Quoting Benjamin

How his relationship with Diane influenced his songwriting for The Lace: “We share a large amount of romance in this life, and you can’t help but put that into music. How can you be miserable? … It’s good for now and I hope it’s good later. There’s the cynical part — you have to maintain some portion of realism.” — “The Rewards of Rock Stardom” by Jim Sullivan, The Boston Globe, November 1, 1986



Quoting Benjamin

With regard to his boat, the Blue Di, and writing songs on the water: “This is the best thing I’ve ever bought, bar none. It’s not too conspicuous. It’s big enough for one guy to operate and the chief pretty officer over here [referring to Diane]. She hates taking orders, but somebody’s gotta be captain of the boat… I enjoy my free time. I like doing this [boating]. I’d much rather do this, now that we’re writing…. We love the water. It’s really soothing. It seems to be good for us.” — excerpts from “The Rewards of Rock Stardom” by Jim Sullivan, The Boston Globe, November 1, 1986

ben with the blue di boat

Dan Isenberg: Slam dunk!

Dan Isenberg: Slam dunk!

When Dan Isenberg (known professionally as Dan Eye) made the flight from Michigan to California in the summer of 1988, he expected big things. After all, he was on his way to witness the last battle for the NBA Championship between the Detroit Pistons and the Los Angeles Lakers. It was going to be exciting! What he did not anticipate was that he would be the jumper in the ultimate alley-oop play of the weekend.

Musically speaking, I mean. 

Alley-oop: “An alley-oop in basketball is an offensive play in which one player throws the ball near the basket to a teammate who jumps, catches the ball in mid air and slam dunks it before touching the ground.” — Wikipedia

Once Dan arrived in California and got himself all checked in to his hotel room, he met up with a couple of his college buddies from Oklahoma Christian University that lived in the area: Troy and Jon Jon. It was June 18, the day before Game 6 of the NBA series, and he had some time to play and explore. Their first destination was Universal Studios. It was there that Troy would throw Dan the (metaphorical) ball, and Dan would fly with it and slam dunk it into history.

I felt all of the importance and impact and thrill of this event as Dan enthusiastically recounted to me one of the best memories of his life.

So let’s travel back in time to 1988:

pistons logo“I was in my 3rd season working for the NBA’s Detroit Pistons and I was an account executive, early in my career, selling Pistons season ticket packages. When the Pistons made it to the NBA finals against the Los Angeles Lakers, they flew all of us employees [to California] for Game 6 and Game 7. I was out there and I decided to go to Universal Studios, and one of my buddies, Troy, he just said, ‘Hey Dan! That’s Benjamin Orr of The Cars!’”

They were all standing in the gift shop at Universal Studios, and Troy had seen Benjamin walk in. Ben was wearing sunglasses, and he was strolling hand-in-hand with a petite blonde woman, and the two had begun shopping. When Troy pointed them out to Dan, Dan was a little starstruck. With Troy’s encouragement, Dan took the leap. 

“I just simply went up to Mr. Orr and I’ll be darned, he was just shopping with a real pretty blonde woman,” Dan remembered. “I don’t know if it was his wife or a girlfriend, but sure enough, she was with Benjamin, and she realized that I recognized him. She also, and this is just me talking… she also kind of knew to just keep shopping and let me get my photo taken with Benjamin Orr. I thought that was kind of cool, you know?

“I just said, ‘Excuse me, hey Benjamin’ and I just said, ‘I’m Dan Eye. I work for the NBA’s Detroit Pistons and I’ve got my camera with me and I’m a big fan of The Cars, and I was just wondering if I could just maybe get my photo taken with you?’ And he said, ‘Sure!'”

The woman subtly kept shopping while Ben turned to Dan. The two posed together for this photo, snapped by Jon Jon. 

1988.06.19-21 in Los Angeles by Dan Isenberg
Benjamin Orr and Dan Isenberg, Universal Studios, June 18, 1988. Photo courtesy of Dan Isenberg; shared with permission.

“I said, ‘Here’s my business card. If you are ever in Detroit, you can just simply call my direct line on that card, and I’ll make sure that you and a guest get two phenomenal seats for any game that you ever want to see.’ And he just looked at my card, and with his thumbs up he said, ‘Basketball?! Okay!’ and I said, ‘All right!’

“And then Jon Jon said, ‘Now, are you guys from Boston?’ and Benjamin said, ‘No, no, we’re not from Boston. You know, The Cars, we’re kind of from maybe a little bit of Cleveland, a little bit here, maybe a little bit there.’ I thought that was a cool, cool answer.”

Dan asked Benjamin if they could get one more photo together in case the first one didn’t turn out so great. “And he said, ‘Sure! Sure, Dan.’ And that’s when he said my name! Because he looked at my business card, you know? And that made me feel so cool that Benjamin Orr said, ‘Sure, Dan! Sure! Yeah!’ And to this day I’ll never know if Benjamin Orr said my name because he saw my name on my card, or because he said, ‘I’m going to hang onto this guy’s card because I want two front row seats for the basketball game next time I’m in town!’” Dan said, laughing.

