With more sad news this week, by way of word that Smithereens singer-guitarist-founding member Pat DiNizio passed away on December 12th from a long illness.
Maybe not a household name these days, but certainly a cornerstone in American Rock in the 1980s and 90s. The Smithereens had a string of modest hits. But DiNinzio was a solo artist in his own right – releasing several albums between 1997 and 2011. In addition to music, DiNizio got into politics for a while, staging an unsuccessful run for the U.S. Senate on the Reform Party ticket in 2000. He was a vigorous supporter of Satellite Radio (XM), becoming one of the first musicians to do so. He got a Program Director gig at XM Radio Unsigned. In addition to everything else, DiNizio also tried out for Minor League Baseball.
A sort of Renaissance Man in a way. Pat DiNizio got involved in a lot of different things, but never lost sight of the fact he was a musician first and foremost and also a member of one of New Jersey’s bedrock bands and Power Pop stalwarts.
This concert, recorded by KLOS in L.A. on December 17, 1991, comes around the time of their fourth album, Blow Up in what would be their last album for Capitol. In addition to their own work, The Smithereens did collaborate with a number of artists over the years, including Belinda Carlisle, Suzanne Vega Graham Parker and The Kinks.
Say what you want to, but Pat DiNizio had a pretty amazing career – he did exactly what he wanted to do and he never sold himself short. Let’s face it – Playing in one of the highly regarded American bands of the 80s, in addition to running for Political office and even trying out for a baseball team, that signifies a whole big love of life. And maybe that’s a lesson for us all. You never know when it’s going to end – so have no regrets and get busy.
RIP Pat DiNizio, you were inspiring and loved by a lot of people.