Pat DiNizio has big plans for the house in Scotch Plains that he grew up in, and that served as rehearsal headquarters for his band The Smithereens in their early days. He wants to convert the building, built in 1863 at 1578 Front St., into a non-profit center that would serve a variety of purposes.
It would be a venue for house concerts and free shows for autistic and special needs children, wounded warriors, military veterans and others. It would also be a place to display memorabilia related to The Smithereens and other rock bands.
“I can’t bear the thought of a developer coming in, knocking down my old family home and building condos there,” he said in a press release.“I would like to create a living, ongoing testament to the body of work, music and career of The Smithereens, who spent six years developing our sound and style in the basement. I also want to create a New Jersey rock ’n’ roll museum/hall of fame there to honor the many great artists who came out of The Garden State, both the famous and the unsung heroes.”
Needless to say, it will cost a lot of money to buy the house and get it ready for such an endeavor, and DiNizio has started a GoFundMe campaign for fans who would like to contribute. The goal is $329,900; if the goal is not reached, donors will get their money back. For more information, visit the project’s GoFundMe.com page.
Here is DiNizio’s complete message from the GoFundMe page:
A few weeks ago I posted an idea I had about purchasing the old DiNizio family residence (built 1863) here in my hometown of Scotch Plains, New Jersey with the intention of restoring this historic vintage home and converting it into a non-profit house concert venue to benefit autistic and special needs children, wounded warriors and other veterans as well as other charitable organizations — I taught music to autistic and special needs kids at a private school on the upper West side of Manhattan for awhile about a decade ago and I think that we might be able to do something similar here.
I would like to create a living and ongoing testament to the body of work, music and career of The Smithereens who spent 6 years developing our sound and style in the basement of the house we used to live in. I would also like to use this historic home to create a New Jersey Rock and Roll museum/hall of fame to honor the lives, work and achievements of the many great musical artists who came out of the Garden State, both the famous as well as the unsung New Jersey heroes of Rock and Roll whom deserve greater recognition during their lifetime but never received it.
This is the Go Fund Me page to raise money for a cash deal to purchase the home outright and create incentive to also raise money for the necessary repairs and restoration of this historic structure. I believe that this is one of those great inspired ideas that on many levels is too important to walk away from.
Based on my initial posting several weeks ago, I was heartened to see that many of you feel the same as I do. We are not looking to do a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame per say but more like an “Our Town” slice of unique small town Americana that not only reminds us of who we are, where we came from, why we love Rock and Roll, but will also help others as we move forward. Please post here to let us know how we can make this happen — the raising of funds is a time critical issue for this project and if you are onboard please help us spread the word. Everything will be above board and transparent on this non-profit venture and will be made available to anyone who wishes to see it.
We do hope that you will join us in making this Rock and Roll dream a reality!