According to the NY Times, The Smithereens’ lead singer Pat DiNizio has passed away at age 62. Jersey’s rock n’ roll band will miss DiNizio, who died on Tuesday in Summit, NJ. The singer and songwriter, who also played rhythm guitar, formed The Smithereens in 1980 with three other members from New Jersey: Jim Babjak on lead guitar, Dennis Diken on drums and Mike Mesaros on bass. (Mesaros was replaced by Severo Jornacion in 2006, but he still performed periodically with the group, most recently this summer).
The band released their first album Especially for You in 1986. It featured catchy rock songs like “Blood and Roses” and “Behind the Wall of Sleep,” which helped the band pick up traction in the music world and gained a bigger audience. The Smithereens’ occasionally opened for internationally known artists like ZZ Top, Blondie, the Pretenders and Lou Reed. The Smithereens also released cover albums like 2009’s The Smithereens Play Tommy, a take on the Who’s 1969 rock opera, and 2007’s Meet the Smithereens!, a tribute to the 1964 album Meet the Beatles! DiNizio also released a number of solo records, including the jazz-inflected 1997’s Songs and Sounds.
Diken, the band’s drummer mentioned in an interview on Wednesday that the last time the group performed together was last September. “We saw the world together,” he said, “shared a deep friendship and realized our childhood dream of playing in a rock ’n’ roll band.”