New Cars — It's Alive!
(Eleven Eleven 7058312, 2006, CD)
by Jeff Melton, Published 2007-03-01
Reunion incantations of classic acts have been part of the rock and roll roadmap since the 50s. Only rarely does a group eclipse the live persona of its original instance. Todd Rundgren had been friends for quite a while with guitarist Eliot Easton since The Cars’ original inception. He has brought along Kasim Sultan (ex-Utopia) and Prairie Prince (ex-The Tubes) to patent a credible version of an early 80s hit machine that is as fun now as it was then. Todd is as natural as he is unlikely for the front man role left vacant by Ric Ocasek. His droll delivery across the disc on the band’s best known hits including “You’re All I’ve Got Tonight,” “Good Times Roll,” and “Let’s Go,” shows a careful respect for the their still radio friendly repertoire. It’s Easton and keyboardist Greg Hawkes who push this well-oiled machine into high gear on tracks such as “Candy-O” and “Bye Bye Love,” where it’s all riffs and serious hard rocking. The real bolt from the blue is Sultan’s lead vocal on Ben Orr’s signature piece “Drive” that carries all the sentimental weight of the original. New songs in the same vein include “Not Tonight,” “Warm,” and “More,” which hint at the spirit of the band which fortunately stops short of self parody. Considering Todd has stated he can pay his bills and have fun playing the hits live it’s no wonder the CD is a clever success.
Phil May of The Pretty Things RIP – We were saddened to learn that Phil May, lead singer and founding member of The Pretty Things, has died at the age of 75. The band's 1968 album S.F. Sorrow is one of the enduring classics of the psychedelic era, and the group existed in various forms until finally retiring in 2018. » Read more
Jorge Santana RIP – Jorge Santana, noted guitarist, leader of the band Malo and brother to Carlos Santan, died on May 14 at the age of 68. Jorge and Carlos worked together on a number of occasions, though Jorge's career was centered around Malo, solo work, and with Fania All-Stars. » Read more
Shindig Festival Goes Lock-Down – Here's what they're saying: It's A Happening Thing! The Shindig! Magazine Lockdown Festival. In our days of no large gatherings of people, maybe it's still possible to have a music festival. Shindig! Magazine is giving it a go with a multi-artist streaming extravaganza on Saturday April 25. » Read more
Bill Rieflin RIP – The sad news reaches us today of Bill Rieflin's death. Rieflin was best known as a drummer in bands ranging from post-punk to industrial to indie-rock to progressive rock, including work with The Blackouts, Ministry, Nine Inch Nails, Swans, Land, and King Crimson. Rieflin had been battling cancer for several years, and succumbed to it on March 24. He was 59. » Read more