New Jersey Stage

Friday, August 5, 2011

Morris Museum presents Smithereens Drummer Dennis Diken with Bell Sound: Groovin': A Musical Journey of Stories and Sounds

(Morristown, NJ) - Carteret, NJ native and noted music historian Dennis Diken, drummer and founding member of The Smithereens, will present a unique concert/discussion at the Morris Museum's Bickford Theatre on Saturday, August 20 at 8:00 pm. Diken will share his memories of growing up in New Jersey, "when rock & roll ruled our lives, and I wanted nothing more than to play in a band!" Concert tickets include pre-performance admission to the exhibition Jersey Rocks: A History of Rock & Roll in the Garden State. Tickets are $25 ($20 for museum members). Please call the box office: 973.971.3706.

About Dennis Diken and Bell Sound

Diken will provide concert-goers with a verbal "peek" behind the scenes, with lore about the inspiration and creation of some of his favorite records. Music will be provided by Dennis Diken with Bell Sound including music from the acclaimed album "Late Music" (listen/view a sample at Late Music Sampler) along with other tuneful selections to help illustrate the stories and discussion. The band will take questions and the evening should offer some surprises.

Diken is a founding member of the Smithereens and Dennis Diken with Bell Sound, whose album Late Music garnered these comments from critic Ken Tucker of NPR: "The album features some awfully pretty music that echoes the past while sounding new and fresh and
vibrant…it's as though he's writing impeccable sonnets with his drums and his singing."

Powerpopaholic described Late Music as "...a love letter to the golden age of rock." Bell Sound includes fellow New Jerseyans Dave Amels (keyboards), Chris Bolger (guitar), Steve Gaechter (keyboards),Michael Jodry (guitar), and Peter Kohman (bass). All songs on the album were written by Diken and Pete DiBella, also from the Garden State.

In addition to playing for 31 years with New Jersey band The Smithereens, Diken has drummed on gigs or sessions with Nancy Sinatra, Bruce Springsteen, The Beach Boys, Joan Jett, Ronnie Spector, Brian Wilson, Darlene Love, Mary Weiss and Ben E. King. Diken wrote liner notes, essays and created CD compilations for albums by The Four Seasons, Lovin' Spoonful, Louis Prima, The Beach Boys, The Four Freshmen, and Joe Meek. He has had articles published in USA Today and EQ Magazine and has contributed to The Billboard Encyclopedia of Record Producers.

About Jersey Rocks: A History of Rock and Roll in the Garden State
It's a summer of rock & roll at the Morris Museum as the Jersey Rocks exhibition continues through September 5, 2011. Jersey Rocks: A History of Rock and Roll in the Garden State features musicians, concert venues, events, DJs, critics and fans – everything that made up the world of New Jersey rock & roll. Here in the Garden State, a unique mix of performers and places, technology and talent created sounds that would dominate the airwaves and rock the nation. Visitors will explore rock & roll's rise in the 1950s, '60s, and '70s, when the state was fertile ground for the new sound—and then will see how the beat changed, and rock splintered.

The Morris Museum is an award-winning, community-based arts and cultural institution which serves the public through the presentation of high caliber permanent and changing exhibitions in the arts, sciences and humanities. The Museum also offers educational programs, family events, and is home to the Bickford Theatre and its wide range of performing arts offerings.

Continuously serving the public since 1913, the Morris Museum has been designated a Major Arts Institution and has received the New Jersey State Council on the Arts' Citation of Excellence, among other awards. This exhibition was made possible, in part, by funds from the Pascarella Group of Wells Fargo, New Jersey Historical Commission, New Jersey State Council on the Arts/Department of State, a Partner Agency of the National Endowment for the Arts; the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation; the F.M. Kirby Foundation and private donations. The Star-Ledger is the print media sponsor.

The Museum is located at 6 Normandy Heights Road (at the corner of Columbia Turnpike) in Morristown, NJ, and is open Wednesday, Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Thursday, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.; and Sunday, 1-5 p.m. Admission to the museum is $10 for adults and $7 for children, students and senior citizens. Admission is always free for museum members and is free to the public every Thursday between 5 and 8 p.m. For more information, call 973-971-3700, or visit