Photos and article by Randy Jarosz
Many people say that a particular concert was a life changing experience for them. Maybe it was your first concert, or your favorite band live that made made you feel this way. It quite possibly could have been a band that you didn’t expect to give you that ultimate experience. For Rich Engler he can say that he has helped shape the youth of a number of generations.
Engler was a key figure in bringing acts such as The Rolling Stones, The Who, Pink Floyd, Metallica and countless others to the Pittsburgh Area. He was a legendary concert promoter who joined forces with Pat DiCesare to form DiCesare-Engler Productions in 1973. Engler was finally recognized for his area contributions by being named to the Pittsburgh Rock and Roll Hall of Fame this past January.
For Gary Dotterweich of Ross Township (pictured below) it wasn’t only the big name bands that changed his life. It was the drum playing of Engler himself, that got him started on drums and turned him onto performing rock and roll. Engler played with the band Grains of Sand where he recalls being as big as the Beatles in Canada, where they had their biggest hit. Dotterweich still plays the drums and is also the house photographer at Jergel’s Rhythm Grille for concerts. He had the chance to meet Mr. Engler and his wife Cindy at Millvale Community Library March 1, where he was promoting his book “Behind the Stage Door,” A promoter’s Life Behind the Scenes. Engler with grin was quick to talk about the good old days. Also on display were a dozen of Engler’s favorite pieces of memorabilia which include signed guitars by Paul McCartney, BB King, Jimmy Buffet, Bon Jovi and one of his most cherished guitars signed by Bruce Springsteen at PNC Park.
Dotterweich praised Engler for all he has done for the music business and his recent induction to the new rock hall. “I worked hard because I believe in music,” said Engler. After some time away from the industry Engler still believes in music. Although concert promoting has changed dramatically since his heyday, he is ready to give it another go and shape another generation.