Members of The Killers, KISS, Guns N' Roses and More React to the Death of Ric Ocasek of The Cars

September 16, 2019

The rock world woke up in mourning for Ric Ocasek, frontman for The Cars, who passed away on September 15th, 2019 at 75-years-old.

Members of KISS, Guns N' Roses, Twisted Sister, Weezer and more paid tribute to the loss of Ocasek on their social media, but one message in particular that stood out from the rest came from Brandon Flowers, frontman of The Killers.

Flowers, who inducted The Cars into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2018, wrote a touching letter in memory of Ocasek, owing his life's path to the band when he was only 13-years-old. "My mother Jeannie gave me 10 bucks to buy a cassette for the ride home. It was a rite of passage!," wrote Flowers. "All my buddies at the time were listening to grunge or gangster rap. I didn't feel like much of a gangster and I was too tender for the heavy stuff. I knew exactly what I wanted. Independence and even adrenaline rushed through me on my way to the register to purchase The Cars' Greatest Hits. It set me on the path towards the adult I would be become, towards the job I have (which is the best job in the world), even towards the woman I was blessed to marry. So.... THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU."

RIP #RicOcasek

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Back to back “one-two punch” for rock music in one weekend, damn. Eddie Money & just now, Ric Ocasek of The Cars . Full disclosure: In high school, my friends & I always gravitated more towards music that offended & defied convention: The screaming guitars of Van Halen & Ozzy, the screaming (literally) of Halford & Dio, the shock of Kiss & Alice, the complexity of Yes & Rush, the sexual boundary-pushing of Prince (& for that matter, Plant) the weirdness & cultural critiques of Zappa etc etc...But what’s interesting about both these guys’ work is that despite its relative “safeness” (it fit none of the above descriptions, was generally accepted by mainstream gatekeepers, was never threatened with censorship, didn’t cause concern by parent/teacher groups or DC Congressional Committees), it somehow occupied that safer space while being liked by those of us into the more unconventional (even dangerous, if you will) side of music. No, my friends & I didn’t wear Eddie Money or The Cars T-Shirts; we didn’t hang up their posters; we didn’t run out to buy their albums or attend their concerts..But you know what else we didn’t do? We didn’t turn the dial when they came on the radio (and these guys were ALL over the radio)! It may have been “safe” sure, but the songs were undeniably good, the hooks incredibly strong - so strong, in fact, that I can’t even look at titles like “Just What I Needed” & “Let The Good Times Roll” or “Shaken” & “Two Tickets to Paradise” without the songs getting stuck in my head! And I can only imagine their pressure to do some stupid gimmick or rely too much on image in their area of radio friendly rock, but they did not. Even after MTV, they kept it real, just a couple dudes who happened to make super-catchy, fun to listen to music. I met Eddie once - a former guitar tech of mine worked with him for many years - he struck me as down to Earth funny and a great guy. I have heard the same about Ric, though we never met. These two may be more associated with early mid 80s , an era long past, but they were great guys and true artists who will be missed & remembered for many years to come. RIP #eddiemoney & #ricocasek #Thecars

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Related: Ric Ocasek, Frontman of The Cars, Dies at 75