“And I loved it! I thought, ‘I’m with Benjamin Orr!’ I just loved that guy!”

In spite of looking high and low, Dan can’t find that second photo, but he remembers it very well.

“It had me and Benjamin, and it had that beautiful woman that he was with. She did have like a little sunny summer dress on. And she was really, really pretty. A very classy woman. And I was like, wow, this is so cool, because Benjamin Orr isn’t with, like, some blonde bombshell like Pamela Anderson. We would all think that our favorite rock stars who are so cool looking, like Benjamin, you would expect him to be with some kind of pin-up model.

“I have only met two guys in my life that I can say, ‘Holy smokes, these are two of the coolest looking guys ever!’ And the two of them are Benjamin Orr and Rob Lowe!” Dan exclaimed, laughing again. (And guess what? Coincidentally, Dan had just met and interviewed Rob Lowe only days before at one of the other games! How terrific is that?)

“And then, you want to know what is so funny? I just went, ‘Wow! I got my photo taken with Benjamin Orr of The Cars!’ And I just called every one of my college classmates from Rochester College and Oklahoma Christian University.”

Dan was a massive Cars fan in the 80s, their music streaming out of his dorm room on a regular basis. In fact, when The Cars played Cobo Arena in Detroit back on February 12, 1982, Dan and his college friends went all out. “We ALL totally dressed up, and dressed up like the ‘new wave’ look of The Cars. We took photos of ourselves; we had a professional photographer!”

“When we were at that concert, my date was Melanie, a beautiful little redheaded classmate of ours. She and I were so punked out and we were in the new wave look, and we just held onto each other and we danced and danced, kissed and kissed, we were just jamming all night… jamming together to The Cars!

“They ended with ‘Shake It Up’ and all of us were underneath a little corridor at the entrance of the arena, and there was a loose board or something, like metal or whatever… we took our elbows and went choon choon choo-choo-choon, choon choon choo-choo-choon [banging elbows against it to the beat], and we were just jamming away again to the music…  It was just SHAKE.IT.UP! And when we left, we felt like we had been through a war!”

Philadelphia 76ers v Detroit Pistons
Bob Seger at a Pistons game, April 26, 2005. Copyright 2005 NBAE (Photo by Allen Einstein/NBAE via Getty Images)

Dan has never forgotten the experience of meeting Ben, even after all these years. He went on to have a very successful career with the Pistons, and as part of his job, he was the personal account executive for Bob Seger for 18 years. He explained, “I worked with his agent and on many occasions, I’d have to see Bob at halftime and give him extra VIP parking, playoff tickets, and sometimes concert tickets. One game, I said ‘Hey Bob, here’s your Dixie Chicks tickets.’ He always called me Daniel, and said, ‘Thanks, Daniel! Are you going to the concert?’ I said ‘Yes, and my wife and I are sitting right behind you!’ Bob clapped and jammed to almost every song and turned around to high five me after ‘There’s Your Trouble!’ He truly is the nicest guy EVER!!! 

“I busted my butt for Bob Seger. One time Don Henley and Glenn Frey of The Eagles called Bob Seger and said, ‘Can you get us two tickets for the Pistons game for Game 5 when The Lakers play The Pistons in the 2004 NBA Finals?’ and Bob Seger said, ‘Let me call Daniel!’ And I go, ‘I got this.’ And I said, ‘Bob, I just want you to know, I’m only doing this because I love you, and I love rock stars, and Bob? I once got my freaking photo taken with Benjamin Orr of The Cars!’” Dan recalled, cracking up. “Oh man, Bob Seger laughed!”

“Since then, I’ve gotten my photo taken and been backstage with Ted Nugent and Aretha Franklin. I met Ronnie Wood. I’ve met Burton Cummings, Joe Walsh, Dolly Parton. I’ve met Ringo Starr… but Benjamin Orr in California? I felt like I was really in the presence of the music that I grew up with. I’ve just always had the greatest luck ever for meeting my musician idols, my heroes. But it all started in 1988… I met Benjamin Orr! And I was like, man, where do you go from the top?”

Slam dunk!

Random thoughts:

  • I loved chatting with Dan! He was so energetic and fun to talk to, and genuinely eager to share. Thanks again, Dan!
  • Too bad Ben never called Dan up for tickets. Rats!
  • I sent Dan a couple of photos of Diane Page from 1986 and he was able to confirm that the beautiful blonde Ben was with was her. ❤ 
  • June, 1988, was about 6 months after The Cars officially disbanded. Ben looks happy and relaxed here, and I’m so glad to see it.
  • He also looks very tan! I wonder if he was mainly living in Kauai during this first half of the year?
  • In spite of his touristy button-up shirt, he’s still full-on rock star, with his studded leather bracelet and his sunglasses hanging off his chest. The epitome of cool!
  • And speaking of bracelets… I can see his treasured cuff next to his watch. ❤
  • I wonder if the necklace he’s wearing is that gold dolphin one he wore in some of the Door to Door promo photos?

