The Smithereens will be performing a sold-out show at The Magic Bag in downtown Ferndale later this month.

The Smithereens will be performing a sold-out show at The Magic Bag in downtown Ferndale later this month.

Photo by Mickey Deneher, provided by The Smithereens

The Smithereens ready to rock Ferndale at Magic Bag

By: Mike Koury | Woodward Talk | Published June 18, 2024


FERNDALE — Influential rock band The Smithereens is ready to hit Ferndale once again with a sold-out show in the city.

The Smithereens will be performing June 29 at The Magic Bag, with doors opening at 7 p.m. The rock band that formed more than four decades ago by Pat DiNizio, Dennis Diken, Mike Mesaros and Jim Babjak is known for songs including “A Girl Like You” and “Only a Memory.”

Diken, the band’s drummer, is excited to come back to metro Detroit and Ferndale.

“We really like playing there a lot,” he said. “Detroit always (has) been a great stop for us. The audiences and the energy just can’t be beat. So we really look forward to coming. And The Magic Bag, the vibe there is so happening, and we just always have a ball.”

The Smithereens will have a deep catalog of songs to pick through for the show, which Diken said they try to tailor to each city in which they perform. Diken also noted that the band currently is working on new material and plans to record a new album that will be out next year.

“Every city, we find that people go for the same material that we like to present, which we’re fortunate that we have a number of records that were pretty successful,” he said. “So people like to hear what we call the hits, and then there’s plenty of album tracks that we like to sprinkle in there as well.”

Along with original founders Diken, Mesaros and Babjak, the trio will be performing with guest lead singer Marshall Crenshaw, who grew up in Berkley.

Crenshaw has been a rotation lead singer for the band with Gin Blossoms lead singer Robin Wilson since the death of DiNizio in 2017.

“Marshall was always a friend of ours, and he even played on our first album,” Diken said. “He played some keyboards, and we opened shows for him back in the early ’80s. We felt like he was a member of our extended family. … And Robin, we didn’t know that when we met him, we didn’t realize that he had been such a big fan of ours when he was growing up and forming bands in the Tempe, Arizona, area. The Smithereens were very influential to a lot of young musicians that were playing around those parts.

“When Pat DiNizio passed away, it was never our inclination to look for anybody that can imitate him or look like him, or no soundalikes,” he continued. “We were hoping we can continue with somebody who can interpret the music, and we found out with both of these great vocalists.”

The Magic Bag has been able to host The Smithereens at its venue for the past couple of years. Director of Marketing Willy Wilson said that they’ve been a great band to have, and it’s especially cool to have a hometown musician like Crenshaw performing with them, too.

“We’re happy to have them here,” he said. “They’re one of those bands that you just like to see. They’re all wonderful people, they put on a great show and everyone goes away happy at the end of the night. You know, they’re a little sweaty, their ears are ringing a little bit, maybe they had a beer or two too many, but they’ll walk away and be talking about this show for the next six to eight months, about how great it was.”

The Smithereens have been around for 44 years since their beginnings in the 1980s in New Jersey. And Diken said none of their longevity and success would be possible without their fanbase.

“It really is down to the audience,” he said. “We coined a phrase some years ago, ‘If you don’t mind staying, we don’t mind playing.’ You know, I’m sure any entertainer would tell you that. You go where people dig what you do. I say this with no sense of schmaltz or anything, but we couldn’t do this without our audience. We just couldn’t do it. So it’s really up to them if they want us back or not; they let us know. And certainly we feed off their energy, too, at the show. If they’re having a great time, we’re gonna have a great time.”