In 1983, MCA records lined up
their big guns to make the Iron City Houserockers the hit they deserved to
Unfortunately for Joe Grushecky and the boys, MCA's big guns in the early '80s were to promotions what Barney Fife was to law enforcement.
The Houserockers (they dropped "Iron City" from their name; they'd had problems alienating rust-belt crowds outside the Pittsburgh area, including getting the band's van's tires slashed at least once in Cleveland) released Cracking Under Pressure.
Two days after it was released, the band was dropped. Six months later - in June of 1984 - the band broke up.
It was the early-mid eighties; "Heartland Rock" was, arguably, at its' zenith, with Tom Petty and Bob Seger both at the tops of their respective games, halfway between Springsteen's artistic tour de force, "Nebraska", and his sales juggernaut Born In The USA", John Mellencamp just out with his first respectable album ("Uh Huh", the first album that didn't make most of us barf) and many other artists working the genre.
Cracking Under Pressure was a departure from the first three albums; harmonica man Marc Reisman had left the band (along with drummer Ned Rankin), and the space was filled by more keyboards. Gil Snyder had incorporated some very raw synthesizers into the group's sound, jumping the music's overall effect from the early sixties into the early eighties. The title song was a jittery. key-drifting steamroller, driven by guitar and synth parts that could have been borrowed from The Suburbs - there was a new wave influence, although punctuated by Grushecky's hard-bitten yelp and tight, hard lyrics.