The artform that is rock ‘n’ roll is replete with remarkable ensembles who were ahead of their time – as evidenced by yet another illustrious New Jersey collective - The Smithereens.
The band's founding rhythm section of bassist Mike Mesaros and drummer Dennis Diken were exemplary "song players" - plying adventurous accompaniment that served the composition first and foremost.
With a warm, resonant tone that cut through band’s tasteful penchant for volume, Mesaros galloped on stage as he rendered motifs which grabbed audiences from the bandstand and on record.
As an opening act this lean, mean quartet blew away their headliners on more than one occasion that I witnessed. At the top of the bill, The Smithereens never failed to tear the house down.
Diken and Mesarsos were masters of forging hearty in-the- pocket rock grooves that incorporated elements of swing and rhythm & blues – much like their native bar band bred brethren the E Street Band and Asbury Jukes.
Had The Smithereens arrived during the alternative rock revolution of the 1990s - a movement which they heartily influenced - they’d have put the highly acclaimed Seattle contingent in their back pocket.