Rock Music lost two of its iconic figures over the weekend with the deaths of Cars’ vocalist/guitarist Rick Ocasek and solo artist Eddie Money. Ocasek was found deceased (cause of death, natural causes) Sunday morning September 16th in his New York apartment by ex-wife and former supermodel, Paulina Poritzkova, while Money passed away Thursday, September 13th from esophageal cancer, Ocasek was 75 and Money was 70.
Ocasek’s Cars was one of the music industry’s top New Wave bands, their 1978 self-titled debut featuring three top singles; “You’re Just What I Needed”, “My Best Friend’s Girl” and Good Times Roll” and they would release 13 top 40 singles and four top 10 albums, their last release being their 2011 `More Like This’ reunion effort. The band’s last official performance was at their 2018 Rock Music Hall Of Fame Induction with Weezer’s Scott Shriner filling in on bass for Benjamin Orr who passed away from pancreatic cancer in 2000.
The only time Music Express interviewed Ocasek was in 1979 when he did a phone interview with Vancouver correspondent Tom Harrison and this writer chatted with Benjamin Orr in 1985 after the band’s song “Drive” proved to be a pivotal song at the London Live Aid concert.
Music Express did have more contact with Eddie Money. This writer and Music Express publisher Conny Kunz had the pleasure of socializing with the Brooklyn NY artist when he performed at the Edmonton Summer Rock Cirkus August 26th, 1979. The festival staged by Martin Melhuish and Doug Pringle to launch local FM rock station K-97, featured the likes of Heart, Peter Frampton, Trooper and Streetheart with Money featuring early in the afternoon after opener Dixon House Band.
Money freely floated around backstage after his gig, which featured his current hits “Two Tickets To Paradise” and “Baby Hold On” and he came across as a totally unpretentious character as he chatted with Conny and I. “I can’t take this business of being a rock star too seriously,” noted the former NY police officer. “Unlike him” as he pointed at Heart bassist Howard Leese who was flaunting a gaudy pair of velvet bell-bottom pants. Leese, stung by the criticism, sprinted back to the safe confines of Heart’s trailer while Money laughed at Leese’s obvious discomfort.
Money was also the life of the party backstage during the after-show soiree but unfortunately, his penchant for drinking and smoking sparked future health problems which plagued his music career. Diagnosed with stage 4 esophageal cancer, Money was able to complete his last album, `Brand New Day’ which was held back until July of this year, due to his failing health.
By Keith Sharp