John Vento is often called a chameleon in the Pittsburgh music scene; The front man for the high-energy, hard-rockin’ bands, The Businessmen, and the Nied’s Hotel Band, is also known for his introspective, brooding solo recordings. His fans relish his blend of eclectic influences, delivered with raw emotions, which he masterfully shared in his current release, “Love, Lust & Other Wreckage,” an almost all true autobiographical story of his love life and how it has been affected by his first love, the stage.
John's story has been so artistically crafted that it gained the attention of renowned playwright/lyricist, Amy Hartman. Her rendition of John's saga will be shared as a stage play featuring music from the album on September 13th & 14th at the Oaks Theater in Oakmont just outside of Pittsburgh.
Helping to engineer the journey through his love story are his core of collaborators, including a few of Pittsburgh well known artists: musician & producer David Granati, songwriter Bert Lauble, and singer/songwriter Cherylann Hawk. Other collaborators on this album are well known Pittsburgh musicians Cheryl Rinovato, Joffo Simmons, and Wil E. Try, as well as a few of David Granati's talented family members, Joey, Hermie and Jules.
When performing live John is accompanied by a highly talented group of players who deliver a great performance : Cherylann Hawk – Vocals, Ian Arthurs – Guitar, Sal Monteverde – Guitar & Vocals, and cousin Phil Vento – Bass.
Many members of this crew have been with him for more than a decade; and it’s easy to understand why, as Vento consistently showers them with appreciation and accolades. Though a one-of-a-kind performer, he professes a great distaste for the word, “solo,” insisting that, “Without my collaborators, I would not have accomplished anything.”
That’s no surprise to those who know him, as he truly is a humble, loving, and grateful person, who treasures his family and friends. “If just one person is touched in some small way by one of my songs, that’s the greatest reward that I could receive.”
A father of three, Vento is a successful Pittsburgh businessman, opening CIS Office Installers in 1983, and helping to create many small businesses by supporting and mentoring young entrepreneurs, in addition to offering encouragement to new and veteran musicians.
John has created his own venue to accommodate these musicians... Steamworks Creative is a listening room off Route 8 in Hampton, not far from his home, which has just celebrated its first anniversary in allowing musicians to perform acoustically without the noise and general din of many club venues. He and his crew host open stages and artist showcases, which include an autism friendly open mic.
His passion for autism awareness is quite personal. “My godson is on the spectrum, plus others in our family. Through “Band Together Pittsburgh” we want folks to see how beautiful and talented those on the spectrum really are,” he says. “You would have to come to one of our Autism Friendly Open Mic events to see first-hand what I’m trying to say, it’s amazing on every level.”
“Please don’t give me too much credit. We just create an opportunity where charitable causes can use our performances as a platform for support,” Vento explains. “My inspiration was and is the late great Harry Chapin. He dedicated his life to charitable efforts through his music. He really is my hero.”