The Punk Vault

The New Cars?!

OK, now I think I really have seen it all. A friend of mine emailed me the other day and I also just saw an actual video of “The New Cars” on VH1 Classic (a channel I didn’t even know about, let alone know I had until another friend told me she watches it all the time). This is perhaps even more pathetic than “The Doors” featuring Ian Astbury playing the part of Jim Morrison. This new band has only the keyboard player and one guitar player from the original band! Did any of those guys write or sing the old songs?! I was never a big Cars fan to begin with so aside from Ric Ocasek (who recorded one of the best hardcore albums of all time, Bad Brains Rock for Light, only to revisit it and completely ruin it 15 years later) I don’t know the names of the other original members. Maybe someone can fill me in by leaving a comment.

They are touring with Blondie, who I guess refuses to let a third of the original band play with them. That’s another story I’m curious to hear the history on.


  • I heard that Ric Ocasek gave his blessing to this version of the Cars. Todd Rungren is singing for them.

    I don’t know the entire story on the Blondie thing, but the guys not in the band are suing the others in the band. One of the guys asked Debbie Harry, on stage at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, if they could all play together. She said, “No, my band is set up to play” and the other guy said “Your band? I thought Blondie was being inducted.” Pretty funny stuff.

  • They cut the Blondie discussion out of the TV broadcast-that’s so VH-1.

    MXV-Dave Robinson was the drummer of The Cars-MIA?

    I can’t believe Ric is blessing this-it will suck big time!

  • I am watching it now on my tivo and they didnt’ cut it out. It was before “Call me” that the part was place in.

  • Alright, seems I’ve got to set things straight about The Cars vs. “The New Cars.”

    The original Cars lineup never changed and was:

    Ric Ocasek – Vocals, Rhythm Guitar
    Benjamin Orr – Vocals, Bass
    Elliot Easton – Lead Guitar
    Greg Hawkes – Keyboards
    David Robinson – Drums

    I, for one, liked The Cars first two albums, “The Cars” and “Candy-O” but gave up after the inevitable slide into 80’s schmaltz.

    Benjamin Orr is indeed dead. He sang “Drive” and “Just What I Needed” among others. Elliot Easton is one of the greatest “in the pocket” lead guitar players of all time. Ric Ocasek married supermodel Paulina Porizkova and went on to ruin the Bad Brains album “Rock for Light”. The other two are musical obscurities, at best.

    As for “The New Cars” (ack!), the lineup is:

    Todd Rundgren: Vocals, guitars
    Elliot Easton: Guitars, vocals
    Greg Hawkes: Keyboards
    Kasim Sulton: Bass, vocals
    Prairie Prince: Drums

    Todd is definitely NOT god. Elliot Easton should be ashamed of himself. Greg Hawkes doesn’t matter. Kasim Sulton is a hired gun who’s played with Utopia (Rundgren’s band) as well as Meatloaf, Joan Jett, Patti Smith, and Elton John. And finally, Prairie Prince I actually respect. He is the drummmer from The Tubes and he’s played with other greats such as: Brian Eno, David Byrne, XTC, Tom Waits, Dick Dale, Jerry Harrison.

    As for Blondie, here’s a decent article that explains the situation:

    That is all.

  • just saw a Late Late (CBS) spot with this lineup. Only recognized Todd at first. Listening, I kept thinking it had a Cars sound about it at first. I was wondering why he (Todd R.) couldn’t surprise me with something more retro… like back to his ‘Nazz’ era with this kind of backup. Then I recognized Elliot Easton doing an extended riff… this guy rules.

    ? New Cars ? Elliot Easton can add the chops to any project he is associated with, but this line up and concept needs to break away from trying to recreate the Cars, IMO.

    Back it up a decade and drop some acid, I think they have a chance!!

    (and re: “Doors reunion” thing, that was much sadder than this. And a different mountain to clime as well. Robbie Krieger was trill on.)

  • I cant believe this BS I’m reading in this chain. To begin with, it’s not the Cars. it’s the NEW CARS. It’s more an homage to the original. After listening to the new single… things sound pretty darn good. They are as tight as the original ever was. Second, Rundgren is the only artist, despite his ego and tendency to go off the deep end, that can pull this off. If you compare Ocasek to Rundgren in terms of artistic ability and accomplishments then you need to “go to school”. Rundgren is one of the greatest behind the scenes, cutting edge producers in existance. And finally, you are right about one thing. Todd is not God, but he’s the right guy for this.

    One more thing… you guys aren’t qualified to be this cynical. Be excited about this encarnation. It’s about time something come down the pike that’s interesting instead of allowing the “so-called” creatives from hip hop steal and or resample everything. Wake up, get on board. You’re all starting to sound like your fathers.


  • dbggity does little to defend the actual musical expression that is being offered up by this New Cars project… seems more impressed with credentials than analysing the creative presentation. I haven’t heard enough yet, but what I see in the set lists, it’s obviously an attempt at this point to re-create the old tunes. (Speculation… the one tune I saw on CBS was one of the few new ones… “Not Tonight”?)

    I recognize the talent gathered here, and while aspects of technical execution may be excellent, missing the unique vocal qualities that were Ocasek and Orr dooms this to a second rate experience for me, at least where they plan to cover original Cars numbers. That said, second rate could have some value over no chance of recreating some Cars magic. If their goal was to find that path, casting for some better vocal matching should have factored in their plans. (and I haven’t heard them even try yet, but I can’t “hear” Todd pulling this off! I’ll return and eat my words if proved wrong.)

    My post left hope that a new path could be explored here… considering the potential on the table. Elliot Easton rates the possibility of major mayhem within any jam, I would count on that at minimum. But the project will not likely find the unique quirkiness of the original Cars, and I can’t see where the name “New Cars” serves much purpose beyond marketing considerations. Maybe they will jump start things with the old stuff and find their way to new ground.

    I hope to catch the tour, and will get what I can from it.

    dbggity, loose the blinders, this ain’t no pep rally.


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