Pat DiNizio of NJ band The Smithereens dead at 62Posted: Updated:
SCOTCH PLAINS, N.J. (AP) - Pat DiNizio, who as lead singer and songwriter for the New Jersey band the Smithereens blended pop, rock and New Wave music for such hits as "Blood and Roses" and "A Girl Like You," has died at age 62.
The band announced on Facebook that DiNizio died Tuesday. The cause of death was not announced. DiNizio posted several days ago that he was hopeful of getting back on tour as he continued physical therapy for neck and back injuries at the Victorian farmhouse he was restoring in Scotch Plains.
The Smithereens peaked in the late 1980s-early 1990s, but continued to tour and record, their more recent albums including "2011" and "The Smithereens Play Tommy," a tribute to the Who's rock opera. DiNizio also was a lifelong Beatles fan, awed and stunned as a boy the first time he heard "I Want to Hold Your Hand," and the band in 2007 released an album of Beatles covers "Meet the Smithereens."
"Pat had the magic touch. He channeled the essence of joy and heartbreak into hook-laden three minute pop songs, infused with a lifelong passion for rock & roll," surviving band members said in their Facebook statement. "Our journey with Pat was long, storied and a hell of a lot of fun. We grew up together. Little did we know that we wouldn't grow old together."
DiNizio helped form the Smithereens in 1980 after placing an ad looking for a drummer to help him on a demo tape. Dennis Diken responded and with him brought Carteret High School classmates guitarist Jim Babjak and bassist Mike Mesaros. They named themselves after a favorite word of cartoon character Yosemite Sam.
"We all happened to love the same music and also as importantly be fans of the same pop culture things," DiNizio told SugarBuzz Magazine in 2007. "We grew up watching Soupy Sales, Chuck McCann and The Monkees. We all grew up reading Mad Magazine and there was a shared background. So we agreed upon all of that."
Influenced by everyone from Buddy Holly to the Clash, the Smithereens blended catchy melodies and grinding guitars on "A Girl Like You," ''Only a Memory" and other songs. Their breakthrough came in 1986 when "Blood and Roses" was featured in the movie "Dangerously Close" and the song's video was aired on MTV. DiNizio was a movie fan whose stylish ballad "In a Lonely Place," featuring Suzanne Vega on backing vocals, included lines from the Humphrey Bogart movie of the same name. The Smithereens also made a cameo appearance in the 1980s cult film "Class of Nuke 'Em High."
Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Top StoriesTop StoriesMore>>
- Trenton police say nine people were wounded in a shooting at a Trenton bar early Saturday.Trenton police say nine people were wounded in a shooting at a Trenton bar early Saturday.
- New Jersey health officials are warning residents of Legionnaires' disease and measles cases around the state.
- For millennials looking to buy their first home, the hunt feels like a race against the clock.For millennials looking to buy their first home, the hunt feels like a race against the clock.
- Grocery chain Aldi is recalling bags of all-purpose flour due to possible E. coli contamination that has sickened people in multiple states.
- This week's workout comes from trainer Jamie at Lifestyle Fitness. This medicine ball throw and twist is great for your core and obliques.
New Jersey SlideshowsGalleriesMore>>
- The live-action Aladdin film flew into theaters Friday.The live-action Aladdin film flew into theaters Friday.
- Fleet Week New York started May 22. This year marks the 31st annual event that features a week filled of activities, themed events and live demonstrations.
- Are you attending the PGA Championship? News 12 wants to see your photos!Are you attending the PGA Championship? News 12 wants to see your photos!
- Here are the photos of the guests who visited the News 12 studio to showcase the great eats New Jersey trucks have to offer!
- The Rockland-Bergen Music Festival has announced its 2019 lineup.The Rockland-Bergen Music Festival has announced its 2019 lineup.