The History of Rock-It

“Rock-It”, also referred to as “The Rock-It Band” was formed in 1993, but it was originally named “Rock Hard”.  The band still has 2 of the 4 original members; Gary Hodill (Lead Vocals & Guitar) and Craig Stolar (Lead Guitar & Vocals).  Rick Darr was actually the founding member of the band.   He left the band in 2002 and moved out if state.  However, he came out of retirement in 2021, then retired again a year later.  However, he will always have the title of  the “Godfather of the Rock-It Band”.

In 1992, Rick Darr played in a band that was the house band at a bar called The Prime Time in the North Hills, so they called the band The Prime Time All Stars.  The band invited fellow musicians to come up and play a few songs on a regular basis.  Rick Darr knew Rik Schnupp (drummer) from a previous band, Assassin, and Craig Stolar (Guitar, vocals and keys) from Obsession.  Both were frequent guest musicians at the Prime Time.  In 1993, the leader of the PrimeTime Band, Ron Palone had an accident at his job and lost the use of  one of his arms.  The band was finished but Rick Darr wanted to carry on so he called on another long time band mate, Gary Hodill (lead vocals and guitar), and Rock Hard was formed.

Rock Hard played the same basic “Classic & New Rock” format as the modern version of the band, but after a couple of years, the band felt their name gave wrong impression of their music, so Rick Darr suggested calling themselves Rock-It

Ironically, in 2002, Rick Darr moved to Texas to be with a girl he met on the Internet, (that’s weird, isn’t it?), and he left the band.  The remaining members wanted to continue so they hired a bass player to replace Rick.  That didn’t work out (...creative differences!?) and they hired another bass player, then another, then another, then another, then….well, you get the idea.  Gary Chabala joined the band for about a year and did a great job but wanted to move on to play a different kind of music.  Another bass player was Jon Smith (or whatever his real name is), who showed promise but mysteriously disappeared.  Gary Chabala was kind enough to fill in for a while until we got a permanent replacement. 

Gary Chabala filled in on bass on more than one occasion.  Gary has always been a solid bass player with a great attitude and he is welcome to come and jam with us anytime

In January of 2009, Dan Wilt joined the band.  Dan had also played with Rik in another band.  Rik has been a good source of bass players.  Dan rehearses with some other bands but he has made Rock-It his priority.  His rock solid bass playing and great attitude were a welcome edition to the band.

Rik Schnupp played with the band until May 2012 when he had to retire due to health reasons.  Rik’s hard hitting yet dynamic style of drumming was a signature of the band for 20 years.  Rik has since recovered from his heath issues, and is now a member of the Steeltown Band.

Todd Gillie stepped in on drums in June of 2012.  He brought his own unique energy to the sound of the band.

Jim Hoelle took over on drums in December of 2014. As a seasoned veteran he was able to hit the ground running and created a solid foundation for the band.

Pat Rush replaced Jim on drums in September of 2015.  Pat formerly played with Craig in a band called Suncrystal in the late 1970’s through 1980.  That band did a lot of weddings on Saturdays and performed in bars on Fridays.

Stefan and Ben joined the band in 2019.  Stefan played both drums and bass, but at the time, we needed a bass player, so he joined as a bass player.  Shortly after that, Ben joined to play drums.  Stefan’s flamboyant style of bass playing, and Ben’s explosive style of drumming really added a lot to our style.  In 2021, Stefan left to join another band, and Rick Darr rejoined, as mentioned earlier.  We quickly remembered how solid Rick was on the bass, and it felt like he was back to where he belonged. 

Rick Retired from the band, again, at the end of 2022.  Joe Morgan joined for a short time, but now Harry Williams joined the band on April 2023.  Harry is a veteran of many bands, and he knew Gary and Ben from open stage night at the R Bar. It’s a small musical world after all.

Rock-It’s main objective is to put on the best show possible and to have fun because playing in a local rock band is not exactly a high paying job.  By the way, I chose to put a hyphen in Rock-It because when I was trying to get the RockIt domain for our website, every form of it was already taken.

-Craig Stolar

To contact us:

A Classic Rock Band

The Rock-It Band  (Pittsburgh, PA)

Gary         Harry            Craig      Ben