Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Ric Takes Julio Iglesias To Court !

Ric isn’t really suing Julio but maybe he should.

Recently, I came a cross this review of a Julio Iglesias song named “Ni Te Tengo Ni Te Olvido”. The reviewer said it sounded like something Ric Ocasek wrote but the author wasn’t more specific than that.

After I obtained the song and took a listen it is a complete and utter rip-off of the Ocasek penned CARS song Drive. Although the chorus is different the verse part is almost exact.

How bout you noisicians download it and you can be the judge for yourselves ?

We here at Negative Theater are all about justice. Decide for yourself if Julio Iglesias is indeed guilty of ripping off an Ocasek melody?

Provided below is the Link For the song.

“Ni Te Tengo Ni Te Olvido”

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Ric And Paulina Celebrate Anniversary


Ric and Paulina celebrated their anniversary
meeting of each other on May 2, 2006.

The people at Gawker Stalker are reporting that they saw the couple dining out at one of New York's newest top rated restaurants.

The restaurant which is called Craft and located on 43 E and 19th in NYC has recently been featured on Bravo networks "America's Top Chef" reality series. As a matter of fact it's Craft's owner Tom Colicchio is one of the judges on the show.

The following is what Gawker Stalker reported:

Seated next to Ric Ocasek and Paulina Porizkova at Craft tonight, celebrating their 22nd (!!!) anniversary. Both are astoundingly tall, he still has the same shock of black hair, & thin, white face. She looks about 32, super long hair and Mt. Rushmore cheekbones. They were warm and friendly & disappeared for a smoke about halfway through.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Black 47 With Ric As Their Producer

One of Ric’s earliest post-Cars production projects was his involvement with NYC’s most famous Irish Pub band Black 47. Ric produced two of their albums in the early 1990’s. He was at the soundboard for both their critically acclaimed “Independent” album in 1991 and their 1993 effort “Fire Of Freedom”

Ric also lent his guitar and keyboard talents to the ‘Fire of Freedom” project as well as his vocals. Ric is soley responsible for the opening keyboard work on the Black 47 song “Fanatic Heart“.

Some familiar names of Ric’s post cars posse were also involved. Ric’s long time friend and techy David Heglmeier was the engineer for the album as well as his old pal Darryl Jennifer (bass Player for the Bad Brains) who contributed his bass playing as well as spoken word to the “Fire Of Freedom” album. Jennifer also has appeared on two of Ric’s solo albums Beatitude and Nexterday.

Below is an article on how Ric and the members of Black 47 got along during the recording for “Fight For Freedom” how things evolved and how Black 47 felt about working with Ric.

We used to play the Wetlands in NYC quite often. Famous People would watch us play. Joe Strummer came in often to see us, so did Matt Dillon as well as Sinead O’Connor. One day, Murad and Judy showed up. Judy was the sister of Elliot Roberts who had apparently managed everyone from Jesus on down. Elliot was, at this time, looking after Neil Young, Tracy Chapman and Ric Ocasek. He was based in LA but offered to manage us - with Murad and Judy handling things in New York. Soon after, while on stage in Reilly's, I noticed a commotion in the crowd. It was hard not to take note of Ric Ocasek. Tall, deathly pale and intense. However, when I joined him for a drink I was stunned to see that no one was paying any attention to him but to the leggy blonde on his arm. Where had I been? I had never heard of Paulina, his wife and world famous model.

Still, it made things easier to have a one on one with Ric. After a few compliments about the band and the information that the Cars had started in a similar dive in Boston, he got down to business. "I can make that independent cd of yours great." That sounded intriguing, especially coming from someone who had sold 30 million records. "The problem is, I'm going away in a couple of weeks. If we're going to do this we've got to start right away. Think about it." Then Paulina turned to him, he melted into her arms (who wouldn't) and we got up to do our next set.

The next morning, Elliot was on the phone. "Well?" Says he, "do you want to do the CD with Ric?" I wasn't sure but then thought, "what the hell." We started later that night. It was a great experience - at least, for me. Ric was one of the most intelligent, insightful people I have ever met. In the public eye, he has been painted into a corner by his enormous success with the Cars. But to me, he is a true artist - very inquisitive, a vast sensitivity and, despite or on account of all his success, thoroughly unafraid to fail. He was an amazing blend of humility, artistry and self-confidence, and then on top of all that, he was a real rock 'n roll star, in the flesh - with all the good and bad that bestows.

His style of producing was to let you make the record, sit back on the couch and listen. And what ears he had. His studio was set in the basement of his town house in the Gramercy area. He rarely began recording before 5pm and would continue well into the dawn and long after I had crept home, bamboozled with sound. Whenever you faltered, he would make a suggestion, invariably right. Oftentimes, he would disappear upstairs with Paulina and leave you with his engineer and assistant, Heg. He had an uncanny knack for knowing when things weren't right and he believed that records should be made with the minimum fuss. Probably his long years of trauma making records with Mutt Lange confirmed him in this. After my departure at 4 or 5 am, he would work on. The next afternoon when I showed up, bright and bushy tailed, I would insist that Heg let me hear anything Ric had been messing with.

