Classic or Dud? The Smithereens

Message Bookmarked
Bookmark Removed
Based on everything I know about them (two songs and the fact that the lead singer has a funny goatee), I'm going to say Classic. Anyone have the BALLS to disagree with me?

My name is Kenny, Tuesday, 3 September 2002 23:09 (seventeen years ago) link

Classic, until 1989 at least. 11 was their last really good album.

paul cox, Wednesday, 4 September 2002 00:17 (seventeen years ago) link

what are the odds?! i'm listening to 'especially for you' and this thread bobs up. well, i'll be damned! (cue 'twilight zone' music). umm...i love this band, though their recorded history is mightily patchy. 'especially for you' is one of my favourite 80s records ever. yes, the lyrics are trite and scrape tiresomely from the bottom of the cliche-barrel, but the songs are spirited and pat di nizio's voice is surely descended from the heavens. every album since has been inconsistent, in my view - two or three killer tracks on each but lots of filler in between...until they put out 'god save the smithereens' a couple of years ago, that is - a record that leaves a lot of younger acts inhabiting the same musical cosmos in their wake. truly great stuff. these guys are highly under-rated. the 'rough guide to rock' doesn't even have an entry for them (doesn't have one for the posies, either, though it does have one for seal...i mean, seal, for crissakes! about as 'rock' as barry manilow, surely). but i reckon they should be mentioned in the same breath as husker du, rem and a number of other bands that helped bring melody back to rock after the bombastic excesses of the 70s. emphatically classic.

angelo (angelo), Wednesday, 4 September 2002 04:48 (seventeen years ago) link

Trite, formulaic, and filled with cliches, but damnit - I love 'em. Pretty much every album has at least one or two classic guitar pop songs of great worth. Saw them live a couple of times back in the day and every show was great. Nice guys too!

Chris Barrus (xibalba), Wednesday, 4 September 2002 06:34 (seventeen years ago) link

I just can't deal with the guy's voice. I would love someone who similarly dislikes it to describe their aversion here because I can't put my finger on it. When the Pixies did "La La Love You" I avoided it because of the similarity.

Spencer Chow (spencermfi), Wednesday, 4 September 2002 16:20 (seventeen years ago) link

I know. You think Pat Dinizio's got a phlegm-ball lodged in the throat somewhere?

paul cox, Wednesday, 4 September 2002 16:44 (seventeen years ago) link

Thanks Paul, that sums it up nicely.

Spencer Chow (spencermfi), Wednesday, 4 September 2002 18:43 (seventeen years ago) link

"Only A Memory" is one of the greatest underappreciated pop songs ever written.

Dan Perry (Dan Perry), Wednesday, 4 September 2002 18:47 (seventeen years ago) link

i heard it said somewhere that someday all good things come to an end.

Queen G (Queeng), Saturday, 7 September 2002 18:26 (seventeen years ago) link

one year passes...
Prompted by the video for "Behind the Wall of Sleep" that came on VH1 Classic today, I threw on their best-of, Blown to Smithereens. I remember listening to them (and the Hoodoo Gurus) quite a bit in the mid 80's, when I was weaning myself off my strict diet of metal and hardcore. Striking how many great songs they had. Still, not the most photogenic band, which I'm sure had a lot to do with their perpetual underdog status in the video age.

Someone should cover "Blood & Roses" with maximum heaviosity.

Alex in NYC (vassifer), Wednesday, 10 December 2003 19:11 (sixteen years ago) link

Classic! Blow Up blew up their career unforunately. Their live ep smokes btw.

Jim Reckling (Jim Reckling), Thursday, 11 December 2003 05:00 (sixteen years ago) link

Bands with good comb-overs

Nihilist Pop Star (mjt), Thursday, 11 December 2003 05:14 (sixteen years ago) link

This just in from the "If you can't say anything nice" file....

christoff (christoff), Thursday, 11 December 2003 15:22 (sixteen years ago) link

The Smithereens are a very good live band. Their guitar sound is much more raw and they can all play/sing quite well.

I haven't gotten one of their albums since "11", but have saw them live quite a few times. I like the three albums I still have.

earlnash, Thursday, 11 December 2003 16:14 (sixteen years ago) link

They played at my crappy college in `87 and they played with an intensity that rivalled fuckin' Slayer (although, it might've just seemed that way in comparison to the other bands that played our campus: the BoDeans and the Bus Boys.....yes, the same Bus Boys from "48 Hours").

Alex in NYC (vassifer), Thursday, 11 December 2003 16:16 (sixteen years ago) link

Wait, were they all on the same bill?

