I only interacted a few times with Smithereens frontman, songwriter and guitarist Pat DiNizio. That seems strange to me, given our shared heritage — New Jersey, power pop, goatees. Material Issue singer Jim Ellison had been a close friend of both of ours and when he died, I reached out to Pat for the liner notes of MI’s excellent posthumous record, Telecommando Americano. We had a few really deep phone conversations and reminisced about our mutual pal, whose suicide stunned us both.
I got in touch with Pat a few years later when I was planning my 40th birthday party. He was psyched to play and couldn’t have been cooler about it, but we couldn’t work out the details. When Pat died in December 2017, the world lost an excellent songwriter and New Jersey lost a real patriot. I wrote about him for Rock and Roll Globe.