buddy Miles. They record a self-titled live album on New Year's Eve 1969 at New York's Fillmore East. Released on Capital Records in 1970 its was the only live recording of Hendrix released before his death.  Allmusic.com calls it one of the greatest live albums ever recorded. The trio of Hendrix, Cox, and Mitchell recorded tracks for Hendrix's fourth studio album  and toured the U.S. and Europe playing arena's and festivals. 

Drummer George Suranovich joined the band Love in 1969 and recorded three studio albums with them "Four Sail" (1969), "Out Here (1969)", and "False Start" (1970). He then joined the Eric Burdon Band and in 1971 the band recorded the blues classic "Guilty, a collaboration of Eric Burdon and blues great Jimmy Witherspoon. Suranovich also recorded with the Eric Burdon Band on the 1974 "Sun Secrets" and album "Stop" in 1975. After the Burden band broke up in 1977 Suranovich toured with Glen Campbell.


Drummer Joey Covington along with Jack Casady and Jorma Kaulonen was a founding member of Hot Tuna in 1968. He began recording and playing live with the Jefferson Airplane in 1969. Covington appeared on the Jefferson Airplane's chart topping albums “Volunteers”, “Bark” and “Long Long John Silver”. Covington co-wrote Jefferson Airplane’s 1971 hit single "Pretty As You Feel" that reached number 60 on the charts and the 1976 Jefferson Starship hit single “With Your Love” that reached number 12 on the Billboard 100. He also recorded with members of Jefferson Airplane on their solo projects including Paul Kantner’s 1970 Jefferson Starship album “Blows Against The Empire” and “Sunfighter” an album by Paul Kantner and Grace Slick released in November of 1971. It was Joey Covington who discovered violinist John Creach, gave him the nickname Papa, and brought him into the Jefferson Airplay family in 1970.  Violinist Papa John Creach a native of Beaver Falls, became a member of the Jefferson Airplane, Hot Tuna, and later Jefferson Starship.  Covering produced and played on Papa John Creach’s first solo album in 1971/

George Van Scyoc, a bass played from Waynesburg, recorded and toured with the band Elephants’ Memory in 1970.  In 1972 Elephants Memory backed up John Lennon on his first solo release and performed with him live.

1970s Rock

Sweet Lighting was a supergroup of very talented musicians who went on noteworthy careers.  The members of Sweet Lightning included singer/guitarist Pete Hewlett, guitarist Sid McGinnis, and drummer Ron Foster.  Formed in 1969 they performed original tunes at Mancini's in the Rocks and the Staircase in downtown Pittsburgh.  In 1972 they signed with RCA to release the self titled album 'Sweet Ligntin'". Their cover of the classic tune “Dancing In the Streets was a hit single of Pittsburgh radio.  Sid McGinnis became the guitarist for the David Letterman Show.  Pete Hewlett released two albums on CBS and toured with Billy Joel.  Ron Foster toured and recorded with Roy Buchanan and the Silencers.

Rich Engler’s band Phweet Phwew, with keyboard player Hermie Granati and bassist Skinny Bishop opened shows for David Bowie, Yes, King Crimson, and Bob Seger around 1973-1974.  Rich Engler became a partner in DiCesare Engler Productions.  Hermie Granati later became a member of the Jaggerz, the Granati Brothers, and the B.E. Taylor band.  Skinny Bishop toured with Bobby Vinton, Gino Vannelli and others.

After the Jaggerz broke up Frankie Cruzi re-united with his Igniter band mate Bubs McKeag to form Diamond Reo.  Norman Nardini and guitarist Warren King were also members.  Covering Marvin Gaye’s song "Ain't That Peculiar." Diamond Reo hit the top 40 with their Atlantic records release in 1975.  

Glam rocker David Werner released his acclaimed “Whiz Kid” album on RCA in 1975.  

