Not much has been heard musically from Ric Ocasek since the release of his 1997 solo album, "Troublizing," as his main focus has been on producing such bands as Guided By Voices and Weezer. But with t

Not much has been heard musically from Ric Ocasek since the release of his 1997 solo album, "Troublizing," as his main focus has been on producing such bands as Guided By Voices and Weezer. But with the previously announced Sept. 27 release of a new album, "Nexterday," the former Cars frontman is putting the focus back on his own songs.

Self-produced and recorded in his own basement studio, "Nexterday" (due a day earlier in the U.K.) is quite possibly the most stripped-down and straight-ahead release of Ocasek's entire recording career. The 11 tracks did not differ much from their demo versions, despite appearances by such guests as Bad Brains bassist Darryl Jenifer and former Cars keyboardist Greg Hawkes.

And unlike the methodical pace common to the Cars' recording sessions, "Nexterday" was a relatively quick record. "It took about a couple of months to write, and a couple of months to record," Ocasek tells Billboard.com. "I recorded it pretty much at home."

When asked about specific favorite tracks, Ocasek has difficulty picking just one. "I put them all on there because I liked them," he says. "I wrote about 30 songs and I picked those, so I like all the ones I put there. At least I did when I did them. It's funny -- I don't have favorite tracks on any record."

With an overabundance of material, Ocasek confirms some of these unused tracks should appear on future releases. "I always use a little of the old and a little of the new," he says. Live dates are also a possibility. "I was thinking about maybe in September," he offers.

The artist is also participating in an anticipated Cars DVD/documentary, tentatively titled "The Cars Unlocked." The project will feature career-spanning live footage and candid, behind-the-scenes clips.

"The backstage stuff is stuff in hotel rooms and dressing rooms," Ocasek says. "I think it will be a nice insight into what the Cars were really like. There's interviews, video outtakes, kind of just hamming it up, and some nice club things that probably people wouldn't have gotten to see, from way back. I think it's pretty telling. I think it's the most comprehensive thing that's ever been put out on the Cars."

Questions? Comments? Let us know: @billboard

Print