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Ric Ocasek Biography


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Birth Name: Richard T. Otcasek
Born: 1949/03/23
Birth Place: Baltimore, Maryland, United States
Years Active: 1976 -Present
Genres: New Wave, Protopunk, Garage Rock, Bubblegum Pop


Ric Ocasek (born Richard T Otcasek, March 23, 1949 in Baltimore, Maryland) is an American musician and music producer. He is best known as lead vocalist and rhythm guitarist for the rock band, The Cars.

Ocasek's breakout success was as a founding member of the new wave band Cap'n Swing, later re-named The Cars, which had numerous hit songs from 1976 to 1988. He played rhythm guitar and sang lead vocals on many tracks, as well as playing keyboard instruments and bass. Ocasek was the principal songwriter of the band, and wrote nearly all of The Cars material, sharing credit on only a few songs with fellow bandmate Greg Hawkes as co-writer.

During his time with The Cars, Ocasek developed a reputation as a successful producer, and took this role for many up-and-coming bands of differing genres including, but not limited to Weezer, Bad Brains, Bad Religion, Nada Surf, No Doubt, Guided by Voices, Bran Van 3000, and Suicide, as well as some of The Cars albums and singles. In 2010, Ocasek reunited with the surviving original members of The Cars to record their first album in 24 years, titled “Move Like This,” which came out on May 2011.

Ocasek released his first solo album in 1982. “Beatitude” was a somewhat more experimental variation of The Cars' New Wave rock sound. A more synthesizer-heavy follow up, “This Side Of Paradise,” was released in 1986. A #15 hit single, “Emotion in Motion,” accompanied the album.

The Cars disbanded in 1988, and Ocasek disappeared from the public eye for a couple of years, resurfacing in 1990 with “Fireball Zone.” One track, “Rockaway,” enjoyed a brief stay on the charts, but his solo albums have seen disappointing sales, especially compared to his success with the Cars.

He subsequently released other solo works throughout the decade, including 1993's “Quick Change World,” 1996's “Getchertikitz” (a collaboration with Suicide's Alan Vega comprising only beatnik poetry set to music, sound effects, etc.), and 1997's Billy Corgan-produced “Troublizing” (which Ocasek supported with a very brief tour, his first since leaving the Cars). In 2005, Ocasek released another album, “Nexterday,” to little fanfare, but positive reviews.

Ocasek has produced many records, both while working with The Cars and since then, such as Bad Brains' “Rock for Light” and Guided by Voices' “Do the Collapse.” His other production credits include Weezer's “Blue Album” & “Green Album” (both multi-platinum), Suicide, Romeo Void, Hole, Bebe Buell, No Doubt, Nada Surf, Irish folk-punk band Black 47, Bad Religion, Johnny Bravo, D Generation, The Wannadies, Possum Dixon, Martin Rev, Jonathan Richman, and, most recently, the 2006 album by The Pink Spiders titled “Teenage Graffiti.” He also produced a portion of the third Motion City Soundtrack album, Even If It Kills Me.