In the Christmas edition of the De Pasquale’s Dozen I wanted to highlight the new Christmas EP (available here) by lead singer and guitarist of The Smithereens, Pat DiNizio and libertarian activist and jazz soloist, Christian Josi.
DiNizio formed The Smithereens in 1980 with other band members, releasing several albums with the band, three solo albums and gaining a loyal following. Like the other entertainers I’ve profiled, DiNizio is not shy about voicing his political views. He describes himself as an “independent conservative with a nationalistic streak.”
In a 2010 interview with Parcbench, he said, “The Tea Party is really Middle America, hard-working taxpayers who feel underrepresentation from their elected public officials. They want the people they voted into office to respond to what they want. They are certainly unhappy with the Obama regime because they feel he surrounded himself with too many “Czars” who are accountable to no one but him in the White House, most of whom have socialist/Marxist leanings. They can smell it and they don’t like it.”
I first met Josi when he was executive director of a conservative organization in D.C. and have since worked with him on several projects over the years. In addition to releasing several solo jazz albums, he’s a columnist for The Huffington Post and vice president at a prominent crisis communications firm in D.C. He has been a mentor for me over the years and it has been a thrill to see his many sides.
Josi and DiNizio met on a set in L.A. when Josi was co-producing a TV show and DiNizio was filming the Smithereens’ video for “House We Used to Live In.” I asked Josi what led to the collaboration, over 20 years later. “Pat and I have been talking forever about doing some bossa-nova style duets, as we are both huge fans of an album that Frank Sinatra and Antonio Carlos Jobim did together in the '60's in that style. I had just quit drinking in the Fall which used to take up a lot of my time. So I happened to have time on my hands, and Pat happened to call about doing Christmas songs. A week later, I was in a studio in VA and he was in one in NJ and we cranked it out fast. I haven't actually seen Mr. DiNizio in many years, so that may well not be him on the record. Technology is something, isn't it?”
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