I realized at the last minute that Ric Ocasek from the Cars was at Amoeba on Wednesday night. Long story short, I thought he was just doing a signing of his book ‘Lyrics and Proses’, but there also was a conversation with KCRW Chris Douridas announced – nice! Are they going to do this more often at Amoeba? – but the event turned out even better, when Ric treated his fans with three songs, played acoustically.
However, my first reaction was, Ric Ocasek wrote a book? Actually, the book is a collection of his song lyrics, including his band’s 1978 debut, through his solo career and The Cars’ first release in 25 years, ‘Move Like This’. I looked at it briefly and it also included handwritten pages, some doodles, pictures, but, prove me wrong, I had never pictured the main lyricist of the Cars as a writer! His conversation with Chris Douridas, who was apparently a big fan, surprised me a little, as Ric seemed to be someone even more interested by the lyrics of a song than its rock’ n’ roll side. And that’s not how I remember the Cars! I especially remember this one, ‘Here she comes again/When she's dancing 'neath the starry sky/You kinda like the way she dips/She's my best friend's girl/She's my best friend's girl/And she used to be mine’, not exactly deep literature, but don’t get me wrong, I love the song, he played it and it’s a classic.
And may be Ric realized what I mean because he said at one point he had refused to do the audio version of the book, as he couldn’t just ‘read’ the lyrics. In any case, he is an artsy guy, looking ultra chic, very tall and thin, wearing an earring on the right ear and some black nail polish on one hand, he admitted he writes all the time and draws a lot, some abstract stuff, Kandinsky-style that has been exposed in gallery shows, ‘The creative process for any kind of art is the same’, he said.
During a retrospective of his career and humble beginnings in Baltimore, then Iowa, he talked about his profound admiration for acoustic music, Bob Dylan (especially before he went electric), the ‘god lyricist’, Lou Reed, and the beat poets, specifying that poetry wasn’t fiction, but more like a painting of reality.
He talked about his love for production and studio work– astonishingly he has produced or worked with artists as diverse as Bad Brains, Weezer, No doubt, Devendra Banhart – also evoking the evolution of music making,… ‘before people came with instruments, in the 90s, one guy came with a laptop, now, five guys come with five laptops and sent files to each other over the internet!’ At this moment, he seemed to be torn between a nostalgic feeling and his love of technology.
He read some excerpts of his prose and played three songs ‘Moving in Stereo’, ‘I’m not the One’ and of course ‘My Best Friend’s Girl’, and he sounded great. ‘I haven’t done this since 1968’ he jokingly said after the first one, it wasn’t that much about words alone, but rather about this magic combination of words in music.
Creem – America’s Only Rock ‘n’ Roll Magazine, Reviewed Issue By Issue – March 1986 (Volume 17, Number 7)
You can definitely see Creem’s change of direction
US Top Ten Albums Tracking 3-17-23 – 3-23-23
Morgan will be pulling off singles for at least the next year
Press Releases For March, Here Are The Artists
A cold and nonchalant delivery for a song that rocks hard
Going Steady: New Singles 3-24-23 – 3-30-23 Reviewed
essence of a certain American masculinity
Creem – America’s Only Rock ‘n’ Roll Magazine, Reviewed Issue By Issue – February 1986 (Volume 17, Number 6)
the perceived threat to authority is more class-based than generational
L. A. Burning, West Coast Concert Picks March 27th To April 2nd
Depeche Mode are at the Kia Forum
Sneak Peaks: Upcoming Album Releases 3-31-23 – 4-6-23
he left Griselda so he has a lot to prove…
UK Top 10 Singles 3-24-23 – 3-30-23
the longest running at the top this decade with ten weeks
UK Top 10 Albums 3-24-23 – 3-30-23
the worst greatest hits ever