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Frank Czuri performing at an outdoor concert with The Igniters, 2014
Frank Czuri performing at an outdoor concert with The Igniters, 2014

Frank Czuri (born September 8, 1948) is an American vocalist (tenor), entertainer, songwriter and recording artist who has been performing professionally since the age of 14. He works in all genres, and is best known as the lead singer for two popular Pittsburgh rock groups,The Silencers and Diamond Reo. Since 2013 he has been performing with legendary doo-wop group Jimmy Beaumont & The Skyliners. He also fronts a reunited lineup of the pioneering Pittsburgh rock/R&B band The Igniters, with whom he began his recording career. Czuri has performed on many LPs, CDs, and singles released worldwide.[1]

Early years: The Igniters and Friends


Frank Czuri was raised in the Pittsburgh, PA, suburb of Penn Hills. He was inspired to become a performer after seeing a live all-star show featuring R&B/soul greats like Frankie Lymon, Little Anthony, Bo Diddley, and Clyde McPhatter. At the age of 14 his childhood friend Bob McKeag (aka Bubs McKeg) invited him to join his popular band The Igniters as lead singer. Within a few years, Atlantic Records took notice and signed 18-year-old Frank and his bandmates to the label. As Jimmy Mack and the Music Factory, they recorded a Top 40 single, Baby, I Love You, b/w The Hunter Gets Captured by the Game - both featuring Frank on lead vocals. It's rumored that the band was the second rock act signed by the blues/R&B label—right behind The Young Rascals. Frank and his Igniters bandmates also released the Atlantic single Gonna Try b/w Goodbye Mama under the name Friends.

The Jaggerz and Diamond Reo


In 1970 Frank began a four-year stint as vocalist and keyboard player with The Jaggerz, the Pittsburgh band that had scored a Top Ten hit with The Rapper in 1969.

In 1974 he moved on to front the hard rock band Diamond Reo, whose members included guitarist Bubs McKeg, guitarist Warren King, bassist Norman Nardini [10] , and drummer Rob Johns. Working with producer/manager Dave Shaffer and producer Tom Cossie [11] , the band signed a contract with the Atlantic subsidiary Big Tree Records, and released a Top 40 hit cover of Marvin Gaye's Ain't That Peculiar in December 1974. They went on to release four more singles and three LPs through 1978. A British rock magazine once called Diamond Reo "the best heavy metal LP to escape from the U.S. in years." Frank's gigs with the band took him to venues far and wide - from arenas with acts like Kiss and Aerosmith, to the "upstairs room" of New York's infamous Warhol hangout, Max's Kansas City. On February 15, 1975, he appeared with Diamond Reo performing "Ain't That Peculiar" and "Movin' On" on Dick Clark's American Bandstand, season 18, episode 19. In a January 1, 1975, article in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, music writer Mike Kalina named Frank the region's best rock singer and Diamond Reo the best local rock band of 1974.[2]

The Silencers


In 1979, Frank started producing demo tapes of original music for Tom Cossie's Precision Records, a subsidiary of CBS Records. Soon, he was talking with Warren King about forming a new band to be called The Silencers, and together they recruited Dennis Takos on keyboards, Mike Pella on bass, and Ron "Byrd" Foster on drums. Before they had played their first gig, Cossie had managed to land them a two-album record deal with Precision, based solely on the band's demo tape. Soon The Silencers would become the hottest rock band in the Pittsburgh region with their raucous covers and original material that combined rock, New Wave, R&B, soul, and reggae. Their debut LP, Rock'n'Roll Enforcers was produced by Bob Clearmountain and yielded two singles. A video of the Silencers' medley "Peter Gunn Theme/Remote Control/Illegal" aired on MTV on the day the network premiered - August 1, 1981 - and won several awards. Billboard Magazine said of Rock'n'Roll Enforcers: "The Silencers are armed with a hard hitting debut. Fronted by the aggressive vocals of Frank Czuri...the Silencers show an amazing command of rock history…This is slashing rock which goes for the jugular."[3]

The band's second album, Romanic, produced two singles. (See discography below.)

Pure Gold


In 1985, Frank embarked on a different musical path when he joined the popular Pittsburgh R&B/doo-wop ensemble Pure Gold. During his 25-year years with the group, he appeared on the PBS American Music Series performing such classics as Sh-Boom and Long Tall Girl, and backed artists like Jerry Butler, Gene Chandler, Mel Carter, Barbara Mason, Barbara Lewis, Percy Sledge, Sam Moore, among others.

The Igniters reunion


In 2003, Bubs McKeg decided to stage an Igniters reunion show and invited Frank to join his new lineup. That year they performed the first of four sold-out reunion shows that drew a total of 3,000 loyal fans from all over the U.S. Reinvigorated, they reunited on a permanent basis in 2010, and have been playing at festivals, clubs and casinos all over the tri-state region.

Current Work: Jimmy Beaumont & The Skyliners


Since 2013 Frank has been performing and touring with Jimmy Beaumont and the Skyliners, the group that recorded the huge 1958 hit Since I Don't Have You. The ensemble was recently awarded a 2016 Pittsburgh Rock' Roll Legends Award [12] in the Legacy area.[4]

Personal life


In 2010, Frank was awarded the Penn Hills Arts, Music, and Entertainment (PHAME) award in recognition of his lifelong work.

In 2014, he retired from a 20-year career in the field of alternative education.

Band History


  • Medallions
  • Von'Ls
  • Carvells
  • The Igniters
  • Jimmy Mack & The Music Factory
  • Friends
  • Hollywood
  • Jaggerz
  • Diamond Reo
  • Silencers
  • Pure Gold
  • Igniters (reunited)
  • Laurels
  • Jimmy Beaumont & The Skyliners
  • Dancing in the Street

Discography


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