Drummer Chris Frantz joined with David Bryne and Tina Weymouth to form the Talking Heads in New York in 1975.  They had their first hit with “Psycho Killer” in 1977.

Wild Cherry hit the charts in 1976 with the smash no. 1 hit "Play that Funky Music”.  Guitarist Bryant Basset was a founding member.  Donnie Iris (formerly of the Jaggerz) joined the band in 1977.  

1980s Classic Rock - New Wave Era

Crack the Sky, with guitarist Rick Wikowski released 3 LPs in 1975 through 1978 and toured the U.S. Known for their clever lyrics, skillful precision playing, and complex song structures they built a cult following as a “smarter than average hard rock band”. Their lyrics, music, and energetic live performances received high praise from the New York Times, Rolling Stone Magazine, the Village Voice, People Magazine, and other publications. Rolling Stone Magazine declared their first album the "debut album of the year in 1976.  Six of their album releases reached the Billboard Top 200. They performed with Frank Zappa, Journey, Blue Oyster Cult, Styx, Supertramp, Rush, Foreigner, The Electric Light Orchestra, Yes, ZZ Top, Heart, Kansas, Edgar Winter, Pat Travers, Boston and other artists at venues across the U.S. and Canada.

The Granati Brothers, led by former Jaggerz keyboard player Hermie Granati, formed in 1976 playing R&B, fusion jazz, and Reggae.  Discovered by Ray and Derek Shulman of Gentle Giant they were signed by A&M Records and Premiere Talent,   They released the album "G-Force" album (1979) and the opening cut "Go Crazy" on the A&M sampler "Propaganda" (1979) along with the Police and Joe Jackson.  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.  During a seven-month national tour in 1979 the G's performed for 250,000 fans appearing with Van Halen, Heart, Peter Frampton, Boston, J Geils, Ian Hunter, the Doobie Brothers, 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 as 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. Concert fans nominated David Granati for Guitar Player of the Year in the 1981 Guitar Player Magazines Readers Poll. The band signed a second record deal with Atlantic Records in 1986 and recorded the unreleased album "Enter: G-Force. 

The Iron City Houserockers pumped and sweated blue collar rock. They received critical acclaim in the Rolling Stone and Village Voice as the best band in America  for their 1979 MCA “Love’s So Tough” release.

After the break up of  Diamond Reo, Frankie Czuri and Warren King joined with Mike Pella and DT Takos to form the Silencers. They released the Rock N Roll Enforcers album in 1980.  Dressed in trench coats, shark skin suits, skinny ties, and shades the Silencers had the cool sinister look of cold war era G-Men spies. Playing their hard-edged new wave funk tinged power pop they quickly took over the Pittsburgh club scene in 1980 playing to sweaty packed houses at Fat City and the Decade. WDVE featured their music in heavy rotation.  Their popularity spread across America when their CBS/Precision record releases hit the national charts.  In 1980 their single "Shiver and Shake" reached number 81 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. They took their act across the country appearing with  Hall & Oates, Foreigner, Heart, ACDC, and others.  Early pioneers in music videos they were featured on the very first broadcast of MTV in 1981.  

Donnie Iris and the Cruisers broke out with his national hit songs “Ah Leah” in 1980.   Their three album releases on MCA in 1982, 1983, and 1985 all placed in the Billboard top 200.  The videos pf "Ah Leah" and “Do You Compute?”  were heavily played on MTV.   Donnie Iris and Cruisers toured with “Hall and Oates” and band headlined shows across the U.S. They also toured with Journey, Loverboy, Bryan Adams, Foreigner, Bon Jovi, The Romantics, Eddie Money, UFO, Nazareth, Ted Nugent, Joan Jett, and the Michael Stanley Band.. 

