The Smithereens has a show especially for New Jersey

| 08 Oct 2012 | 04:25

— The Smithereens, known for their enthusiastic and fervent concerts of catchy 1960s-influenced power pop, are coming to the Newton Theatre on Friday, Oct. 19 at 8 p.m.
Known for writing and playing songs that inspired countless alternative rockers including Kurt Cobain, The Smithereens gained popularity in the 80s with the near perfect album “Especially for You.” And now they have hit the road on tour with a 2011 album under their belt. The older, wiser, and accomplished Smithereens are out to show anyone and everyone they still have what it takes to go the distance.
One advantage of living in Central New Jersey is being close enough to New York City to enjoy all that it has to offer. For Jersey kids in the 1960s and 1970s, that meant being able to take a quick trip across the Hudson River to shop at the city’s bevy of well-stocked record stores. It also meant crystal-clear access to some of the best and most influential radio stations in America (such as Top 40 WABC- a.m. and rocker WNEW-FM) from the comforts of suburbia. This is how The Smithereens received a bulk of their early rock ’n’ roll education.
Songwriter and lead singer Pat DiNizio was influenced from around the dial. He became hooked on The Beatles in the 60s and later to the heavy gloom of Black Sabbath. DiNizio says he was also drawn to Buddy Holly and the impact of the music on the aspiring singer/songwriter/guitarist was immediate.
“Listening to Buddy Holly, I realized this was what I wanted to do with my life,” DiNizio says.
Meanwhile, over in Carteret, Dennis Diken and Jim Babjak had their own musical heroes. While attending high school together in 1971, they bonded over The Who, The Kinks and other favorite bands. When the two united with DiNizio as The Smithereens, they made their live debut in March 1980 in Hillside. With Diken on drums and Babjak on guitar, they rounded out their line-up with bassist Mike Mesaros, a Diken friend since grade school.
During the next five years, the Smithereens gigged near home and abroad, but still felt like they were on the outside looking in. The future became much brighter for The Smithereens when they finally got their record deal. Especially for You arrived in July 1986, and FM rock radio was quick to embrace the moody “Blood and Roses” and the hard-hitting “Behind the Wall of Sleep.”
“There’s always this literary and film imagery in Pat’s writing. So you had this very intelligent stuff, very much like The Kinks would have, but with this relentless rock band,” commented their producer Don Dixon.
The rest of the ’90s were a whirlwind of activity for the band: regular touring, changing record labels, more albums, some side projects as well as TV appearances on The Tonight Show and Saturday Night Live.
In 2005 the energetic Severo Jornacion — nicknamed “The Thrilla” — assumed bass duties for the band after Mesaros retired. That brings us to the new album released in 2011, which is the seventh Smithereens album of original material and the first all-new effort since God Save The Smithereens in 1999.