It began when a couple of kids approached Marc on the street and asked “Mister, do you wanna buy a harmonica?” He did, and never looked back. Taking a cue from a discography he found in Blues Harp, an instruction book by Tony “Little Sun” Glover, he immersed himself in the recordings of Little Walter, Sonny Boy Williamson, Big Walter, James Cotton, Junior Wells, Paul Butterfield, and Magic Dick of the J. Geils Band.
In 1976, Marc joined the rock & roll band Brick Alley, soon reborn as the Iron City Houserockers. From their home base at Pittsburgh’s legendary rock & roll bar The Decade, the Houserockers became hometown favorites and went on to cut several records for MCA Records, produced by the likes of Miami Steve Van Zandt, Steve Cropper and British glam rockers Ian Hunter and Mick Ronson. The Houserockers shared stages with Patti Smith, Meatloaf, the J. Geils Band and Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes, among others. The band’s recordings and high-energy live performances received rave reviews, including this from Rolling Stone magazine: “The Iron City Houserockers’ new album, ‘Have A Good Time…But Get Out Alive,’ earns them a permanent place in the hallowed hall of the immortals.”
During this time, Marc was also the host Blue Midnight, a late night blues radio show on WYEP-FM, after the Little Walter instrumental of the same name. When fellow Houserocker Art Nardini joined the show, they switched to a punk rock/New Wave format and re-named the show Black & Blue Midnight. Marc and Art were radio hosts to a number of bands as they passed through Pittsburgh, including the Police and the Ramones.
After 7 years and 3 acclaimed albums, Marc left the Houserockers. For several years he worked as a manager and producer for several bands, notably The Core, a reggae group that enjoyed regional success. He also taught blues harmonica for Calliope, the Pittsburgh Folk Music Society, and for adult education classes at the University of Pittsburgh and the local Community College.
In the mid-80’s, Marc formed the Pep Boys, a high-energy rhythm & blues unit. When that band broke up in 1990, he continued to teach, and play and record with a number of Pittsburgh-based artists, including world renowned acoustic blues guitarist Ernie Hawkins, Jill West and Blues Attack, and guitarist/singer-songwriter Peter King.
Marc re-joined the Houserockers, by then known as Joe Grushecky and the Houserockers, in 1999. He recorded 2 more records with the Houserockers and played throughout the United States and Europe with the band through 2006, sharing the stage on numerous occasions with Bruce Springsteen. The Houserockers also performed with the Pittsburgh Ballet Theater for their production of Springsteen and Seger.
Marc ventured into the classical music realm when The Pittsburgh Opera invited him to perform with the Opera Orchestra in 2008 for their production of The Grapes of Wrath, based on the epic John Steinbeck novel. And in 2011, he recorded a song which was used in the Pittsburgh Conservatory Theater’s production of The Time of Your Life by William Saroyan.
In 2012, Marc released GIMME A BEAT! - a high-energy EP of blues and roots rock & roll featuring members of the Pep Boys.
In May of 2017, Marc released his first full-length album of original songs, STRONG WAY. The songs on the album, many of which were written in collaboration with guitarist Kurt Resch, his longtime friend from The Core, reflect the diverse styles of music Marc has played over the years – rock & roll, blues, rhythm & blues, pop and reggae. The album features some of the Pittsburgh area’s finest musicians, including Resch and Rick Witkowski (guitars), Tom Valentine and Paul Thompson (bass), B.C. Taylor (drums), Ben Opie (alto sax).
Marc continues to teach harmonica privately and, in addition to leading the Strong Way Band, he plays with a variety of Pittsburgh-based musicians, including Ernie Hawkins, Bill Toms (former Houserockers lead guitar player), blues rocker Melinda Colaizzi, and Peter King. Marc has also recorded with Los Madison, a rock & roll band from Madrid, Spain.
Currently, Marc is planning a European tour, and he’s begun work on a new record.
© Marc Reisman 2017 - Website created by Meyer Aschkenas