At first glance, the B-Men look just like any other band of players trying to relive their musical glory days. Just what the world needs, right? Another bunch of aging musicians working through tired renditions of classic rock relics. But as it turns out, the world very much does need the B-Men and perhaps more bands like them. Bands who know how to make those classic tunes live again, along with many of their own compositions. Bands who do it for love – and for charity.
For the B-Men, it’s all about those qualities. Unlike most bands, they have no desire to make a living as musicians; as successful entrepreneurs, they don’t need to. Instead, most performances are a fund-raiser for some worthy cause. Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh, the Autism Society of Westmoreland County, Family Resources… all have benefited from the band’s generosity. But the focus isn’t just on organizations; the B-Men recently staged a benefit to help defray medical expenses for a 13-year-old girl injured in a horseback-riding accident. Sure, they’re having fun, but their music making also means one more child may get out of her wheelchair that much sooner; or another might never have to face life in one.
Fortunately, the B-Men are no musical slouches on stage; they’re actually skilled players infused with a love of R&B and the rock that grew from it. Whether it’s Steely Dan’s “My Old School” or their incredible covers of multiple “Chicago” hits, the B-Men’s repertoire is a solid nod to fat rhythms, killer guitar, horns and harmonies and, it must be said, a sound that harks back to Pittsburgh’s Silencers/Iron City Houserockers heyday.
Together, they come across as a band of players serious about having a good time, making good music; without sandpapering down the raw edges that real rock needs; and staying involved in good causes. It wouldn’t hurt any of us to keep those priorities in mind, but what’s really inspiring is the fact that these folks do more than just think about those pursuits.
Knowing that their hearts are so big makes the B-Men’s music sound that much better, but even if they weren’t doing charity gigs, they’d still be fun to catch on a Saturday night – or even on a work day.
John Vento – Lead Vocals
John Collins – Bass, Sax, Vocals
Ken Joy – Drums
Tim Hadley – Keyboards, Vocals
Nick Zannit – Guitar
John Fiore – Guitar, Vocals
Rhonda Watson – Vocals
Jen Keating – Trumpet
Scott Coulson – Trombone
J.J. Collins – Bari Sax
David Rohr – Sax
Nick Marco – Trumpet
Lee Marks & Matt Shaffer – Sound
Frank & Liz Opice – Lighting
T.J. Klisavage – Staging
Bob “The Colonel” Lokar – Management