Easy Ed's Broadside

Exploring music without a map.

Since 2009, Ed has shared his thoughts on ND about music that touches him, and rambled hither and yon about what else is on his mind.

Easy Ed's Broadside

Exploring music without a map.

Since 2009, Ed has shared his thoughts on ND about music that touches him, and rambled hither and yon about what else is on his mind.

The Smithereens: In Memory of Pat DiNizio

February 9, 1964 changed many of us for good.  Pat obviously was one of them, and to a great extent, he lived the dream many of us had.  One of my close friends and his brother have played music their entire lives, both excellent of them owns a music store/guitar shop to this day, had a songwrting contract with a major publisher in Nashville for years and placed a few songs on records, but had no hits, got a few small royalty checks ...the other brother spent the time he wasn't playing in bands reparing and building guitars and amps, and his work there was/is exemplary...they are both incredibly intelligent guys and could have likely been successful at any profession...their dad was an engineer for General Motors, and though he encouraged their musical interest, he was not happy with their life thought they'd eventually relegate music to a hobby...he told one of them not too long before he passed away, "The Beatles ruined your life"...I guess Pat was another guy like my friends, but he took it farther, so maybe the Beatles thing worked out for some extent I guess the Beatles ruined my life too...neither I nor my friends have any regrets about that, we've thought about getting t-shirts that display the quote "The Beatles Ruined My Life"...I've always thought I've been pretty lucky to be born when I was, it was a time that was alive and music seemed to have a magic or power that nothing else matched, and all my friends felt it too...Pat was definitely a guy like us...RIP...thanks again for another fine column Ed.

I got on stage with Southern Culture on the Skids during "8 Piece Box" a few years back...they actually invited a few people up...I fed KFC chicken to a goth girl and harmonized with Mary, who eyed me suspiciously but tolerated it...I had had a couple of beers but was not intoxicated...later on my friends said they could actually hear me and said I sounded pretty if you really did suck Ed, it had to be the alcohol...

Not what I wanted to read today but thanks for the writing. I never thought of how many people might think (ironically, hopefully) "The Beatles ruined my life".    "Dylan ruined my life", no matter how much you revere Dylan, just doesn't work. And thank you Pat and the Smithereens for carrying the torch. 

I remember where I was when I first heard the Smithereens.  I was commuting on the Garden State Parkway listening to WNEW.  DJ Dave Herman played Blood and Roses and gave a little spiel about the positive reaction the song was getting from listeners.  Needless to say, it got one from me, too.  I put their debut album Especially For You on my Christmas list and one of my sisters got it for me. 

I loved Pat DiNizio as a singer and had fun trying to imitate his voice whenever I listened to the Smithereens.  I had thought that all of the band was from Carteret, but found out some time recently that he was from Scotch Plains.  I had worked about a mile west of Scotch Plains from '85 to '90 and lived in the town for a little while before relocating to Northern Virginia.  I remember that the Catholic church in Scotch Plains would have a big Italian festival every year.  I've wondered if Pat or his family were ever parishioners there.

I found out about Pat's death at the same time that I found out that Bon Jovi got into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.  I consider myself almost from NJ, but I'm not much of a Bon Jovi fan (he's OK, I guess).  For me, as far as NJ rock and roll goes, it's Bruce, Southside Johnny and The Smithereens.


Agreed Jack but don't forget about Fountains of Wayne.    Overall, nineties music has not aged well with me but they were a fun Power Pop band and they literally make me think of NJ because I remember where the store of the same name was located.   Jose Tejas was close by on Rt. 46 as well.  Have to love a restaurants that hands you a cold Dos Equis right out of the ice when you walk in the door.         

Fountains of those guys could write hook laden songs...that stuff would stick in your head for days...great band...haven't been to Jose Tejas, but it sounds like my kind of place...

'Fountains Of Wayne ... Man, those guys could write hook-laden songs ...'

