LARGO — The Smithereens with Marshall Crenshaw perform Friday, Aug. 9, 8 p.m., at Central Park Performing Arts Center, 105 Central Park Drive, Largo.
Tickets range from $29.50 to $44.50 plus service fee. Visit LargoArts.com or call 727-587-6793.
Founded in New Jersey in 1980, the Smithereens have been creating electrifying, original rock ’n’ roll for 39 years. Guitarist Jim Babjak, drummer Dennis Diken and bass player Mike Mesaros grew up together in Carteret. The late Pat DiNizio, the band’s original lead singer, hailed from Scotch Plains.
The band paid its dues in clubs all over the New York City tri-state area from Kenny’s Castaways in Greenwich Village to the Court Tavern and Stone Pony in New Jersey. As the Smithereens’ fame grew, they were in heavy rotation on MTV and appeared on “The Tonight Show,” “Conan O'Brien,” and “Saturday Night Live.”
They’ve since performed on stages coast to coast from the Greek Theatre in Los Angeles to the Meadowlands Arena in New Jersey and Radio City Music Hall in Manhattan. They have performed internationally from Europe to Australia. Tour mates have included Tom Petty, Squeeze, the Pretenders, Lou Reed, and the Ramones, among others.
The Smithereens’ take-no-prisoners sound, reflecting their Garden State roots, has resonated with fans worldwide over the course of 17 albums and more than 2,500 live shows. “Covers,” their most recent release, features 22 of the band’s favorite songs first recorded by other artists. They've also inspired generations of musicians, including Kurt Cobain, who counted the Smithereens as a major influence on Nirvana.
With the 2017 passing of DiNizio, the surviving members have decided to persevere and carry on their shared musical legacy. Using guest vocalists such as Robin Wilson of the Gin Blossoms and Marshall Crenshaw, they continue to entertain rock fans all over the United States and the world.
For their concert at Central Park Performing Arts Center, Crenshaw will be acting as the band’s lead vocalist.
According to a biography provided by Atomic Music Group, Crenshaw was born in Detroit in 1953.
Crenshaw’s first big break came in 1978 when he played John Lennon in “Beatlemania,” first as an understudy in New York, then in the West Coast company followed by a national touring company. After leaving the tour, he settled in New York City in 1980 and recorded his debut single “Something’s Gonna Happen.” That song led to a deal with Warner Bros.
“Marshall Crenshaw,” his debut album, was praised as a masterpiece upon its release in 1982. It established him as a songwriter, record maker and guitarist. The album spawned the hit single “Someday, Someway,” and other classics such as “(You’re My) Favorite Waste of Time,” “Whenever You’re on My Mind” and “Cynical Girl.”