Joe Grushecky

Joe Grushecky has been a stalwart on the Pittsburgh music scene for better than 5 decades and led the notorious Iron City Houserockers from 1976-1984. While western PA is Joe’s home and his primary audience and followers are also homegrown, much of his sound and influence derives from the Mid-Atlantic sound of Philadelphia and the Jersey Shore during the late 1960s and early 1970s. Serving as guitarist and vocalist, Joe teamed with bassist Art Nardini, keyboardist Gil Snyder, drummer Ned Ranking and Ed Britt on guitars and Marc Reisman on harmonica to for Brick Alley. Grushecky left behind a noble career as a special education teacher to pursue his music career. In 1976, playing as the Iron City Houserockers, Grushecky and the band signed with Steve Popovich and Cleveland International Records. They then moved on to MCA Records and released their first album Love’s So Tough in 1979. Album #2 came a year later in Have a Good Time but Get Out Alive! which was instantly revered as an American classic and was listed as one of the top Essential Heartland Rock records. From 1979-1983, the Houserockers were one of the premier acts in Pittsburgh; they released four albums and toured the country and even appeared on the hit TV show Solid Gold. But, when MCA Records underwent a management change in 1984, Grushecky and the Houserockers were dropped just days after their fourth album, Cracking Under Pressure was released.

Returning to his roots, Joe went back to special education where he continues to work today, but also played under the Brick Alley Band from 1983-1988. He reformed his band as Joe Grushecky and the Houserockers in 1988 and the band has since recorded 12 more albums on various labels. Joe has also release three LPs of his own, most notably A Good Life in 2006. In 1980, Grushecky met Bruce Springsteen and they have been friends ever since with The Boss co-writing and producing American Babylon in 1995. The two have collaborated on multiple projects over the years and Springsteen has appeared often with Grushecky for various causes and events. Notably in 1999, Springsteen and Grushecky took the stage together as the Houserockers recorded their live album Down the Road Apiece Live recorded at Nick’s Fat City and Rosebud in Pittsburgh. Joe Grushecky and Bruce Springsteen have teamed to help support unemployed Steel Workers in 1982, Light of Day concerts for Parkinson’s Disease in 2000, Flood Aid in 2004, and Katrina Relief in 2005. In 2009, directors Steve Caniff and Jim Justice released “a Good Life – The Joe Grushecky Story” about his life as a special education teacher by day and rock star by night.