I’ve mentioned my fondness for New Jersey power popsters the Smithereens on several occasions over the years, but I learned just a few minutes ago that the band’s vocalist and songwriter, Pat DiNizio, has died of unspecified causes. He was 62. He had several health issues in recent years, but had actually looked forward to returning to the road just a few days ago.
The Smithereens were one of those bands that never quite escaped the second division, but could be counted on for at least one (and often more than one) amazing song per album. At the heart of that was DiNizio, a guy who looked like Maynard G. Krebs, who wore his love of mid-60s Beatles and Who on his sleeve, and who thoroughly understood that pain is an important ingredient of passion. Those songs, and the 4-piece band that delivered them, won a devoted following that should have been bigger, but one which recognized and valued real rock and roll.
Here are a couple of their songs that I’ve covered over the years (including with the Mad Dog), followed by a couple of others I’ve always liked.
So long, Mr. DiNizio, and thanks for writing songs I wish I had written.