Live At The Agora, 1978

Earlier in 2017, Record Store Day induced nearly 5,000 Cars fans to swarm their local vinyl shop in search of one of the limited editions of a new offering from Rhino Records: the officially released recording of The Cars Live At The Agora, 1978. I had the privilege of writing a review of the album for Standing Room Only, a website dedicated to promoting music, art, and specialty foods in the northern New England area. Click below to read my thoughts, and don’t forget to follow SRO’s Facebook page for more great articles!

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Photo courtesy of Joe Milliken

http://standing-room-only.info/column/review/joe-milliken/album-review-cars-live-agora-1978

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Hopes and Dreams for 2018

The inclusion of The Cars into the Rock Hall Class o’ 2018 has me looking forward to the next year with a crazy-different outlook.

Of course, the induction ceremony itself is the big deal… to go to Cleveland or not go to Cleveland? I’ve got a little “Mad Money” envelope in which I’ve been squirreling away my shekels in the event that travel expenses are needed, so the money isn’t the hinge… it’s approaching the subject with The Fam.

To their credit, my husband and kiddos are pretty patient with my Cars obsession, but I know there is a limit to their tolerance, and I’m not sure if me winging my way across the country for a weekend of ‘brushing my rock and roll hair’ falls within the acceptable limits of “Mom time.” Haha!

But enough about what I might be up to… what treats can we reasonably expect from The Cars in the new year? Last January we caught a teasing glimpse of 2017’s offerings from a tweet by Elliot; this month we see Ric and David dropping hope-inducing hints, and giving us some outright revelations as well.

So… without further ado… here is my list of predictions and possibilities for 2018:

  1. Rock Hall Induction (April 14): Okay, so we can count on new merch (I already ordered my RRHOF Class of 2018 t-shirt), but beyond that? Chances are great for a kick-ass musical reunion of Ric, Elliot, Greg and David on the stage! I’m also looking forward to more interviews and photographs with the band members, a heartfelt and touching tribute to Benjamin, a super-cool display of Cars memorabilia at the Rock Hall itself, great quotes from other music industry icons about how influential The Cars were/are, and the increased hype over The Cars in general.
  2. simpsons.gifDebut Album Anniversary (June 6): Right on the heels of the induction comes the 40th anniversary of that iconic debut album. I see SO much potential here for amazing stuff to come out of that vault in Ric’s basement! From a demo standpoint we may be all tapped out; we were given a generous helping of those with the 1999 deluxe edition. And it would be great if there were other original Cars songs that were recorded but didn’t make it to vinyl… Again, I know there are quite a few floating around out there so we may be out of luck. But at the top of my list of “please please please!” requests is FOOTAGE. And number one on the footage list? The Cars’ debut party! There are two clips on youtube from that June 23, 1978, show and I am aching to see the rest of it! I will say that the incredibly talented Paul McAlpine has been tweeting photos from that momentous event and I am over the MOON with happiness.
  3. Catalog Reissues: Remember how electrifying it was to wake up to the news last May that The Cars were reissuing Candy-O and Panorama? Such a thrill! Well, in his interview with Rolling Stone magazine on December 13, 2017, David assured us that the expanded editions of Shake It Up and Heartbeat City were on their way next, possibly in February of 2018. I’m so curious as to what delights will be in store for us there… new photos? Previously unreleased tracks? I can’t wait to see the “Side 4” etchings… and then David had to go and get me even more excited by saying, “There’s going to be a surprise when you see one of the album covers I’ve been working on…” Gah! Don’t DO that to me!
  4. Long shots, and magic lamp wishes: Okay, here’s where I start flinging snowballs into the underworld. Dare we hope… is it even possible? Will The Cars put out a new album in 2018? Or TOUR??? It might not be as out-of-the-realm as I once thought. When asked the question directly, Ric didn’t demur. “I don’t know. Maybe so. Maybe this will be a good reason to do it again, though I really miss Ben as part of the thing…” (Rolling Stone magazine, December 13, 2017). Holy heck! That would be incredible! Now, given their lack of enthusiasm for touring in general, I know that I’m REALLY pushing it, but could they make it all the way over to Seattle again? I would gleefully drive the seven hours necessary to park my little hiney in a seat for that!
  5. More things I’d summon the genie for: Any previously unreleased concert videos, audio recordings, or photographs… the France show in its entirety would be terrific!… other shows in Europe, a Panorama show… How about footage of their recording sessions? Or let’s go deeper into the archives and dig up stuff from Ocasek & Orr, Richard and the Rabbits, and Cap’n Swing. As you know, my appetite for the band’s history is insatiable.
  6. Other “Cars world” delights: I do have my fingers crossed for a few other things that are not part of The Cars “Official” but that would really roll my little skate just the same: I would love nothing more than to have a copy of Joe Milliken’s biography about Benjamin Orr in my hot little hands in 2018. Also, I am eager for more person-to-person meetings with members of the Fanorama (possibly in Cleveland???). I can’t wait to do some more writing for Standing Room Only — Cars-related and otherwise! On top of that, more researching, more blogging, more sunshine and rainbows… lots of fun and wonderful things to look forward to in the new year!

