Catasauqua Press

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Smithereens old and new in Bethlehem

Wednesday, October 10, 2012 by MEGHAN LAVERNE Special to The Press in Focus

Get ready to break out your headbands, ripped shirts, and shoulder pads.

The 1980's band, The Smithereens, returns at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 18 to Musikfest Cafe, ArtsQuest, SteelStacks, 101 Founders Way, Bethlehem.

The group is ready to bring the same feel of their shows of 30 years ago and even better, says Pat DiNizio, lead singer, guitarist and founder of The Smithereens. "We have to be twice as good. Our fans grew with us."

At its concerts, one of the band's sets features songs off many of its albums, not just the latest.

"We will be playing three or four off the new album, '2011.' But we play a lot of old music."

The Smithereens' most recent album was released last November, appropriately enough, titled "2011."

You can expect to hear the same band you've listened to all these years. "It's raw emotion. That's what we do," DiNizio says. "It's about three-minute songs that take you somewhere."

The New Jersey band formed in 1980 with Jim Babjak, lead guitar, vocals; Dennis Diken, drums; and Pat DiNizio. Mike Mesaros played bass guitar for the 1960's-influenced band until 2006 when Severo Jornacion replaced him.

Despite the original three members being together for more than three decades, DiNizio says they have never really had any interpersonal problems. "There were relationships that pre-dated the band, so any issues had already been worked out. We always put the band first."

DiNizio is very passionate about the music he writes, saying his songs are like "short stories through lyrics."

And DiNizio is anything but short on stories, having lived and worked through the changes the music industry has been through.

He has performed at The Riviera in Las Vegas, doing a one-man show of monologues about life in rock 'n' roll. DiNizio says that he may take the show on the road some day, giving lectures at colleges.

Life for a rock star who has been in the industry as long as him is always interesting. DiNizio says, "If I told the real confessions of a rock star they would lock me up."

Fans of Buddy Holly, The Clash, Nick Lowe and The Beatles who have not seen and heard The Smithereens in concert, would enjoy the SteelStacks concert. And for fans of the band, they needn't worry. Even if it's been years since seeing a Smithereens' show, DiNizio says, "It's important to us to do shows the way we did them before."