Bob McKeon: Ben Orr, under arrest?

Once upon a time, in the peaceful hamlet of Allston, Massachusetts, a diabolical plot was carried out: the murder of Michael Mackin! But who could be so evil? So cunning? And so sure that he… or she… could escape detection?

Okay, that’s not exactly what happened… er, at least not for real.

Boston Globe mention cropped
The Boston Globe, August 6, 1987

On August 8, 1987, Boston’s public access television station, WGBH, hosted a benefit as part of their annual fundraising events. The theme was “Murder at MYSTERY! Mansion” and those in attendance were charged with the task of solving a faux crime, specifically, figuring out who murdered Channel 7 reporter Michael Mackin. Other local celebrities and notable personalities were there, too, and, as witnesses to the ‘death’, were considered suspects.

One gentleman at the charity event was Massachusetts State Police (MSP) Corporal Bob McKeon. Bob was recruited as a volunteer by Carole Nash, owner of the Nash Modeling Agency in Boston, to play the part of the arresting officer at the end of the evening.

As best as Bob can recall from this night over thirty years ago, the excitement got underway while the volunteer actors were gathered on a stage and the guests were mingling nearby. The lights suddenly went out, and when they came up again, Mike Mackin was dead on the floor — the game was afoot! After his body was removed, guests had to interact with the suspects to try to determine who was responsible for the terrible tragedy.

Bob himself was downstairs in a private room, waiting for his cue for the grand finale. He wasn’t privy to all that was happening above so he isn’t sure how Vincent Price fit in, or if a dinner was served, or in what ways the guests obtained clues to solve the mystery. But he was far from bored: Mike Mackin was brought into the room from the stage, and the two had fun shooting the breeze while the event continued upstairs. A little later, Bob had the pleasure of chatting with Benjamin Orr and Diane Page for a bit when they stepped away from the action of the stage.

While Ben and Diane stayed close together most of the evening, Ben made his way down to the room for a short break. He and Bob conversed easily as they found they had obvious common interests. “Ben was a supporter of the MSP. He asked me about my career. Apparently he was friendly with some of the Troopers on the Mass Pike [located in Weston] and mentioned going to the shooting range with a couple of them. He spoke well of the Massachusetts State Police.”

Diane joined them shortly afterwards. Bob found Diane and Ben to be refreshingly genuine and open, and he enjoyed their quiet chat very much.

ben by bob mckeon
L_R: Bob McKeon, Carole Nash, Diane Page, and Benjamin Orr, August 8, 1987. Photo courtesy of Bob McKeon, shared with permission.

Eventually it was Bob’s turn to make his appearance in the drama. He headed back upstairs and prepared for his signal calling him to emerge through the curtain.

“When it came time to see who was responsible for Mackin’s murder, I walked onto the stage. I stood out like a sore thumb being dressed in two-tone blue and not black and white like everyone else,” Bob recalled. He played his part perfectly. “I slowly walked past all the alleged suspects and returned to Diane and arrested her for the murder. Then I surprised the crowd by arresting Ben as a co-conspirator before and after the fact.”

The evening was a success, and remains a wonderful memory for Bob.

“It was all in good fun and they raised a sizable sum of money during the event. I was happy they took a photo of myself with Carole, Diane, and Ben. It is a great memory of a fun event. I found Diane and Ben to just be normal folks when I was one-on-one with them. Ben was really nice and I felt sad when he passed.”

Of course, the ‘charges’ were dropped and no one’s permanent record was affected, though Ben did leave a favorable lasting impression on Bob McKeon.

Thank you so much for sharing your little bit of Ben history with us, Bob!  ❤

In other words:

2Hot2Stop crop
Diane and Ben on the video set for “Too Hot To Stop,” 1987 (Photo credit: Jim Mahoney, The Boston Herald)

“I remember one of the happiest days of my life was when we did our first promotional tour for the album. We were in Cleveland and riding in the backseat of the promoter’s car when ‘Stay the Night’ came on the radio for the first time. We were so excited and yelling like kids!” — Diane Grey Page, Let’s Go! Benjamin Orr and The Cars by Joe Milliken

Boston in Pictures

Boston in Pictures

Here’s my photo journal of my time in Boston celebrating Let’s Go! Benjamin Orr and The Cars. The event itself was a sold-out-smash filled with rocking music, incredible surprises, and a guest list that sent me over the moon. Surrounding that, I had the time of my life in the same city where my Benjamin lived and worked.

I admit to siphoning a few photos from my friends’ Facebook posts. I hope no one minds! I was too hyper and/or forgetful to capture all I wanted. Photographers include Joe Milliken, Natalie Gaber, Kurt Gaber, David Curry, Eric Barao, Ralph Fatello, Peter Van Ness, Denise Fields, Christine Coughlin, and Mike Baratta. I appreciate you all!