Pete Hewlett joined with former Santana drummer  Michael Shrive to form the Novo Combo in 1981.  They release two albums on CBS.   In 1983 Pete joined Billy Joel's band as a vocalist.  Pete sang background vocals on Joel’s 1984 "Innocent Man" tour that visited 48 cities in the U.S, Japan, and the U.K.   He toured again with Billy Joel on his 11 month ‘Bridge’ world tour.   Billy Joel made history in August of 1987 when he performed in the Soviet Union as part of the Reagan-Gorbachev Geneva summit.  Hewlett performed with Joel at concerts in Moscow, Leningrad and Tbilisi. The concerts were the first live rock radio broadcasts in Soviet history. Pete appeared on five Billy Joel recordings: Billy Joel's Greatest Hits, Vols. 1 & 2 (1985), Bridge (1986), Kohuept –Live in Leningrad (1987) , Complete Hits Collection 1973-1997, Bridge/Storm Front/Nylon Curtain 1998, and Collection: Piano Man/52nd Street/Kohuept: Live in Leningrad 2002,

Leaving Diamond Reo Norman Nardinistarted his own band “Norman Nardini & The Tigers.  With growing popularity on the east coast, the Tigers attracted the attention of some national labels.  The Tigers released their first album "Eat'n Alive” in 1981 on Buddah Records.  CBS released the “Norman Nardini and The Tigers” album in January of 1985.  Recorded at The Power Station, New York it featured Warren King on guitar and Norman’s longtime friend, Jon Bon Jovi, on background vocals. In 1987, CBS released “Love Dog” which featured Rick Derringer, Dr. John and Paul Schaeffer. 

Three members of Crack the Sky: guitarist Rick Witkwoski,  bassist Joey Macre and drummer Joey D’Amico.joined with B.E. Taylorto form B.E. Taylor Group in 1979.  MCA released the B.E. Taylor Group albums “Innermission" in 1982 and "Love Won The Fight" in 1983.  Signing with Epic/CBS Records they release “Our World 1986.  Rick and his wife Deborah co-wrote the song "Vitamin L" that reached no. 66 on the Billboard Hot 100 as that was aired on MTV.   Their song "Never Hold Back" charted at 54 in Mainstream Rock.

The Affordable Floors were Pittsburgh’s most popular new wave dance band during the lates 1980s and early 1990s. They packed the Electric Banana and Grafitti in Pittsburgh and they toured Mid-West. The Floors won the Tri-State Rock Competition in 1986 and were named “the best rock band” by the readers of the weekly paper “In Pittsburgh” in 1989. Songs from their three albums were heard on college and commercial radio stations across the U.S. They received critical praise from Penthouse Magazine, the CMJ Journal, and the Alternative Press. Their recording of “Wedding Ring” prompted MCA to sign them. 

The Rave-Ups led by singer/song writer James Podrasky. were founded in Pitttsburgh.  They became one of the most popular acts on the LA club circuit. Their first full LP “Town and Country” released on the Fun Stuff label in the fall of 1985 captured critical attention with comparisons to the music of Dylan, Lou Reed, and R.E.M and sold 40,000 copies. Long time fan, actress Molly Ringwald, helped the The Rave-Ups get an appearance performance in the classic 1986 brat pack flick “Pretty in Pink.” Their song "Class Tramp" was featured in the 1987 movie “The Offspring”.  Signing with Epic Records in 1987, the Rave-Ups released the albums “The Book of Your Regrets” in 1988 and “Chance” in 1990. With air play on college and alternative radio stations their most popular songs were “Positively, Lost Me” and “Respectfully, the King of Rain”. Respectfully King of Rain" was an alternative rock hit getting video airplay on MTV and reached #12 on the Billboard Modern Rock Tracks chart. To promote their records they toured the country opening for the “Church” and appeared on the Arsenio Hall TV show. Their last appearance as a band was in 1991 on the “Spring Dance” episode of the hit TV show Beverly Hills 90201.

