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The Cars

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For this week's 2&2 we speak with Elliot Easton, guitarist for The Cars who recently reunited with a new line-up (now called The New Cars) which includes legendary frontman Todd Rundgren, original Cars keyboardist Greg Hawkes, Utopia bassist Kasim Sulton, and former Tubes basher Prairie Prince.

2&2: What inspired you to regroup?

Elliot: Well, Greg and I haven't performed this music in many years, and we both felt that it would be a blast to bring these great songs to life on stage again. Also, we have seen many new bands name check us in the press as a seminal influence on their music, so we also felt that audiences would once again be receptive to the type of music that we play.

2&2: How did Todd first become involved?

Elliot: Well, initially we tried to put the band together with all the remaining original members (Benjamin Orr passed away several years ago). When it became apparent that Ric (Ocasek) and David (Robinson) didn't want to tour extensively any more, and Greg and I did, it became obvious that we would need to find some new members. Rather than seek out a singer who would merely ape the voice on the records, we knew we needed a creative spirit, someone who could write new material with us, sing great, be an excellent live performer, and add something of his own to the legacy of the original lineup. Todd is a kindred spirit, and I have worked with him on projects that he has produced in the past; we also played many shows with Utopia in the late '70's- early '80's so there was a connection and a bit of history there. When his name came up it seemed like such an obvious choice, and it has worked out extremely well musically.

2&2: You've already spent a good part of the year on the road, how has the crowd reaction been to your return?

Elliot: The reaction has been incredible. It's been so long since the old band took to the road, and our fans have been waiting for this for a long time! Fans are just loving the show; I regularly see audience members with tears in their eyes. Then again, they might just be sitting too close to the fog machines! I'm really loving it. My daughter wasn't even born when The Cars called it quits and it's so cool for her to see what her dad really does! it's been so long since I've been able to invite a friend to a Cars concert; well The New Cars is probably as close as they're ever going to get, but believe me, there is no explanation necessary: this band just kills!

2&2: What can fans that see you live expect? All Cars classics? Some of Todd's hits? New material?

Elliot: All of the above. Really!

2&2: Speaking of new material, any plans for a new studio album?

Elliot: While there are no concrete plans at the moment, we all believe in this band and are working hard to establish this new lineup, and gain the acceptance and confidence from our fans, both old and new, in the belief that this band is the real deal.


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