“It’s Love on Christmas Day:” Smithereens’ Jim Babjak on New Song
Christmas has always meant a lot to the Smithereen. Last year he released a beautiful song called “Christmas Morning” written by Jim Babjak and featuring the original four band members, including Pat DiNizio, who died in 2017.
This year Babjak wrote a new season song titled “It’s love on Christmas day” which we discussed both on New Jersey 101.5 and via email.
What inspired you for “It’s Love on Christmas Day”
âI wrote this in 1995. The key phrase is,â And Jesus can’t be bought and sold today. âThis was inspired by the marketing of Christmas and people strolling aimlessly through malls in looking for trash to buy for their friends and family. Being fair to my loved ones is all I need. Maybe, some homemade cookies. Okay, wine too. “
This comes after the release of “Christmas Morning” last year. What is so dear to your heart at Christmas?
âChristmas for me is always a special day to be with your loved ones and reflect on all the positive things in our life. Be grateful and spread love. I think about the times when it was hard for me, but never show it “.
What was it like growing up spending Christmas in Carteret? What are your best memories?
âGrowing up in Carteret, I remember my parents having big parties on Christmas Eve and my mother cooking a feast. My friends were always welcome! Then we ended the evening by going to midnight mass in our church. “
Kurt Reil from The Grip Weeds co-produced it with you. You work a lot together. What does he bring out in you?
âKurt is great at letting me know if I’m lazy. He forces me the best performances. He’s also meticulous with every aspect of the recording. After all, whatever I record will be there forever long after I’m done. faded away”.
On the other hand, you take love the other way around with “Christmas Eve Without Your Love”. How did you come to write this?
âIt came to me as pure fiction. I started writing it as the story of a failed relationship over Christmas time with the character regretting the breakup. I think that’s one of. my best vocal performances. It captures a heartfelt, sad emotion. These types of songs seem to help the listener who may be going through difficult times. “
Have you ever had a loveless New Year’s Eve?
“Always with love”
What’s the best Christmas you’ve ever had?
“It will always be next.”
What would your Christmas wish be for New Jersey?
âLower my property taxes so I can stay in NJ when I’m a grandpa! I love this state and don’t want to go anywhere else.â
Jim’s new Christmas record comes after a period of sadness and ultimately a triumph for the Smithereens. Following the untimely death of singer Pat DiNizio in 2017, the founding members – Jim Babjak, Dennis Diken and Mike Mesaros – decided to continue their musical legacy shared with guest singers including Marshall Crenshaw, Susan Cowsill of The Cowsills and Robin Wilson of Gin Flowers.
In 2019, the Smithereens were honored by the Grammy Museum in the New Jersey Legends exhibit and inducted into the New Jersey Hall of Fame. And now, in 2021, they’re celebrating their 41st anniversary as a band, with new music and more tours coming in 2022.
“It’s Love on Christmas Day” backed by “Christmas Eve, Without Your Love” was released on the Smithereens own label Tollie Records. The limited edition 7 “vinyl 45 rpm single is available through Smithereens store.
The above post reflects the thoughts and observations of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Steve Trevelise. All opinions expressed are those of Steve. Steve Trevelise is on New Jersey 101.5 Monday through Thursday 7pm to 11pm. Follow him on twitter @realstevetrev.