Smithereens songwriter-guitarist Pat DiNizio dead at 62
RAHWAY, NJ - AUGUST 25: Musician Pat DiNizio of The Smithereens performs 10,000 Manics & The Smithereens In Concert at Union County Performing Arts Center on August 25, 2016 in Rahway, New Jersey. (Photo by Bobby Bank/WireImage) (2016 Bobby Bank)
Singer/songwriter Pat DiNizio, who sold millions of records with his New Jersey band, the Smithereens, has died. He passed away just days after indicating via Facebook that he was looking forward to returning to the road. DiNizio was 62-years-old and had been recovering from injuries sustained during a fall that he was rehabilitating.
His death was announced on the band’s official Facebook page.
DiNizio’s music appeared on numerous film soundtracks, including “Bull Durham”and “Backdraft.”
Born Oct. 12, 1955 in Scotch Plains, NJ, DiNizio was working in his family’s trash-hauling business when he formed the Smithereens with fellow musicians Jim Babjak, Dennis Diken and Mike Mesaros. Starting in 1980, their highly melodic music (almost all of it written by DiNizio) became an FM radio staple and touring favorite. Such songs as “A Girl Like You,” “Blood and Roses,” “Behind the Wall of Sleep” and “Only A Memory” were radio-friendly and instantly memorable.
DiNizio was not content with his recording success. He made his own independently produced film, “King Leisure,” and made an unsucessful run for the United States Senate seat from NJ on the Reform Party ticket. He finished fourth with 19,312 votes and the effort was chronicled in the documentary film“Mr. Smithereen Goes to Washington.”
In addition to his work with the Smithereens, DiNizio had a solo recording career with several albums, and was a frequent performer on the house concert circuit between tours with the Smithereens. His “Living Room Tour” went on for five months and featured the multi-platinum artist performing in fan living rooms.
In 2006, DiNizio was the focus of “7th Inning Stretch,” an ESPN2 reality special that focused on his recovery from a nervous disorder and attempts to rehab by joining a minor league baseball team, the Somerset Patriots.
He later released an audio book, “Confessions of a Rock Star,”and performed a one-man show on the book at the