The Nied’s Hotel Band, voted Pittsburgh’s “Best Bar Band” in the 2016 Pittsburgh Magazine Readers Poll, is a powerhouse recording and performing rock-n-roll and R&B group from Pittsburgh, PA. (USA). NHB delivers the hardworking, blue collar, muscle that has made Pittsburgh a legendary rock-n-roll city. A recent review by The Pittsburgh City paper proclaimed,”The Nied’s Hotel Band could be called The E-Street Band of Pittsburgh.” In addition, Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto has proclaimed July 17th as “Nied’s Hotel Band Day” in honor of the bands impact on the local music scene and their unwavering support of charitable causes.
The band includes some of the best-known and respected players in the region, including singer John Vento (who is, perhaps, the hardest-working front man around), guitarists Tim Hadley and Jim McCullough, plus keyboardist Fred Delu and sax man Ed Jonnet, who last joined forces as members of Pittsburgh’s most beloved rock/soul band – The Rhythm Kings. Newest members Will Franklin (bass) and Lou Ross (drums) complete the stellar lineup. The band is often joined by guitarist Ian Arthurs, one of the very best young R&B players this side of Memphis.
The band originated in 2003 when singer John Vento began a studio recording project that he titled “Nied’s Hotel” as a tribute to Jim Nied, proprietor of the landmark Pittsburgh tavern of the same name, which also was the source of inspiration for many of the songs. Vento, along with noted musician/producer Buddy Hall, began the process of bringing these new songs to life, coaxing amazing performances from an all-star roster of Pittsburgh musicians – Reb Beach, Kenny Blake, Pete Hewlett, B.E. Taylor, Norman Nardini, Tom Bellin, Joe Munroe, Scott Anderson and Jim Britton.
No one had more impact than John’s primary session drummer, Ron Beitle. As the original drummer for Wild Cherry (“Play That Funky Music”), Ron brought his considerable drumming talents and gold record experience to the “Nied’s Hotel” project, which was released on CD in 2004.The next release, 2007’s “The Way That You Roll,” was again recorded with session players, but Vento, along with drummer Beitle, decided it was time to start performing their material at live shows. The new release was credited to “John Vento and The Nied’s Hotel Band,” but the live band line-up changed frequently while John and Ron searched for the right chemistry between players.
Along the way some fine musicians became NHB alums, but none more important than singer/songwriter/guitarist Stephen Christopher, who left his mark by penning the songs “600 Under” and “Need A Lover,” which are still mainstays of the NHB live show. Then, in early 2009, Beitle recruited his life-long friend, Russ Oblinger to join the band on bass guitar. Russ had just returned to Pittsburgh after a long and successful career as one of Detroit’s best session players. With these two guys in place, NHB now had a tight and accomplished rhythm section.
The band began to fine-tune their sound and develop more original material. Within a year or so, Tim Hadley, Fred Delu, Ed Jonnet, and Jim McCullough had all joined the band. With a consistent lineup and an exciting new sound, the band went to work writing and arranging new original songs and creating a live show that reflected the band’s powerful personality. By May of 2011, NHB was ready to make a real rock-n-roll album. No more session players, just a well-rehearsed band entering the studio to play and record as one. The new tracks were recorded live at Vento’s Corbriwood Studios in West Deer, PA, followed by post-production and mixing at Buddy Hall’s Beacon Hill Studio. The results were released in 2012 as an EP called “Side One.”
Although pleased with the results, the band, having grown leaps and bounds as a performing, arranging and writing unit since their inception, wanted to try something a little different. They enlisted Klint Macro, who had just moved back to the area after a successful career in the Los Angeles studio scene, to be their new engineer/producer. The band recorded all of their new material at Klint’s Cobblesound Recording Co., as well as re-arranging and re-mixing the “Side One” material. The finished full-length CD, “One Night Stand,” was released in July of 2014. In early 2016 NHB released “Live & More,” another full-length project. However, this one was a little different, mixing in new studio tracks ( “Wreckin’ Ball,” “Brother,” “Sacred Land,” and “Signed Sealed Delivered”) with live performances recorded at the historic Oaks Theater in Oakmont, PA.
Speaking of live performances, that’s where NHB shines like no other. Their high energy, entertaining, and audience engaging concerts have quickly earned them a reputation as one hell-u-va live act. The band has made a major investment in its live production sound and lights and is blessed to have one of the finest and most professional crews around.
Bob “The Colonel” Lokar – Management
Lee Marks – Live Sound/Production
Matt Shaffer – Lighting Director
Marty Munoz – Production
Gene Titus – Production
Melissa Shontz – Director of Marketing
Frankie Petrusik – Website/Social Media