Lyrics: Do You Know What It Feels Like

Do You Know What It Feels Like (written by Benjamin Orr and John Kalishes ©1993)


No surprise, I got your call; there’s no regrets, we’ve said it all

Do you know what it feels like?

Guess you can’t go back again, so very hard to watch you act, my friend

Do you know what it feels like?

And so… a time to let go and see how it flows without you.


You lose a lead, a broken car, you drop a beat and there you are

Do you know what it feels like?

It’s said and done, now I’m the one who pulls the strings so dance for me

Do you know what it feels like?

And so… a time to let go and take to the road without you.


You know your looking glass has frozen me

And you know I’m not where I used to be

The tables have turned and the bridges have been burned


So in the end the truth rings true after all I’ve learned from you

Do you know what it feels like?

And so… it’s time to let go and see how it flows…

And so… I take to the road and see how it goes without you


I found a couple different versions of this song; the lyrics I typed here go with this recording below. The image in the video is deceptive; this is *not* a Milkwood song.

Here’s the other studio recording I found; some slight variations in the lyrics:



37 thoughts on “Lyrics: Do You Know What It Feels Like

    1. Sorry I didn’t get back to you sooner — glad you got it figured out!
      Yes, it is my belief that this song is about the end of his friendship with Ric. There are several lines that really seem to point to it. Breaks my heart… but I am optimistic that Benjamin didn’t hold a grudge until the end; I think he was really a peacemaker at heart.

      Liked by 4 people

      1. Perhaps we should or could surmise Benjamin was not an aggressor but a non-violent pacifist type. Problem is, while he may not have openly shown any acrimony or bitterness, his pain at the loss of his band,may have been turned inward and manifested in self-destructive or pain driven actions. My heart breaks for him. The break-up of the Cars destroyed him, I believe.
        I must say post Cars saw him writing some very, very good songs, whether on his own or in collaboration w/ Kalishes. “I AM” is a brilliantly constructed & powerful song!

        Liked by 4 people

      2. I read somewhere that he told one of the big people band members that he was at peace with the world. This was said about a year before he passed.

        Liked by 2 people

  1. hey D!
    While I am here, does your info corroborate w/ mine that it was Benjamin who engineered or suggested the band get together for that last interview before he died?
    I know I read it somewhere but don’t know the facts & details of how that reunion came about..

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You know, I do think I read that, too, that it was his suggestion. I find it really difficult to get info about that interview; I can’t even find the exact date! I’ll continue to keep my eyes out for the details. Let me know if you come across anything more?

      Liked by 2 people

  2. okay, so I conducted a little search to satisfy our burning curiosity and need for fact. I forced myself to watch some of that last interview. I also read a June 9, 2011 Rolling Stone article and found that the interview happened in Atlanta. It was June of 2000. Brett Milano was the off-screen interviewer.
    The RS article I reference was written by David Fricke.
    The reunion interview was to be included on the DVD. As we know Benjamin lost his fight with Cancer on October 3 of that same year.
    I had only seen 5 minutes of that interview, as it was too painful to see Ben ravaged that way. I wanted to remember him as the vital, strong, beautiful human he was when healthy.
    So, anyway, I listened up to some of Part 3 and LOST IT!!!. I am afraid some of my pent up emotion about Ben’s unrealized international legacy sprang forth and I said some things on the subject.
    I don’t think I’ll watch the rest of it. No, on second thought I WILL. I need to see if Ric ever says what he has never said before. And that would be, “Thank you! Thank you Ben for your enormous contribution to our band. Thank you for sharing the amazing gift of your wonderful voice and thank you for lighting of the stage like a beacon and sharing your cool badass stage presence with us and the world. I owe you a debt of gratitude, cos I doubt I would have been as successful as I am today without your contribution to our band.
    Love ya, man”

    Liked by 4 people

  3. Love this song! Does make me feel sad though if it’s about how he felt at the end of The Cars and his musical partnership with Ric. Wish he’d felt more confident about his songwriting ability because he clearly had the talent and we may have had the privilege of a second solo album. Very much looking forward to Joe Milliken’s book

