Southside Johnny Lyons and the Smithereens will be inducted into the New Jersey Hall of Fame in October. NJ arts.net reported other inductees this year also includes author and television personality Martha Stewart, Game Of Thrones novelist George R.R. Martin, former Giants linebacker Harry Carson, Seinfeld star Jason Alexander, and Jaws author Peter Benchley.
The other 2019 inductees are Star-Ledger sports columnist Jerry Izenberg, photographer Timothy White, restaurateur and Holiday Express founder Tim McLoone, gymnast Laurie Hernandez, and the late-basketball player and coach Anne Donovan.
Southside Johnny said in a statement: “I’d rather be in the New Jersey Hall of Fame than in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, because at least I know the people care about me here. I just wish it came with a check.”
Sadly the Smithereens' guiding force and songwriter Pat DiNizio died on December 12th, 2017 at the age of 62. Smithereens drummer Dennis Diken said of the Hall of Fame honor, “Being recognized by the friends and fans of the state that bred us means the world to us.”
The band's guitarist Jim Babjak added: “As a lifelong resident, I am honored to represent New Jersey on behalf of all the hard working, talented, and passionate musicians of our great state.”
Southside Johnny made his bones in the bars and clubs of the Jersey shore with the likes of Bruce Springsteen and Steve Van Zandt. We recently asked him if he's still as close to his hometown gang as he's been in the past. He said: “Unfortunately, we're all kinda grown up, with all the family obligations, and we live in different places. And it's not so much you drift apart, as you just don't have the opportunity to see each other as you did. I see Jon (Bon Jovi) a lot more than I see Bruce, but I see Garry (Tallent) all the time. But everybody gets along, and we're always glad to see each other. We just did a thing down in Asbury Park and it was great to see everybody.”