Virtuoso guitarist Paul Gilbert formed the band RACER X that released their first album "Street Lethal” on Shrapnel Records in 1986.  They followed with "Extreme Volume" album record live at The Country Club.  In 1987 Shrapnel Records released RACER x'S “Second Heat” that the  Allmusic Guide praises as “some of the most amazing dual-guitar work ever recorded”.  Gilbert left Racer X to form Mr. Big in 1989.  tey released their first CD “Mr. Big” in 1989 and toured the U.S and Japan  They found major success in 1991 with the release of the “Lean Into It” CD that included the number one hit “To Be With You” along with the songs "Green Tinted Sixties Mind," and "Just Take My Heart."  Mr. Big toured the world.   Mr. Big released “Bump Ahead” in 1993 and Hey Man in 1996.  In Japan they many sold-out tours released the Japan-only live albums as Raw Like Sushi, Raw Like Sushi 2, Japandemonium, Mr. Big in Japan, etc.). Gilbert left the Mr. Big in 1998 to pursue a solo career.

Nick's Fat City 

Nick's Fat City opened on July 7th 1992 with a live broadcast on WDVE FM. The opening night act was the Pittsburgh All-Stars with Joe Grushecky, B.E. Taylor, Pete Hewlet, Frank Czuri, and Rick Witkowski.  I became the hottest showcase club for fans of Pittsburgh’s mainstream rock acts during the 1990’s. For twelve years it was the place to see the Clarks, the Gathering Field with Bill Deasey, Brownie Mary, Donnie Iris, Grapevine, the Buzz Poets and more. Even the Boss, Mr. Springsteen, came twice to jam with his friends Joe Grushechy and the Houserockers.   The Clarks started their long run at Nick’s Fat City in 1994 and made it their home base. They played many multi-night sold out CD releases shows.

Arena Rock Superstars

Pittsburgh classic rock superstars shined in the late 1980s.  Brett Michaels, a native of Lyndora, formed the million selling band Poison.  Virtuoso guitarist Reb Beach became a star with the million selling band Winger in 1988 and later worked with Alice Cooper, Dokken, and Whitesnake.  Guitar Shredder Master Paul Gilbert launched the band Racer X in 1986 and joined Mr. Big in 1988.  Ex Wild Cherry member Bryant Basset joined Foghat in 1989 and later toured with Molley Hatchet.  Rocker Billy Idol scored a number 1 hit in 1990 with “Cradle of Love” written by David Werner.

In 1988 guitarist and songwriter Danny (Stag) Steigerwald rocked the airways and stages of the world as a member of the platinum selling band Kingdom Come. Stag’s guitar was heard on the smash hit songs “Get It On” and "What Love Can Be", on Kingdom Come’s chart topping “Kingdom Come" album and their follow up album “In Your Face”. With Kingdom Come Danny toured the U.S., Canada, Europe, and Japan playing to millions at sold out stadiums and arenas.

90's Radio and Concert Stars

In the 1990's Rusted Root emerged with it's classic world beat smash hit "Send me on my way" and became a major concert headliner after opening for the Grateful Dead.   The Clarks also landed a major record deal, garnered widespread Triple A radio airplay and became headliners with a large and loyal fanbase. 

Trent Reznor, who was born and grew up in Mercer, Pa., became a superstar in 1990 when his second Nine Inch Nails album “Pretty Hate Machine” started its two year stay on the Billboard charts with the hit "Head Like a Hole" to become a multi platinum seller. Reznor won his first Grammy for Best Metal Performance for the song "Wish" from EP “Broken: in 1992. He won a Grammy again 1996 for Best Metal Performance for his song "Happiness in Slavery." Putting a live band together Nine Inch Nails became major concert draw appearing on the 1991 inaugural Lollapalooza tour. They were a sensation at the 25th-anniversary Woodstock concert and toured with David Bowie in 1995. Time magazine in 1997 named Trent Reznor one of the most influential people in America.