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thanks for commenting! It’s hard to say… there is so much that we don’t know about what went on behind the scenes. I choose to believe that whatever they went through for all of those years, amends were made before Benjamin died.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. Is this song available to purchase. I remember reading that Rid stated he started to drink pretty heavy. Also Benjamin asked Rid if Diane could write some music for the cars and he said no. I read that Rid did not like her.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. does so always break my heart to listen to this song. men have so much trouble talking to each other about emotional stuff. im glad Ben was able to convey his feelings in this song. i hope Ric listened to it alot and realized the amazing friendship he had from Ben. not too many people have a friend in their lives who is so true. i read Ric said some things not to nice regarding Ben in an interview not too long after Ben died. dont know what he said because the person on you-tube never wrote what Ric actually said. I can only say, shame on you Ric Ocassek, if that is true, seems to me Ben loved you like a brother and you tossed him aside. in my mind Ric writing Silver after Ben died was cowardly, should have told his friend he loved him while he could still hear it. Ric knew how much Ben loved being in the Cars and Ric broke his heart throwing the band away. its not like Ric got out of the music biz, he just got out of the Cars. to think of Ben having sadness or pain, hurts down to my soul.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thank you for sharing your thoughts. I agree; the reality of Benjamin hurting makes me ache so deeply. The thing I have to keep remembering is that we don’t know all of the details of what happened between those two, before or after the break up. I want to believe that they made amends at the end, and I do know that Ric has spoken very highly and respectfully of Ben in many, many interviews. I like to think that they were at peace with each other.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I sincerely hope they did too. Like you said, we really have no idea what was said and done between them, takes 2 to tango though so I’m sure it was not all one sided. It’s just when I think of Ben being hurt, even though I didn’t know him, everything I read and seeing him in interviews, I so wish I did. The mother bear thing comes out in me and I get protective, crazy huh, I’m sure you know how I feel. Thanks for getting back to me and keep up the awesome work with your site, we all love it so much.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Oh believe me, Sherry, I know exactly what you mean. I’m looking forward to Joe Milliken’s book about Ben; hoping it will shed some light on the subject. Thanks again for reading and commenting, and for your kind words about the blog. 🙂


    2. I’ve never heard Ric say one bad thing about Ben. I heard him mention that Ben had been drinking a little much during the last tour, and I think Diane made some reference to him drinking a little too much then, as well. If he was unhappy with his role in the band, it’s probably not inaccurate. I’ve never heard anyone say “drinking problem” or anything like that. But you know alcohol tends to elevate whatever mood you’re in, so again, if he was unhappy, the drinking may have been more noticeable. Especially since I’ve always heard people talk about him being such a happy, easygoing guy.

      I don’t know if Ben felt like he needed Ric, but I get the impression that he felt secure with him as a partner because he had the writing ability. But once Ben made his own record and had some success, and with his fiancee encouraging him, he probably felt like he could write too and maybe it was time for him to have a bigger part in The Cars. Ric disagreed. And I can see both sides of it. As a friend and longtime partner, Ben might have expected Ric to be more open to giving him a bigger role. I’m sure if he felt like Ric’s refusal meant that he didn’t believe in him, that would really hurt. But from Ric’s side, he might have felt like it was nothing personal, and that Ben’s sudden interest in writing (or using Diane’s songs) came out of nowhere. For 10 years, all the guys were content with Ric being in charge and that’s what got them to the top. He probably thought why change a winning formula at that late stage of the game? Some of the other guys might have felt the same way, too.

      It’s a shame because for as beautiful and talented as Ben was, I always felt from the way he spoke in interviews, etc. that he wasn’t really that confident. I think he knew how to act that way onstage, but that wasn’t who he really was.

      I like to think that Ben and Ric always considered themselves friends no matter what. I think when you go through all that struggling and then all that success with someone, they’ll always be important to you. I read something once (can’t remember where now) that Ric said he might have considered a reunion but Ben never called. People can get stubborn when they fall out, regardless of whose fault it was. Ben seemed like the type of guy who would keep things inside, so it’s possible that Ric never really knew what the problem was. And maybe he felt like Ben should be the one to reach out because he’d done nothing wrong. But for Ben I could see him feeling like the injured party, and that Ric had the “power.” Reaching out would’ve put him in a vulnerable position…kind of like how you shouldn’t call someone who broke up with you!

      We can all take our guesses but we’ll never know exactly what happened there. But I definitely don’t believe the “Ric is evil” narrative that I’ve seen floating around in the YouTube comments and such. I think Ric has always been upfront that he was controlling when it came to music, and after so many failed bands he decided he was doing it his way and that’s that. He got 4 guys to sign up with him to do that and they became huge. I’m sure there were some ego issues involved there, but I don’t believe Ric ever tried to hurt or undermine Ben. I think there are probably things they both wished they’d done differently. But from what I’ve heard, they did make up before Ben died. And I think you can see genuine love between them in that final interview.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. Re Ben never called for a reunion – from what I’ve seen repeatedly and I’m assuming is true, it was Ric’s decision to end the band, a band he AND Benjamin started. As such it would in fact be up to Ric to really get any reunion going. Otherwise it feels too much like Ric was expecting people to come crawling back to him(not saying he wanted that because I don’t even know if he really said that about not being called).

        It is also is my understanding, and again I could be wrong, but I’ve seen it repeated in various places, that the original idea was Ric and Benjamin would split the lead vocals, yet at no point except the first album was it even or nearly even. On the first album Ric sang 5 songs and Benjamin sang 4 so close enough, but after that the only other album it came even close to that was, ironically, the last album where he sang 4 1/2 out of 11 songs. One album he only had 2 1/2 lead vocals(I can’t remember off the top of my head which one), I think two others he had 3 leads.

