March 14, 2006

Let’s Go: two band members reunite the Cars

By Dean Goodman

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Two former members of the defunct
new wave rock band the Cars have refueled the group, installing
singer-songwriter Todd Rundgren in the driver's seat and will
hit the road as the New Cars, they announced on Tuesday.

The new model, featuring Cars lead guitarist Elliot Easton
and keyboardist Greg Hawkes, will be accompanied on tour by
fellow classic pop refugees Blondie, who were inducted into the
Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on Monday.

Absent from the Cars reunion are singer/guitarist Ric
Ocasek, who wrote all the band's hits, such as "Good Times
Roll," "Let's Go" and "Magic," bass player Benjamin Orr, who
died of cancer in 2000, and drummer David Robinson. The band
broke up acrimoniously in the late 1980s amid declining sales.

By calling itself the New Cars, the band avoids legal traps
that dog acts when they reunite with different lineups. Last
July, former Doors drummer John Densmore won a permanent
injunction preventing his two surviving bandmates from using
the Doors name while touring with a revamped version of the
legendary 1960s act.

The New Cars tour will begin in low-key fashion, at a
casino in the Mississippi city of Tunica on May 12, and will
reach such key markets as Los Angeles (May 20), New York (June
7), its Boston hometown (June 9) and Toronto (June 21), before
wrapping on July 1 in Saratoga, N.Y. on July 1.

The Cars, founded in 1977, were among the most successful
American rock bands to emerge from the remains of the
short-lived punk rock revolution. The group managed to appeal
to fans of both disparate genres thanks to radio-friendly pop
tunes flavored with a hint of detached irony.

Its self-titled debut album, issued in 1978, yielded the
hits "Good Times Roll," "My Best Friend's Girl" and "Just What
I Needed," and turned the band into FM rock staples.

The Cars became MTV favorites in 1984 with a slew of videos
stemming from its fifth -- and most successful album --
"Heartbeat City." But the belated follow-up, 1987's "Door to
Door" sold disappointingly, and the band broke up at Ocasek's
behest after a poorly received tour.

Rundgren, a maverick pop songwriter famed for such tunes as
"I Saw the Light" and "Can We Still Be Friends," has been a
cult attraction on the fringes of the music industry for most
of his four-decade career.

Also aboard the New Cars are bass player Kasim Sulton, who
has played with Rundgren, and former Tubes drummer Prairie