The Ric Ocasek-led new wave band the Cars have reunited to record their first album in 23 years and may support it with a tour, Billboard.com has learned.
The sessions were first confirmed by veteran engineer Paul Orofino in posts on the Pro Sound online message board that have since been deleted, and follow the late July posting on Facebook of a photo with the band’s four surviving original members together in a Boston recording studio.
Last week, the Cars revealed a 73-second snippet of a new song, “Blue Tip,” on their Facebook page, but provided no additional information about the album.
Orofino’s posts previously indicated that the band, which features Ocasek, guitarist Elliot Easton, keyboardist Greg Hawkes and drummer David Robinson, recorded only new songs for the album at his studio in Millbrook, N.Y. Orofino added that Hawkes played and/or programmed all the bass parts, filling the role served during the Cars’ original 1976-1988 run by Benjamin Orr, who died of cancer in 2000.
Sources tell Billboard the group is strongly considering touring, but dates have yet to be confirmed.
The Cars rose to fame out of Boston in the late 1970s with a string of classic hits such as “Just What I Needed,” “Best Friend’s Girl” and “Let’s Go.” The group’s sound was sleek and keyboard-heavy without sacrificing crunchy guitar chords, and its look was unique thanks to the lanky Ocasek, one of the least stereotypical rock stars of the era.
In 1981, the Cars reached a career-best No. 4 on the Billboard Hot 100 with “Shake It Up,” from the album of the same name. After a two-plus-year break, the group scored No. 3 on The Billboard 200 with 1984’s “Heartbeat City,” which spawned the major hits “You Might Think,” “Magic” and the Orr-sung “Drive.”
The Cars split in 1988, with members moving on to solo careers and other pursuits, such as Ocasek’s stint as senior VP of A&R at Elektra Records and as a producer for artists such as Guided By Voices, Nada Surf, No Doubt and Weezer.
Long resistant to reuniting and having gone so far as to tell a journalist in 1997 that it would never happen, Ocasek declined in 2005 to join Easton and Hawkes in a group called the New Cars, which also featured Todd Rundgren, Prairie Prince and Kasim Sulton. That project fizzled after a couple years of touring, which produced the 2006 concert album “It’s Alive!”