The Smithereens releasing “lost” 1993 album (listen to “Don’t Look Down”)
NJ powerpop greats The Smithereens are dusting off a "lost" album they made in 1993. They're actually calling it The Lost Album and it will be out September 23 via Sunset Blvd Records.
The these songs were recorded when the band were between labels, having released their final album for Capitol, Blow Up, in 1991, and before signing with RCA for 1994's A Date With The Smithereens. Via Stereogum, bassist Mike Mesaros posted the news on The Smithereens Facebook, saying this "has previously existed only as a sentimental 'scrapbook' for Dennis, Pat, Jim and me."
Mesaros also says that while these songs are only "80% done," sonically, they feature late frontman Pat DiNizio and guitarist Jim Babjak’s "best writing and never better group empathy and collaboration. At this point we were really listening to each other and this was key in our individual styles meshing so well. A real band. We could be mean, sweet, joyful, or brooding. As need be. We still were in our prime — young, battle-scarred vets who were fluent in the lingua franca of rock ‘n roll but still not far removed from Jimmy’s garage and Pat’s basement. (We still aren’t.)"
You can listen to "Don't Look Down," which has all the earmarks of The Smithereens' ultracatchy, '60s-inspired style, and read lots more about The Lost Album from Mesaros, below.
The Lost Album via Mike Mesaros:
The Lost Album has previously existed only as a sentimental “scrapbook” for Dennis, Pat, Jim and me. Mine was tucked away in a dusty shoebox with other cassettes—forsaken raw nuggets of outtakes, demos, rough mixes and silly chatter. Now, the inevitable turning of the clock and the tragic demise of friend and brother Pat has buffed and polished this collection of songs into emotional gold. The Lost Album remains only 80 percent finished and rough mixed. The feeling and style, however, are all there, outweighing any overdub or mix considerations. It is something new, yet vintage, emerging from its warm analog tomb into a cold digital world.
And so The Lost Album lives. Listen and float with us in between labels purgatory. Pat D. is in fine fettle and we are young, together and tight. Cigarette smoke fills the studio like a mainline from the NJ Turnpike. It’s good and loud. Even playbacks. Beer is swilled and laughs are had with Den’s impersonations ruling the roost. It’s our traditional and comfortable atmosphere for makin’ us a record.
‘Round midnight, we exit Crystal Sound Studio A and jaywalk over to Studio B — O’Flynn’s Saloon. In due time a cab is hailed and we head downtown to our village incubator, Kenny’s Castaways. We affectionately reckon with our uncle and mentor, Pat Kenny and invite the beloved man to a session. (He came). We’re jazzed about this project because, for the first time, we are producing ourselves and mum’s the word to the outside world. Somehow, it evokes the early days when we were our own best kept secret and a fan club of 4.
The next day our singer is AWOL. After Kenny’s we had followed the clarion call to Freddy’s, an extinct Little Italy speakeasy (Bud in cans or Smirnoff shots) run by our pal Sal where Pat was the jukebox Sinatra. By day it was a paper/tobacco stand/ soda fountain. Sal’s mama always had a big pot of sauce gurgling awaiting her cloud-like meatballs. The aroma permeated lower Manhattan to 6th Avenue.
As we three Carteret hangovers await the Scotch Plains boy’s arrival we are soothed by our ace engineer, pocket psychologist, and studio owner Larry Buxbaum. He supports us and believes in our project like an older brother with a bemused grin. Love and miss you Larry. Thanks.
The Lost Album showcases some of DiNizio and Babjak’s best writing and never better group empathy and collaboration. At this point we were really listening to each other and this was key in our individual styles meshing so well. A real band. We could be mean, sweet, joyful, or brooding. As need be. We still were in our prime — young, battle-scarred vets who were fluent in the lingua franca of rock ‘n roll but still not far removed from Jimmy’s garage and Pat’s basement. (We still aren’t.)
Out of a shoebox it came. New and vintage. Come back with us. Let’s Get Outa This World!”