Norman NardiniAs bass player for the 1970’s Pittsburgh rock n’ roll band, Diamond Reo, Norman Nardini got his career started. After a very brief stay at Berklee School Of Music and more than a few special moments….while still in high school he rented his Hammond B-3 organ and roadied for Billy Preston and Sly and the Family Stone when they came to town…..was hired to play guitar and keys in fake versions of The Sonics and The Cherry People…………backed up Little Anthony and the Imperials, The Detroit Emeralds, and The Manhattans in pickup bands…..played guitar behind Big Mama Thorton and George Harmonica Smith at The Jazz Workshop in Boston Mass. At Fox studio he had the opportunity to play on recordings by Jimmy Beaumont and the Skyliners, Lou Christy, Terry Bradshaw……Nardini played bass on “The Pennsylvania Polka” Steeler fight song. After doing an arrangement of “Dancing In The Street” that got picked up by RCA he did an arrangement of Marvin Gaye’s “Ain’t That Peculiar” that brought an album deal with Big Tree Records that got Diamond Reo started. With a single on the charts The Diamonds appeared on Dick Clark’s American Bandstand and did shows with Aerosmith, Rush, Ted Nugent, Kansas, Canned Heat, Blue Oyster Cult……they opened up for Kiss at Cobo Hall in Detroit the night they recorded Kiss Alive. Dirty Diamonds, they’re second release was on the Buddah label and was produced by Adrian Barber who had done Aerosmith’s first LP……although it didn’t do so well at the time, Dirty Diamonds is currently being re-released on Rock Candy Records and is considered to be a classic piece of work……Nardini produced Ruff Cuts The Diamonds third and final LP. Norman Nardini and the Tigers started tearin’ up rock n’ roll shows in 1979 opening shows for bands like The Romantics, Joan Jett, and Beaver Brown. In the fall of 1980 The Tigers played Asbury Park’s Fast Lane and opened the show for The Rest, one of Jon Bon Jovi’s early bands, he and Jon remain friends to this day. Jon had Nardini open his 2011 performance at Pittsburgh’s Consol Energy Center. Recorded at Cleveland’s legendary Agora Nightclub, Eat n’ Alive, which received a 4 star review from Rolling Stone Magazine was released in ’81 and kept The Tigers on the road constantly. CBS released Norman Nardini and the Tigers in ’83, ole buddy Jon Bon sang BG vocals. With the Tigers broken up, Nardini did one more release with CBS, Love Dog, which featured Rick Derringer, Dr John, and Paul Shaffer and hit in ’86 and was followed by a tour with The Radiators. A tour of Germany as opening act for The Blues Brothers came about because “Smoke Two Joints”, the single off the Circumstantial LP, This Ole Train was hitting the airways just after the Berlin wall came down and folks were exercising their freedom to rock and smoke. Two more LP’s on Circumstantial followed, 1993’s Breakdown In Paradise and 95’s It’s Alive.
A highly talented, underground group from Wheeling West Virginia, The Brett Cain Band, worked with Nardini to create some legendary music in the late 90’s that resulted in their LP, Rise. As leader of The Pittsburgh Blues Allstars, Nardini has led their performance at the Pittsburgh Blues Festival for the last 13 years, shows that have featured the best of the ‘burg Shari Richards, Billy Price, Gary Beloma, Kenny Blake Mark Stutso, and Jill West. The late great Glenn Pavone played his last show with The Allstars at the Blues Fest.
The Redemption LP, which featured new arrangements of his older tunes kept Nardini and his band busy playing week in and week out just like they always had done. Opening slots in front of acts like Johnny Winter, Peter Wolf, Pete Best, Jimmy Thackery and the Drivers, Tommy Castro, and Bernard Allison, John Eddy, and Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes helped to keep the Pittsburgh rocker at the top of his game.
The Nardini wrote and produced Rock My Soul LP in 2007 by singer-drummer Mark Stutso came as the result of Nardini hearing this West Virginian sing with Jimmy Thackery’s Drivers. In 2010 Stutso sang lead on the Nardini produced JJ Burner LP, Roll On that also featured monster player Warren King on lead guitar.
Bone A Fide was 2011’s Norman Nardini release that reached a new hi level for this relentless musical force. Most artist’s that have been around as long as Nardini have long since done their best work, not so in the case of Pittsburgh’s uncrowned king of rock n’ roll.
In 2012 The Nighthawks, Washington DC’s best known and longest running blues band included 3 of Nardini’s songs on their Damn Good Time Release.
As 2013 is coming to an end, Norman Nardini says that he’s just getting started. With a seemingly endless string of exciting new songs and a guitar style that gets stronger as the years roll by Nardini says, “bring out the rest n’ let me put ’em to the test n’ we’ll see who’s good rockin’ n’ who’s just talking”.Harry Bottom Bass player, Harry Bottoms is the foundation of a Norman Nardini performance. After 25 years of service, Harry’s BG vocals and bass guitar are the rock that holds it all togather. As a teenage boy Harry was cutting in a New York studio at the same time as Jimi Hendrix, Jimi asked him if he had change for a hundred dollar bill. Mike Floccari Drummer, Mike Floccari has been with the band 2 years. As a longtime fan of Norman’s longtime drummer, Whitey Cooper, Flo had no trouble finding his place in this music after 20 years in the The Powers Run Band. Floccari also wrote and played drums on the JJ Burner LP that Norman produced back in 2010.
Larry Siefers Keyboards and tenor sax man Larry Siefers did the Love Dog tour with Norman back in 1987. He’s also played piano on most of the big doo wop shows filmed in Pittsburgh. Along with the late great Glenn Pavone he helped start up the Gene’s Blues Bar scene of the 90’s.