Tuesday, March 30, 2010

The Smithereens

And now for a change back to pre-grunge, east coast, pounding 1980's basement rock, courtesy of The Smithereens, from Carteret, New Jersey.

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

The Smithereens were good.  They should have made it big, except for two things.

First, that damn grunge music.  Grunge wasn't actually a type of music, it was just a form of rock played by dweebs from Seattle who dressed like lumberjacks.  But it sucked the air out of the rock business for three years, until the weed in Seattle ran out.

Second, 1970s punk rockers, notable bands like The Ramones were morphing into mainstream quasi-legit rock bands.  Punk was real, not just rock re-done with stage and wardrobe special effects.  And punk hit the mainstream big just as The Smithereens were taking off. 

Or just as The Smithereens were expecting to take off.  Because they didn't, apart from some following from what were described as "underground" radio stations; mostly on university campuses.

They were good, they are still good, and they continue to play.  Older, wiser, balder and heavier, the group is still active and tours frequently. Their next studio album is scheduled to be released in Spring or Summer 2010.


  1. I thought they were great, and I still love "Behind the Wall of Sleep." Good to see they're still recording! I can't believe it! You should do a review of it when it comes out...

  2. Ron, listen again to the first 12 or 16 bars of The Smithereens video above, then listen to this Mellencamp video, especially at 1:00 and 1:40.

    Do you think ol' John Cougar borrowed from the Smithereens?

  3. Ouch! Yeah, it's too close...But I love Blood and Roses too! Not Mellencamp so much...

  4. I don't think I have any Mellencamp in my iTunes.

  5. Loved this. You guys have great taste. Love El Pollo's tunes too!

  6. Ron, here's Black Sabbath, with a young Ozzy Osbourne, doing a cover of The Smithereen's "Behind The Wall Of Sleep".

    The original Smithereens version is far better.

  7. Black Sabbath: true innovators for better or worse. That video takes me back in time.

  8. Michael, I don't hear the Smithereen's song in that Sabbath tune...I think it's their own!

  9. I listened again, Ron, and think that you are right, even allowing for the change in genre and Ozzy's garbled lyrics. They sound like two different songs with a common title.