The Jam Band … Man!

What and Who is the Jam Band? Well let’s travel back to the days of my restaurant at PNC Ballpark, in addition to having one of the finer restaurants in da’Burgh we had one of the most popular meeting places for musicians and singers … the Johnny Angel Lounge … Live at Atrias! It all started when we would get together every Thursday evening to sing a cappella, DooWop, Street Corner Harmony each week would feature a different a cappella group but all singers from the ‘Burgh were invited to sing with the host group … Johnny Angel and the Halos, the Wee Jams, Four Dots, El-Reys to mention a few and friends of our friends would stop by to join in the vocal fun i.e.; Jimmy Beaumont (Skyliners), Fred Johnson (Marcels), Chuck Blasko (Vogues), Frankie Avery (La-Rells), Jimmie Ross (Jaggerz), just to name drop a few. One evening I had the urge to try this concept with musicians … I put together a few musician friends to form a core band, Harry McCorkle on Bass, Donnie Garvin on Guitar, Fred Delu on Keys, Rege Markl on Sax and me on drums. Each week friends would stop by to join in the jam … introducing the “Jam Band” … soon singers would join in like Mike Vale (Shondells), Robert “Pecky” Peckman (Q), Kenny Mitchell, Pete Hewlett, Gary Glenn, Donna Groom (Skyliners) and over the years the core Jam Band grew to include, Dave Molter (Bass), Bob Prince (Sax), Gary “Bubba” Daley (Halos) and the list goes on. The concept and popularity grew until we took over the space next door and turned it into a mini show Room … “Live at Atria’s”. The Thursday nights became a who’s who of Pittsburgh entertainers and a stop off for touring and visiting National Artists the likes of Mel Carter, Frankie Ford, The Original Tymes, Angel Rissoff … you never knew who was gonna show up on Jam Band Nights! The Show room had garage doors that would open onto our Patio filling not only my restaurant but the whole front of PNC Ball Park on Federal Street. It was a Pittsburgh Party every Thursday Nite! Those days are gone now as well as some of our friends who played and sang there … but the memories will live on … The Jam Band … Man!

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