In 1976, Joe Grushecky, a high school special education teacher, started the Brick Alley Band. Grushecky's new band was a typical bar band. They signed to Cleveland International Records in 1977, who rechristened them the Iron City Houserockers. The band's first album was Love's So Tough, released in 1979, and was a fair success. Their next album, Have a Good Time but Get out Alive! (released in 1980), was a bigger success.