Founded in New Jersey in 1980, The Smithereens have been creating electrifying, original rock’n’roll for 41 years. Jim Babjak (guitar,) Dennis Diken (drums,) and Mike Mesaros (bass) grew up together in Carteret and lead singer, the late Pat DiNizio, hailed from Scotch Plains. The Smithereens’ take no prisoners sound, reflecting their Garden State roots, has resonated with fans worldwide over the course of 17 albums and 2500+ live shows. Studio albums include Especially for You, Green Thoughts, 11, A Date with The Smithereens, and 2011. Among their biggest hits are the rock radio staples “Blood and Roses,” “Only a Memory,” “Behind the Wall of Sleep,” and “A Girl Like You.” The Smithereens’ most recent album, COVERS, features 22 of the bands favorite songs first recorded by other artists.
The band paid its dues in clubs all over the NJ/NYC area from Kenny’s Castaways in Greenwich Village to the Court Tavern and Stone Pony in NJ. As The Smithereens’ fame escalated, they were in heavy rotation on MTV and appeared on The Tonight Show, Conan O’Brien, and Saturday Night Live. They’ve since performed on stages coast to coast from the Greek Theatre in Los Angeles to the Meadowlands Arena in NJ to Radio City Music Hall in Manhattan, and internationally from Europe to Australia. Tour mates have included Tom Petty, Squeeze, The Pretenders, Lou Reed, and the Ramones, among others.
They’ve also inspired and influenced generations of musicians, including the late Kurt Cobain, who counted The Smithereens as a major influence on Nirvana.
With the 2017 passing of Pat DiNizio, the surviving band members decided to persevere and carry on their shared musical legacy. Using rotating guest vocalists, including longtime friend Marshall Crenshaw and Robin Wilson of the Gin Blossoms, something no other band has done, they continue to entertain and rock fans all over the U.S. and the world.
In 2019, The Smithereens – Jim Babjak, Dennis Diken, Mike Mesaros, and the late Pat DiNizio - were honored by their home state and were inducted into the New Jersey Hall of Fame, Class of 2018, in the “Performing Arts” category. Previously, Babjak and Diken were inducted into the White Castle Hall of Fame for The Smithereens’ rendition of the Jim Babjak/Bob Banta composition “White Castle Blues.”
The Smithereens are currently featured in the Grammy Museum’s “New Jersey Legends” exhibit, have resumed touring, and have new albums in the works, to be released in 2021 and 2022. Moving forward and against all odds, The Smithereens reached a major milestone in 2021 as they celebrated their 41st anniversary and 41st continuous year as a band!