What do you think? How could The Cars shake it up for you in 2018? Leave a comment here or find this post on Facebook and let me know. ❤

Episode 19: Getting Sirius!

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Photo courtesy of Jenny Durgin

For the final episode of 2017 Dave and Donna welcome a very special guest to the studio! Jenny Durgin shares her experience of attending the taping of SiriusXM’s Town Hall discussion featuring Ric Ocasek.

In an interview recorded on April 28, 2016, Ric sat down with moderator Mark Goodman to answer questions from a select group of about two dozen SiriusXM subscribers. The Q&A lasted roughly an hour and covered a range of topics, from Ric’s early days as a writer to the 2011 reunion with The Cars.

Jenny walks us through what it took to get a seat in the audience, relates some of the cool stories that didn’t make the aired audio, and offers her reflections on Ric’s overall demeanor and attitude. And of course, we can’t help but take a few shots at Mark Goodman here and there… just saying. We also chit chat about dear Pocket Benjamin — if you are not familiar with PB you MUST take a listen!

You can follow Jenny on Twitter @jendurama. You’re going to want to check out her youtube channel, too. She has a plethora of rare audio recordings and interviews, and her fan videos are awesome. So many gems to be found there!

I’m adding two links in here: the first is to the actual SiriusXM interview. Below that you’ll find the link to Episode 19. Take a listen, subscribe and comment. We want to know your thoughts! Don’t forget to follow us on twitter (@night_spots@sweetpurplejune), too!

Thank you so much for listening to our ramblings over the last six months. We’ve had a blast, and we hope you have, too. Our next episode is scheduled for January 12, 2018. Have a safe and happy New Year, my friends!

Lyrics: Send Me

Send Me written by Adrien Medeiros and John Kalishes,©1993

 

Day’s breaking, my body’s aching, this bed don’t feel the same

Who am I, where am I, need someone in my life

But I’m sitting here, talking to no one

 

I tell you one thing, you gave me something that made it feel so right

I need it now, I’m wondering how to keep you in my life

But I’m sitting here, talking to no one

And they tell me I’m crazy, but darling you’re the only one

 

Send me all of you, send me

Send me all of you, send me

 

It’s a fine line, just a matter of time, I hold my ground

I watch and wait, you hesitate, until you come around

But I’m sitting here talking to no one

And they tell me I’m crazy but darling you’re the only one

 

Send me all of you, send me

Send me all of you, send me

 

What’s nothing to you means everything to me

I’m talking to you, wherever you may be

I’ll be there, too

 

And I’m sitting here talking to no one

And they tell me I’m crazy but darling you’re the only one

 

Send me all of you, send me

Send me all of you, send me…

 

(Repeats to fade)

Episode 18: Reacting to The Rock Hall

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December 13, 2017, marks a date that the Fanorama will long remember: The Cars were chosen for induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame! Dave and Donna chat about how that feels as a fan after waiting through 14 years of eligibility and 3 years of nominations. They also take a look at what the ins and outs of the induction ceremony might entail, and speculate on how the band might best honor Benjamin.

chance.gifAlso discussed: Will Dave and Donna be at the induction ceremony in Cleveland? Will they be able to podcast live from the Rock Hall?? With PRESS CREDENTIALS???