Thus was born the beautiful intro to Fanatic Heart on Fire of Freedom which he created with a Roland guitar synthesizer. Compare it with the more bare bones but still moving version on the independent cd - two ways of seeing things, each equally valid. Two snippets that he was about to discard were the pieces of Livin' in America which later became Fordham Road 8am and Bainbridge Avenue 2am. Whenever, he heard me do anything that sounded vaguely like the Cars he would beg me not to use it. "I'll be criticized for that," he would say. I told him to quit the paranoia! But he was right . Critics hated him and blamed him for a number of my ideas. (One moron who writes for the NY Press even chastised him for the production of Black 47 Independent). He took it all stolidly. Such was the price of fame - perhaps, if you're married to a super model, have a lot of money, fame and success, these things don't matter - I wonder?) Still, hanging out with him was a lesson in life and I remember the time with great affection.

But back to the recording. We worked and remixed many of the songs from the independent cd and added, Fire of Freedom, Maria's Wedding, Our Lady of the Bronx and New York, NY 10009. But time was catching up with us and Ric had a departure date. Sometimes we worked separately, in two studios, to get more done. He had such a clear idea of where a song should go. I had been agonizing with John Goldberger, the engineer, about the mix of Maria's Wedding. Ric swept in, an almost spectral figure and demanded the mix. When we told him our problems, he merely said "play it!" And while we listened back, he moved 3 or 4 different faders. By the time the song had finished, to our amazement and hurt pride, a new mix had been created. Without a word, he swept out of the studio, leaving us there staring at each other.

But it was a two way street with Ric. He loved our band dearly and delighted to be inspired himself. One of my most vivid memories is making the cries and screams for the intro to the Famine song, Black 47. I used, perhaps, six tracks to get those sounds, layering them and always keeping in mind the millions who had died. Before doing a track, I would sit in his little vocal booth and summon up the spirits of those dead and discarded people. Track after track, I screamed, cried and moaned and each time I emerged, I would look at him. He would just stare back. Eventually, after losing all sense of time, he nodded. It was done and the three of us listened back wordlessly. He was a wonderful illustrator and always drew as he listened. When he left the room I snuck a look at his book. The page was empty.

That recording and mixing went by in a blur and, as usual, we continued to do gigs. One of which was an outrageously rowdy affair in Sam Maguires - that wonderful bucket of blood in the North Bronx. I remember rushing back downtown to the Record Plant where I had left John Goldberger mixing James Connolly. My ears were bleeding from Sam's and yet Connolly sounded magnificent - all the instruments blended together like some amazing fife and drum band. I heard Connolly on a compilation tape recently. It still sounds great. But all good things come to an end: Ric flew off to the Caribbean, Pete Ganbarg signed the band and so I brought the finished tapes up to EMI.

Monday, May 01, 2006

NY Times On Ocasek's Production Work With Le Tigre

This is a NY Times Piece that appeared in the paper in 2004. It is very telling on what kind of a person Ocasek is and what people think of him as a producer.

RIC OCASEK hasn't changed much since the mid-1980's, when his band, the Cars, was last a fixture on MTV. He remains rock-'n'-roll thin, his long legs still clad in dark stovepipe pants, and while the lines in his angular face are a little deeper, he continues to sport the same instantly recognizable shock of black hair. But during the last 20 years, as the Cars' elegantly sardonic take on commercial pop music has receded into the realm of VH1 specials and 100-best lists, Mr. Ocasek has slowly reinvented himself as a producer and mentor to musicians who are often half his age.

He has produced material for bands as wildly diverse as the geek-chic Weezer; the glamorous ska-influenced No Doubt; Courtney Love's punk-girl group, Hole; the proudly low-fidelity Guided by Voices; and now the raucous, gender-bending art-punkettes Le Tigre, who are releasing one of the most highly anticipated albums of the season, "This Island" (Strummer/Universal).

Rooted in the angrily feminist, musically innovative Riot Grrrl movement of the early 1990's, the New York-based group - Johanna Fateman, JD Samson and the former Bikini Kill singer Kathleen Hanna - built its reputation with high-energy live shows and two self-produced albums that combined catchy samples of 60's girl groups, strident guitars and radical gender politics. (Le Tigre's Web site states that "the music is not separate from our political ideas, and we really can't choose one or the other.") True to the do-it-yourself punk credo, the group had never worked with a producer, choosing instead to compose, record and arrange its CD's itself. But when the Le Tigre bandmates wanted to do something "crazy pop," as they put it, for a third album, they decided to call on professional help. Mr. Ocasek had met the group in 2003, during a stint as a vice president of Elektra, and the band admired Mr. Ocasek's "raw musical aesthetics," as Ms. Samson said, and his work with the smooth, radio-oriented No Doubt.

