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Cars guitarist says if Ric Ocasek hadn't died, band would have worked together again

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Kevin Kane/Getty Images For The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

The Cars were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2018, and frontman Ric Ocasek died unexpectedly in 2019.  Now, Cars guitarist Elliot Easton says if Ocasek hadn’t passed away, he’s pretty confident the Cars would have worked together again.

Speaking to Vulture, Easton said when the legendary new wave band broke up in 1988, it “hurt,” and he feels that if they’d only taken a couple of years off to recharge after the release of their hit album Heartbeat City, they would’ve stayed together.

But when the band reunited for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Easton says, “It reignited a spark.”

“If Ric hadn’t passed, we would’ve done more work together. We had such a fantastic time at the Rock Hall of Fame induction…we hadn’t hung out together in a long time, so spending that week together was wonderful,” says Easton.

“There was a lot of healing. We left that on a really positive note, and there would’ve been an excellent chance for another project,” Easton adds, noting that he and Ocasek were “in touch a lot” after the induction, and that he was “really shocked” when he learned of this band mate’s death.

In the same interview, Easton says he feels The Cars’ song “Just What I Needed” is their overall best song, and the one that most surprised him with its success was “Shake It Up,” which was first written around the time of their 1980 album, Panorama.

“Somebody in the band — and I won’t say who, because I don’t want to embarrass him — said, ‘This song is boring and pedestrian,’” Easton remembers. “It was rejected.”

“Shake It Up” ended up peaking at number four, becoming The Cars’ second-biggest hit, after “Drive.”

By Andrea Dresdale
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