Johnny Fever (johnny fever), Thursday, 11 December 2003 16:19 (sixteen years ago) link

No. That woulda been cool if only for the diversity. Imagine a show-closing, all-band finale wherein they presented a Rickenbackerized rendition of "the Boys Are Back in Town".

Alex in NYC (vassifer), Thursday, 11 December 2003 16:24 (sixteen years ago) link

seven years pass...

classic, and a killer live band back in the day

Daniel, Esq., Sunday, 2 January 2011 01:27 (nine years ago) link

three months pass...

Details for The Smithereens Mega-Box Set (21 DISCS OF RARITIES! 320kbps)

This massive 21-disc box set was available exclusively on back in 2005 in a limited edition of 500 copies. (One lucky buyer got a special bonus: a free living room show from Pat himself.) It's long been sold out, so here it is in all its glory - nearly 27 hours of demos, rehearsals, outtakes and live performances. Obviously, this is meant for completists, so if you have any interest in this torrent, I urge you to buy the new Smithereens album, "Smithereens 2011" which is a fantastic return to form.


1'45" Drummer orders a beer (MaresNest), Monday, 11 April 2011 23:58 (eight years ago) link

'especially for you' is one of my favourite 80s records ever. yes, the lyrics are trite and scrape tiresomely from the bottom of the cliche-barrel ....

Don't agree. The lyrics are straightforward and direct, lacking in wordplay or unusual rhymes, but not at all cliched.

Especially For You one of the best of the '80s - "Strangers When We Meet", "Behind the Wall of Sleep", and "In a Lonely Place" would be worth the cost of the CD, or even twice the cost of the CD i bought when it was new. Green Thoughts was a decent follow-up, although it felt like a sequel - a bit of a retread of the earlier album but still nearly as good. I still don't know why the song "Especially For You" is on the latter album rather than the album of the same name.

Lee626, Tuesday, 12 April 2011 02:38 (eight years ago) link

They just released a new album, btw. It starts out good, but trails into dullness before too long (like most late period Smithereens records do).

That's why they call me (Johnny Fever), Tuesday, 12 April 2011 02:40 (eight years ago) link

I always liked "Girl Like You." Someone said they were The Beatles meets AC/DC, which is a winning combination. Should check out more of their stuff other than the album or two I have...

Loud guitars shit all over "Bette Davis Eyes" (NYCNative), Tuesday, 12 April 2011 11:08 (eight years ago) link

two weeks pass...

Just heard one of the new songs ("Sorry") on kpft--they haven't changed at all.

Handjobs for a sport (C. Grisso/McCain), Tuesday, 26 April 2011 18:31 (eight years ago) link

six years pass...

Shocking news, sadly -- Pat DiNizio has died

Ned Raggett, Wednesday, 13 December 2017 05:26 (two years ago) link

Further statement from the rest of the band

Ned Raggett, Wednesday, 13 December 2017 05:48 (two years ago) link

RIP. I loved this band in high school

kornrulez6969, Wednesday, 13 December 2017 14:50 (two years ago) link

RIP. Underrated riffy NJ power-pop.

Josh in Chicago, Wednesday, 13 December 2017 15:18 (two years ago) link

Boo. That last-U2-album-you-bought thread reminded me that a girl I liked in high school gave me a taped copy of Joshua Tree which I didn't like much but I REALLY liked what she had on the b-side: Especially For You. That album is wall to wall hooks.

orifex, Wednesday, 13 December 2017 22:15 (two years ago) link

I worked in a mall record store when I was in high school. We didn't get to choose the 'approved' albums to play in-store, and Green Thoughts was the best of the lot.

... (Eazy), Wednesday, 13 December 2017 22:17 (two years ago) link

I really liked Green Thoughts when it came out. Pretty much every song was a very sour take on romance, which resonated with me at the time. I got a sense that DiNizio was a pretty lonely guy.

henry s, Thursday, 14 December 2017 00:11 (two years ago) link

I heard "Only a Memory" on the radio and made my mom buy the tape (in a mall record store), which she liked better than I did (though I still really like that song). At some point 10+ years ago or so, I sat next to him on an airplane and 1) he recognized the book I was reading and we chatted about it. He was a really nice guy who treated me like a human being. He was with a child I believe was his daughter. RIP, too soon!!

weird woman in a bar (La Lechera), Thursday, 14 December 2017 01:20 (two years ago) link

my first bass teacher was an older college kids who was into "college rock" when I was a little 13/14 rat who wanted to learn Whitesnake and Maiden stuff, anyway he introduced me to REM and also really insisted I learn "Blood and Roses" (which really has a very nice, simple and very melodic bassline) so I always had a certain place in my heart for this band. RIP.