Our special visit from listener Kurt was cut short by a call from Ric Ocasek, but it was nice of him to pop in and say hi! We also had a message from an irate listener for the Midnight Scroll… sort of. Pu-leeze, people! Write in! In fact, Donna convinces Dave to offer a hilarious incentive to get you to drop us a line — it’s SO worth it! Email us at nightthoughtspodcast@gmail.com.

Oh, and just to clarify… Stevie Nicks is not sitting in as guest host; that actually IS Donna’s raspy voice. Thankfully, she didn’t have to gargle apple cider vinegar on the air (though she was prepared). Um, and please excuse the clanking of her spoon as she rudely eats ice cream… She gets a pass because she’s sick.

Click below to listen, subscribe and comment. Don’t forget to follow us on twitter (@night_spots, @sweetpurplejune), too!

Next episode is scheduled for December 29, 2017. Wishing you all a very safe and happy holiday season!

 

About Benjamin and the Rock Hall

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Benjamin at Live Aid, 1985

Today they announced that The Cars would be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame for the “Class of 2018.”

I’ve been anticipating it, of course; it’s been on my mind for months. I’m not very well versed on all the ins and outs of the Rock Hall in general; never paid a whole lot of attention over the years because I like what I like and don’t really care what awards my favorites garner. When I joined The Cars world it became a ‘thing’ for me to put on the watchlist, because the guys were eligible in 2003 and nominated in 2015, 2016, and 2017, and as fans we wanted them IN. So I researched a bit; tried to figure out how it mattered overall, and how much it mattered to me. I love the band and I believe they deserve to have their name on that roster, for those who think the roster is important. But really…

Whenever anything with the band happens, a lot of my heart celebrates and gets so happy and excited, but I also get so achy, thinking of you and knowing you’re gone and unable to put your living fingerprint on all of this. Benjamin, would you care? If you were still here, how much would it matter to you? That’s what I keep thinking about… and so I speculate and ponder and take my best guesses about how you would feel.

People talk about what a private person you were. Shy and reserved offstage, somewhat of a ‘closed book’ about your innermost thoughts and feelings. Genuinely humble and unpretentious; able to separate yourself from your rockstar life. I think about you off in the woods, fishing and hunting, or out on your boat, breathing in the tangy air. Your quiet, solitary pursuits… but that wasn’t all of who you were.

You were a Cleveland native. You loved your city and your hometown fans; your loyalty was obvious and enduring. And you are adored and respected by your town. What a delight it would have been for you to come home, triumphant! The enthusiastic celebrations in your honor would have pleased you very much and overwhelmed your humble heart, I think.

From your youngest days you were making music, but it wasn’t enough to just play it, you wanted others to hear it. You dropped out of high school to pursue your dreams, leaving your home and relationships behind in the quest for that break through… for the opportunity to find an outlet for your talent. Your abilities were all over the board: that voice that could move mountains, those talented hands. You played drums, rhythm guitar, bass, keyboards… you did whatever it took to be on the stage. There was music in you that needed to get out.

And there was a performer’s soul in you that needed your essence to be heard.

You loved touring; being on the road. You put your heart into your shows, and you made time to connect with your fans. You played right up until a week before your death, until your body said ‘no more.’ You went out doing what you loved to do.

To be recognized by a large group of your peers, after all of these years, for your influence on music history and the part you played in the legacy of rock and roll… I think you would have loved it. I can just see your humble smile, with that little air of surprise and delight. I can imagine the deep satisfaction radiating from you. Ah Benjamin, how I would love for you to be here! To have one more moment in the sun before it sets on The Cars.

Seeing the induction will be bittersweet, Benjamin. Your name will be mentioned, and lots of attention drawn to your amazing talents and irreplaceable contributions; with any luck your voice will ring out over the crowd. I will be so happy that the world will have their eyes and ears on your music, just how you liked it.

If only…