Okay… here we go!


Leaving for the airport Wednesday night, my daughter Liz surprised me with some encouraging words and sage advice. Oh, and snacks, too. Such a sweet kiddo!!

On my way to the airport I stopped to pick up my new business cards, featuring a great design by @night_spots. I love them!


Arrived Thursday morning, got my rental car and made my way to the hotel, where I was able to check in early. First thing I did? Got Turbocharge plugged into the big screen and mourned the fact that one of my heroes, David Juskow, wasn’t coming to Boston. I also found out that I was going to miss seeing my dear friend, Dante Tomaselli. I had to take a few minutes to absorb those disappointments. I showered, changed my outfit, and painted my toenails before meeting my dear friend, Nicole, for the first time! I wish I had snapped a photo of us when we first met; we were both so very excited! We talked a mile a minute and had to explain to the waitress why we still hadn’t decided on our orders when she came by for the umpteenth time.

L-R: Joe Milliken, me, and Nicole Wong

After a brief but tasty lunch and chick chat, I headed back to the hotel to meet Joe, and then guess what? Nicole treated me and Joe to an elegant dinner at The Top of the Hub! What an amazing time we had! The conversation just flowed as we talked about Boston, the book, and the pros and cons of letting our kids play sports. We missed out on most of the view as it was very foggy outside, but we hardly cared, we were enjoying each other so much. The one blemish on the evening was that Nicole’s love, Mike, couldn’t come due to an unexpected meeting at work. Fortunately, I knew I would finally get to meet him on Saturday night.

L-R: Eric Green, Joe, and me

Fat and sassy from our scrumptious dinner with Nicole, Joe and I met filmmaker Eric Green (writer and director of the documentary Live on the V: The Story of V66) at The Pour House for drinks and an interview for Eric’s pop culture blog. It was an honor for me to hang out with him, and we all had a blast! We chatted for a bit, recorded the interview between him and Joe, and then chatted some more. He is so interesting, intelligent, and funny, I felt like I could have talked to him forever.


Friday morning was busy with visiting and prep, but in the early afternoon Joe and I were able to find the former location of The Rat (before determining that we were at the wrong location for dinner with Judith Orr. Haha! Luckily she wanted to change restaurants anyway, so it all worked out.). As you see, I’m wearing my red pants in honor of Ben.

Inside Eastern Standard

Inside the Eastern Standard there is a very cool poster commemorating the former Rat venue. It was a surreal feeling to be standing on the ground where so much rock-and-roll history took place.

L-R: Me, Judith Orr, and Joe

Joe and I enjoyed a yummy dinner at Bertucci’s on Friday night with beautiful Jude and her sweet friend, Christine. We shared stories and laughs and lots of huckleberry taffy, and it was really a precious time for me. I like Judith SO much; she’s hilarious and open, and such a happy person. I had hoped to get together with her at least one more time before I left but aside from seeing her at the book event, I wasn’t able to meet up with her again; time just got away from me. She lives in my timezone, though, so I’m optimistic we’ll see each other before too long.

L-R: Joe, me, Alan Fields, Dave Curry, and Kurt Gaber

After dinner we headed back to the hotel in time to catch the screening of Turbocharge with this group of crazy kids! I never get tired of watching this hilarious film. I couldn’t help but miss David Juskow, though; he had been wavering on whether to come to Boston to join us for the weekend but in the end, he just wasn’t able to make it. Still, our little group had a great time hanging out together (Alan’s wife, Denise, was there, too; she took the pic for us).

Me and Dave… oh, and the Marriott dudes.

Thank goodness my podcast partner-in-crime and I met for coffee in the mornings so we could make time to act like ding dongs. Dave and I found ourselves going separate ways much of the weekend so it was great to have that daily check-in. I am eternally grateful for our easy, funny, relaxed friendship. I don’t know what I’d do without him! 


On Saturday morning during coffee, Dave invited me to head to Rockport with him, Kurt, and Natalie, and I convinced Joe to come, too. I’m so glad we went! Here I am outside of David Robinson’s shop. We parked nearby but the place was closed when we walked past, darn it! Oh well. It was a beautiful sunny day, and I was eager to explore the area and see what Rockport was all about.


Boats aplenty at Rockport Harbor!


Lots of cute art galleries, jewelry shops, candlemakers… and a stinky lobster place! Haha!


Stopped to enjoy the street action with Olive and Ash, the ‘brother and sister Juggle Crew.’ Heck yeah! I have a soft spot in my heart for kids who take the initiative and put effort into carving their path.


The view of the Atlantic Ocean from Bearskin Neck.


The view of Back Harbor.

