John Vento is best known as the front man for the high-energy, rhythm and blues group, The Nied’s Hotel Band (www.niedshotelband.com). NHB is quite a collection of great players that has built a stellar reputation for killer original music and live performances. Away from the band Vento focuses on creating introspective, brooding recordings that reach deep and sometimes dark places. His fans relish his blend of eclectic influences, delivered with raw emotions, which he masterfully shared in his 2019 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 of love, lust, and other wreckage was so artistically crafted that it gained the attention of renowned playwright/lyricist, Amy Hartman. Her rendition of John’s saga has been shared as a stage play featuring music from the album. Check out this video clip from the premier – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NXV1vwjXk-E&list=PLeR9KAr6aDocOv4UtlSMVgqF-YdWlnBG-
Helping to engineer the journey through his love story are his core of collaborators, including a few of Pittsburgh best known artists; musician & producer David Granati, songwriter Bert Lauble, and singer/songwriter Cherylann Hawk. Other contributors on this album are stellar Pittsburgh musicians Cheryl Rinovato, Joffo Simmons, Bob Fetherlin, Wil E. Tri, as well as a few of David Granati’s talented family members, Joey, Hermie and Jules.
Of course, it’s purely logical that Vento would find a great following in this town. His steely resistance to categorization is the very essence and backbone of Pittsburgh. Built by a veritable melting pot of blue-collar workers, the once-gritty city has risen from the slag heap, through the smoke and haze, to become a sparkling, spectacular hub of culture and learning. Yet, it remains true to its deeply-forged identity.
His current project, “Brick by Brick” is quite a departure from his previous work. First off, the album will not be completed in its entirety until 2022. But, starting in November of 2020 Vento will release new singles on a monthly basis. Each new song will be accompanied by a video, lyric sheet, and a narrative explaining some of the thought process in writing and recording.
A father of three, Vento is a successful Pittsburgh businessman, 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 Twp., not far from his home, which has just celebrated its third 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, as well as others in our family.” Together with well-known Pittsburgh venue owner and champion of live music, Ron ‘Moondog’ Esser, he co-founded “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 musical hero.”
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. Certainly, that comes across, loud and clear, in his honest, from-the-heart songs; and that, undoubtedly, is another quality which endears him to his fans. As he puts it, “If just one person is touched in some small way by one of our songs, that’s the greatest reward that I could receive.”