Quoting Benjamin

“I was presented with the idea of doing a solo album. Being the bright, intelligent person I am, I said sure. Why let a chance go by? No reason not to.” — from “Benjamin Orr: The Cars’ Mr. Casual Steps Out” by Rob Tannenbaum, Musician Magazine, March 1987

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8 thoughts on “Quoting Benjamin

  1. Seems to me Ben was conflicted about fame. He gave some terse interviews and often hid in the back, but at the same time, at least in the early days, he would emote and perform and catch you off guard with his energy and light. As time went by, though, he seemed to lose some of that light and I wonder if it was the tension between wanting to be known and have opportunities and his inclination toward quiet and privacy. There’s that quote from, I think 1986, where he talks about how no one knows his place in the band even after all that time. I’m thinking he (finally?) pushed for a bigger say/role because he was afraid of not being remembered after all that work. Maybe he should have asserted himself earlier, but I guess it is what it is. I don’t really like watching live stuff after 1986-they all seemed to have dimmed and Ben often looks sad and lost. Sorry for the long response. I just have way too much time in isolation. lol

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    1. Long responses are always welcome, Rebecca! I appreciate your thoughts. I feel like there was a downhill slide, for sure, but to be honest, I’m not convinced that Ben ever really wanted to be a solo artist. He seemed happiest when he had a band of brothers that shared a mutual love and respect for one another. I often wonder what frustrations and disillusions kept him up at night.

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      1. If I might add from my own experiences in radio and of course my #LoveOfMusic. Musicians were still being treated like beasts of burden in the 70s and 80s, I swear even then there was this thought that somehow the ‘Talent’ were less important and I even heard promoters and radio executives who firmly believed and spoke openly about it. The record companies ground down talent by keeping them on the road to support “record sales.” Many artists were left with little time to do anything and sadly not enough money to make real differences in the artists life. They kept/keep talent down by keeping them on the road, could you imagine that when you went to work you were gone for 8 to 9 months or longer and you miss everything and honestly by the time they get off the road they have already been working on the next thing so you kind of travel and live in a bubble. Kind of like the military you go away and when you come back you are still where you were at the time you left, but everything and everyone has changed. I love that you both had the courage to say something. Sincerely

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      2. Donna, I agree that Ben certainly seemed to enjoy being part of a band, he had done this successfully before, where his obvious talent, good looks and creativity enhanced those early groups of lovely, also talented young men. And he had put-in the ‘hard years’ with Ric in various iterations, so being part of a tightknit group was a way of life. But by your great efforts, and thanks to his bandmate from those early years, Joey Kurilic, we now know that Ben was very creative, full of ideas and busily writing songs from way back, so really The Lace was something he could always have done – who knows why he didn’t for
        all those years. I agree he did seem to enjoy being part of a band of brothers. Sorry to be long-winded,
        but I want to add re Ben’s interviews, he used irony a lot, was always amusingly self-deprecating, and never give much away – he didn’t ever self-promote, probably to his disadvantage.
        I do think he was frustrated that during a lot of The Cars’ years, nobody knew he was singing a lot of their big hits and contributing greatly to the sound of the rest of their work. Apart from Ric, none of the band was really known. xx

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    2. One of the things I have always liked about the Cars was somehow they seemed unknown and prior to the eighties they kind of were. Often people mention how mysterious Led Zeppelin were and I am not sure the Cars meant to or tried to remain mysterious but in the beginning they were. I wonder what The Cars and many other groups would have been like if there were never an MTV ?

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  2. @sweetpurplejune trying to not talk too much but I felt the need to say that I also heard and saw a lot of amazing artists in those times. Amazing artists that could play hit to hit if they chose and audiences alive in ways i chalk up to resonance magic, really. So tough stories but also amazing stories of Rock and Roll Redemption contained in all the little things. The glitter may not have been as shiny as some thought but it sure dazzled my eyes. ☮🤘👩‍🎤👨‍🎤🚀🎶🎶🎶

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    1. I for one am glad you are talking Ray, lots of insights into the fabulous, rough, tough, and very competitive world that was R & R. And as you can probably see from Donna’s wonderful site and elsewhere, I think we are all dazzled in one way or another. Best wishes.

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