Natalie Gaber and me

Perfect day! Kurt’s wife, Natalie, is an absolute treasure. She’s so patient with all of us Cars fans and always has her camera snapping away for us. She’s witty and observant, and so very kind! It was a treat to hang out and do some casual shopping with this sweet, quiet, lovely lady.


Rockport is such an adorable little town. We walked out to Bear’s Neck and back, grabbing some yummy ice cream on our return stroll. Mine was chocolate peanut butter. Mmmm!

L-R: Kurt, Joe, me, and Dave

There’s just never enough time to spend, you know? But I am so grateful… It’s amazing to me that I have actually met these amazing friends in person, and on multiple occasions! I truly love these guys (and Nat, too, who is behind the camera!).

Do I even need to label this? David Robinson and me. ❤

So, when we walked back toward the car and passed David Robinson’s shop, guess who was sitting out on the porch, shooting the breeze with friends? That’s riiiiiiight! THE David Robinson! Dave, Kurt, and I all tell the details of this ultra-cool turn of events on episode 55 of the NiGHT THOUGHTS podcast, but suffice it to say, I was so very happy to spend time with him. And he remembered meeting me in Cleveland! It still makes me all quivery with delight to think about it.

Me, David, and Joe

Though we knew beforehand that David would be coming to the book event with friends, it was great for me and Joe to confirm plans with him in person and make sure he was all set. I know Joe really enjoyed getting to connect with him, too, since it had been a few years since he interviewed David for the book.


This is the beautiful piece I bought, a necklace handmade by David Robinson.


A sample of David Robinson’s favorite music. Can you even imagine how cool it was to talk tunes with him like just a bunch of friends hanging out? I mean, when we first came upon him my knees were weak, but by this point I was pretty relaxed because he just put us all at ease. I don’t think it was until we were buckling in the car to head back to Peabody that the full force of happiness really hit me again.

L-R: Dave, Joe, me, David, Natalie, and Kurt

We spent about an hour and a half enjoying David’s company. He was kind, cool, and funny, and said very nice things to us (and yes, his hands were warm!). Terrific memories with some of my favorite people in the world.


The event poster outside of 9 Wallis. I’m pretty proud of my design, if you don’t mind me saying. I’m thankful to Joe for giving me so much creative freedom, and for my son, Nick, who pulled Ben out of that Robert Post photo for me. Since it’s about 3 feet high and on stiff signboard there was no way I could fly it home with me, but Joe’s holding mine with his. Yay!


Our little merch table. I love the items Joe and I put together. We’ve got a few leftover; we’ll be making them available for purchase on Facebook.


It was an honor to have the incredibly talented Kathy Sullivan join us at the party, and we were thrilled to have her set up her fabulous artwork, including two amazing portraits of Ben… and a third one that I didn’t know about yet. I’ll definitely do a separate post about her just for this blog, but I did have the pleasure of interviewing her for an SRO article and writing an abbreviated review for my sister blog, Read~Rock~Review.

Brett Milano and Joe Milliken

Many of you might know of Brett Milano from The Cars’ final interview in 2000, or from the liner notes he’s penned for a couple of the band’s post-heyday releases. He is also a long-time journalist and author of four music-related books, too! The moderated discussion he led with Joe to kick off the night was a nice, relaxed conversation. These two were great together! Our dear friends, The Covinos, filmed this part of the show and I’ve uploaded it to the book’s YouTube channel. Link below!

DR with MIS.jpg
L-R: Bob Heazlit, Matt Fuller, David Robinson, Danny Ayala, Lars Altvater, and Noah Patera

Before Moving In Stereo took the stage, I had the privilege of introducing them to David Robinson in the green room. Again, he was so low-key and funny, and took his time chatting with everyone, joking around, and wishing them luck. David’s girlfriend, Nancy, was so sweet, too. I wish I had thought to get a picture with her. As a side note, before I escorted David and Nancy back to their seats I did show them my Panorama shoes — David loved them!

L-R: Noah, Bob, Matt, Danny, and Lars

Moving in Stereo – The Ultimate Musical Tribute to The Cars! These guys rocked the club for 75 minutes — and I do mean ROCKED. I received so many compliments from people during and after the show about the band’s performance, not just from Cars fans, but from Ben’s family and friends as well as from the other notable musicians that were in the audience. I’m so proud of our boys!

Bob, Matt, and Danny

The whole band delivered a high-energy, tight, magnetic show!


Powerhouse trio!


I was totally taken off guard when Joe called me up on the stage before the band’s encore, and even more surprised when he revealed for the first time publicly how I came to be involved with the book. I’m not always aware of my facial expressions; thank goodness David Curry reminded me to SMILE.


Joe had a special gift for me as his way of thanking me for my dedication to the book project. You can’t imagine my shock and pleasure when he presented me with a stunning portrait he had commissioned from Kathy Sullivan just for me: our beautiful Benjamin from Musikladen. My sweet friend, Nicole, was in on it, too, and knew it was coming, so she captured it on video. Check out the link at the end of this article!

