The Ric Ocasek / Honda ST1100 Conundrum: Part 1

To begin with I’ll to explain my personal reaction to Ric Ocasek and his rock and roll prowess. Or rather his averageness.

This? This is a rock star? You're shitting me!

This? This is a rock star? You’re shitting me!

If there ever was a rock and roll band that made no sense it was The Cars. The problem with The Cars is that I like (in a tepid way) their music but it’s as bland as rock music can conceivably get. In any logical universe I’d hate them. Most rock bands have something going on. Either they’re creative (Frank Zappa), musically skilled (Stevie Ray Vaughn), lyrical (Pink Floyd), hard rockin’ (Metallica), or throw a wicked hook (ZZ Top). Without that, a rock band is just future “has beens” and I’ve no time for them.

The Cars are different. They churned out several entirely average generically wholesome arrangements that fit solidly in the mass marketing box that I’d usually call concentrated boredom. Yet I don’t mind The Cars. Drive is an OK song. How do they do it?

The secret is Ric Ocasek. The guy has an entirely nonthreatening voice that, possibly due to a deal with Satan, can overcome every bit of its inherent boredom and make me enjoy the song even though he’s done nothing impressive. When you hear Brian Setzer croon you’ve experienced something. Same for Buck Owens, or Roy Orbison, or Ozzy Osborne, or Jimi Hendix, or even Geddy Lee. Not so for Ric Ocasek. When he sings you hear a sort of pleasant white noise. Time passes for the duration of the song and then it’s done. The mystery is this. Why don’t we feel “ripped off”? We’ve all wasted time listening to various forgettable The Cars hits and then chosen to let Ric Ocasek get away with it. It’s his nerdy super power.

Ric Ocasek is an anomaly I’ll never resolve. He genuinely earns the title “rock star” while retaining the excitement of watching paint dry. Without knowing anything about The Cars other than their music, I presume him to be utterly average. In a world where Ozzy Osbourne is an incoherent shambling mound associated with decapitated bats and Janis Joplin’s haunting voice was snuffed out at 27, there’s something profound about Mr. Ocasek’s unusual ability to be the worlds only boring rocker. He’s a human contradiction, an uncool rock star.

This is the story about Ric Ocasek’s mechanical analogue and the ensuing smokin’ hot babe. Stay tuned.

About Adaptive Curmudgeon

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10 Responses to The Ric Ocasek / Honda ST1100 Conundrum: Part 1

  1. Southern Man says:

    And heeeeeere’s dorky lookin’ Rick with the aforementioned smokin’ hot Czeck supermodel wife. Who he met while she was nineteen while making the Drive music video. Still together, have a couple of kids, which is probably not much comfort to his first wife, who he traded in on the newer model. I remember this only because Heartiste had a pic of them up on his blog once, long ago. He had a point to make but I forgot what it was.

  2. MaxDamage says:

    The Cars were something I’d hear on the radio back in the early 80’s. Candy-O, Good Times Roll, Just What I Needed, it was a prequel to what Pyromania by Def Leppard or anything by Bon Jovi would become — airplay that became background noise until the next good song.
    And then I saw “Fast Times at Ridgemont High.” Now I cannot hear “Moving in Stereo” without mentally transporting myself back in time, to that point where Phoebe Cates emerges from the swimming pool and, on the down-beat, drops her top. For some reason this makes the song seem better. Worth listening to, as a matter of fact. Just in case it happens again. Breasts exposed on the downbeat, that is. I have it on my phone, just in case the kids are over at grandma’s some evening and the wife isn’t engrossed in her knitting or a novel…

    Doesn’t work.

    – Max

  3. Kim Linder says:

    Dude has it going on and never seemed to fail, i find it funny when people refer to artists being snuffed out when their own stupidity is what robbed the world of their talent. I also find it funny that people think that all that talent and amazingness came souley from Talent. when, if You have experienced these outrageously hard core drugs, you would know that a certain amount of ” Magic Time” Occurs when this stuff is in effect. The real tragedy is that the artists didn’t realize that the ” Zone” could come naturally in a wave that truly comes from their fans. Old rockers now will concur , This really happens and it;s some kind of real force that just arrives and allows for nearly supernatural events feeling to be present. Im not some guru dude, I just know this.

    Ric is awesome because Ric Knew he was awesome, That chick, his Wife, The amazing Catch for the nerdy looking , low laying rock star that never killed himself off with some crazy intake of drugs. Shes hooked up and sitting pretty still to this day. Some might say she paid the price having to check that face out everyday of her life but maybe she just realized how smart this guy was and that what kept her in there swinging. Might a been the fact that competition was limited and she was the champ in the fan club. This guy, Ric, what a hero to nerds everywhere he is! Check his Net worth, over 25 Million, born in 1949, Wife , freaking super model paulina porizkova, WOW. what in the hell is not to love. I have not hear 1 song this guy sang that is not a memory bringer, he’s a damned genius. Baltimore Maryland, In 1949. have you been to this place lately? can barely imagine what it was like in 49. what a crazy life this guys had. I love this kind of shit. I’d toss this guy my vote if he ran for president at this point.

  4. Anonymous says:

    One note about Ric, who lived in the somewhat cool carriage houses in the very unhip Newton Centre at the same time I was serving my time in suburbia boston, his ambition was tangible. He simply wanted it so badly, he convinced us all, including himself, he hd it going on.

    His lovely second wife Suzanne supported the family with an administrative assistant at Harv
    ard. She continued her”rock star.” career long after Ric dumped that family for the child supermodel. Yes, he was and is rather a parody of those ‘new wave’ popsters, but listen again. His bouncy melodies trot along over a voice that is not Buddy Holly or Todd Rungren, but with that flat Ohio neutrality that actually becomes ironic. It was the irony that seduced us, along with a first rate band. Saw Hawks last year on keyboards for Rungren. Still making us listen. Nothing mediocre about those guys who travelled to Heartbeat City. But he had many iterations before becoming a rock star,

    I seem to remember a Harvard mixer where we all kicked off our shoes and kep’ it going. Then megafame, for the Cars. I, too, tried to make some sense out of this guy who wanted to be a poet. Well, so did Lou Reed and Bob DYLAn scored a nobel prize. There is a certain commonality among these personas–oh, that’s it–persona. Reed knew he had to be a freak tojust garner some attention. Daid Bowie never pretended he was truly the Thin White Duke. He knew it was show time.
    I always thought it a wee bit pathetic that ric latched onto Andy in the 80’s when The
    Factory was simply a production line churning out wealth or Warhol. Oh, Ric git his$35,00 portrait and Warhol mocked Paulina and Ric in his diaries. Yeah, now The Cars are almost a lapse in good taste for us music maven, but you cannot deny that sound captured a transient moment fun. Out on that first album and hear it anew.

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