Ric Ocasek Interview 2019
Updated: Mar 15, 2019
Coming off of his Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction in December, Singer, songwriter, producer, and artist Ric Ocasek will make two appearances on behalf of Wentworth Gallery in Fort Lauderdale & Boca Raton to showcase his artistic talent.
Ocasek took time out of his busy schedual to meet at the Wentworth Gallery on Las Olas to talk about his art, a poissible anthology album, and how he felt when he heard that The Cars were finally inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Q: Congratulations on The Cars induction into the Rock 'n' roll Hall of Fame. What was your initial reaction when you first received the news that you were in for good?
A: (Laughing) I was pretty happy about it. It was good. I think it's good timing. You know, for a couple years, we were on the list, so when we actually got in, I was quite surprised. It's a lot of fun and it was great to get back with the guys again.
Q: Looking back, can you recall when music, as well as painting, first impacted your life?
A: Yes, music first impacted me when I was 14 and painting, that came a little bit later, but you know it wasn't something that I thought I would be doing for any reason. I mean, I wasn't painting to hang it on the wall or to sell it. I just did it because it was pretty meditative. Sometimes I would just paint when I was producing bands and I would just give them away. I never really thought that I would do gallery shows or anything like that. But I did start to do a few in New York and just decided that I'll do something with it.
Q: Both songwriting and painting both start with an idea inside your head and is transferred to paper and Canvas. Do you approach songwriting and painting in the same way or is it a completely different process?
A: In a funny way, it is a very similar process. Because writing songs, for me, is having A bunch of ideas that you have written and sort of turning those into a song. If I record a song with a guitar and a voice, on the floor with a cassette player, then that's the song. In order to record it and put parts on it, it's like putting colors on it. It's as if I've started the painting, or in pencil, or just started drawing something and then it expands into something, like a circle. You might start with a circle, and then it goes from there. Yeah, I guess it is very similar. Although there's no pressure, as far as painting goes, that you have in the music business. There is more pressure when you're writing a song because there are two parts, there's the music, and then the lyrics. So if you want the lyrics to be any good at all, I guess you have to get into some deep thinking. A song could easily be rejected because it has no tangible content.
Q: I noticed that all of your paintings are untitled. It is it that way so that you can let the viewers of your paintings be left open to interpretation without the lead-in of a title?
A: Yeah I guess, but the fact is, I never thought about having titles because many of them are abstract.. I mean you can name a painting anything, like Orange Peel, and if I probably was in the mood, I could probably look at all my paintings in this gallery and come up with a name for each one of them, and I'm sure I didn't title them because I was even sure that I was going to show them.
Q: Are there any recordings from the 80s that are sitting in a ball somewhere, possibly being considered for release soon?
A: Yeah, there's a lot. Some of them have been on anthology albums. I am actually putting together one right now. I'm trying to work on an album this summer of my own stuff, but also, a bit of an anthology with that stuff. There's a lot of it.
Q: You've produced a lot of bands in the past, are you working with any bands right now?
A: No, not at the moment.
Q: With all of your accomplishments and music and art, what is next for you in this life?
A: (Laughing) Dying! Well, there wouldn't be anything next because what you just said, is basically what I do. I don't have anything new on the agenda… yet. because what you just said, is basically what I do.
Ocasek will be appearing at the Las Olas location tomorrow evening from 7-9 pm, and at the Boca Raton location on Saturday evening from 7-9 pm. For more information, visit Wentworth Gallery's website at: http://www.wentworthgallery.com/