Mr. Ocasek ended up working on three tracks, with one, "Tell You Now," making it to Le Tigre's new album. (For the record, he had nothing to do with Le Tigre's raucous cover of the Pointer Sisters' early-80's hit "I'm So Excited.") He concentrated on making their songs more radio-friendly while preserving their homespun sound.

"It was really new for us to have so much appreciation for somebody else's opinion in the studio," Ms. Samson said, laughing. "He said that 'Tell You Now' didn't really have a chorus, so we had to figure out what the most catchy part was, flesh it out and piece it back in. We had never even thought of song structure before."

Told of Ms. Samson's remarks, the soft-spoken Mr. Ocasek let out a chuckle, and commented, "I told them that if you want to get something on the radio, people have to get knocked over the head with something they can sing along to. And if you never have a melody to follow. ...''

Producing began as a side venture for Mr. Ocasek. During the Cars' chief hit-making years, from 1978 to 1984, Mr. Ocasek left the hit-making to experts like Roy Thomas Baker, the Englishman responsible for Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody." But at the same time Mr. Ocasek was quietly offering his services to others. "I started producing mostly out of love of being in the studio and also because I wanted bands to feel like they were going to get exactly what they wanted without anybody pushing them around," he said. (Today he often works out of a studio he set up in his house in Manhattan, near Gramercy Park.) Among the first musicians he worked with were the gonzo art-punks in the Fast and the intense, pioneering electronic duo Suicide.

Though the Suicide singer Alan Vega is known for his intense, haunted stage manner, he speaks about Mr. Ocasek (with whom he has also collaborated on the spoken-word CD "Getchertiktz'' in 1996) in reverent terms. "When I work with him, I know I'm in God's hands," he said. "I remember him working over and over again on backup vocals for a D Generation song I personally wasn't crazy about. So I got impatient and walked out. When I came back two hours later, it sounded amazing! He worked on those vocals until he nailed them."

Mr. Ocasek's low-key, "I used to be in your shoes'' approach seems to inspire trust in his bands. It also helps that he is usually hired by the band, not foisted on it by a record label, as some producers are. "All the bands I produce are real about their music: it's artful, it has integrity," he said. His acts range from the uncompromising hard-core Bad Brains to the quirky, literate Nada Surf and the Celtic rockers Black 47, and several have found huge, Cars-level success: he worked on Weezer's two self-titled albums, both platinum-selling, and co-produced a pair of tracks on No Doubt's hugely popular 2002 release, "Rock Steady.'' To bolster that band's "Don't Let Me Down," for instance, he used the same kind of catchy synthesizer counterpoint that made the Cars' "Just What I Needed" so instantly memorable. (That 1978 hit is now gracing commercials for the consumer electronics chain Circuit City; Mr. Ocasek, who once sang acidly of "TV ads that sell erections," was recently persuaded by his former bandmates to give in to the siren cries of advertising agencies.)

Perhaps oddly for a man who barely showed up at the office during his year at Elektra, Mr. Ocasek finds himself dispensing tips on corporate politics, along with recording advice. "I felt that bands were naïve about the business," he said. "I'd offer suggestions, like, 'You could give your publishing rights away to the record company for $100,000 now, or you could keep them and take a chance on yourself, and you'll be very happy if you do that.' I gave Weezer advice on what it would be like when they were successful and had to deal with record companiesagents, managers." At the same time, he pointed out that bands had gotten more savvy over the last decade, noting that "the indie community is well aware of the corporate community's tricks."

"Some labels," he added, "are actually quite fair and quite good, but I think bands also have a much better idea of what's going on than ever before."

Mr. Ocasek's own experience as a corporate insider was brief but happy, he said. (He signed only one band: San Francisco's neo-psychedelic Stratford 4.) Mr. Ocasek quit Elektra when Sylvia Rhone, the label's chief executive, who had hired him, left after a bout of corporate restructuring. "I realized I'd be better off having my own record company anyway," he said. His as-yet-unnamed label's first release, scheduled for February, will be a solo album titled "Nexterday"; he is even considering live dates to promote it, though he's quick to add that "as an artist who's already been around, I have no aspiration to re-enter the pop world." He may also put out the Stratford 4 CD that's been stuck in limbo in the wake of the Elektra shake-up. "I want my label to be one of the most adventurous ones around," he said. "I look for what a band has to offer, not for something I want to change."

It's a remarkably self-effacing attitude, and one that seems to inspire awe in Mr. Ocasek's charges. "He's been the same dude the whole time," Ms. Samson said. "He's not cocky - he just thinks he happened to be in a band that became really popular and he was having a good time!" Ms. Samson added that she and Ms. Fateman were at a gay march in the summer, "and there were thousands of lesbians walking on Fifth Avenue."

"He was crossing the street," she recalled, "and he came out and picked up Johanna and whirled her around. It was totally surreal - but that's just Ric for you." For a moment, Ms. Samson, who dresses androgynously and sings along to lyrics about a "huge strong mass of feminist fury," sounds like a dreamy-voiced teenager who's just had an encounter with a rock star.

Download The Ocasek Produced Le Tigre track "Tell You Now" here