If you smell something rather unusual at the Birchmere on March 17, there’s at least a chance that the Smithereens’ fans have brought them…crabs. That actually happened once at the venue back in the day when the Jersey boys played the famous Alexandria stage. “One of our fans, a longtime fan, brought me a dozen crabs,” recalls guitarist Jim Babjak. “I had them [wrapped] in newspapers, and I stunk up the back! But the band tolerates me because they know I love Maryland crabs.” The Smithereens share memories of playing the Birchmere—and their hopes for a joyful present – with contributing writer Eric Althoff.
They have been called everything from “America’s Rock Band” to “New Jersey’s Second Favorite Musical Export.” They are The Smithereens! Dennis Diken on drums. Mike Mesaros on Bass. Jim Babjak on lead guitar. And the late great Pat DiNizio on vocals. Their signature sixties retro fused sound ruled the airwaves in the time of 1980s “Alternative Rock.” I dare you to sit still while listening to “Blood & Roses,” “Top Of The Pops,” “House We Used To Live In” or “Behind The Wall Of Sleep.” You can’t do it. The band, now in it’s 42 year continues to tour the world. Not an easy task, considering their lead singer died in 2017. Learn more about the band’s path forward in this exclusive interview with Keith Valcourt.