Benjamin Orr by Kathy Sullivan, 2019

Kathy Sullivan’s remarkable portrait. And see the purple wave of spirit and stars behind him? It’s a beautiful inclusion of the ‘sweetpurplejune’ connection. This treasured gift moves me every time I look at it, which is about 100 times a day.

Nicole and me!

Me with my beautiful and treasured friend, Nicole! It was a dream come true to finally meet her face to face after nearly three years of social media connection!

Me with Brett Milano

I was thrilled to meet and spend time with author Brett Milano, whom I have long admired. I even remembered to have him sign my copy of his book, The Sound of Our Town.

Me with Hirsh Gardner

I’m afraid I was a little starstruck when I saw legendary drummer and producer Hirsh Gardner making his way across the venue. What a treat to meet him! And he was nice enough to rock out with me and even share his yummy drink. Haha!

Me with Eric Barao

I’m sure I took singer/songwriter Eric Barao by surprise when I leapt into his arms as soon as I recognized him; I was just so happy to finally meet him in person! I feel like I’ve known him forever. And what a good sport he was to bring Ric Ocasek’s jacket for me to try on! LOL

from tracey 4
L-R: Diane Page, Judith Orr, and Kris Orr

It was such an honor to have these three ladies in attendance: Diane Page, Judith Orr, and Kris Orr. Such precious women in Ben’s life, and so instrumental in helping Joe tell Ben’s story. I was thankful to spend time with Diane and Judith but unfortunately I didn’t get to formally meet Kris. Please excuse Kurt’s photo bomb. LOL

L-R: Becky Broderick, Marla Blazer, Joe, me, and Kim Murphy

Hanging out with the Babaloo girls, Becky, Marla, and Kim! These ladies came from the far corners to celebrate Ben with us and I’m so thankful!

Me with Ralph Fatello

I had the pleasure of connecting with The VINNY Band frontman Ralph Fatello during the planning stages of this event, and I went right down the rabbit hole! His music is great, his photography is stellar, and he is such a kind and gracious man. The icing? He invited a couple of his very good friends to join him and his wife to our little party, and boom! David Robinson was on the guest list! Thank you so much, Ralph!

P.S. Ralph told me after the event that the vibe and venue has inspired him to start planning for something he’s put off for far too long: A reunion of The VINNY Band! Active between 1976 and 1984, The VINNY Band was an all-original group that played extensively in Boston and New England, and toured through South America and the Caribbean. All of their recordings were produced by our very own David Robinson. Follow them on Facebook to make sure you don’t miss the details!

Me, Joe, and Paroo Streich

It was such a delight to finally meet Paroo, and she was kind enough to share her beautiful story about her encounter with Ben. SO precious!

Kurt and me

I’ve been social media friends with Kurt for so long I feel like I’ve known him all my life. Still shaking my head that we’ve met in person as often as we have — three times now! Just can’t decide if I think of him as my big brother or as my little brother. Haha!

L-R: Bob, me, Matt, Joe, Danny, and Lars

We love these guys SO much! Hard-working, hard-rocking, and some of the kindest and funniest men in the business. And the BEST Cars tribute band ever! Moving In Stereo was the perfect choice to join us in celebrating Ben in Boston.

Joe, David Robinson, and Ralph Fatello

I was completely aware of the magnitude of this moment for Joe. Incredible. Plus I also love that David is examining Eric Barao’s new solo CD and that he has a print of Kathy Sullivan’s portrait of Ben. Ralph Fatello on the right adds even more coolness to this already epic photo.

Me with Peter Van Ness

So thankful Peter Van Ness, the owner of our venue, 9 Wallis, took a chance with this greenie and our little show! He rolled the dice, showed me the ropes, and kept me laughing. I think we’re both pretty happy with the results! Thank you a million times, Peter; so grateful to call you my friend!

Me with Vicki Van Ness

Hostess-with-the-mostest, Vickie Van Ness! From crowd control to keeping track of my tab, Vickie kept everything running smoothly all night long! And I think she’s the one that invented the drink special for the night. It was called The Drive, and it was dangerously delicious!

Joe and me

As many of you know by now, working on this book has been a life-changing experience, on so many levels. Editing, proofreading, publishing, marketing, organizing events… I’ve learned so much and had so much fun! I’ll forever be grateful to Joe for letting me in on this project, and for sharing Ben with me in a way that no one else could.


My sense of style: Ocasek jacket and Panorama shoes. Still hyper and happy at the end of the night. It took me a few hours to come down from the adrenaline high.


On Sunday I headed back to downtown Boston to try to capture the views that I missed on Thursday night. From the observation deck at the top of the Prudential building, there are the city blocks where they lived and worked… Ben, Ric, David, Greg, and Elliot making the music that changed my life (and many others’) forever. Boston will always have a precious place in my heart!


So many greats have walked in and out of that school, including our own Elliot Easton and Greg Hawkes.


