Pat DiNizio and Severo "The Thrilla" Jornacion of the Smithereens performing at a WFAN event at Bar Anticipation in Belmar, NJ on August 24, 2012..
(photo credit: LHCOLLINS / WIKIMEDIA COMMONS)
One of American rock music’s true believers, Pat DiNizio, the engine behind The Smithereens, died on Tuesday at age 62.
The New Jersey guitarist and singer and songwriter had been beset by health problems in recent years, according to Variety. In 2015, he suffered nerve damage in his arm after a set of falls, and earlier this year he damaged his back in another fall that forced the cancellation of The Smithereens shows. However, no cause of death was given on the band’s website.
Tough yet tuneful, The Smithereens never met major success but gathered a loyal following with a series of sterling guitar-fueled power pop albums in the late 1980s and ‘90s. Their brand of rock classicism was best exemplified by The Beatles and The Who-influenced gems like “Blood and Roses,” “Strangers When We Meet,” “Behind the Wall of Sleep,” “In a Lonely Place,” “Only a Memory,” and “A Girl Like You.”
The group recorded only sporadically following 1999’s God Save the Smithereens and DiNizio released a series of solo albums.
“I love it,” DiNizio said of life with The Smithereens in a 1990 Los Angeles Times interviews. “It beats picking up garbage like I used to do. We’re self-employed – beyond the fact that we get to do what we love for a living.”