Since their formation in the early 1980s, The Smithereens have worked hard to preserve their classic garage rock sound found on songs like “Only a Memory,” “Blood and Roses” and “A Girl Like You.”
Singer/guitarist Pat DiNizio says like their music, the lives shows aren’t polished. The New Jersey-bred band heads to Flagstaff to play the Pepsi Amphitheater on Saturday, June 17.
“The shows these days are close to three-hour marathons,” he says. “There’s so much material.
“Listen, how often has your favorite performer or artist come around and they leave after a 45-minute set? We’ll play until we drop. It’s a matter of pride and giving people who work for a living value for their money.”
During The Smithereens’ first tour in 1986, they had 11 original songs. Thirty-seven years later, there’s a wealth of material. DiNizio says he and his bandmates will touch upon each album.
“We’re playing contemporary music for the people of our generation who grew up with our music,” he says. “In the last 10 years, we’ve put out at least an album a year. We try to keep in the game.”
As a matter of fact, DiNizio is working on a new Smithereens album, which he hopes will be out by Thanksgiving.
“I have six songs so far,” he says. “We’re going to record the basics in New York City and then come back to my house in New Jersey, where I’m coming from now, and do the overdubs, vocals and guitars.”
He’s letting nature take its course in terms of the direction.
“It’s the same,” he says frankly. “The same is good. I never try to plot what the direction is going to be musically. I let the ideas flow. I sleep with one of those old desktop portable tape recorders when I’m actively writing. I record my melodic or lyric ideas. We’re self-taught. We can’t read and write music. But it has a Motown feel to it. It’ll be the signature Smithereens sound. I can’t tell you what it’s like, though.”
He does know it won’t reflect the music that’s out now.
“I don’t like anything that’s new—at least nothing I can think of,” DiNizio says. “Unfortunately, apart from a few of our friends out there, a few bands in Europe, no one is really writing the material I enjoy listening to.
“When I listen to music, I tend to go back to the albums I was listening to years ago, like Husker Du, The Stranglers, Suzanne Vega and Marshall Crenshaw.
“The Beatles do it for me. I have a collection on my iTunes or my playlist that I put together. It’s 1964 to 1965 and it’s everything that I heard when I was 9 to 10 years old on the radio, AM radio in the mid-’60s in the wake of The Beatles’ first arriving on the shores. You’ll hear ‘The Girl from Ipanema,’ ‘Ticket to Ride,’ a Dionne Warwick song. Like them, we’re trying to preserve our sound.”
BoDeans and The Smithereens, Pepsi Amphitheatre at Fort Tuthill, 2446 Fort Tuthill Loop, Flagstaff, pepsiamphitheater.com, 6:30 p.m. Saturday, June 17, $22-$32.