SongoftheDay: JUNIOR’S BAR by IRON CITY HOUSEROCKERS

SongoftheDay: JUNIOR’S BAR by IRON CITY HOUSEROCKERS

The Iron City Houserockers were founded by Pittsburgh high school teacher Joe Grushecky in 1976, right smack in the middle of the heyday for CBGBs and the American Punk Rock Movement, and also while the Anarchy in the UK tour was happening in England. Coming from a city built on the iron and steel industries (with troubled times coming just right around the corner in the early 80s), it’s pretty much impossible to not compare Joe Grushecky to Bruce iron_city_houserockers_9155Springsteen, but it is important to remember that The Boss is most likely based on an archetype and a template; the blue-collar, working class greaser guy fronting a northeastern US bar band, made up of his working class buddies of similar, humble local origins. Bruce made it big, while guys like Joe Grushecky and others didn’t. So that’s what you get; a blue-collar Yankee bar band for the punk rock era. It’s not hard to be reminded of The Clash sometimes, particularly with a song like “Junior’s Bar”, from the Houserockers’ second album “Have Fun But Get Out Alive” (from 1980, with very punk rock-style album cover art) having an upbeat, downpicked intro with a sloppy guitar melody over it. It’s not too much of a stretch to compare it to a Clash anthem like, say, “Police on My Back”, but then you also can’t ignore the Born to Run-ness of the lyrics and the entire track itself, which clocks in at an un-punk rock 4 minutes and 19 seconds. Junior’s Bar has something of a sequel song on the same album called “Old Man Bar” that you might check out to complete the listening experience. Joe Grushecky is still an active performer in Pittsburgh, and a 2016 Modern Era nominee for the Pittsburgh Rock Legends awards coming up in April. – BUCKSHOT

(Jason Smith a.k.a. Buckshot George is the current bassist for the amazing NINE POUND HAMMER.  He has played a few other barn-burner groups, but is full-on focused on the vicious drawl of NPH these days.  Moreover, ‘Buckshot is a fan of good tunes, coming from that school of ‘if it tickles your ears, then roll with it’ school of thought we love so much at rockandrolljunkie.com.  As a regular guest on our podcast, Buckshot has also signed on to do some writing for us.  Wicked!)