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In December of 2017, a big blown was dealt to rock fans everywhere with the passing of Smithereens founder and lead singer Pat DiNizio. While Smithereens fans were, and are, deeply saddened by Pat's passing they also overwhelmingly wanted the band to continue. Fast-forward to today, with the remaining original members of The Smithereens: Jim Babjak, Dennis Diken, and Mike Mesaros currently out on tour with singer-songwriter Marshall Crenshaw, who is sitting in as the band’s guest vocalist.
I caught up with the singer prior to the band's stop in Rhode Island
Tony Jones: What can folks who attend the upcoming gig expect, as far as material, is it strictly Smithereens tunes?
Marshall Crenshaw: Yes, Smithereens Only. I do my stuff at my shows; this is their show. It’s fun for me to play in their band..
Tony Jones: Your association with The Smithereens goes way back, tell us about that?
Marshall Crenshaw: I have known the guys since forever, played a little bit on their first album. At Pat’s memorial back in January it felt like a giant family-reunion. I sat in with the band for 3 songs that night; a little while after that they reached out to me about doing what we’re doing now.
Tony Jones: Are there any plans for you to record new music with The Smithereens?
Marshall Crenshaw: Not that I know of.
Tony Jones: What keeps bringing you back to touring?
Marshall Crenshaw: Playing music keeps my spirit intact. God knows what I would turn into if I stopped doing it. Maybe I will stop sometime but I’m not there yet.
Tony Jones: How do you prepare for a tour?
Marshall Crenshaw: I don’t always prepare, actually. Sometimes I just show up at the first gig and wing it from there..
Tony Jones: You and I both share a passion for independent radio, is there any chance that The Bottomless Pit will someday return to the airwaves?
Marshall Crenshaw: Ah, thanks for asking. The show went on hiatus in January so I could focus on a film production that I decided to attempt. Once I’ve completed that (unless I die trying), I’d like to do the show again, probably will.
Tony Jones: What advice would you give to new and up-and-coming bands and musicians?
Marshall Crenshaw: Be yourself.
The Smithereens tour hits Rhode Island on Saturday, November 17th at The Greenwich Odeum. Tickets are available at: http://www.greenwichodeum.com/
Donations to the Pat DiNizio Scholarship fund can made online at: http://www.countbasietheatre.org/commemorative-giving/ (Select “Pat DiNizio Musical Performance Scholarship” in the drop-down menu)
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