Road Rage Tour Featuring the New Cars with Todd Rundgren, and Blondie

The long-awaited reunion of The Cars, sans former lead singer Rick Ocasek, is reality, and a musical icon of the 1970s, Todd Rundgren, has stepped in to front the band.

The North American release date for The New Cars’ new live CD, “It’s Alive,” is June 6. An advance single, “Not Tonight,” is receiving a modicum of airplay on classic rock and alternative radio stations.

Joining the current Road Rage tour is Blondie, featuring Deborah Harry, another reunited New Wave act from the late 1970s. They kicked off the first leg of an anticipated two-leg North American tour on May 12 in Robinsonville, Mississippi, and will wrap up in Clarkston, Michigan on June 30. Highlights of the current tour include Denver’s Coors Amphitheatre (May 30), Boston’s Bank of American Pavilion (June 7), Orlando’s Hard Rock Live (June 13), Atlanta’s Chastain Park Amphitheatre (June 17), Toronto’s Molson Amphitheatre (June 21) and Montreal’s Bell Centre (June 23).

Two original members of The Cars, guitarist Elliot Easton and keyboardist Greg Hawkes, form the core of The New Cars. With Rundgren contributing vocals, guitars, songwriting and production, the band is rounded out by former Tubes drummer Prairie Prince and former Utopia bassist Kasim Sulton. Easton had toured with another reunion band, Creedence Clearwater Revisisted, prior to the formation of The New Cars.

Hawkes told The Rolling Stone that the band’s reunion has the blessing of Ocasek, who declined to participate. Ocasek, like Rundgren, has developed a career as a music industry producer and solo artist since leaving The Cars, and recently released a new CD.

Disco-era diva Deborah Harry, recently inducted into the Rock ‘N’ Roll Hall of Fame along with her fellow Blondie band members, says this will be the last hurrah for Blondie, at least in terms of touring. Future Blondie recordings remain a possibility, Harry said via satellite during the Los Angeles announcement of the current tour.

“It’s Alive,” the new CD from The New Cars, features three new studio tracks written by Easton, Hawkes and Rundgren, as well as live recordings of recent performances of well-known hits such as “You Might Think,” “My Best Friend’s Girl,” “Just What I Needed,” “Drive,” “You’re All I’ve Got Tonight,” “Good Times Roll” and “Candy-O.”

The Road Rage tour features all of these songs as well as two Todd Rundgren selections: his 1970s hit “I Saw The Light” and “Open My Eyes,” a song he recorded with his first band, Nazz

Rundgren, best known for his smash hit, “Hello It’s Me,” which virtually defined the mellow, plaintive sound of the 1970s, has found success as a producer, composer and creator of studio CDs which he markets on the Internet. But he told liveDaily.com that it’s been a long time since he’s been able to take his own act on the road and make money. He recently toured with Joe Jackson and a string quartet, and was a member of one of the incarnations of Ringo Starr’s ever-changing All-Star Band, but the Todd Rundgren catalog currently has no touring band to support it.

The Road Rage tour marks Rundgren’s return to large-venue stadium rock concerts. “I’ll be definitely playing for larger audiences than I usually do,” he told liveDaily.com.

As Rundgren is emblematic of the 1970s, The Cars seemed to define the sound of the Reagan era. Now that they have joined forces as The New Cars, it’s best of the 1970s teamed with the best of the 1980s, slickly repackaged for the 21st century.

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