Edit ModuleEdit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Undercover: ‘The Decade’ is a Wonderful Pittsburgh Time Capsule

Cue up your old vinyl copy of “The Decade Presents LIVE from the Corner of Rock & Roll Like U Was There” and crack open an icy bottle of Iron City before sinking into the pages of this very welcome excursion into yesteryear.



The Decade
by Gabby Means
Arcadia Publishing; $22.99.


Twenty-two years ago this month, Pittsburgh bid a beer-soaked farewell to a rock ’n roll institution. Opened in 1973 by Dom DiSilvio and his wife Janet, The Decade quickly became the premier venue for local and touring rockers hosting everyone from the Iron City Houserockers and Norm Nardini to Stevie Ray Vaughan and U2. Sure there were other great clubs in town — Graffiti, The Upstage and The Electric Banana spring immediately to mind — but there was something very special about this hole in the wall nestled at the corner of Atwood and Sennott streets in Oakland. Gabby Means, granddaughter of DiSilvio, makes this abundantly clear in her love letter to those good ol’ days, The Decade.

DiSilvio points to legendary Pittsburgh DJ Porky Chedwick, the “Daddio of the Raddio,” and the Jersey Shore club scene as early inspirations. DiSilvio began hosting what he called picnics, actually keg parties with a cover charge, while studying at the University of Pittsburgh. He dropped out of grad school to open his first bar, Fat Daddy’s on Baum Boulevard, with a couple of buddies which hosted a few touring bands. The Fat Daddy’s experiment lasted long enough for Dom to contract a lifelong case of Rockin’ Pneumonia. (Or was it the Boogie Woogie Flu?)

As with the other entries in the Images of Modern America series, The Decade is filled to the brim with great photos (many from DiSilvio’s personal collection) of the club, the staff and regulars, and the countless bands that graced the stage. Means gracefully sets the scene then steps aside to let the extended family, some bound by blood and some by booze, come forth with anecdotes and tall tales. Just why was the ceiling covered in pink parachutes? How did they outsmart the Health Department with a can of paint? Did they really bury someone under the stage?

“The Decade” is a wonderful time capsule. So cue up your old vinyl copy of “The Decade Presents LIVE from the Corner of Rock & Roll Like U Was There” (or track one down), and crack open an icy bottle of Iron City before sinking into the pages of this very welcome excursion into yesteryear. 
 

Loft Jazz: Improvising New York in the 1970s
by Michael C. Heller
University of California Press; $29.95.


University of Pittsburgh Assistant Professor of Music Michael C. Heller has penned a much-needed history of the little known moment in jazz history commonly referred to as Loft Jazz. Loft Jazz: Improvising New York in the 1970s explores the period in which many performers eschewed the club scene to create their own performance venues in the dilapidated, but cheaply had, loft and warehouse spaces in New York City. The short-lived scene was “vibrant and fertile,” according to Heller. With “few commercial restrictions, artists were free to explore their most adventurous visions.”
While perhaps a little too academic (and subsequently dry in tone), Heller’s book does much to shed light on performers (some with Pittsburgh bona-fides) who have too often been overlooked in popular histories of the genre.  

 



 

 

Speak Up

Aug. 5/ Jameson Bayles made quite a name for himself in his native Kansas City, Mo. as the organizer of the annual KC Poetry Throwdown, which brought together poets from all over the country for a weekend long marathon of readings. As of last month, Bayles is now a Pittsburgher and eager to dive into our local literary scene. He reads his poems tonight with the able assistance of locals Don Wentworth and Lynn Alexander, along with out-of-towners Scott Douglass and Theresa Göttl Brightman. (White Whale Bookstore, 4754 Liberty Ave., Bloomfield; 412/224-2847,
whitewhalebookstore.com)

Aug. 25/ Local wonder woman Deesha Philyaw’s writing on parenting, race, gender and culture has appeared in such high-profile publications as The New York Times, Essence, The Washington Post, Ebony and ESPN’s The Undefeated, among many others. She is the co-author, along with her ex-husband, of “Co-Parenting 101: Helping Your Kids Thrive in Two Households After Divorce.” Tonight she takes part in Pittsburgh Parks Summer Reading Series, along with Dawn Lundy Martin, Jan Beatty and Marc Nieson. (Highland Park, near the Sycamore Grove Shelter; 412/362-2665, info@autumnhouse.org) —KC
 

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module

Edit ModuleShow TagsEdit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module Edit ModuleShow Tags

The Latest

Ultimate Comfort Food: The Joy of Dumplings

Why our dining critic thinks dumplings might be his ultimate comfort food.

Our Seven Favorite Dumplings in Pittsburgh

Pittsburgh, of course, is best known for the pierogi. Our love of dumplings extends beyond that, however. These seven dumplings are our favorite restaurant versions of their various styles.

The Tailor's Dumpling: Kreplach

A Pittsburgh chef and his family continue to craft a family recipe with roots in Poland.

The Pittsburgh Region's Top Dentists 2018

Our annual list, which contains 376 dentists across 11 specialities, as determined by topDENTISTS.

A Weekend Mission of Mercy in Pittsburgh

More than a thousand people come to PPG paints arena once a year for free dental care, thanks to an ambitious, all-volunteer effort.

Jump Into the River: Open Waters Beckons Strong Swimmers

It takes a strong swimmer and the right timing to dive into the three rivers. for those up to it, the difference between the pool and open water is profound.

Pirates Are Still a Long Way From a Hollywood Ending

Despite an 8-1 winning streak going into the All-Star break, the Bucs are in desperate need of a sequel, not only to win back some credibility with fans, but also to convince their owner not to sell off more pieces of the team.

