30 Minutes with Elliot Easton of the New Cars Page 2


"Not Tonight" sounds like an automatic hit. You can instinctively feel it when you first hear it. Well, thanks. I hope you're right! [chuckles] It does sound like a classic Cars song. The new band is going on tour. How do you decide on a set list? I always think it's disappointing when I go to a show and a band introduces a bunch of new material and doesn't play the stuff you really want to hear. Most people initially will want to hear us play the favorites; they come to hear those guitar solos, and everything else. People want to hear those songs performed the way they grew up with them, and it's my pleasure to play them. I'm not one for changing things so that they're unrecognizable from the records.

I have to assume you'll be playing Todd Rundgren material like the Nazz, his solo stuff, and maybe even Utopia. We'll do "Open My Eyes" by the Nazz and also "I Saw the Light," one of Todd's [solo] songs. We may do more of his material. When you have a guy as talented as Todd Rundgren in the band, it would be foolish to have him sing just the one set of songs. He's such a strong writer and creative person that it allows us to go forward with new stuff. That's what we hope to do. If everything goes well, we'll record a studio album of all-new material.

But you can't spread it out too thin. People are coming to see a New Cars concert. Then again, there's no attempt to confuse people to make them think that Ric [Ocasek] and David [Robinson] are there. That's why we call it the New Cars, and it reflects the differences in personnel.

Ric and David didn't want to participate in this, and that's fine. More power to them. I'd have loved to have them onboard, but I understand where they're coming from. Still, Greg and I spent our whole lives making that music and popularizing it, and we want to play it. It's our recorded legacy. We had quite a bit to do with the way the band sounded, and we're still here. We love playing those songs, and people love hearing them.

There's a whole generation that has never seen the Cars in action in any incarnation. True. And you can't just throw everything at people instantly. It's a process. We've been away for 18 years, so you can't expect everybody to be back on track with us in five minutes.