In 2003, Norman Nardini was working his butt off recording, producing and releasing a
great record called "Redemption." It had been a few years since I was able to go out
often, but around the time "Redemption" was completed and for the months till it was
released, I saw an awful lot of Norman shows. Not the 2-4 per week as friend Michelle
and I used to do in the heyday by any means, but quite a bit.
One of the first shows in a long time that I saw was at a birthday party at Monessen's
Italian Mutual Aid Society. What ambiance the room had! Norm and I started a chat
throughout the night about how good we felt the Silencers albums were. I was an underage
Diamond Reo fan who followed Norm's career with the Tigers and Frank Czuri and Warren
King with the Silencers after Norm quit the Diamonds and possibly the best Pittsburgh group
of all time disbanded. Blame it on mom for buying me "Dirty Diamonds" by mistake, but I
was sold on Pittsburgh rock when those guys started it long ago.
It was probably at the Monessen Italian club that I knew I wanted to interview Norm. But
it had been years since I worked full time as a writer and other demands took priority.
The closer Norm came to the CD release, the more he ranted about Pittsburgh radio
ignoring his music. I left radio behind as a possible career years earlier for the same
reasons Norm vented. I wrote the following article as a free lance and it was published in
my local paper on a Friday. The next night, Norm came to Uniontown to play a bar on Rt.
51 and the place was jam packed. Michelle listened to most of the show in Florida by phone
and said it was the best music she heard in 20 years. The rest of us there live partied as
though it were 1984......jt
Local Rocker Releases 'Redemption' CD,
The Best New Old Songs From 1977-88
By Julie Toye
For The Herald Standard
October 29, 2004
His fans can still recall legendary Pittsburgh rocker
Norman Nardini, with his signature tiger-striped guitar
dangling around his neck, dancing up and down the bar
top as he entertained the crowd during the early 1980s
at the Highland House in Uniontown.
And more than two decades later, his fans can still feel
the energy that always seemed contagious whether
Norman Nardini and The Tigers were rocking the
Highland House or jamming for a packed house at
well-known Pittsburgh nightclubs like Fat City and the
Anytime Nardini played a new song, fans thought he was sure to break out on a national tour again,
making it even bigger than he did in the 1970s with Pittsburgh powerhouse rock group Diamond Reo,
which toured with famous bands like Aerosmith.
Back in the day when Rolling Stone magazine rarely liked anyone's music, Nardini received a four-star
rating in its review of "Eat 'N Alive," his first album with the Tigers after leaving Diamond Reo.
Nardini's CBS record deal led to the 1987 album, "Love Dog," produced by Rick Derringer. Derringer,
Dr. John and Dave Letterman's bandleader, Paul Shaffer, all played on the album.
Warren King, former lead guitar wizard for Diamond Reo and the Silencers, teamed up with Nardini
again. His fans were thrilled, but they really thought their frequent nights out with their favorite band
Before long, it was 1991 and Jon Bon Jovi appeared on another of Nardini's critically acclaimed albums,
"This Ole Train."
Then Nardini had a number-two hit overseas. Once again, his fans thought their favorite rocker would
be gone from the small stages in the Pittsburgh area - forever.
But it didn't happen, or at least hasn't happened yet for Nardini.
Like Boston Red Sox fans, Nardini fans have a good feeling about "Redemption," his latest album that
features his best songs from 1977-88. His fans want to believe that making "Redemption" has brought
Nardini to the verge of something big - either as a musician, producer or songwriter.
His fans believe that Nardini, the self-proclaimed poster boy for the working poor, deserves to make the
big time again.
During the past 25 years, Nardini has become a phenomenal songwriter and a polished player and act.
Nardini fans who moved out of state will sometimes ask to be called when he performs specific songs.
That's how much they miss him.
And now Nardini's coming back to the Uniontown area on Saturday when he performs at Pizon's along
Route 51 to promote "Redemption."
Nardini never liked the way the songs sounded on past recordings. He always went back into the studio
to redo them, but more importantly, to produce them himself. He included four songs that were never
"Redemption's" songs are Pittsburgh rock 'n roll at its finest. Nardini gathered some of the most
talented area musicians for the year-long project, figuring if the songs were redone to his satisfaction,
he might receive big market Pittsburgh radio airplay.
But Nardini has received essentially no radio airplay at home in spite of receiving rare critical praise
from Rolling Stone magazine and the CBS record deal.
"This Ole Train" has been included in the top 10 albums of the Jersey shore, and Nardini has shared
stages with Southside Johnny Lyons and Jon Bon Jovi and even opened for Bruce Springsteen.
One song from "Redemption" was played twice on public radio in the past several weeks. Until now,
Nardini's songs haven't been played on commercial Pittsburgh radio since about 1991.
Some of the songs redone on "Redemption" are 27 years old, but they appealed to three generations at
a Sunday afternoon show in July at the Boardwalk in Pittsburgh's strip district..
Songs such as "Heat of the Night, "That Girl," "Rock and Roll City," "High Times," "Burnin' Up,"
"Rock You," "Nothin' to Lose" and "Love Dog" have never sounded better.
By word of mouth and his Web site, the CD's first shipment sold out by his second CD release party at
Moondogs in Pittsburgh on Oct. 1. "Redemption" is back in stock and can be ordered through his Web
site at normannardini.com and at live shows.
Nardini, drummer/background vocalist Mark Cooper, bass player/background vocalist Harry Bottoms
and "Redemption" guest musicians Vinny Q of Torn and Frayed, Herman Granatti, Rocky Lamonde
and Phil Brontz of 8th Street Rox made a great record when "Redemption" was finished.
Appropriately, Nardini's worn tiger-striped guitar is pictured on the cover photo.
No, Nardini's not running around the stage anymore or dancing atop and up and down the bar these days
with his guitar.
Nor is he still putting on that dress and bad wig to sing "Psycho." (Hey, it's Halloween eve at Pizon's, so
But Norman is still rocking great after all of these years.
Frank Czuri/Silencers article Warren King, Farewell
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