Drummer Bernie Dressll joined the jumping and jivin’ Brian Setzer Orchestra in 1992.  He recorded and toued with the Brian Setzer Orchestra over the next 15 years until 2005.  They recorded four albums.  The highlight was the triple-platinum album The Dirty Boogie that was released in 1998.  It reached number 9 on the Billboard Top 200 albums.  The top 40 hit single from the album “Jump, Jive, An' Wail “ won the Grammy award for Best Pop Performance By A Duo Or Group With Vocal.  Te song "Sleepwalk" won the Grammy for Best Pop Instrumental Performance. 

Power pop drummer Brian Young, a native of Bethal Park, was a member of the the Posies from 1994 through 1998. He toured and appeared on three of their albums, “Amazing Disgrace”, “Success” and the live record “After The Iceberg”.  He joined Fountains of Wayne in 1996 and has recorded five of their LPs.

Guitarist Keith Nelson founded the chart topping hard rock band Buckcherry with singer Josh Todd in 1996.  Together they penned the music for their hit songs and albums.  The 1999 Buckcherry debut album went Gold with the song “Lit Up” that reached number 1 on the Billboard Mainstream Rock Chart.  They opened for Lenny Kravitz on his Freedom Tour (1999) and performed at Woodstock 99.  They opened several shows for AC/DC in the spring of 2000. They went to release platinum selling albums and headline tours.

Drummer Paul Doucettefrom North Huntington, Pa formed the super group Matchbox20 with Rob Thomas in 1996.  Matchbox Twenty's first album "Yourself or Someone Like You" (1996), was certified diamond in the U.S. and multi-platinum in Australia, Canada and New Zealand. Their second release "Mad Season" (2000) was certified 4× platinum in the United States. The receach double platinum with their 2002 release "More Than You Think You Are" in 2002.


21st Century Rock

In the 2000’s three Pittsburgh bands emerged from the Van Warped tours capturing international attention: Juliana Theory, the progressive leftist punk band Anti-Flag, and the energetic Punchline. Modey Lemon brought a new scuzzy edge to Garage rock. While appearing on the 2000 Van Warp tour, Anti-Flag got their big break when they were signed the Fat Wreck Chords label.  With the release of the “Underground Network” in 2001 they broke out of the underground to a larger mainstream audience.  That album reached number 23 on the Billboard Top Independent Album Chart.  Anti-Flag rocked the country again on 2001 Van Warp tour.  In 2002 they hit the Billboard Top Independent chart at #42 with “Mobilze” released on their own A-F Records label.  Their 2003 Fat Wreck Chords release “Terror State” did ever better reaching number 7 on the Billboard Top Independent Album Chart and 91 on the Billboard Top 100.  They signed a two album deal with RCA releasing “Blood and Empire” in 2006 and the released “The Bright Lights Of America” album 2008. Both RCA releases landed on the Billboard Top 200 and Top Internet charts.  

Drummer Brian Young and the Fountains of Wayne reached stardom in 2008 with their Grammy award nominated smash hit “Stacy’s Mom”. 


The critically acclaimed innovative band TV on the Radio, with member from Pittsburgh, emerged in 2004 with their first album release.  The band's 2008 release “Dear Science” received widespread critical acclaim being named as the best album of 2008 by Rolling Stone, MTV, Entertainment Weekly, Spin Magazine, The Guardian, Pazz, and Pitchfork Media's readers poll. They toured the U.S. and Europe extensively and appeared on Saturday Night Live, the Late Show with David Letterman, Later with Jools Holland, and The Colbert Report.


Guitarist, singer, and record producer Freddie Nelson came to international attention in 2008 when he collaborated with virtuoso guitarist Paul Gilbert (of Racer X and Mr. Big) on the CD "United States". Together they wrote, performed, and produced the recording that was released in 2009 on Mascot Records U.S.A. They toured Japan and Europe in 2009 promoting the CD.


Trent Reznor continued his successful career in the 21st century.  His score for the movie the Social Network won the 2010 Golden Globe for Best Original Score and the Academy Award for Best Original Score.  He also composed the score for the film “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo”.