RIP: The Smithereens’ Pat DiNizio dies at the age of 62


The world of alt-rock and power-pop lost one of its more underrated heroes as The Smithereens’ singer and songwriter Pat DiNizio has died. He was 62.

No cause of death has been announced, but the news was revealed last night (December 12) via the New Jersey band.

“It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of Pat DiNizio, lead singer and songwriter of the influential New Jersey rock band, The Smithereens – America’s Band,” the statement reads. “Pat was looking forward to getting back on the road and seeing his many fans and friends. Please keep Pat in your thoughts and prayers.”

The Smithereens recently had postponed several live dates into 2018 as Pat DiNizio recovered from injuries sustained in a fall. As Slicing Up Eyeballs notes, DiNizio in recent years suffered nerve damage that rendered him unable to play guitar, but on Saturday had provided an update on his current medical care and said he was eager to get back out on the road. It is not known if that is related to his unexpected December 12 death.

Jim Babjak, Dennis Diken and Mike Mesaros — the founding members of The Smithereens who launched the band with DiNizio in 1980 — also relayed a statement.

It reads: “Today we mourn the loss of our friend, brother and bandmate Pat DiNizio. Pat had the magic touch. He channeled the essence of joy and heartbreak into hook-laden three minute pop songs infused with a lifelong passion for rock & roll. Our journey with Pat was long, storied and a hell of a lot of fun. We grew up together.”

The Smithereens released three albums in the mid- to late-’80s, and three more in the ’90s, first hitting the charts with 1986 single “Blood and Roses.” They developed a fiercely loyal following and helped define the college rock era.