JOTW Rock and Roll Trivia Question for April 13, 2009

The nucleus of this American band began in Columbus , Ohio, but moved to Boston because the music scene was a better place for new bands to break into the business. They performed as Milkwood , Richard and the Rabbits, and even backed up comedian Martin Mull and his Fabulous Furniture. Eventually they came together with a new band and a simple name, “It's so easy to spell; it doesn't have a 'z' on the end; it's real authentic. It's pop art, in a sense.” They caught a break when a DJ on WBCN played their demo, and from that airplay came a record deal. Their debut album went platinum and was #18 on the Billboard top 100 in 1978. One music critic said “they have taken some important but disparate contemporary trends—punk minimalism, the labyrinthine synthesizer and guitar textures of art rock, the '50s rockabilly revival and the melodious terseness of power pop—and mixed them into a personal and appealing blend.” Their most successful single, which came out in 1984, gained particular notability when it was used in a video of the Ethiopian famine prepared by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation and introduced by David Bowie at the 1985 Live Aid concert at Wembley Stadium in London. Some of the members of this band are no longer with us, and others have had solo careers since the band broke up. While there hasn't been a reunion tour, a few of them still tour along with Todd Rundgren doing their famous songs (I know, everyone tours with Todd Rundgren doing their famous stuff).

Answer:

The nucleus of this American band, Ric Ocasek and Benjamin Orr, met in Columbus , Ohio, but moved to Boston, where they hooked up with Greg Hawkes, because the music scene was a better place for new bands to break into the business.

They performed as Milkwood , Richard and the Rabbits, Orphan, and even backed up comedian Martin Mull and his Fabulous Furniture, then Ocasek and Or went on to perform as a duo in Cambridge coffee houses. Later, Ocasek and Orr teamed up with Elliot Easton in the band Cap'n Swing.

Eventually they came together as a band featuring Ric Ocasek (rhythm guitar, lead and backing vocals); Benjamin Orr (bass, lead and backing vocals); Elliot Easton (lead & rhythm guitars, backing vocals); Greg Hawkes (keyboards, synthesizer, percussion, saxophone, tenor saxophone, backing vocals) and David Robinson (drums, percussion, backing vocals). And they got a new name. Said Ocasek, “It's so easy to spell; it doesn't have a 'z' on the end; it's real authentic. It's pop art, in a sense.”

They caught a break when a DJ on WBCN played their demo, and from that airplay came a record deal. Their debut album was #18 on the Billboard top 100 in 1978. The platinum LP stayed on the charts so long they delayed release of their second album, Candy-O (which also went platinum). One music critic said “they have taken some important but disparate contemporary trends—punk minimalism, the labyrinthine synthesizer and guitar textures of art rock, the '50s rockabilly revival and the melodious terseness of power pop—and mixed them into a personal and appealing blend.” Their most successful single, Drive, which came out in 1984, gained particular notability when it was used in a video of the Ethiopian famine prepared by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation and introduced by David Bowie at the 1985 Live Aid concert at Wembley Stadium in London. Some of the members of this band are no longer with us, and others have had solo careers since the band broke up. While there hasn't been a reunion tour,Easton and Hawkes still tour along with Todd Rundgren doing their famous songs (I know, everyone tours with Todd Rundgren doing their famous stuff). Ocasek continues to perform as a solo artist, having released over seven studio albums (he also produces). David Robinson has retired from music and now involved himself with his restaurant. Benjamin Orr died of pancreatic cancer on October 3, 2000.

2 Comments to "JOTW Rock and Roll Trivia Question for April 13, 2009"

  1. Anonymous's Gravatar Anonymous
    April 13, 2009 - 11:42 am | Permalink

    Definitely one of my favorites from that era. “Just What I Needed,” “My Best Friend's Girl,” “Drive.” Love 'em. But wondering why the answer doesn't once mention the word Cars.

  2. Anonymous's Gravatar Anonymous
    April 13, 2009 - 6:23 pm | Permalink

    Ol' Ric did okay the third time around – matrimonially speaking that is.

Leave a Reply