Artist: The Smithereens

Blood and Roses ~ The Smithereens

smithereensThe Smithereens are a rock band from Carteret, New Jersey, United States. The group formed in 1980 with members Pat DiNizio (vocals & guitar), Jim Babjak (guitar & vocals), Mike Mesaros (bass guitar & vocals), and Dennis Diken (drums & percussion) . This lineup continued until 2006, when Mesaros left the band and Severo Jornacion took over on bass guitar.

Babjak, Diken, and Mesaros are all from Carteret, New Jersey and graduated from Carteret High School in 1975. In 1980, they formed the band with DiNizio, who is from Scotch Plains, New Jersey.

The Smithereens are known for writing and playing catchy 1960s-influenced power pop. The group gained publicity when a single from its first album, “Blood and Roses”, was included on the soundtrack for, and as the theme song of the 1986 Albert Pyun movie, Dangerously Close, and the video got some moderately heavy rotation on MTV.

The group spent some time in its initial semi-celebrity phase defending itself in Rolling Stone against thinly-veiled accusations of sounding too much like The Byrds and The Beatles, pointing out that its Marshall Amplifier-heavy live sound was closer to heavy metal than it was to The Beatles. The Smithereens have always worn their inspirations proudly, but the band also influenced other musicians, most notably Kurt Cobain during the period he was writing Nevermind. Ironically, some feel the Smithereens (like many early 1990s bands) were hurt by the rise of grunge.

Along with a basic Eastern-coast roots-rock sound that owed much to the inspirations of DiNizio, including Buddy Holly, The Who, The Clash, Elvis Costello, and Nick Lowe, the Smithereens deployed a uniquely retro obsession with Mod, the late British Invasion pop of John’s Children and The Move, and other artifacts of fifties and sixties culture that lent its music substance. The title and lyrics of their song, “In a Lonely Place,” appear to be based on the 1950 Humphrey Bogart film of the same name, including the lyrics, “I was born the day I met you, lived a while when you loved me, died a little when we broke apart.” The title and artwork for the album 11 were a nod to the original 1960 Ocean’s Eleven film.

The name Smithereens comes from a Yosemite Sam catchphrase, “Varmint, I’m a-gonna blow you to smithereens!”

Their next studio album is scheduled to be released January 5, 2010.

Blood and Roses

From the Smithereen’s first full-length album, Especially for You.  The song has been featured in multiple movie and TV productions. Producer Don Dixon’s co-production work on R.E.M.’s Murmur and Reckoning albums added attention to the record’s initial release. The album today is highly regarded by most critics, and was one of Kurt Cobain’s favorite albums, as noted in his journal.

Blood and Roses – Pat DiNizio

It was long ago
Seems like yesterday
Saw you standing in the rain
Then I heard you say

I want to love but it comes out wrong
I want to live but I don’t belong
I close my eyes and I see
Blood and roses

Love flowers in the springtime
October we were wed
In wintertime the roses died
The blood ran cold
And then she said

I want to love but it comes out wrong
I want to live but I don’t belong
I close my eyes and I see
Blood and roses

It was long ago
Seems like yesterday
Saw you standing in the rain
Then I heard you say

I need your love but it comes out wrong
I try to live but I don’t belong
I close my eyes and I see
Blood and roses

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  • Audio from the 1986 album, Especially for You:

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A Girl Like You ~ The Smithereens

The Smithereens were a New Jersey band known for writing and playing catchy 1960s-influenced power pop. They were formed in 1980, but their first hit, Blood and Roses didn’t make it until 1986.

While they got much of their influence from earlier bands such as The Byrds, The Beattles, The Who, The Clash, and other such bands, they are also responsible for being the influence for other artists and bands such as Kurt Cobain and Nirvana. Ironically, the rise of such “grunge bands” pretty much spelled the end for The Smithereens, and the band disbanded in 1996.

They have gotten together for a few recent gigs and expect to have a new album out in early 2008.

A Girl Like You

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I used to travel in the shadows
And I never found the nerve to try and walk up to you
But now I am a man and I know that there’s no time to waste
There’s too much to lose

Girl you say anything at all, and you know that you can call
And I’ll be right there for you
First love, heartbreak, tough luck, big mistake
What else can you do

CHORUS:
I’ll say anything you want to hear
I’ll see everything through
I’ll do anything I have to do
Just to win the love of a girl like you, a girl like you

People talk and people stare, tell them I don’t really care
This is the place I should be
And if they think it’s really straange for a girl like you
To be in love with someone like me

I wanna tell them all to go to hell
That we’re doing very well without them you see
That’s just the way it is and they will see
I am yours and you are mine the way it should be

CHORUS

Now if I seem a little wild, there’s no holding back
I’m trying to get a message to you
I won’t take anything from anyone
I won’t walk and I won’t run, I believe in you

London, Washington, anywhere you are I’ll run
Together we’ll be
Inside, outside, got my pride
I won’t let him take you from me

CHORUS

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