Light of Day 2005
I was teaching juvenile delinquents in the toughest
school in the toughest neighborhood in Pittsburgh in
the spring of 1995 just before the release of
“American Babylon.” When people asked me what I did
there, I used to say I was keeping the kids company
until they went to jail. It happened to be the 50th
anniversary of VE Day, and although I failed to
motivate even the slightest glimmer of interest in my
students it sparked a curiosity in me to find out more
about my Mom and Dad’s history. I knew they met during
that era but really didn’t know the details. I wanted
to know their story so that one day I could pass it
along to my own kids.
Well, out of my conversations with them came” 1945.”
Every word is true to their
story and the big band arrangement at the end was a
great finishing touch courtesy of Rick Witkowski and
Jamie Peck. Bruce wrote the music for the chorus.
obviously it’s one of my most personal and favorite
songs. Lee Ann got the kids who were just little ones
at the time to sing at the end of “Innocence Is
Beautiful” and the “I love you Daddy” at the
end......... well that just about reduced me to tears.
So what I am getting at is “Coming Home “ is probably
my favorite JG and the Houserocker album.
“Fingerprints” is a close second. I also think that
the best Iron City album is "Blood on The Bricks”
We had our usual great time at LOD in New Jersey.
It’s always great to see all our musician friends from
the East. Jesse Malin said it best when he stated that
Parkinson’s Disease is the headliner. It really hits
home when one of your best friends suffer from it.
Hat’s off to Bob Benjamin for his tireless effort to
raise money and awareness to combat this terrible
disease. Most people don’t know that effort it takes
to put this together and the toll it takes on Bob. MVP
as usual is Bocci. The people who do all the
complaining are missing the point entirely. And
bitching about Bob or his motives are about as lowlife
and classless as it gets. It’s about a community
coming together out of love, respect, and a
willingness to step up and help someone.
Hi Great job to all concerned at the PLEASE concert.
Helluva job organizing it. Thanks for having us.
The band has been playing great. It seems that each
gig, the boys play better. It’s been a great summer.
Now ,tho, it’s time to bunker down for the winter. As
everyone knows , there is a scarcity of club gigs in
this area. We have been doing some private events. The
dvd of 5Alive in Spain is at the manufacturer’s and we
are putting the finishing touchs to the artwork for
“Demos and Outakes” which will be a 30 song double cd.
( In answer to Keith’s question on the guest book) I
have been listening to a lot of different things
lately. I got into some British invasion. My friend
Gary sent me a Dave Clark 5 cd. Dave Clark was a very
smart business man who owns his recording masters ( a
rarity believe me) The greatest hits cd has been out
of circulation for years. The old hits SOUND terrific.
Great production and playing. I am also listening to a
lot of old R&B and blues including the old obscure
Pittsburgh Sound. There are a lot of great new bands
that Johnny has turned me onto: Starting Line,The
Format, Dashboard Confessional, Brand New,Taking Back
Sunday, Thursday, and Something Corporate are my
favorites so far. All the bands are great live. The
future looks good. My favorite Pittsburgh band is The
I am writing again. I got a new one called “Lake
Pontchartrain.” It’s a very pissed of song about the
New Orleans Flood. Hope to have it recorded very soon.
You guys are missing some great shows at the Hard
Rock’s Songwriters in the Round series.
Had a great time playing at the Serbian Club.
Brought back a lot of memories. I used to run around
the picnics when I was a kid picking up bottles (pre
plastic era) in return for free "pop" as we say here
in the hills of Pennsylvania. Everyone from the club
was thrilled by the audiences enthusiasm and
generosity. My aunt is going to rush to money down to
the tax office today to pay the bill and keep the club
open. As Chip said, “sort of like the Blues Brothers’s
In a ya shoulda been there moment, overcome by
the spirit of Serbian picnics past, the Houserockers
broke into our very first polka ever, the old chestnut
“Just Because” (covered by Elvis at Sun Studios by the
way.) Of course our resident Funk Brother, Jeffrey AKA
“Joffo” Simmons had no friggin’ idea what a Polka was.
We had to go to the bullpen for some Bernie Herr
Cousin John Naretto (vocals) and good friend
accordion player extradonaire George Klipa (keyboards)
gave us some able bodied help. Loose I think would be
a kind word to describe it. Very loose. In fact, the
whole show was one of our loosest. I mean in a good
way of course.
Thank You so much for your help and
August 2005 Update
Hey We have some video clips on the site from Spain.
Thanks Xavi and Anna. Our Spanish friends just spent a
weekend in Pittsburgh with Maria Maria. They got to
soak up some local color at McKeesport. Can only
imagine what they were thinking!! Show ended with a
near tradgedy as one of the locals fell over the
railing of the stage into the river. Luckily members
of the audience saw it happen and got help because we
were clueless. We were just rockin’ along. I thought
she was a goner when they pulled her out of the river
but soon realized that everything would be all right
when she came to and asked for anothr beer.
Played with my good friend Bruce at the Peterson
Eveents Center. What a great show. Bruce’s genius
really shines in that type of setting. I thought it
was one of the best shows I’ve ever seen. Speaking of
Bruce. you should check out a book by Jimmy Guterman,
“Runaway American Dream/ Listening to Bruce
Springsteen.” Besides being an entertaining and
intelligent read, Jimmy says some highly complementary
stuff about yours truly. Played with the Clarks in
Ohio and what’s left of Creedence in 7 Springs. Clarks
are a great band and real gentlemen. Creedence
Clearwater Revisited on the other hand........
The live dvd/cd from Spain is almost ready. In fact
we are going to put the cd on the sight as a download.
The dvd was difficult to get finished due to different
US and European video formats. The Hard Rock show we
taped courtesy of our good friends at Screw Devil
Spent Saturday night roadying for Johnny G’s band, A
Fall From Grace. They are turning into a hell of a
band. Roadied at Warped tour last Monday also. If this
playing thing doesn’t workout I can always get a job
tuning guitars. Dug the Starting Line. One of the few
bands beside AFFG that can string a sentence together
without using the F word. A lot of the bands seemed
really pissed of.. The old “angry young man” routine.
Had to wonder how much of it was just schtick. Anyway
made me sort of wish I was 20 and just starting out
Hell I’m only in my 50’s and I got a long long
way to go (I Hope!!) See ya
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Spainish Trip 2005
-Hello(Hola) We are back from Spain. It was quite a
trip. We played everywhere from cities to villages,
from mountains and plains, to islands and seashores. A
couple of things remained constant, The great food and
the enthusiastic Spanish audiences. Sal Trepet was our
host with the most. He arranged the tour for us and
did a great job. Thanks Sal. Jorge Otterro is our new
Houserocker in training. Jorge drove the van , played
great guitar and sang backup for both Willie Nile and
the Houserockers. His band is the Stormy Mondays.
Check them out. Willie, not the Mississippi or the
Danube, but the mother----------Nile. Great musician
storyteller writer traveling companion. We will always
have Spain Willy. Art, Joffo, Bill, and Marc were in
peak form. One show better than the next. Will try
hard to get some new product out ASAP. Running into
technical problems throughout. Glad to be home .
Missed Lee, Desi, and Johnny. Great gigs coming up!!!!
See you all soon.