Jim Babjak reveals how The Smithereens will go on
When Smithereens lead guitarist Jim Babjak last came on my show, he remembered lead singer Pat DiNizio who had just passed away. The future of the band was up in the air until now. He says, "There was no plan, what was I going to do, stop playing guitar?" The Smithereens will go on with a combination of singers not to replace the irreplaceable DiNizio, but who capture the essence of the band. Among them Marshall Crenshaw, Robin Wilson of the Gin Blossoms, and Ted Leo.
"It's our legacy. I wrote a bunch of songs as well and we co-wrote a bunch of songs," says Babjak. "I know Pat was the voice of the band and you can't replace him. He had a very distinct and unique voice so what we're trying to do is capture the essence and spirit of the band." Crenshaw will be with them this Friday night at Outpost in the Burbs in Montclair.
"Marshall, we go back to 1983 because we used his producer on one of our independent records. He actually played on our first album. He played keyboards and a baritone bass guitar on my song 'White Castle Blues.' He went under the name Jerome Jerome because he was under contract with Warner Brothers."
Funny story about Robin Wilson. "We were doing an in store for Green Post back in the 80's and he was actually working in a record shop in Phoenix so he's got pictures of us coming through. I asked 'Were we nice?' He said yes, I just wanted to make sure we were nice," Jim says.
He continues, "It was at Pat Dinizio's tribute at the Count Basie in January, where both Marshall and Robin played, that showed that people really wanted to hear the songs and overwhelmingly the fans wanted it to continue and I'm sure Pat would want us to continue so we're not ready to hang it up."
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