The mission of this blog is to honor, non-commercially promote, and educate the world about Benjamin Orr, former bass player and one of the lead vocalists for the new wave rock band, The Cars. Articles here cover a whole range of topics surrounding his life, his career, and his continuing legacy. Enjoy!
On singing Ric Ocasek’s lyrics for “Drive”: “Sometimes, with the way he writes, you’re conscious about doing a lyric in a particular way. At times it just comes off so naturally you don’t have to even think about it. It just sort of comes out of your mouth. It just flows. ‘Drive’ was that kind of natural thing. We heard the song on tape and he said, ‘Do you want to try it?’ I said, ‘Yeah.’ So I went out there and tried it and it just came off. We really didn’t have to think about it. It happened right there. That’s the really weird thing about it; it was one of the easiest ones.” — The Cars by Peter Goddard and Philip Kamin, 1986
“I honestly cannot recall how Ben was originally exposed to ‘River of Fire.’ I only heard one early demo of the song, and I remember that some of the lyrics had been changed but I didn’t care, I was just thrilled that Ben Orr was singing one of my songs!
I did meet Ben years later when I was with Styx and his Big People band was touring with us. I had a couple opportunities to have a conversation with him and it was a big deal for me because I always thought Ben was very cool.” — Glen Burtnik, co-writer of “River of Fire (recorded for Benjamin’s unreleased second solo album),” Standing Room Only, January 28, 2015
Our 23rd episode, recorded on the 23rd of February… it’s time to get nerdy!
Dave and Donna take a look at some of the written material floating around related to The Cars. This is by no means an exhaustive list, but the biggies are covered, with mentions of tour books, sheet music, liner notes, and appearances in compilations.
They also discuss the unique and rare offerings of Ric Ocasek, as well as the probability of Joe Milliken’s biography about Benjamin coming out in 2018 (click here to message Joe and get on his mailing list).
During the discussion Dave shares a recent email conversation he had with Luis Aira, director of the elusive film Chapter X (among his many other amazing accomplishments), and reveals some inside information Mr. Aira dropped about other never-released projects he worked on with Ric. (Read Standing Room Only‘s article about Luis Aira and his involvement with The Cars here.) Donna plots a chance ‘run in’ with Ric in order to get her hands on all of the hidden stuff that you just KNOW is in that vault of his.
The Midnight Scroll is saved from further colonoscopy PSAs by the emails of three of our favorite listeners: Harold, Kurt, and L. Glenn Douché (pronounced “doo-shay” — it’s French). Dave still manages to get his spam in there, but Harold saves the segment by sparking a quick discussion about Ric’s solo CDs, and Kurt gets the Cleveland vibes going with some great ideas for honoring the band during the RRHOF induction weekend. And uh, L. Glenn… keep us posted on how that Go Fund Me campaign works out for you.
Dave and Donna close out the episode by picking the winner of the ‘Benjamin Orr swag’ giveaway from episode 22… Congratulations to Beta Sanchez for sending in the right answer! The generous Kurt Gaber will be in touch with you to get your prize to you. Enjoy, Beta, and thanks for listening!
Click below to hear Episode 23, and be sure to subscribe, comment and share. Follow Dave (@night_spots) and Donna (@sweetpurplejune) on Twitter, too! Oh, and don’t forget to send your questions for the ‘Midnight Scroll’ to firstname.lastname@example.org. Also, join The Cars NiGHT THOUGHTS Podcast group for all of the little extra uploads you’ll hear about in the show.
“‘We all know him to be a proud, unpleasant sort of man; but this would be nothing if you really liked him.’
‘I do, I do like him,’ she replied, with tears in her eyes, ‘I love him. Indeed he has no improper pride. He is perfectly amiable. You do not know what he really is; then pray do not pain me by speaking of him in such terms.'”
Dave and Donna are thrilled to welcome a very special guest to the show: Kurt Gaber!
Kurt is a talented lettering and graphic sign creator from Wisconsin. A long-time member of the Fanorama, Kurt is probably best known for the AMAZING limited edition Benjamin Orr memorial shirts he designed in 2012. Diving into that adventure brought him in contact with photographer Philip Kamin, Boston guitarist Barry Goudreau, and several other people from Benjamin’s life, and exposed Kurt to a new and unique perspective on Benjamin and The Cars.
What many might NOT know about Kurt is that he purchased one of Benjamin’s guitars from Benjamin’s former tour manager, David Tedeschi, in 2007. Through that transaction he developed a nice friendship with David, and was given a peek behind the scenes of the Orr band.
Kurt respectfully shares his memories and insights in this relaxed discussion. Pull up a chair and join the conversation, my friends!
We’ve got an extra twist to this fun episode: Kurt has graciously offered to give away a bit of the crazy-cool Orr memorabilia he has created! Follow these easy instructions to get yourself entered into the drawing:
1. Listen to Episode 22 at bit.do/NTcontest to get the answer to this question: “Kurt made his guitar-playing debut at a backyard barbecue. What song did he play on Benjamin’s guitar?”
2. Email your answer to email@example.com.
3. A winner will be drawn from all correct answers. ORR SWAG courtesy of Kurt!
4. Winner announced on Episode 23 (on or about February 24th, 2018).
On why it took him awhile to put out a solo album: “I was tied up with other personal things, you know, around the house. I just took my time, I wanted to do it right. You know, it’s a pretty scary thing to do it for the first time and you want to make sure everything falls into place so I took a little extra time this time.” — Line One radio interview, November 1986