Robbie Fulks thought so too. This is his Fountains Of Wayne Hotline:


Hey, Rudyjeep.  Unfortunately, I don't know much about Fountains of Wayne other than Stacy's Mom. 

I lived in Little Falls from '86 to '88, about a mile from the Willowbrook Mall in Wayne.  There's a verse in John Gorka's "I'm From New Jersey" (Girls from New Jersey have that great big hair..  They're found in shopping malls..  I will take you there..) that always makes me think of Willowbrook back then.  Lots of BIG hair.  And I drove by Fountains of Wayne many times.  I guess it's closed now.

That Gorka song is brilliant...I've seen him do it live several times, it always gets laughs, his delivery and facial expressions make it even more fun..."I'm from New Jersy, my Mom's Italian, I've read those mafia books, we don't belong...I'm from New Jersey, it's like Ohio, but even more so, imagine that..."

Fountains of Wayne is quite a bit more than "Stacy's Mom", though lyrically, a lot of it is in that territory, snarky, cynical, inside jokey...they, like say 10CC, might have been a bit too clever for their own good at times...Adam Schlessinger and Chris Collingwood could write some catchy stuff...Adam wrote that damned catchy title song in the Tom Hanks film "That Thing You Do" if you've ever seen/heard  that...3 minutes of rock pop bliss that could have easily been a hit single during Beatlemania...won a Golden Globe and was nominated for an Oscar for best original song too...the record "Welcome Interstate Managers" is very good...very catchy stuff...

"I know what exit and where I'm bound.  Tolls on the Parkway, they will slow you dow-ow-own."  As someone who has logged a lot of miles on the upper 30 or so miles of the Parkway, where the tolls were particularly close together (4 total), that line rang so, so true and I'd often think about as I flicked my exact change into the basket.   Now, with EZPass and 2 northbound/2 southbound tolls (as opposed to 4 each way), it's not so much true anymore.

I do love good power pop and I do think the song from the movie was a great one.  I'll have to give FOW a little more attention.



Gorka hit a homer with that one...he's got some other really fine songs...underrated songwriter, very good live...he introduced that song at one show by saying that he'd moved to Minneapolis several years before because the winters in New Jersey were too extreme...


Only A Memory, loved that tune in particular. A band you wanted to root for. Reminded me of Cheap Trick in a way, not breaking new ground so much as mining good old rock n roll for solid tunes. 

We loved the Smithereens, wonderful songs and a great live band. We were fortunate to see Pat at a house concert a couple of years ago and had a chance to talk to him-he had a wicked, ironic sense of humor. He loved baseball and politics, which he approached in a highly individual manner. We'll miss him...

I liked the Smithereens too but had lost track of them. I was surprised to read that Seattle grunge hurt their career but that fact gives new meaning to their great song, "Sick of Seattle" and the opening lines, "Feeling so tired and grungy and scared/ tired of flannel and growing my hair..." A lot of my favorite bands in Seattle when I moved here in '83 like The Young Fresh Fellows and the Squirrels were also hurt by grunge as the singer for the Squirrels told me when I ran into him on a bus one day. He was still pretty bitter about it. 

Thanks Ed for posting that Beatle song they covered as well as some of their terrific hits. It was nice to hear those songs again and the Beatle song makes me curious about that project. I wonder if they released an album. I guess I'll have to check.

They did two Beatles cover collections-Meet the Smithereens is the entire Meet the Beatles LP, and B-Sides is, well, a bunch of B sides.

Both are worth having if you're a fan, although I rarely play them. When I want to hear Smithereens I want their own songs...same for the Beatles!

My younger brother got a cheap Japanese electric guitar and a little Vox amp after the Beatles hit.  I learned how to play guitar more or less  competitively in "self-defense" . Brother dropped music  eventually, in favor of other things, but I have continued for more than 50 years. Traveled to England, Germany and China via music, so I guess I can say the Beatles "ruined my life" in a way, too. :)