IRONHOUSE ROCKERS RE-DEUX — Forty years since a holy trinity of rock and roll royalty united to help oversee the recording sessions for an album hailed by Rolling Stone as “a new American classic,” The re-born Cleveland International Records is releasing a greatly expanded 40th anniversary deluxe reissue this spring of Have a Good Time (But Get Out Alive), the sophomore album from the Iron City Houserockers, the gritty, blue-collar outfit led by beloved Pittsburgh rocker Joe Grushecky.
Mick Ronson (David Bowie), Ian Hunter (Mott The Hoople) and Steven Van Zandt (Bruce Springsteen, Southside Johnny) combined with co-producers the Slimmer Twins (Steve Popovich Sr. & Marty Mooney) and the Iron City Houserockers to create one of rock’s great lost classics. Their cohesive efforts − as producers, arrangers and players − can finally be rediscovered as an entirely new listening experience May 22 when Have a Good Time (But Get Out Alive) is released digitally by the fabled indie label.
The remastered two-CD set that includes a bonus disc with 16 previously unreleased tracks of demos and other rarities. The new vinyl edition will include a download card of those same 16 tracks to go with a vinyl replica of the original album.
The album is available for pre-order NOW at Amazon, iTunes, and www.clevelandinternational.com.
The Iron City Houserockers’ 1979 major label debut, Love’s So Tough, had thrust the band into the national spotlight, with incredible praise from some of the most revered rock critics of all time, including Greil Marcus (“one of the least polished first albums I’ve heard in the past year and one of the best” – Rolling Stone), and Robert Palmer (“bringing fresh energy to a hallowed and somewhat moribund rock tradition” – New York Times).
The Houserockers were sharing stages with the J. Geils Band, Patti Smith, Meat Loaf and Iggy Pop, to name a few. Everyone from Neil Young to the members of Pink Floyd was coming to see the Iron City Houserockers in concert.
The heat was on to surpass the first album’s success and Have a Good Time (But Get Out Alive) handily delivered. The Iron City Houserockers’ willingness to let Ronson, Hunter and Van Zandt reshape their initial ideas in the studio proved prophetic, and the songs they recorded for the 1980 release put down roots that stretched far outside of Pittsburgh.
Greil Marcus, in the much-missed The Village Voice, returned to say the album was “the strongest album an American band has made this year” and “proves the Iron City Houserockers are the best hard rock band in the country.” Cream declared the album earns the Iron City Houserockers “a permanent place in the hallowed hall of the immortals.” All Music Guide marveled at the new album’s power surge, saying the band “landed with the impact of a Louisville slugger connecting with a fastball” and crediting Grushecky for songwriting and lead vocals that “seethe with a furious passion that’s never less than convincing … The total commitment of his performance, delivered with the conviction of a man fighting for his life, brings these stories to vivid, sweaty life.”
The album is listed as one of the top eight Essential Heartland Rock records alongside the likes of Bob Seger’s Night Moves, and John Mellencamp’s Scarecrow, and features many of the Houserockers’ signature tunes, including “Pumping Iron,” “Junior’s Bar,” and “Have A Good Time.”
During a 1981 live radio concert in Boston, rabid fans can be heard screaming requests for “Pumping Iron,” an anthem Grushecky penned as a tribute to his home city.
Credit for bringing Ronson, Hunter and Van Zandt to the project lands squarely with Popovich, the famed late record industry exec who founded Cleveland International in the mid-70’s after an historic run in promotion for Simon & Garfunkel, Bob Dylan, The Byrds, Santana, Janis Joplin, Chicago, Tony Bennett, Earth Wind & Fire, Taj Mahal, Miles Davis, Mott the Hoople, Boston, Tom Jones and dozens more giants too numerous to list.
Cleveland International first rocketed into our collective consciousness with Meat Loaf’s epic, multi-platinum global smash Bat Out of Hell opus. Popvich’s son, Steve Jr., relaunched Cleveland International last year.
MILLIE’S ENOLA HOLMES — Netflix has acquired global rights, not including China, to Harry Bradbeer’s Enola Holmes.
The film, based on Nancy Springer’s book series The Enola Holmes Mysteries, will star Millie Bobby Brown, Sam Claflin, Adeel Akhtar, Fiona Shaw, Louis Partridge, Burn Gorma, Susan Wokoma, Henry Cavill and Helena Bonham Carter. Cavill will play the titular hero Sherlock Holmes.
BAFTA and Tony Award winner Jack Thorne (The Aeronauts) wrote the screenplay.
“Enola Holmes” tells the story of Sherlock and Mycroft Holmes’ rebellious teen sister Enola. When her mother mysteriously disappears on her 16th birthday, she looks to her brothers for help but soon realizes they aren’t interested in solving the case, so she runs away to London to find her. Soon, she finds herself in the middle of a conspiracy that could change political history.
Brown is best known for her role as Eleven in Netflix’s Stranger Things. She most recently starred in Godzilla: King of the Monstersand will next be seen in Godzilla vs. Kong in November.
SHORT TAKES — That Joe Grushecky album we talked about at the top of the column; wasn’t it A&R’d by Steve Leeds: now talent maven at SiriusXM ..
Sirio Maccioni has died. The Godfather of gracious and elegant dining has passed on. His Le Cirque on East 65th street was a regular meeting place for the rich-media elite. Located in the long-gone, much missed Mayfair Hotel, it was quite the scene. Jagger, Clapton, Wintour, Fairchild, Klein, Lauren, and Bowie … were all regulars. The food was delicious, original and outstanding. I was there a few times and just couldn’t believe it. Roger Friedman delivered a soaring and fit tribute. Boy, with Lucky Strike, Vivolo, Gino’s, The Palm; Elaine’s; and, now Le Cirque now gone; it’s very, very sad. Only Elio’s is left. Here’s Roger’s brilliant take: https://www.showbiz411.com/2020/04/20/sirio-maccioni-the-greatest-restaurateur-of-our-time-has-died-at-88-created-legendary-le-cirque-of-food-and-fame
… Chris Pine is in negotiations to star in a reboot of The Saint, the 1997 action thriller that starred Val Kilmer. The movie follows Simon Templar, better known as The Saint, a Robin Hood-esque criminal and thief for hire who goes on a globetrotting adventure.Dexter Fletcher (“Rocketman”) will direct the film … And: throwback of the day: Al Stewart’s terrific “Year Of The Cat” circa 1976:
NAMES THE IN THE NEWS — Tom & Lisa Cuddy; Aaron Wilhelm; David Salidor; Markos Papadatos; Randy Alexander; Rick Eberle; Barry Fisch; Eppy; Peter Abraham; Evan Levy; Joe Lynch; Paul Undersinger; and, BELLA!