Singer/songwriter Pat DiNizio, who sold millions of records with his New Jersey band, the Smithereens, has died. He passed away just days after indicating via Facebook that he was looking forward to returning to the road. DiNizio was 62 years old and had been recovering from injuries sustained during a fall that he was rehabilitating.
His death was announced on the band’s official Facebook page.
DiNizio’s music appeared on numerous film soundtracks, including Bull Durham and Backdraft.
Born Oct. 12, 1955 in Scotch Plains, NJ, DiNizio was working in his family’s trash-hauling business when he formed the Smithereens with fellow musicians Jim Babjak, Dennis Diken and Mike Mesaros. Starting in 1980, their highly melodic music (almost all of it written by DiNizio) became an FM radio staple and touring favorite. Such songs as “A Girl Like You,” “Blood and Roses,” “Behind the Wall of Sleep” and “Only A Memory” were radio-friendly and instantly memorable.
DiNizio was not content with his recording success. He made his own independently produced film, “King Leisure,” and made an unsuccessful run for the United States Senate seat from NJ on the Reform Party ticket. He finished fourth with 19,312 votes and the effort was chronicled in the documentary film Mr. Smithereen Goes To Washington.
In addition to his work with the Smithereens, DiNizio had a solo recording career with several albums, and was a frequent performer on the house concert circuit between tours with the Smithereens. His “Living Room Tour” went on for five months and featured the multi-platinum artist performing in fan living rooms.
In 2006, DiNizio was the focus of 7th Inning Stretch, an ESPN2 reality special that focused on his recovery from a nervous disorder and attempts to rehab by joining a minor league baseball team, the Somerset Patriots.
He later released an audio book, Confessions of a Rock Star, and performed a one-man show on the book for months at the Riviera Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas.