Episode 04: Oh HBC, here we come!

In Episode 4 of the NiGHT THOUGHTS podcast Dave and Donna tackle the slew of Cars videos linked to the Heartbeat City album. Not enough time to adequately cover everything… and a few more growing pains in the technology department… but overall, a fun discussion. Come join us!



UPDATE (March 14, 2018): All episodes are now available on Youtube! Listen, subscribe, and share. Check us out at bit.do/nightthoughts 

7 thoughts on “Episode 04: Oh HBC, here we come!

  1. Hi Dave, Hi SPJ,
    Thanks for the podcast. I’ve got a lawn mower to trouble-shoot so am going to fire off some thoughts. Bear in mind, I am direct. I owe nothing to Ric O., have no personal interest n keeping in his good graces and will take liberty to express some personal thoughts. he-he-hee
    (Boy, this Ric- side vs Ben- side could get interesting when it happens.:)
    I feel the urge already w/ my impressions of the videos discussed in this episode.
    Pretty much hated them all. I did not like the stupidity or silliness or crazy nature of the themes employed in all of them. I chalk it down to that era when everything was over the top. Big hair, tons of make-up, bright fabric prints, polka-dots, stripes, pastel straight-legs with matching bulky cable-knit sweaters, etc. I was a child of the late 60’s and came into my teens in the 70’s. So, there was more refined hippie in me than, bouncy colorful 80’s kitzch.(sp) I was weaned on Badfinger, Wishbone Ash, Traffic, The Beatles, King Crimson, Led Zepp and then loved ACDC, Aerosmith, ELO, Def Leppard, Pink Floyd, Elton John, Manfred Man, Bad Company etc.
    “You Might Think” – absolutely hated the song, the tone of it, the speed of it, the irritating pounding keyboards. The video was horrible, nonsensicle and went against my more serious
    and more rock and roll nature. This was the time-frame of the indoctrination of the music-listening public to the fact that Ric Ocasek WAS The Cars. It was all about Ric. You still hear decades later, ‘I didn’t know there were two singers in The Cars!’, ‘I didn’t know Ben Orr was the voice behind my favorite Cars songs!!’ To me, almost shameful to let that misconception be perpetuated. And we were lucky to catch a glimpse of the other band members, who, for all any stranger knew, were bit players (actors) on the video set!! “Magic” was another sell-out song. I mean where was our beautiful killer guitarist beast Elliot Easton? Where was that one-of-a-kind pulsing Ben bass and his signature style? What happened to the imaginative David Robinson drumming? What in hell happened to the amazing Greg Hawkes synth and keys sounds? Those guys must have thought they went to bed in a rock concert hall and woke up in an insane asylum. No wonder one of them, prob Elliot said the thing about “turds”.He was right! And no wonder Benjamin gave his quirky, evasive, mercurial answer to that question during the filming of Drive where he answers with one word, “the waiting”. And as far as the beautiful “Drive” song???? Great song that could have been executed much more sensitively with a more pleasing cinematic effect for Benjamin. It was like a conspiracy: lets put the dude in dark drab colors, wet his hair and muss it up so he looks like a homeless,person dredged up from his New York sewer abode. Has Ben ever appeared more an urchin, more pitiful looking, more raggedy? Please don’t say it was the intended desired effect. If it was, it wasn’t a good one. Why? Why put that slant on things. Surely a different, more romantic setting could have been imagined for such a moving and evocative song. The only and highest charting Cars song. Did it not deserve, did HE not deserve being presented in a better light? Oh, and lets slump him down in a dark, dreary diner or carry-out joint or bar – I don’t know where he was…..to damned dark to see, to damned depressing to want to watch again.
    No, for some this period of the 80’s must have been the most spectacular days of their lives. I have heard testament of it all over youtube and believe it. Yay for them.
    For me, I knew The Cars of 1978; those creative, cutting-edge, super- talented musicians of the debut album, Candy-O and Panarama (borderline cah-cah) had disappeared or been silenced. And what resulted was truly gaggifying cah-cah. For me The Cars were no more. I wrote them off as sell-outs to pop-schlock crap music. I never even knew about “Door To Door” until many years later. There were a few gems on that album. I read somewhere that Ric blamed Ben for its failure. I think it was more like, most of the original fans through the first three albums, had disembarked from The Cars car and were pursuing other modes of musical transportation.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Persephone/moodylicious, I’m with you all the way! A child of the 60s, my teen years straddled 60s-70s; my music almost in sync with yours (add Buffalo Springfield/CSNY, probably why I love the Milkwood album, & Springsteen). However, I can’t say for sure when I became aware of The Cars. The path my life took after the early 70s didn’t include concerts, buying albums, listening to radio except AM while driving, or MTV. While I remember loving Let’s Go & Just What I Needed on the radio, I don’t think I could have told you it was The Cars, much less which one of them was singing. When we finally got cable & MTV, I was exposed to the Ric O video Cars. I had no idea anyone other than Ric sang any Cars song. If I had given it any thought, I would have thought the Cars was like Bon Jovi — lead singer/songwriter with a hired backing band. I thought the videos were so silly that I dismissed The Cars as fluff like so much of what was on MTV. I had absolutely no idea that, outside MTV videos, they were in the same league as Aerosmith or J. Geils!
      The Drive video was the only one I liked, since it was different. Unfortunately, it was so focused on Ric & Paulina, showed so little of Benjamin, that I didn’t realize Ric wasn’t singing the song that was superimposed over the drama being acted out. I only found out Benjamin sang Drive when I saw him (don’t know where I saw this — award show? late night show?) standing alone, wearing a blue shirt like he wears in Stay The Night, singing Drive. I was gobsmacked! I distinctly remember saying to whoever was watching with me “THAT guy is in The Cars? HE’s the one who sings this?” I’m thinking “Why wasn’t HE in the Drive video? He would have been much more believable as the guy in the crumbling relationship with the Paulina character. HIS beautiful voice was the voice telling the story! Why doesn’t he sing more?” It wasn’t until Live Aid that I realized that he DID sing more; that he sang the early songs I loved on the radio.
      I know the podcast we’re commenting on isnt the Ric v Ben one, but I can tell you, count me on the Ben side. Don’t know whether having the videos focus on Ric was his idea or a corporate idea, but it certainly had the effect of diminishing the contributions of all other band members, especially Benjamin. Because of MTV, I wrote off the Cars. In fact, it wasn’t until one of my brothers emailed me, asking me to vote for them for RRHOF, that I started listening to them & watching YouTube vids. So it’s really only within the past few months that I’ve gotten into the Cars & discovered how great the contributions of the other band members really were. Seeing their early concert vids, like Musikladen & Rock Goes To College, led me to believe that they didn’t need the Ric-vid gimmick to be successful, even on MTV. So many YouTube commenters say they didn’t realize how dynamic the Cars live shows were. That dynamic was largely due to Benjamin’s commanding stage presence (embracing vocals, bass playing, rock god attitude), as well as Elliot’s masterful licks/riffs, Greg’s creative musicality on synth, keys, sax, etc., and David’s driving/controlling beats *combined with* Ric’s quirkiness. If his huge ego & jealousy of the attention given Benjamin hadn’t gotten in the way, maybe they would have done some live concert vids instead of, or in addition to, the drivel. Those vids would have been memorable. (p.s. I don’t know why this print is so tiny. It’s hurting my eyes. Wish I knew how to fix it!)

      Liked by 1 person

      1. p.p.s.: Ric’s quirkiness would include his lyrics, singing, & playing style. Not yet sure whether I would say he’s a lyrical genius, but there’s no doubt that he lyrics are essential to the Cars essence.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Wow – couldn’t agree with you more! I hate those videos too, as well as all the songs you mentioned. The only song I like from Door to Door is Everything You Say. Double Trouble?!!! Gag!!! I’ll bet Benjamin hated singing it!!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. lol
    so sorry he’s gone and we are left wondering so much about him.
    While DT was very different from other Cars songs, it blew me away the first time I heard it and was even better viewed live. The Cars go hard rock!
    It was a very sexy song, sexy lyrics and Benjamin looked hot performing it in the Phil. PA vids I’ve seen.

    Liked by 2 people

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s