The unmistakable tang of cocktail weenies and barbecue sauce wafted from the kitchen through the dining room and settled upon the makeshift stage in the Hollowood family’s living room. The frilly window valance, the unshaded lamps on the matching end tables, the family portraits of birthday parties and Boy Scouts … it just didn’t scream “rock ’n’ roll.” But it suited Pat DiNizio just fine.
DiNizio, who scored top-10 hits and gold records as the frontman for The Smithereens, returned to Las Vegas last week with the latest installment of his Living Room Concert Series. In 2000, DiNizio logged 65,000 miles on the road during a 70-show tour, playing in fans’ homes throughout the U.S. At age 53, he’s back at it, for, in his words, “the glory of rock ’n ’roll.”
“I like getting out on the road,” DiNizio noted between sets of his 90-minute show last Thursday. “Plus, this helps me write songs. I’m not going to learn anything by staying home. You need to have experiences. You can’t lock yourself in a mansion and count your money. “
Not that there’s a lot of money to count; a potential Heineken sponsorship fell through, so DiNizio survives on T-shirt and CD sales, and, in this case, a small fee paid by brothers Robert and Michael Hollowood, longtime Smithereens fans who hosted the show. Decked out in black, shoeless and playing a Stratocaster, DiNizio entertained a crowd of 50 with anecdotes and soulful renditions of some Smithereens classics.
“What else am I going to do?” he mused. “I’m a musician. This is what I do.”