Meet the New Cars, not the same as the old Cars

”Hello… Hello again.” I enjoyed the Cars the first time around — they were the shiniest, most purely enjoyable of American new wave bands — but I have mixed feelings about their latest incarnation as the New Cars. Guess the names ”Used Cars” and ”Reconditioned Cars” weren’t as marketable, though they may have been more accurate.

Guitarist Elliot Easton and keyboardist Greg Hawkes are the only two original members remaining (original frontman Ric Ocasek and drummer David Robinson are sitting this one out, and singer/bassist Ben Orr died in 2000), and they’re joined by fellow middle-aged rockers Todd Rundgren and Kasim Sulton of Utopia and Prairie Prince of the Tubes. (Remember the Tubes? Now, there’s a band I’d like to see reunited.)

I suppose I should be excited by the prospect of a tour in May and June (opening for Blondie) and a new album (It’s Alive, due May 9), but I can’t help but feel that, like the new Van Halen or new Doors, the new Cars should have stayed in the garage.


Comments (10 total) Add your comment
  • Joe C

    I’m with you; without Ric Ockasek, who wrote all of their songs, and Ben orr, who sang quite a few, what’s the point. Now, I’d STILL love to see Diamond Dave and Van Halen again. Who cares if he’s bald?

  • Stephanie

    Exactly. Orr and Ockasek were the voices of the group. I love Rungrens voice but him as a front man does not feel right.

  • Tommy G.

    The Cars were a fantastic album band (I still regularly listed to their CDs), but they were AWFUL live. They just stood there and played – didn’t move, didn’t chat up the crowd…they may as well had been robots. So I’m not so sure I’d pay good money to see them again, albeit 20 years later. Still, I might have to check out the album, for old times sake.

  • James J
  • Esther Kustanowitz

    I always thought it would be a great idea to have The Cars cover Gary Neuman’s “Cars.” Very meta. Which is totally in these days.

  • Jesse

    I saw them On Leno Tuesday night. Honestly, they were just like a cover band singing “Let the Good Times Roll”. I’d be curious to hear some of their new stuff.

  • Baboonhead

    I’d hold off on being so close minded about this. You guys sound like a bunch of close minded old fuddy duddies saying “Well it just ain’t the same, the magics gone” Thats bull! I’ve heard a bit of The New Car’s new single ‘Not Tonight’ and it rocks! Its pure cars, and actually sounds better than a lot of the early original Cars stuff. It’s a great tune, and wouldn’t sound any different with Ocasek. As for “They sounded like a bar band” what crap! They played live on the stage without a million horns, and samples! Thats how most bands sound without production, and The Cars were always heavily produced. These guys played honestly and sounded like a much younger band! “Whats the point?” is the insipid mantra of close minded old men!

  • J-Roo

    Check out the video for the News Cars single “Not Tonight”. You may be pleasantly surprised.

  • rcamp

    Agree with Tommy G about the Cars live…they were bad. However, with the addition of Todd Rundgren I believe they will be awesome live. So, I intend to check it out!
    The songs are just toooooo good!

  • Tuddy

    The Cars are not the Cars without Ric, Ben, and David. I’ll admit the New Cars aren’t too bad, but you just can’t reinvent the original sound of those five people put together. You can never bring back the Cars’ magic in this life time.

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