Through it all, the Smithereens have maintained a busy performing schedule, preserving their reputation as one of rock's hardest-working live bands, and continuing to thrill the devoted fan base that's stuck with them over the years. "These days, the band is playing as well as we've ever played, with more focus and moreintensity," DiNizio asserts, adding, "We still feel like we have something to prove. We have to hit a grand slam every night, and we have to be twice as good as bands half our age. And we've got this body of work that spans over 30 years, so we'll play at least two, two-and-a-half hours every night and bang through the songs like a freight train." The same qualities that have endeared the Smithereens to their fans over the years—andallowed the band to outlast the various fads and trends have come and gone during thattime—are prominent on Smithereens 2011, which marks the beginning of an exciting new phase for the band. "We really played our hearts out when we recorded these songs, and I think that that comes across on the album," Diken says. "We have a lot of fans who've been with us since the beginning. But I've also been amazed at how many people at our recent shows have told us that they were seeing us for the first time. I think that this record will speak to both generations." "One of the beautiful things about this new record is that now, in the current music- industry environment, we can do exactly what we want to do," DiNizio states. "Radio as we knew it in 1986 no longer exists, so we don't have to think about making things acceptable for the radio. The rulebook has been thrown away, which liberates us to just make the records that we want to hear. That's basically what we've always done, but now the gloves are really off."
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