PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Forty years ago, an iconic Pittsburgh rock band enjoyed an amazing moment when they released a critically acclaimed album.
The Iron City Houserockers release of “Love’s So Tough” came at a time when there were no Pittsburgh bands signed to a record deal.
KDKA’s Paul Martino caught up with the Iron City Houserockers’ front man, Joe Grushecky as they prepare for an anniversary concert.
Forty years ago at a dingy rock club in Oakland called “The Decade” the house band was driving audiences wild, the Iron City Houserockers, led by Joe Grushecky, kept growing in popularity.
“We rehearsed like crazy, almost every night,” Grushecky said. “We were really, really focused on getting a record deal.”
It wasn’t long before they did.
First signing with Cleveland Record and then MCA.
Pittsburgh’s Iron City Houserockers had made it.
“We had that really rough R&B sound that was Pittsburgh born and bred,” Grushecky said. “We were the first band to have a deal. I think people just rallied around us.”
“Love’s So Tough” features a model on the cover who the band never met, was tough to record because the sessions were held in a Cleveland studio.
“We play Thursday night, get up Friday morning, drive to Cleveland, record all day and sometimes we’d come home, do a gig somewhere else in Pittsburgh on a Friday night,” recalled Grushecky.
The work paid off.
Rolling Stone Magazine’s to rock critic wrote: “The Iron City Houserockers come from Pittsburgh (surprise) and their debut album is strong, passionate and a little desperate. They’ve made one of the least polished first albums I’ve heard in the last year and one of the best.”
“They were built to be played by a rock ‘n roll band in front of a sweaty audience,” Grushceky said.
The Iron City Houserockers recorded two more albums, but never really had that monster hit.
As Grushecky prepares for his anniversary concert, he has no regrets.
“I had a pretty good career,” Grushecky reflected. “If somebody had told me 40 years ago I’d still be rocking out and people would still be listening to that first album? I mean, I’ve done everything I’ve set out to do.”
That meant playing with some of the top names in rock ‘n roll and it led to a great friendship and collaboration with Bruce Springsteen.
Forty years later, Pittsburgh audiences are still enjoying the songs from “Love’s So Tough.”
Joe and some of the original Iron City Houserockers will be performing “Love’s So Tough” tomorrow at the Crafthouse Stage and Grill in Pleasant Hills.