Take a look under the hood and youll see its The New Cars, featuring
original Cars Elliot Easton and Greg Hawkes (guitar and keyboards,
respectively), with Todd Rundgren and Kasim Sulton channeling Ric Ocasek
and the late Ben Orr. Tubes drummer Prairie Prince, whos also spent time
with Todd and Jefferson Starship/Airplane, keeps the motor humming.
The New Cars make their Michigan debut Tuesday, Nov. 28 at the Kewadin
Casino in St. Ignace. They were scheduled to play this summer at DTE
Energy Music Theater in Clarkston on a double bill with Blondie, but just
days before the show the tour bus was involved in an accident and Easton
broke his arm.
The New Cars developed from the desire of Easton and Hawkes to return to
those thrilling days of yesteryear, when Lets Go and You Might Think
were blasting out of radios nationwide. For those who cant get enough of
those days, the recent release of the live DVD/CD set Unlocked provides
a glimpse and a listen to the band in its heyday.
Many of The Cars 20 Top-40 hits are represented in vintage performances,
from packed club gigs in the 70s to sold-out arena shows in the 80s,
with backstage, interview, and rehearsal footage. Former bandleader Ocasek
personally compiled and produced Unlocked, spending over three years
distilling hundreds of hours of footage from his personal archive. The
results show a band that worked hard, yet enjoyed itself, which wasnt
necessarily in evidence when the band was riding high in the 80s. Its a
fascinating and enjoyable ride.
But that was then, and this is now. So how do you go about resurrecting a
band thats been on the shelf for 20 years? Easton has been quoted as
saying, We are approaching this as if we are a brand new band, it just so
happens that we have an incredible amount of great music in the trunk to
take along for the ride.
Not only does the band have the Cars body of work to lean on, but the new
band debuted three new songs on Its Alive, and the group also draws on
Rundgrens work, going all the way back to Open My Eyes from the Nazz,
Rundgrens voice does bring to mind a deeper version of Ocasek. And the
twin guitar attack of Rundgren and Easton is at least as powerful as that
of the Cars in its prime. But where that band was viewed right or wrong as
Ocaseks mouthpiece, the new version is much more democratic.
But how does it sound? Its Alive shows off a band thats tight, musical
and muscular, more so than the original. Cars fans and Todd fans alike can
enjoy the music and groove on the ride.
One caveat to the Kewadin show: Sulton will be replaced by Atom Ellis, who
is guesting on several concerts, while Kaz tours with Meat Loaf, for whom
he is musical director.
For tickets ($38.50), contact the casino at www.kewadin.com.