National Aviary's New Renovations Make it Essential Pittsburgh

It's time to add the National Aviary to the list of local favorites you visit again and again.

PM on KD: Family City Guide 2018

PM Associate Editor Sean Collier appears on KDKA's Pittsburgh Today Live to discuss our Family City Guide for 2018-2019.

Tom Hanks May Have Found Co-Star for Fred Rogers Film

One of the stars of FX's “The Americans” is reportedly in talks to appear in the Mister Rogers flick “You Are My Friend.”

Competitive, High-Tech Driving Range Coming to Pittsburgh

The Topgolf complex opening in Bridgeville features a driving range with microchipped golf balls that score themselves, plus plenty of food and drink options.

The Eight Best Frozen Treats in Pittsburgh

Our dining critic picks his favorite ice cream, ice pop, frozen custard, vegan delight and more.

5 Great Ways to Enjoy Picklesburgh

The city’s fourth annual pickle festival will feature more food, more music and even pickle-inspired beers.

Wow Factor: Empty Nest Inspires Timeless Makeover

When her last child graduated from college, Ingrid Meenen did something she had been wanting to do for 20 years — renovate the first floor of her Upper St. Clair home.

Perfect Proposals that Flashed Back to First Dates

Return to your roots before your relationship blooms into a beautiful marriage.
Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags


Tom Hanks May Have Found Co-Star for Fred Rogers Film

Tom Hanks May Have Found Co-Star for Fred Rogers Film

One of the stars of FX's “The Americans” is reportedly in talks to appear in the Mister Rogers flick “You Are My Friend.”

Comments

Competitive, High-Tech Driving Range Coming to Pittsburgh

Competitive, High-Tech Driving Range Coming to Pittsburgh

The Topgolf complex opening in Bridgeville features a driving range with microchipped golf balls that score themselves, plus plenty of food and drink options.

Comments


All the foodie news that's fit to blog
A Pop-Up Bar in Pittsburgh that Serves a Sober Alternative

A Pop-Up Bar in Pittsburgh that Serves a Sober Alternative

Empath provides the vibe and social space of a bar, as well as stepped up beverage service ... without the alcohol.

Comments

Willow Restaurant in the North Hills Lands a New Chef

Willow Restaurant in the North Hills Lands a New Chef

Aaron Allen comes to Willow by way of 2-star Daniel in New York City. Plus, Greta Harmon joins the staff of the Ohio Township hideaway as the restaurant's new bar manager.

Comments


Not just good stuff. Great stuff.
The Eight Best Frozen Treats in Pittsburgh

The Eight Best Frozen Treats in Pittsburgh

Our dining critic picks his favorite ice cream, ice pop, frozen custard, vegan delight and more.

Comments

Six Underrated Kennywood Rides You Need to Try Again

Six Underrated Kennywood Rides You Need to Try Again

Leave enough time in your next visit to Kennywood to revisit some old favorites and these underrated gems.

Comments


National Aviary's New Renovations Make it Essential Pittsburgh

National Aviary's New Renovations Make it Essential Pittsburgh

It's time to add the National Aviary to the list of local favorites you visit again and again.

Comments

Stop Using Uber and Lyft, Renting a Bike is Better

Stop Using Uber and Lyft, Renting a Bike is Better

You'll save money and have an easier time hopping between neighborhoods on a Healthy Ride bicycle.

Comments


Mike Prisuta's Sports Section

A weekly look at the games people are playing and the people who are playing them.
Pirates Are Still a Long Way From a Hollywood Ending

Pirates Are Still a Long Way From a Hollywood Ending

Despite an 8-1 winning streak going into the All-Star break, the Bucs are in desperate need of a sequel, not only to win back some credibility with fans, but also to convince their owner not to sell off more pieces of the team.

Comments

Compelling World Cup Worth a Periodic Embrace

Compelling World Cup Worth a Periodic Embrace

The competition is as fierce as the fans are passionate and both can be appreciated without a firm grasp of the details.

Comments


The movies that are playing in Pittsburgh –– and, more importantly, whether or not they're worth your time.
The 400-Word Review: Skyscraper

The 400-Word Review: Skyscraper

If you want "Die Hard" with half the brains but three times the building, the new Dwayne Johnson flick will do a passing job.

Comments

The 400-Word Review: The Legacy of a Whitetail Deer Hunter

The 400-Word Review: The Legacy of a Whitetail Deer Hunter

The Netflix exclusive Josh Brolin flick is pleasant enough, but light on laughs.

Comments


Everything you need to know about getting married in Pittsburgh today.
Perfect Proposals that Flashed Back to First Dates

Perfect Proposals that Flashed Back to First Dates

Return to your roots before your relationship blooms into a beautiful marriage.

Comments

I Do, Now Let’s Have Some BBQ

I Do, Now Let’s Have Some BBQ

A five-course meal doesn’t fit with every wedding. These laid-back couples opted for casual — and delicious — cuisine perfect for their outdoor and barn receptions.

Comments


Weekly inspiration for your home from the editors of Pittsburgh Magazine
Wow Factor: Empty Nest Inspires Timeless Makeover

Wow Factor: Empty Nest Inspires Timeless Makeover

When her last child graduated from college, Ingrid Meenen did something she had been wanting to do for 20 years — renovate the first floor of her Upper St. Clair home.

Comments

Head to the North Hills for Two Blooming Garden Tours

Head to the North Hills for Two Blooming Garden Tours

The Wexford Garden and Pond Tour and the Southern Butler County Garden Club tour both take place this weekend.

Comments