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Viper Alley Live
Friday, Sep 21, 2012 8:00 PM CDT (6:00 PM Doors)
with Saturday June Band
Friday, Sep 21, 2012 8:00 PM CDT
Viper Alley, Lincolnshire, IL
18 years and over
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Pat DiNizio—vocals, guitar
Jim Babjak—guitar, vocals
Dennis Diken—drums, vocals
Severo "the Thrilla" Jornacion—bass
"I think it's as good as anything we've ever done," Pat DiNizio says of Smithereens 2011, the Smithereens' first album of original songs in 11 years.
"I hate to use the term 'comeback album,' and it certainly wasn't planned that way, but it really feels like it," adds his longtime bandmate Jim Babjak. "It has the raw vibe of our early albums, while showing that we're moving forward and that we're still at the top of our game after 31 years."
Indeed, the 13-song set shows the New Jersey-bred quartet to be making some of the most urgent music of their three-decade career, delivering their timeless brand of punchy, heartfelt rock 'n' roll with as much fire as ever. Such instantly memorable new tunes as "Sorry," "One Look At You," "A World of Our Own" and "Rings On Her Fingers" exemplify the Smithereens' trademark brand of punchy melodic songcraft, driven home by DiNizio's expressive vocals and emotionally complex lyrics, along with fiery ensemble performances that show off the uncanny musical chemistry of longstanding musical partners DiNizio, Babjak and Dennis Diken, and later addition Severo "the Thrilla" Jornacion, who joined in 2006.
Smithereens 2011's title slyly acknowledges the fact that it's the band's 11th studio album, and that it's been 11 years since their last collection of original material. The album's moniker—as well as its cover design—also pays tribute to the foursome's beloved 1989 release Smithereens 11. Smithereens 2011 also reunites the group with revered producer and kindred musical spirit Don Dixon, who was at the helm for the Smithereens' breakthrough 1986 debut album Especially for You and its much-loved 1988 follow-up Green Thoughts, as well as 1994's acclaimed A Date with the Smithereens.The band inaugurated the new album's birth cycle by spending a month hammering their new compositions into shape at the same 12-dollar-an-hour East Village rehearsal space where they'd rehearsed in the 1980s. They then recorded the bulk of Smithereens 2011 in an action-packed three days with Dixon and his frequent collaborator Mitch Easter, who served as the album's engineer, at Easter's legendary Fidelitorium studio in Kernersville, North Carolina.
"We pretty much picked up where we left off with Don," Diken notes. "He's a super musical guy with great ears, and he has lots of good ideas for the arrangements. He knows our strengths as individuals and as a team, and he has the know-how to capture the essence of who we are and what we do. But basically, he puts us in the studio, mics us up and lets us go to work."
After the band returned from North Carolina, additional recording was done at DiNizio's house in Scotch Plains, New Jersey. "There was no pressure, no rush," says DiNizio. "We didn't have a deadline, so the album was allowed to evolve organically and find its own level."