Musicians React to Pat DiNizio’s Death

"A man who learned from the greats & could craft an effortless, classic pop song," wrote Mark McGrath of the Smithereens singer.

News of the Dec. 12 death of The Smithereens founder and singer Pat DiNizio came as a shock to fans and the music community, particularly as the band had announced they were about to head out on a tour in January. The trek included a date at the Count Basie Theatre in Red Bank, NJ with Scandal.

The Smithereens formed in Carteret, New Jersey in 1980 and were regarded as an influential group in the Garden State, scoring two alternative radio hits with “Only a Memory” in 1988 and “A Girl Like You” in 1989.

Smithereens drummer Dennis Diken honored his friend with a touching post on his Facebook page, remembering how the songwriter had the “magic touch” with “hook-laden three minute pop songs.”

Shortly after the band posted the sad news, musicians and radio personalities expressed their grief on social media. And speaking to Variety the following morning, Jon Bon Jovi commented that DiNizio’s death was “tragic,” adding, “He was one of our family of New Jersey musicians. He will be in my prayers today.”