We're about to get new music from the old Smithereens. They have unearthed a "Lost Album," which was recorded in 1993 with the late great lead singer Pat DiNizio who passed away in 2017 at the age of 62. The album will be released on Sept 23 by Sunset Blvd records.

Here's the back story as told by bassist Mike Mesaros from the press release:

"The Lost Album has previously existed only as a sentimental 'scrapbook' for Dennis, Pat, Jim, and me. Mine was tucked away in a dusty shoebox with other cassettes—forsaken raw nuggets of outtakes, demos, rough mixes, and silly chatter. Now, the inevitable turning of the clock and the tragic demise of friend and brother Pat has buffed and polished this collection of songs into emotional gold. The Lost Album remains only 80 percent finished and rough mixed. The feeling and style, however, are all there, outweighing any overdub or mix considerations. It is new, yet vintage, emerging from its warm analog tomb into a cold digital world."

Lead Guitarist Jim Babjak tells me through email:

"Lost, but not forgotten. These recordings offer a wonderful snapshot into our personal time capsule, showing determination and camaraderie as a band of brothers who never gave up on their dream."

Image via Steve Trevelise
Image via Steve Trevelise

Back to Mesaros who both sets the stage so many years ago:

"And so The Lost Album lives. Listen and float with us in between labels purgatory. Pat D. Is in fine fettle and we are young, together, and tight. Cigarette smoke fills the studio like a mainline from the NJ Turnpike. It’s good and loud. Even playbacks. Beer is swilled and laughs are had with Den’s impersonations ruling the roost. It’s our traditional and comfortable atmosphere for making us a record."

"‘Round midnight, we exit Crystal Sound Studio A and jaywalk over to Studio B — O’Flynn’s Saloon. In due time a cab is hailed and we head downtown to our village incubator, Kenny’s Castaways. We affectionately reckon with our uncle and mentor, Pat Kenny and invite the beloved man to a session. (He came). We’re jazzed about this project because, for the first time, we are producing ourselves and mum’s word to the outside world. Somehow, it evokes the early days when we were our own best-kept secret and a fan club of 4."

attachment-Now and Then 1 Dennis Diken, Jim Babjak, Mike Mesaros
attachment-Now and Then 2 Dennis Diken, Jim Babjak, Mike Mesaros

"The next day our singer is AWOL. After Kenny’s we had followed the clarion call to Freddy’s, an extinct Little Italy speakeasy (Bud in cans or Smirnoff shots) run by our pal Sal where Pat was the jukebox Sinatra. By day it was a paper/tobacco stand/soda fountain. Sal’s mama always had a big pot of sauce gurgling awaiting her cloud-like meatballs. The aroma permeated lower Manhattan to 6th Avenue."

"As we three Carteret hangovers await the Scotch Plains boy’s arrival we are soothed by our ace engineer, pocket psychologist, and studio owner Larry Buxbaum. He supports us and believes in our project like an older brother with a bemused grin. Love and miss you Larry. Thanks."

What sets the "Lost Album" apart?

"The Lost Album showcases some of DiNizio and Babjak’s best writing and never better group empathy and collaboration," says Mesaros. "At this point, we were really listening to each other and this was key in our individual styles meshing so well. A real band. We could be mean, sweet, joyful, or brooding. As needed be. We still were in our prime — young, battle-scarred vets who were fluent in the lingua franca of rock ‘n roll but still not far removed from Jimmy’s garage and Pat’s basement." (We still aren’t.)

"Out of a shoebox, it came. New and vintage. Come back with us. Let’s Get Outa This World."

attachment-Dennis Diken 2

Drummer Dennis Diken tells New Jersey 101.5:

"It’s so cool to hear the rollicking riffery and growling groove of “Out Of This World” after all these years. We’re looking forward to dusting this one off and playing it live for the first time!"

Despite losing DiNizio, the Smithereens have moved on with rotating lead singers Marshall Crenshaw, Robin Wilson from the "Gin Blossoms" and Susan Cowsill of the "Cowsills". Sometimes they perform together.

You can see the Smithereens on Sept. 10 with Max Weinberg's Jukebox and Ray Anderson's "Bowie and Beyond" tribute at the Union County Board of Commissioners Fall Concert at Oak Ridge Park. You can also see them on Dec 3rd when they return to their roots at the Carteret Performing Arts Center with both Marshall Crenshaw and Robin Wilson.

To pre-order The Smithereens "Lost Album" click here.

Opinions expressed in the post above are those of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Steve Trevelise only. Follow him on Twitter @realstevetrev.

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