The Center for the Arts at Monmouth University has announced that tickets are on sale for a March 7 event featuring the members of the New Jersey Hall of Fame band The Smithereens, in concert with special guest vocalist, Marshall Crenshaw at 8 pm in the Pollak Theatre
Following the sad passing of lead vocalist Pat DiNizio in 2017, the founding members of The Smithereens — guitarist Jim Babjak, drummer Dennis Diken, and bassist Mike Mesaros honored their friend’s legacy by carrying on in the only way that the prolific performer could ever countenance: by taking once more to the live stage. It was the right move for a cherished Garden State institution who achieved a nationwide profile through a string of acclaimed LP and EP recordings that began some 35 years ago — and who earned a devoted coastal NJ audience through frequent plays on the Shore’s “modern rock” radio station WHTG-FM, in addition to numerous gigs at such legendary clubs as the Stone Pony and the Green Parrot. Above all else, there were the songs — “Beauty and Sadness,” “Blood and Roses,” “Behind the Wall of Sleep,” “Strangers When We Meet,” “Only a Memory,” “A Girl Like You,” “Blues Before and After,” “Too Much Passion,” and so many others — moody, mature, magnificent songs that staked out the crossroads of alternative/punk energy and the ambitious “teenage symphonies” of such heroes as Brian Wilson and The Beatles.
When it came time to return to the road in 2018, The Smithereens called upon a singer, songwriter, guitarist, radio host and musicologist with his own unimpeachable set of credentials — a Detroit native who clocked countless performances as John Lennon in the touring troupe of Broadway’s “Beatlemania;” who portrayed and performed as Buddy Holly in the feature film “La Bamba,” and who was among the trusted peers who ably stepped up and kicked out the jams, when the surviving members of the legendary 1960s counter cultural rock force MC5 assembled for a reunion tour.
More than just a musical chameleon or impressionist, Marshall Crenshaw is a headline act in his own right; a bandleader and composer whose pop gems have been covered by artists ranging from The Gin Blossoms, Robert Gordon and John C. Reilly, to Ronnie Spector, Bette Midler, and Susanna Hoffs. Returning to campus for the first time since a 2014 edition of the popular Songwriters by the Sea series, the bespectacled singer who recorded one of his live albums at the Stone Pony (title: “I’ve Suffered For My Art…Now It’s Your Turn”) has joined the surviving Smithereens on a road that’s extended from the Hoboken Arts & Music Festival, to a West Coast tour in early 2019.
Tickets for the March 7 concert by The Smithereens with Marshall Crenshaw are priced at $35 and $50, with a Gold Circle seating option of $60, and can be reserved through the Monmouth University Performing Arts Box Office at 732-263-6889, or online at www.monmouth.edu/MCA . Tickets for other upcoming Performing Arts events — including the return of Men At Work’s Colin Hay (April 2), and the Monmouth debut of Al Stewart (May 23) — are also on sale now. To schedule interviews, please contact Kelly Barratt at 732.263.5114.