The ultimate rock-and-roll hotel! Unfortunately the Cars room was occupied and I was unable to tour it, but still a very cool place, nonetheless. Next time!


On the Verb’s wall of famous patrons….


There’s Greg! Can you find him? I am determined to stay here at least one night in my life!


Another Cars mention on the wall of The Verb Hotel.


Goodbye, my beautiful Boston! I hope to see you again! ❤

A couple of extras:

Here are those YouTube videos of the book discussion and Joe presenting me with my special gift. Enjoy! ❤

And here’s the link to the podcast episode where I give more deets of the trip:

Lyrics: This Time Around

This Time Around (written by Benjamin Orr and Diane Page ©1986)


So many times disappointed

Thrown about with a doubt you could never see

And out of nowhere it sounded…. something is happening


Someone who happened to hear it

Listened in silence and knew how to understand

One step ahead of a feeling, touching with loving hands


Now I know that things are going to be alright (this time, this time) this time around

Lonely days give way to warm and gentle nights (this time)


No need to keep second guessing

Racing in circles and trying to figure out

Answers to all of the questions… you had them all along (you had them all along)


Yes, I know that things are going to be alright (this time, this time) this time around

Lonely days give way to warm and gentle nights (this time)


Take away all the old doubts

‘Cause there’s something for you that comes from a different place

In a different way


Straight ahead, you and me every day,

You just got to be you… just believe

You know that love can give you what you need


Now I know that things are going to be alright (this time, this time) this time around

Lonely days give way to warm and gentle nights (this time)

Warm and gentle summer nights…


So many times disappointed

Thrown about with a doubt you could never see

Then out of nowhere it sounded straight to the heart of me


Now I know that things are going to be alright (this time, this time) this time around

Lonely days give way to warm and gentle nights (this time)

Yes, I know that things are going to be alright (this time, this time) this time around

Lonely days give way to warm and gentle nights (this time)

Warm and gentle summer nights


This time… it’s gonna be alright… this time

This time… I know it’s gonna be alright… this time

This time… it’s gonna be alright… this time

This time… I know it’s gonna be alright… this time

In other words:

On writing songs with Benjamin for The Lace: “I kept hearing this song coming upstairs from the studio and one day he said, ‘Hey, do you want to try writing lyrics with this song?’ and I said, ‘Sure.’ And I said, ‘How will you know whether it’s going to work or not?’ and he said, ‘I’ll know immediately. If it works, it works.’ So we wrote ‘Stay The Night’ and it came very easily, and it was smooth, and he seemed to like my work, so we continued on from there and we wrote eleven songs.” — Diane Grey Page, “Rock Of The World” interview with host Phil Harvey, 1986

Lyrics: That’s The Way

That’s The Way  (written by Benjamin Orr and Diane Page, ©1985)

She’ll get you mystified, you’re going for a ride
Or you can let it drop.
Or you can take the hit or you can miss the ship
Or you could take the top
That’s the way I want, I gotta see you anyway…yeah

Well, you can jump the fence or you can have some sense
Or you can call the cop.
Or you can close the book or you can just unhook
And all I know is…
That you can have some if you want to (don’t close your eyes)

I could show you if you want to
But all I know is…

That’s the way I want
Shake you, take you down
All the way…yeah
(I tell you) That’s the way… all the way

Well, you can take what you want to (don’t close your eyes)
You can do what you like (** your eyes)
Just something else to get through (don’t close your eyes)
But you got to want to win
It’ll come around again anyway

Well, you can take what you want to (don’t close your eyes)
You can do what you like (** your eyes)
Just something else to get through (don’t close your eyes)
But you got to want to win
It’ll come around again anyway

Hey you can take the piece or you can shake the squeeze
You can let it drop.
Well, you can take the pass or you can break the glass
And all I know is…
That’s the way I want
Shake you; take you down

Well you can roll it back or you can counteract
or you can shut it down.
Well you can take the hit or you can transmit (transmit)
And all I know is…
That you can have some if you want to (don’t close your eyes)
I can show you if you want to.
But all I know is…

That’s the way I want
Shake you; take you down…yeah
(I tell you) That’s the way…

All the way

Lyrics: The Lace

The Lace (written by Benjamin Orr and Diane Page, ©1985)


Just walking through the city, some need to sort things out

I don’t need to know the pity I’m feeling for us now


We walked right back together, back when I hardly knew

Why do the strangest things bring back those times with you?

Just when we’re getting closer I’m seeing something new


Just soaking up the city, drifting the days away, yeah

Searching through crowds of people, the face that got away


We talked good times together, put all my dreams on you

You led me down some path and now I see where to

Turns out my best just wasn’t good enough for you


You couldn’t recognize the loss in the world

I want to lose yourself, you couldn’t feel the pull

Everything just ends up so sad, too bad, I gave it what I had


Just walking through the city, drifting the days away, yeah

Searching through crowds of people, the lace that got away


You’re telling me it’s nothing when I would watch you stare

How could I get to you when you were never there?


