Ric Ocasek (born Richard Otcasek on March 23, 1949, in Baltimore, Maryland) is an American musician. He is the former vocalist and frontman for The Cars. He has been a producer for several other groups including Weezer, Bad Brains, No Doubt, Guided by Voices, and Suicide.
The singer released his first solo album in 1982. Beatitude is 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 split 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), 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, Hole, Bebe Buell, No Doubt, The Killers, punk-poppers 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.
Ocasek has also written a book of poetry, 1993's Negative Theatre. It was at one time expected to be incorporated into an album and multimedia incarnation of the same name, but these plans were dropped abruptly.
Stephen Colbert enlists the help of The Cars' lead singer Ric Ocasek, to help rescue Stephen Jr.
Ocasek had a cameo role in the John Waters feature film Hairspray, and had a bit part in the 1987 movie Made in Heaven in which he played a mechanic.
Ocasek was also an editor and major contributor to the magazine Fangoria, a cult horror b-movie fanzine.
Ocasek stated in a 2005 interview on Rockline that he hated touring and it was unlikely that he would do so again. He also stated he would not be reuniting with The Cars again, but gave the okay to his former fellow bandmates to do so with Todd Rundgren replacing him on vocals (the resulting band is called The New Cars).
On April 17, 2006, Ocasek appeared on The Colbert Report and volunteered to put Rundgren "on notice". He appeared again on the July 26, 2006, episode to cheers from the audience as he volunteered to lead a commando mission to "rescue" Stephen Jr., the baby eagle at the San Francisco Zoo named after Stephen Colbert. He also appeared again on April 18, 2007, in order to support his wife during her appearance. He has been mentioned many times in other episodes as well.
Ocasek married supermodel/actress Paulina Porizkova in 1989, his third marriage, the first two ending in divorce. He has six sons, two from each of his three marriages. He met Porizkova while filming the music video for The Cars' song "Drive" (directed by Timothy Hutton), while he was still married to his second wife Suzanne Ocasek. Porizkova was only 19 at the time of the 1984 meeting, and they have been together ever since.
On April 18, 2006, he was ranked number 50 in The Boston Phoenix list of "The 100 unsexiest men in the world."