Remembering Pat DiNizio

Smithereens singer was 62

Pat DiNizio strums his Strat at a Smithereens concert at the Mayo Civic Center in Rochester, Minnesota. (Jonathunder)

I am so sorry to learn that Smithereens singer Pat DiNizio, Jersey Rocker and pop master, has died.

I interviewed Pat for the liner notes for Material Issue’s final record, Telecommando Americano. Pat DiNizio had been a close friend of Material Issue singer and frontman Jim Ellison, so Material Issue drummer Mike Zelenko gave me Pat’s number.

When I reached Pat, he was still devastated by Jim’s suicide, even though it was already a year later. I included some of that in the liner notes: “I’m still basically in shock and upset. Nearly a year’s time hasn’t lessened its impact. I still find it hard to believe. On the surface, Jimmy seemed to be your typical rock ‘n’ roller—cars, girls. But scratch the surface and you’ll find someone incredibly complex on a lot of levels. He kept that to himself.”

Pat also told me a bunch of fun Jim stories that didn’t make it into the liner notes. Like about their supergroup “The Wild Bunch, with Kathy Valentine, Wayne Kramer, Clem Burke, Pete Zeremba, Jimmy and me.” That sounds kind of amazing, actually.

“We did two shows, one at Chicago and LA at Drink.”

Pat also told me that he and Jim had written a song for Duckman, the Jason Alexander cartoon that was playing on USA Network. I can’t remember if that ever got in the show, but Pat told me, “I wrote the main body Jimmy wrote the bridge and sang it.”

Pat gave me his home number and told me if I ever wanted to jam or raise a glass to our shared friend I should call him. I was focused on my “career,” so I regrettably never took him up on that offer. I did call him ten years later when I turned 40 to ask if the Smithereens wanted to play at my birthday party. He said they’d do it but it just wasn’t gonna work with sound system and all that, but he wished me a happy birthday.

So long to a very good guy and a super talented songwriter who will be missed by all the cats who stand just like Bill Wyman and all the girls with hair like Jeannie Shrimpton back in 1965.

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Ken Kurson

Ken Kurson is the founder of the Globe suite of sites. He is also the founder of Green Magazine and and covered finance for Esquire magazine for almost 20 years. Ken is the author of several books, including the New York Times No. 1 bestseller Leadership.

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