More than 40 years after their inception, The Smithereens are far from—to quote one of their many hits—only a memory. Still rocking their legions of devoted fans, the band is also releasing an unearthed collection of gems from their past, The Lost Album.
The Smithereens are America’s Band. Formed in New Jersey in 1980, the foursome of drummer Dennis Diken, guitarist Jim Babjak, bassist Mike Mesaros and singer/songwriter Pat DiNizio went on to deliver the best in what we called “college rock,” then “alternative rock” (and, finally, “classic rock”) for decades. You can’t help but air-guitar your ass off to their numerous hits, which include “Behind the Wall of Sleep,” “Blood and Roses,” “Only a Memory,” “House We Used to Live In” and “Top of the Pops,” and their live shows are legendary.
With the unexpected death of DiNizio in 2017, it seemed The Smithereens would be silenced forever. However, against all odds, the band found its voice again with help from a pair of longtime friends: Marshall Crenshaw and Robin Wilson (Gin Blossoms), who take turns touring as guest vocalists with the band.
Recently, fans had another reason to be cheerful, when The Smithereens announced they had unearthed a “lost album” they recorded with Pat. HUSTLERMagazine.com caught up with Diken and Babjak to discuss continuing on after losing their voice and bringing The Lost Album to life.
HUSTLERMagazine.com: Do you remember the first time you ever saw HUSTLER Magazine?
Dennis Diken: I do. You gave me a copy! (Laughs.)
Jim Babjak: “El Hustlero?” That’s one of my favorite lines from the movie The In-Laws. The first time? Well, I imagine I must have been over 18. (Laughs.)