Frank Czuri's track record as a Pittsburgh vocalist is unparalleled. He's no doubt performed with more well-known bands and ensembles than any other local singer. That's because his rich, resonant voice is perfectly suited to any musical style - from rock to soul, from doo-wop to classic American standards. He's the consummate frontman - never failing to engage audiences with his cool on-stage moves and personable manner.
He caught the performance bug early. Mesmerized after seeing icons like Frankie Lymon, Little Anthony, Bo Diddley, and Clyde McPhatter perform at an all-star show in Pittsburgh, he was soon crooning and performing small gigs with classmates who shared his love for the type of R&B and "race" records played by Pittsburgh DJ Porky Chedwick.
Things really took off when grade school friend Bubs McKeg invited him to join his popular band The Igniters as lead singer. With his high energy command of the stage, he gave the band's wildly enthusiast fans their money's worth. Atlantic Records soon took notice, and signed the 18-year-old and his bandmates to the label. As Jimmy Mack and the Music Factory, they recorded a Top 40 single, Baby, I Love You, backed with 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!
After a year in the Igniters' spin-off group Friends, Frank signed on as a vocalist and keyboard player with the legendary Jaggerz feauring Donnie Iris. Four years of touring with the band that put The Rapper on the charts led him to seek a creative outlet for his own original music. He went on to front the edgy Diamond Reo, breathing fire into the group's three LPs and five singles. His gigs with the band took him to venues far and wide - from Pittsburgh's prime rock clubs, to arenas where they opened for acts like Kiss and Aerosmith, to the "upstairs room" of New York's infamous Warhol hangout, Max's Kansas City. Reo's unique cover of Marvin Gaye's Ain't That Peculiar occupied a spot on Billboard's national Hot 100 chart for six weeks, peaking at #44 and earning them a spot on American Bandstand. 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.
But it was his 5-year stint as lead singer and co-songwriter for The Silencers that would cement his place in Pittsburgh rock history. He and his talented bandmates electrified audiences across the U.S. with their raucous covers, as well as unique, original material that combined rock, New Wave, R&B, soul, and reggae. They released two major-label albums, three singles, and an award-winning video that MTV aired on the very day of its network premiere. Billboard Magazine said of the Silencers' debut LP 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."
When Frank left the rock world to perform with the popular Pittsburgh R&B/doo-wop group Pure Gold, music lovers of all ages now had a chance to hear his pristine tenor pipes at their finest, as he delivered soaring a cappella vocals and flawless harmonies. From 1985 through 2010 he performed hundreds of shows and was seen by millions during Pure Gold's numerous appearances on the PBS American Music Series. When the group opened for Mr. Bo Diddley at a show in Pittsburgh, the blues legend personally complimented Frank on his lead vocal work on a Dells song.
In 2003, Frank and other members of the original Igniters came together to perform 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.
In 2010, the Penn Hills native received the PHAME (Penn Hills Arts, Music, and Entertainment) award in recognition of his lifelong work. Pretty ironic, considering Frank was the first student suspended from Penn Hills High School for long hair (which barely touched his ears!).
Since retiring from his job in the field of alternative education in 2014, Frank has kept busy with lots of diverse musical projects, from singing advertising jingles, to performing on stage and in studios with other artists. One of his biggest thrills came in 2013, when his idol Jimmy Beaumont chose him to sing with the legendary Skyliners. Frank continued to perform with the group after Jimmy's passing in 2017, and shortly thereafter began yet another era of performing: singing with Pittsburgh doo-wop & soul group William Dell and WeeJams, performing in Latshaw Productions' holiday specials, and fronting an exciting new version of The Silencers. Click his Shows page for a complete schedule of his performances.
The day we signed you to Atlantic Records, Execs Wexler and Greenberg stated, "With the right song, Frank will be your next Tommy James." Although that song never came, you had a great career. Thank you for being a friend of the music and true friend of mine.
-- Bob Mack, nationally-renowned music producer, concert promoter, dance impressario, record executive, and the first manager of Tommy James and the Shondells.