The Cars did “a lot of healing” before the death of singer Ric Ocasek, guitarist Elliot Easton said.

Ocasek passed in September, 18 months after the band reunited for induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. Prior to that, they hadn’t worked together since 2011, but issues still remained around their 1988 split.

“Ric had been the dictator of a very small country and I think it was wearing on everybody,” Ocasek’s estranged wife Paulina Porizkova told Rolling Stone of the situation three decades ago. “All the guys were really fond of each other, but it had run its course at that time. Creatively he really wanted to stretch his wings and get a little weirder. People expected the Cars thing, the hooks. He was like, ‘Fuck that – I want to do something else.’”

Easton recalled the bombshell moment in a recording studio. “We were just sitting and listening and talking, and he just kind of said, ‘You know, I think I’m going to leave the group.' All the blood went to my feet.”

However, Easton noted that the induction reunion made way for a healing process, and reported that he and Ocasek had begun exchanging light-hearted texts as a result. Reflecting on their work together, Easton said: “If the goal was to have great success making pop music with a sense of irony, then mission accomplished, right?”

Easton remembered Ocasek as someone who preferred sessions work to concerts, saying: “He was definitely not one of those ‘Hello, Cleveland!’ kind of guys. Ric was much happier in the recording studio.”

Porizkova confirmed that Ocasek had been struggling with writing a series of songs that, perhaps, could have led to a new Cars album. “It got me so excited,” she said. “[I]t was like him taken to the extremes – the sweetness of his music with pretty dark lyrics.”

But Ocasek later told her: “It’s not coming to me,” and the project was never finished.

 

Ric Ocasek Through the Years: Photo Gallery