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‘Pat DiNizio Way’

Published May 5, 2018 by Maryanne

Pat DiNizio Way

Pat DiNizio Way (photo by Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta)

Scotch Plains Township Ceremoniously Unveils ‘Pat DiNizio Way’ in Honor of Late Smithereens Frontman

By Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta

(Artical originally appeared in Scotch Plains Monthly)

Smithereens fans, friends, family, and township officials gathered on April 17, 2018, at Montague Avenue, at the corner of Westfield Avenue, for the official Pat DiNizio Way street unveiling

Pat DiNizio, frontman for The Smithereens passed away December 12, 2017, at the age of 62. He was a proud resident of Scotch Plains.

“It’s a little bittersweet for us. Obviously, we’d rather have him than the sign,” said Paul “Paulie” J. Smith, who grew up in Scotch Plains with DiNizio. “It’s very heart warming for the town we grew up in to give him recognition. It’s emotional he’s not here anymore. Deep inside he’d feel touched and honored. He was humble, he’d be a little embarrassed about the recognition.”

Jim Babjak, Smithereens guitarist agreed. “He’d say, ‘Don’t make a big deal of it’ on one hand, but he’d be winking; Pat would be very honored.”

Babjak performed a Smithereens song, “Life is So Beautiful” prior to the street unveiling. He also gave a heartfelt speech, ending with, “He was a real trooper, he kept playing to the very end.”

Severo Jornacion, Smithereens bassist, who was able to fly in from L.A., said, “Of all places Pat lived in his life, Scotch Plains was his favorite.” He reminisced about the places in Scotch Plains that Pat took him to, like Alfonso’s Pizzeria, Stage House Tavern, and even the local Quick Check.

Band members Dennis Diken and Mike Mesaros weren’t there, but Babjak read emotional messages from them, as well as a heartrending letter from DiNizio’s daughter, Elisabeth.

Musician Rick Winowksi, who played in Pat’s other band, The Scotch Plainsmen, performed a poignant song he wrote in honor of DiNizio.

Mayor Al Smith said the he “got emails from all over the country. Best thing we could do is have a street named after him.”

Township Manager Al Mirabella said, “I wish we weren’t here. I wish Pat was here. I’m glad you are here to honor Pat. Pat was a real fan of Scotch Plains and we’re a real fan of his.”

Bill King, fan and friend, said “We’re still mourning. His voice is so full of emotion reflected in his songs. One thing was evident; how much he loved his mom.”

After each speaker at the podium shared their memories of Pat, there were cheers and tears from the audience. It was truly a moving event. After the unveiling Antoinette DiNizio, Pat’s mom, made an appearance. She proudly spoke about her beloved son to the many who approached her.

Fan Frank Lima, who spearheaded the event, said, “Pat’s one of the greatest songwriters. I’m sad the whole thing had to happen. I’m glad to get the whole ball rolling. [Regarding the street naming].”

The Smithereens sold millions of records/CDs of melodic pop alternative hits like “A Girl Like You,” “Only a Memory,” “Behind the Wall of Sleep,” and “Blood and Roses.”

For more information on The Smithereens, visit the official website at: officialsmithereens.com.

To see original article, including more photos by Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta, visit: https://rennamedia.com/scotch-plains-township-ceremoniously-unveils-pat-dinizio-way-in-honor-of-late-smithereens-frontman/

Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta is the author of “On the Guest List: Adventures of a Music Journalist” available on Rebel Press: https://www.rebelpress.com/product/on-the-guest-list/

 

 

Rock Star Wife

Published December 12, 2016 by Maryanne

sam_1712Maryanne with husband, bassist, Dennis Lords

What a rock ‘n’ roll weekend it was! I’m always thrilled to see my husband perform onstage; me right in front of the stage, us staring into each others eyes and giving knowing looks.

My husband, Dennis Lords, performed with his band Pharoah (http://www.sexglamgloom.com/) this weekend. Here’s a sample of their music: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rQxcrUAIH9I

sam_1719

Dennis has also played with Rob Fusari (http://www.robfusari.com/) and The Characters (http://www.thecharacters.net/).

Music has always been my life. It’s unfortunate that I do not play an instrument or sing, but I did once write a children’s song called “It’s Christmas.” It was recorded at Baby Fishmouth Studios (https://www.facebook.com/Baby-Fishmouth-Studio-518623148225118/), produced by Tom Corea. I came up with the lyrics and melody. Dennis but the music to it. After recording the song, we were interviewed by the late Mark Blaustein who had a radio show at Montclair State University.

It was a dream come true having my song played on the radio.

From time to time, I’d be in Baby Fishmouth Studios with Dennis and was asked to sing back up on Come On Christmas (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l3HovV9KRs) and I was the Beach Girl spoken vocalist on Sufer’s Christmas (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iHFSXh5HoRM) — Hey, Santa, surf’s up!

But, most of the time, I’m happy to take a back seat to my baby and let him shine! On stage, and off, I couldn’t ask for a better husband and kitty daddy!

loveLove

Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta is a professional writer who has interviewed musicians for many publications including The Aquarian Arts Weekly, Punk Magazine, In The Flesh Magazine, The Montclair Times, and New View Media. She is the author of “On the Guest List: Adventures of a Music Journalist” available on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Guest-List-Adventures-Music-Journalist/dp/162903908X

Jesse Malin at Jack’s Music Shoppe, Red Bank, New Jersey

Published March 29, 2015 by Maryanne

SAM_6978Jesse Malin (Photo by Dennis Mistretta)

Today was marked on my calendar several weeks ago, as it’s been a very long time since I saw Jesse Malin perform. “Very long” as in over 20 years when I used to follow his band D-Generation back in the early 1990s.

I was all revved up for afternoon of live music, as Jesse is an amazing singer/songwriter with so much depth. And what better place to see live music than a record store?

The event promoted Jesse’s new album, “New York Before The War.” As a journalist, I was taught never to write “buy it now” when writing a review — so this will officially be the first time in my writing career that I say, “Buy it now!” Thirteen perfectly produced tunes leave you craving more. Not one clunker in the bunch. But then again, I expected nothing less. From D-Generation to St. Mark’s Social to solo and so forth — it’s all good.

Jesse started the set off with my favorite tune from the CD, “Addicted.” My other favorite is”Bent Up.” (And this is what I say now, as favorite songs change over the years. I’m always one to embrace albums forever … not just during the time they are first released).

Jesse was accompanied by fabulous guitarist and backing vocalist, Derek Cruz, who co-wrote many of the songs. And the grand surprise of the set was The Clash’s “Stay Free” (one of my all-time favorite Clash songs).

Jack’s Music Shoppe was filled with about 100 fans of all ages; many who lined up for autographs after the show. It was cool seeing Jesse again after so many years.

For more information on Jesse Malin, visit: http://www.jessemalin.com/

SAM_6984Me and Jesse Malin

SAM_6987Rock photographer Mark Weiss (left) and my husband, Dennis

At the event my husband ran into rock photographer Mark Weiss (http://www.markweissphotography.com/), who was a good friend and big supporter of my husband’s band Pharoah (http://sexglamgloom.com/).

And nothing better than ending the day with a meal at Surf Taco!! (http://www.surftaco.com/). I had the Baja Bowl (Mahi mahi fish, rice, beans, portobello mushrooms, grilled peppers, onions, lettuce, pico de gallo salsa and guacamole).

Yeah, life is good 🙂