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Jim Babjak is a founding member, songwriter, singer, and lead guitarist for the internationally-acclaimed rock band, The Smithereens since 1980. He is also the founder of his musical side projects, Buzzed Meg and The BAR, and proprietor of Babjax Coffee.

The Smithereens are a loud and proud New Jersey band, whose renowned live shows and radio hits channel the essence of joy and heartbreak into hook-laden three minute pop songs, infused with a lifelong passion for rock ‘n’ roll!

Founded in New Jersey in 1980, The Smithereens have been creating electrifying, original rock’n’roll since their inception. Jim Babjak (guitars,) Dennis Diken (drums,) and Mike Mesaros (bass) grew up together in Carteret and lead singer, the late Pat DiNizio, hailed from Scotch Plains. The band paid its dues in clubs all over the NYC tri-state area from Kenny’s Castaways in Greenwich Village to the Court Tavern and Stone Pony in NJ. They’ve since performed on stages coast to coast from the Greek Theatre in Los Angeles to the Meadowlands Arena in NJ to Radio City Music Hall in Manhattan, and internationally from Europe to Australia. Tour mates have included Tom Petty, the Ramones, Squeeze, The Pretenders, and Lou Reed, among others.

​Jim Babjak’s trademark guitar solos and riffs have resonated with fans worldwide over the course of 18 plus Smithereens’ albums and 2500 plus live shows. Studio albums include Especially for You, Green Thoughts, 11, A Date with The Smithereens, God Save The Smithereens, 2011, and The Lost Album. Among their biggest hits are the rock radio staples “Blood and Roses,” “Only a Memory,” “Behind the Wall of Sleep,” “Sorry,” “Now and Then,” “Cut Flowers,” “One Look at You,” and “A Girl Like You.” The band’s albums for Capitol, RCA, Sony, Koch, and eOne Records have sold over 5 million copies worldwide.

The Smithereens have also been called the Architects of the Alternative Scene and their music has inspired and influenced generations of musicians, including the late Kurt Cobain of Nirvana, who cited The Smithereens, and especially Babjak’s guitar sound, as a major influence in his diaries.

As The Smithereens’ fame escalated, they were in heavy rotation on MTV and appeared on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno and Saturday Night Live. Other television credits include Late Night with Conan O'Brien, MTV, MTV's Unplugged, CBS This Morning, The Dennis Miller Show, Nightlife with David Brenner, The Uncle Floyd Show, The Joe Franklin Show, and The Arsenio Hall Show.

Babjak’s music can also be heard in films such as Bull Durham, Backdraft, Encino Man, Time Cop, Romy and Michele's High School Reunion, Boys Don't Cry, Burglar, Cruel Intentions 2, I was a Teenage Zombie, Under the Boardwalk, Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle, I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry, and television’s Miami Vice. The band even made a cameo appearance in the film Class of Nuke 'Em High. Other Babjak accomplishments include musical compositions and performances for the soap operas Passions and The Guiding Light, as well as television and radio commercials for Dairy Queen and Nissan Maxima.

Throughout their entire career, the band members have also contributed their talents and helped raise funds and awareness to a wide range of charities, including families of 9/11, homeless shelters, community food banks, HIV/AIDS, pediatric cancer, the Jerry Lewis MDA Telethon, Parkinsons and Light of Day, the Pat DiNizio Music Performance Scholarship at the Count Basie Center for the Performing Arts, and the Betty Babjak Memorial Fund at Rutgers University, a 501 c3 scholarship fund for students who have experienced the loss of a parent or guardian.

The Smithereens’ Pat DiNizio passed away in 2017. The 3 surviving, original bandmates, Babjak, Diken, and Mesaros, who have been together since high school, decided to persevere and carry on their shared musical legacy. Using rotating guest vocalists, including longtime friends Marshall Crenshaw and Robin Wilson of the Gin Blossoms among others, something no other band has done, they continue to entertain and rock fans all over the U.S. and the world.

In 2019, The Smithereens – Jim Babjak, Dennis Diken, Mike Mesaros, and the late Pat DiNizio - were honored by their home state and were inducted into the New Jersey Hall of Fame, Class of 2018, in the “Performing Arts” category. A well deserved honor recognizing 4 decades of music. Previously, Babjak was inducted into the White Castle Cravers’ Hall of Fame for The Smithereens’ rendition of the Jim Babjak/Bob Banta composition “White Castle Blues.” Along with his bandmates, he is also an honorary member of the Long Island Music Hall of Fame.

Recent Smithereens’ releases include the COVERS album on CD and red vinyl, featuring 22 of the band’s favorite songs first recorded by other artists. A limited edition vinyl 45 of “Love Me Do” b/w “P.S. I Love You” featuring The Beatles’ session drummer, the late Andy White, released on the band’s own Tollie label. A green vinyl holiday 45, with the Babjak-penned “Christmas Morning” b/w “’Twas the Night Before Christmas.”

In 2020, Babjak, along with Danny Alderman and Kurt Reil, released the debut CD from The BAR, a side project featuring songs the trio previously recorded.

In December of 2021, The Smithereens were the inaugural act at the grand opening of the state-of-the-art URSB Carteret Performing Arts and Events Center in their New Jersey hometown. Currently, they are featured in the Grammy Museum in Newark in the “New Jersey Legends” exhibit.


In August of 2022, entrepreneur Jim launched Babjax Coffee, featuring his own blends of premium roasted coffee. And in September of 2022, The Smithereens released The Lost Album, featuring 12 previously unreleased songs recorded in the fall of 1993, featuring Babjak, Dennis Diken, Mike Mesaros, and the late Pat DiNizio, a remastered Christmas with The Smithereens on green vinyl and CD. And a solo Christmas offering from Babjak, “It’s Love on Christmas Day” b/w “Christmas Eve, Without Your Love” on 7” vinyl.


Moving forward and against all odds, even the Covid pandemic, Jim Babjak and The Smithereens have resumed a busy concert schedule with new songs in the works for 2023. The adventure continues!

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Jim Babjak: @jimbabjak

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November 2022

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