Revving Up For The Cars

It looks like one of the biggest bands of the ’80s is about to reemerge on the scene nearly 15 years after its last tour.

One of the best kept secrets in the music industry this year has been the planning of an early 2006 tour by The Cars. The Boston-based band did a hugely successful arena tour in 1984. That was followed by a final North American outing in 1987 after which the group disbanded.

Lead songwriter and vocalist Ric Ocasek married supermodel Paulina Porizkova and has spent a lot of time producing other bands since The Cars parked their career in the ’80s.

Bass player and vocalist Ben Orr was 53 when he died of pancreatic cancer in October 2000.

Guitarist Elliot Easton has filled his time with solo recordings, studio work and touring as part of various acts. Multi-instrumental keyboardist Greg Hawkes has popped up on solo Ocasek records and other projects including Letters To Cleo.

Rumors that The Cars would tour first surfaced in the spring with an Internet posting on an unofficial fan Web site. Although several industry sources have confirmed various parts of the rumor, no one directly connected to the project is talking.

The Cars are managed by Allen Kovac, who did not comment on the tour. His office said the band members had not actually sat down together and discussed a tour. Kovac also manages Mötley Crüe, which launched a hugely successful reunion tour earlier this year.

Ric Ocasek is managed by Elliot Roberts, but his office would confirm only that Ocasek will release another solo album in September and that he would not be part of any Cars tour if it happened. Further inquiries were referred to Kovac.

Now, this is where the story gets really interesting. Since Ocasek won’t do the tour, Easton and Hawkes have apparently recruited an old friend to step into his shoes.

Todd Rundgren is reportedly set to sing most of the lead vocals previously handled by Ocasek and Orr. Anyone familiar with Rundgren’s talents as a musical chameleon would easily understand how the Runt could make it work.

Rundgren has been out this year doing a co-headline tour with Joe Jackson. His longtime manager, Eric Gardner, had no comment on the rumors other than to say he “couldn’t be responsible for the Internet rantings of some tri-polar fan.”