We walked right back together, back when I hardly knew

Why do the strangest things bring back those times with you?

Just when we’re getting closer I’m seeing something new


You couldn’t recognize the loss in the world, so sad

Episode 43: “Let’s Go!” with Joe, Part 1

An early copy of the Let’s Go! manuscript. Photo courtesy of spj.

After eleven long years, the wait is finally over! Let’s Go! Benjamin Orr and The Cars, the first-ever biography of Ben — or any of the Cars’ members, for that matter — was published on November 11, 2018. Now that the fans have the joy of holding the finished product in their hands, your Night Thoughts co-hosts are eager to take a look inside!

Dave and Donna kick off this first installment in the two-part series by zeroing in on the first seven chapters of the book, discussing Ben’s childhood, his early band experiences and teen celebrity, his time in the military, meeting Ric, the Milkwood mess, the formation of Cap’n Swing, and the coming together of the five men that would eventually join forces to become The Cars.

The two share the parts that made them laugh, that connected some dots, and that were just downright COOL. Having had the privilege of working intimately with author Joe Milliken over the last year as he prepared the book to cross the finish line, Donna is now able to give insight into some of the ‘behind the scenes’ aspects of the publishing process, as well.

**SPOILER ALERT This episode gets pretty specific at times, revealing details and quotes from the book. If you haven’t read it yet, it will either tick you off or tantalize you further… only you can decide how you might react. Pod wisely, people!**

Next up is the Midnight Scroll, which includes some great feedback from our friends Grace Geek and B.B. on the Door to Door dissection episode. There’s also a letter from our old pal Rico, who, inspired by Joe’s book, has decided to write his own story of how he came to cross paths with NiGHT THOUGHTS, and sends us all the details in his email.

The podcast then moves into the first half of a recorded interview between Donna and the Let’s Go! author himself, Joe Milliken. (Unfortunately, scheduling conflicts prevented Dave from being able to join the chat.) The two spend some time talking about the ins and outs of Joe’s writing process and how critical the “Cleveland Connection” was to his success. From there they go deeper into Benjamin’s life, and Joe is generous with details that go beyond the book. Their candid conversation covers topics like:

  1. Ben’s relationship with his parents and the Mayers
  2. the strength of Ben’s independent nature
  3. getting the significant women in Ben’s life involved in the book
  4. Diane’s statements about Ben’s moods
  5. Ben’s interest in guns

The second half of Donna’s interview with Joe will be included in Episode 44, when Dave and Donna finish up their in-depth review of this terrific book — coming very soon! Until then…

Find us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter @TheCarsPodcast  (individually we’re @night_spots  and  @sweetpurplejune ), and subscribe to our audio outlets! You can listen by clicking the Youtube link below, or visit us on iTunes or Soundcloud. Wherever you connect, be sure to subscribe, share and comment. You can also email us at nightthoughtspodcast@gmail.com. Let us know your thoughts — we’d love to hear from you!

Okay, are you ready? Let’s GO!

Lyrics: Hold On

Hold On* (written by Benjamin Orr and Diane Page, ©1985)

[Disclaimer: I gave myself some room on this one. The words are hard to discern and the other published attempts I’ve read don’t really hit the mark to me, so just know that I’ve written what I’m hearing and it may not be perfect.]

Well you sure look good tonight, I think I’ve come to see some light

Come on, hold onto me… belong to me

You know that love looks good on you, in what you say and what you do

Come on, hold onto me… it’s all I need


I’d gotten to the point where time was plowing by

Not a thing to show for all the times I’ve tried

Now we just can’t seem to wipe the smile away and you gave it to me

Given up on feeling something beautiful

Loneliness was starting to be suitable to me

Lucky day I found when you got into us


Can’t seem to get enough of you, when you’re away I dream that you

Come on and hold onto me, belong to me

And so it never really ends, you mend the hurts that never mend

Come on, hold on to me, it’s all I need


Where did all what I had in mind run for me?**

Guess you gotta take the blinders off so you can see

Not a thought goes by that doesn’t hang on you and what did I do before?

Can’t believe that this is really happening

All the hurtful days are finally vanishing

Making all your fantasies realities


We could be in for some surprises; I know it… you know it, too

Before you think of compromising just realize it’s only here for you


Yeah you sure look good tonight, I think I’ve finally seen some light

Come on, hold onto me… it’s all I need

And so it never really ends, you mend the hurts that never mend

Come on and hold onto me, belong to me


Gotta knack for bringing out the best to me

When the love is right it’s possible to see you so clearly

All my life I wondered would it come to me then you brought it to me

Can’t believe that this is really happening, all the hurtful days are finally vanishing

Making all your fantasies realities


Where did all what I had in mind run for me?**

Guess you gotta take the blinders off so you can see

Not a thought comes by that doesn’t hang on you and what did I do before?


*Original title: “Belong to Me”

** Help!