I first heard the Smithereens on a local radio station in the mid-1980’s. I called the station to request the song on a later date and the DJ told me, “You have good taste, my friend.” The Smithereens were the first band that let me come backstage and meet them when Mandy and I saw them play at the University of Notre Dame. It was a great show that will forever remain in my memory. We became lifelong fans. I even proposed to Mandy at a Smithereens concert.
The death of Pat DiNizio, the Smithereens’ lead singer and songwriter, is a tough blow for Mandy and I. The Smithereens’ music has been a soundtrack to most of our life together. DiNizio was a talented songwriter who could write power pop and tender ballads like few others. He was also an accomplished guitarist and fellow lover of baseball and comic books, so that made him extra cool to me. He’ll be missed.
I also know I’m late to the party on this, but I wanted to pay tribute to the late Grant Hart, drummer of Husker Du, who died back in September of cancer. I was remiss to not write about his passing due to a lot of stuff that’s been going on here since then. Grant Hart and his bandmates were part of the soundtrack to my teenage years. Few bands could grab your attention like Husker Du, and Hart’s fierce drumming was almost holy to me. It also provided some of the best music for skateboarding I’d ever heard. He, too, will be missed.
I leave you with the first Smithereens song I ever heard. It’s a great example of DiNizio’s craftsmanship. It also rocks.
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