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- Posted on May 11th 2011 1:00PM by Dan Reilly
But, as the band realized, life is too short to hold grudges. Ocasek reconvened the group in 2010 and from the first session, the bad blood was a thing of the past. And rather than become "some nostalgia thing," the Cars recorded 'Move Like This,' an LP that fits right in alongside the classic cuts of their '80s heyday.
Spinner recently caught up with Ocasek to discuss the album, the band's upcoming tour and how they've moved on from Orr's Death.
What can fans expect from your live show?
Well, a lot of songs. It'll be just the four of us, obviously. We're not going to have anybody else. It'll be fun because [the tour] is short and sweet and smaller venues, and we feel like doing it.
Why did you decide to just go out with four members?
I didn't think Ben was replaceable. It just wouldn't have been us. I couldn't imagine having another member and calling it the Cars, having an outside person to do singing or bass playing. It just did not feel right. Greg [Hawkes, keyboardist] can play bass, Elliot [Easton, guitarist] can play bass. We can get a bass. We can't get the voice. I'll obviously have to sing everything but I don't have any problem with that because I wrote everything anyway. I thought it would be more of a distraction. Bringing anyone in, there wouldn't be the same sense of humor, the same history. It would be like having a hired hand and I just didn't think we needed to.
Were there any moments during the recording where you specifically felt Ben's absence?
Most certainly. Especially when he didn't sing half the songs and I had to do it all [laughs]. I was like, "Whoa, I have to do that. I forgot about that part." I remember the first day we started rehearsing to do the record -- "Oh, yeah, somebody's missing. It's Ben. He's missing. It's just the four of us now." We didn't dwell on it or harp on it but everybody felt that "Oh, gosh, yeah, it's just the four of us now."
Is this album a tribute to him?
I would have to say no. We love him but we didn't do a tribute. I did a song for him, 'Silver,' on one of my solo albums, 'Nexterday.' I wrote a thing about him which was pretty autobiographical.
Is there an overall theme on the album? It seems like it's about coming to terms with where you're at in life and looking into the future.
That's perfect. That's what it was. It was a lot of "What's going on in the world today?" Maybe even a little sarcastic, weird look at it. It was just what I was feeling these days, this year. Just a bit about the times.
Is that what the song 'Blue Tip' is about?
Yeah, it's funny. The world's full of quackers. There's a lot of quackers out there. "Stroking all the gunheads," "Stupefying the thinkers." It's like a big ball of junk mail.
When you were writing these songs, what made you realize these were Cars songs and not solo songs?
That's a question I often get and I have to say, there is no difference except when you play it with the Cars, it's better [laughs]. I never thought of it as two different entities. Any song I've ever written could be a Cars song, or it could be a song that I did with some other people or myself. They're all just songs and you could pick any one and do it with the Cars and it would sound like a Cars song because the Cars, the people who are in the band, are unique and capable people on their own. And when you add their strengths to the whole thing, it's going to come out like that. That's something I didn't even have to re-realize. When those guys are in the room, that's what you're going to get. That's hard to get.
It sounds like there was no awkwardness or tension during the recording.
No, there wasn't any at all. We're way past all that. There's no time for any of those. The awkwardness was around when the New Cars came out, like weird stuff like that when people were doing it for the wrong reasons, but not when we were together. On this, it wasn't a thing of coming together and seeing if we were going to argue because we wouldn't have. If there had been any kind of tension on the first day I would have stopped it. And there wasn't. It was just the same old comic relief.
People will probably respond to that, that you're together and not some nostalgia act.
As much as you can't avoid it, I'm trying to stay away from a nostalgia thing. I'm not going out on a nostalgia tour. I'm not cashing in on the ships in the summer. I'm not going out with a lot of '80s bands. I'm trying to make a new record that I think is pretty exciting for us. We had a good time making it.
'Sad Song' has some depressing lyrics but upbeat music. What inspired it?
That song's a little bit topical, I guess. The lyrics in the song, it's all about "heartache's waiting to strike" and "too many screamers wearing a mask," which is all kind of a sad scenario. But it's got happy music and a happy melody. It's almost like 'Just What I Needed,' where you're looking for someone to bleep and you don't realize the song is not really that positive. Sometimes it's just subconsciously things pull you in. It can be a sad song that pulls you in subconsciously. The lyrics to 'Sad Song' are a sad state of affairs and you just get pulled along with them all. Maybe it's media, maybe it's the general ambiance of life.
Why did you title the album 'Move Like This'?
Because I thought it was funny [laughs]. It's also one of the lyrics in one of the songs. There was a bunch of titles in mind for this, but to me, I thought it was funny because 'Move Like This' is like "Move like what? You want me to move like what?" It's like hearing somebody on the radio saying "If you move like this..." you have to imagine what it is you're moving like. It's funny to hear that rather than actually seeing it.
Also, the Cars, we didn't move much onstage. I never thought of myself as an entertainer and I never thought that doing a lot of fake moves was the way to go. Some people are good at that. If was going to be a good mover, I'd want to move like Iggy, somebody who is good at performing. I just never wanted to dance much. I was just hoping someone would dance to the music.
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