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Arts, Sports & Culture

The Smithereens Rock the Arts Festival

M. Jeremy Goldman

The Smithereens perform tonight as part of the Dollar Bank Three Rivers Arts Festival. In the 80s and 90s, the group was churning out hit songs like “Only a Memory,” “Blood and Roses” and a “Girl Like You.” Pat DiNizio is the lead singer of the rock group, and joined us in studio to talk about the history of the group, and what he’s been up to since the group’s heyday.

DiNizio describes fame as “anticlimactic.” He says he finally realized the band had “made it” when he heard “Girl Like You," broadcasted on a radio station in New York, after six years. DiNizio says it was emotionally for him, because the band never expected to sell more than 3,000 records. They sold millions.

DiNizio also revealed one of his favorite memories when the band exploded into fame. “When ‘Girl Like You’ hit the Top 40, we were able to do Saturday Night Live, that was amazing. I looked up as we were performing and I looked into the audience at the Saturday Night Live NBC studios and there was the great beatnik, poet legend Allen Ginsberg smiling at me like the Cheshire cat.”

Another of DiNizio’s favorite memories was meeting his teenage crush, Madonna. He says she wanted to cover “Blood and Roses” on her tour as a tribute to Marilyn Monroe. When DiNizio met her, she told him she “couldn’t do it as well as him.” She was slated to sing on a rerecording of the song, which never took off. 

The Smithereens and front man DiNizio hit the Three Rivers Arts Festival Dollar Bank stage at 7:30 pm.