Joan Digimon (upper mississippi sh@kedown), Thursday, 14 December 2017 01:47 (two years ago) link

i loved these guys in college, they had such a great throwback sound & goddamn i love Pat’s voice

huge fan of their 2007 Christmas album too

Squeaky Fromage (VegemiteGrrl), Thursday, 14 December 2017 02:47 (two years ago) link

xxpost la lechera that’s such a nice memory <3

Squeaky Fromage (VegemiteGrrl), Thursday, 14 December 2017 02:48 (two years ago) link

it was a really nice memory! we were stuck by the bathrooms and utterly crammed into a much-too-small spot for three people. the potential for bad things happening was huge, and nothing bad happened at all. he seemed like a standup guy. plus he knew harvest home and we talked about the widow fortune, and how bette davis played her in the tv miniseries (which is now available on dvd, i learned recently!)

they replayed his 1988 interview with terry gross on fresh air today

weird woman in a bar (La Lechera), Thursday, 14 December 2017 02:54 (two years ago) link

oh nice i’ll give that a listen

Squeaky Fromage (VegemiteGrrl), Thursday, 14 December 2017 03:05 (two years ago) link

Saw the smithereens outside Detroit with a cousin back in '95, and we were both impressed with how friendly and approachable DiNizio was after the show, the three of us chatting about Rickenbackers and other stuff for maybe ten minutes. Nice guy.


Scape: Goat-fired like a dog! (Myonga Vön Bontee), Thursday, 14 December 2017 03:42 (two years ago) link

11 was big in my dad's cd rotation for a few years when i was growing up. i doubt i've heard it since '92 or so but damned if i couldn't summon the "girl like you" riff instantly. i'll give it a listen tomorrow. r.i.p.

call all destroyer, Thursday, 14 December 2017 03:57 (two years ago) link

"In a Lonely Place" -The Smithereens

His voice was just right for this tearjerker. Lyrics may have been cliché, but the vocal delivery, melody and instrumentation made it work

curmudgeon, Thursday, 14 December 2017 19:17 (two years ago) link

I first heard/saw them on IRS' The Cutting Edge, must've been late summer or early fall of 1986. They scratched a number of itches: loose, propulsive drumming; hooks; easy-to-play songs (I started playing guitar that year, and quickly learned "Blood & Roses," "Behind The Wall Of Sleep," and a few others); and Rickenbackers! Coming off a Jam obsession, whenever I saw a band with Rickenbackers I figured they must have something decent happening. I really dug Especially and Green Thoughts, but never kept up with them after that (and I desperately wanted to see them live in '86-'87, but going to a show alone on a school night was always a non-starter with my parents). I should probably listen to their version of Tommy.

Montgomery Burns' Jazz (Tarfumes The Escape Goat), Thursday, 14 December 2017 19:44 (two years ago) link

Looking over the track listing for Especially, while I haven't listened to it in 30 years, I could hum (and/or air-drum) every one of those songs. They knew how to put some hooks together.

Montgomery Burns' Jazz (Tarfumes The Escape Goat), Thursday, 14 December 2017 19:47 (two years ago) link

The Tommy stuff is so good, I forgot how good it is

Squeaky Fromage (VegemiteGrrl), Thursday, 14 December 2017 19:54 (two years ago) link

I listened to "Especially For You" last night for the first time in years. So many good songs.

"Hand of Glory" made me wonder if the album was in John Squire's rotation at the time -- the verses are very "Waterfall."

a man often referred to in the news media as the Duke of Saxony (tipsy mothra), Thursday, 14 December 2017 20:46 (two years ago) link

def saw them in the #2 spot at several shows, not as headliners i don't think

ice cream social justice (Dr Morbius), Thursday, 14 December 2017 20:52 (two years ago) link

Love 'Behind the Wall of Sleep'. Opening line is one of my favourites, just such a concise and evocative image.

Dan Worsley, Thursday, 14 December 2017 20:54 (two years ago) link

I got to know Pat a bit over the years. He was a great guy, and very talented.

Lyudmila Pavlichenko (dandydonweiner), Thursday, 14 December 2017 22:06 (two years ago) link

Saw them a few times in the Green Thoughts/11 era whenever they came through LA. Never met Pat, but did talk to a super-boisterious Jim Babjak who gave me a guitar pick, revealed that the secrets to their songs was to tune the guitars down a step and play the Kinks ("tune down twice and you'll get Sabbath!") and said that playing on stage with Dave Davies was like playing baseball with Mickey Mantle.

RIP Pat. Those first four albums are master-classes in solid guitar-pop songwriting.

Elvis Telecom, Friday, 15 December 2017 01:32 (two years ago) link

one year passes...

You must be logged in to post. Please either login here, or if you are not registered, you may register here.