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The New Cars

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With bands like the Killers, Interpol, and Franz Ferdinand breaking through in 2005, former Cars guitarist Elliot Easton and keyboardist Greg Hawkes got to thinking. With all this '80s-influenced music appearing on the pop charts, perhaps it was time to revive the Cars and reconnect with music fans. The two approached the other surviving members, David Robinson and Ric Ocasek -- fifth member Benjamin Orr had lost his battle to pancreatic cancer in 2000 -- but neither was interested. It seemed like the idea was finished until Easton brought his old friend Todd Rundgren's name up, and while Hawkes was skeptical the rock & roll maverick would even consider the gig, he was pleasantly surprised when Rundgren enthusiastically accepted. Rundgren brought in two old friends who he had worked with before, former Utopia bassist Kasim Sulton and former Tubes drummer Prairie Prince. Rehearsals were held in secret, and then the band played a couple West Coast club dates in early 2006 and released a snippet of the new but incredibly vintage Cars sounding song "Not Tonight" to the Internet. A handful of appearances on late-night television talk shows followed, all promoting a spring/summer tour the band would be co-headlining with Blondie. As the tour was kicking off, the New Cars made their full-length debut with It's Alive, a collection of old Cars hits recorded live during the West Coast shows along with "Not Tonight" and two other new songs recorded in the studio added as a bonus. ~ David Jeffries

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