        So he may have felt it fair to request that some of his songs have a chance to be on an album given his relative dearth of lead vocals from songs Ric was writing. The ones they were supposed to split but which Ric somehow ended up with the lion’s share because he seemed to mostly only give Benjamin songs he knew he had no chance in heck of being able to do justice to but then mostly wrote songs he could sing himself. Plus I don’t think I recall him asking for Diane to join the band, just that she could write his lyrics, because he didn’t feel he could do it himself. As I said before I can understand Ric not wanting that, but I’ve heard not read anything about Ric offering some sort of alternative idea or coming to some sort of compromise that would allow Benjamin to get some songs on the album either.

        Plus when they started out music videos weren’t really much of a thing but when they became one, somehow Ric was front and center in almost all of them. Including Drive, which Benjamin sang lead on. I remember a couple of music videos feeling like “Where’s a Waldo” when it came to spotting other members of the band.

        I’m not saying any of this was done by Ric on purpose, who knows, or that Benjamin handled it the right way, obviously there were better ways than seemingly turning it inward and doing things that hurt himself probably most of all, but none the less, it doesn’t seem like Ric really kept his end of the bargain either and if Benjamin did have insecurities, it would have just fed those insecurities. As his best friend I’d imagine Ric would know that, and Ric’s human too, who knows maybe he used that to keep some of the control he felt was so important to him, and on some level wanted to keep him in his place, instead of encouraging his growth as an artist, (this is pure speculation of course and as likely to be way off base but just saying it could be a possibility).

        Not having a lot of depth of knowledge myself on the subject, I have to admit it would be interesting, for the English Major in me, to see a “close reading” of how those of you who do know more about it would interpret these lyrics.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Hi Sweetpurplejune, you have a picture on the video for “Do you know what it feels like” I just adore that pic of Benjamin but i cant find it any where. do you remember where you got it? i would love to have that one to add to my collection.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Hi, The picture of Ben is in your archives for May 2017. The pic is on the video after the lyrics for, Do you know what it feels like. The page gives the lyrics for the song then on the 2nd video down, the pic on the video is of Ben alone. I really love it and have not been able to find it any where. if you can find that picture and e-mail it to me, that would be awesome.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I didn’t know it was a picture of the whole band. On the video of the song you put up for, do you know what it feels like, it was just Ben. Nice pic of the whole band as well. Thanks again.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Also so excited to tell you I pre ordered Joe Milikens book. It is available on amazon 35$ plus shipping. Have to wait until November 15th, but I’m sure from what I’ve been reading about what Joe has in store for us with his book, it will be so worth the wait! I hate to rush along my summer but I am so looking forward to reading everything about Ben and the Cars and seeing all the wonderful pictures Joe was able to get! I feel like a little kid waiting for Christmas, lol

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I have not followed Joe on Facebook, not much of a fan of Facebook but I will follow him on Twitter. I e-mailed him last night actually to thank him for all his work over the years to put his book together for us all to enjoy. And I also said a few words about how wonderful a photo book of Ben would be as well, if he may want to put that out too, we can hope, and a little pleading never hurts either, lol

        Liked by 1 person

  7. This is the first time I have seen/heard this, very emotional and painful to realize. So much time between 1987 and 1993 condensed into a few lyrics that get straight to the heart of things. No interpretation needed.
    It is what it is. My heart feels sadness and remorse.

    It is Aug. 2019, and I am commenting after having read similar things to what some above had said that according to Ric Benjamin was drinking.

    He had wanted Diane to co-write some songs, and Ric said hell no, and that Benjamin rode on a separate bus. I have no idea if that is true. Things did not go well for The Beatles after Yoko wanted to be a part of the band.

    I watched a bunch of videos of the Door to Door concert in Philly.
    Benjamin fudged some of the lyrics – mixed up two lines in Everything You Say, and then in Just What I needed he never did the line and “you look so fancy I can tell.”

    Then, at the end of the last song of the show, Benjamin is uncharacteristically excited and is on the move, he puts himself next to the drums with his back to Ric as the song peaks to the end, and as it is ending he backs up a lot and Ric has to get out of his way. He seemed not to have realized he was there. Benjamin always had a very rehearsed controlled demeanor on stage, and would never have not known where someone was standing.

    When I saw that, I had a terrible feeling, and what I had read influenced my interpretation of what happened.
    I feel as though there was some really bad feelings after that concert and if Benjamin had been drinking before and/or during the concert, well, Ric’s pride would have been an issue.

    The Cars were known for accuracy, dependability, tightness, and control. For a tight guy like RIc,I imagine Benjamin’s behavior would seem rebellious, spiteful, and a F-U. Benjamin on the other hand may have realized how it affected Ric, as he was caught up in his own emotions and perhaps felt like he was being torn between Ric and Diane. And ultimately, he would lose them both.

    I also read a piece in the Rolling Stone the other day from 1980 where Ric said taking about the Cars going on and on after Panorama that he would be ASHAMED if they didn’t.

    I am waiting for my copy of the book to come in the mail any day now. I willhave tissues waiting. I am sure I will need them.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, it’s my understanding that Ben was in fact drinking a bit, and he did suggest that he and Diane could write a little for The Cars, Ric rejected that idea, and Ben definitely traveled separately from the band on the D2D tour. It’s painful on so many levels. And yes, I would definitely have tissues. ❤


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