Battle of the Fading ’80s
Dolby vs. The New Cars
You’re all I’ve got tonight ... again! Former Cars frontman Ric Ocasek must have been too busy flushing Weezer down the toilet to join his former bandmates on stage as leader of the unholy reformation of his once-great pop-rock band. The New Cars (or The Old Cars, whichever you prefer), now led by Todd Rundgren, are prowling the casino circuit on the "Road Rage Winter Tour." Ladies, lock up your grandmothers!
One Hit Anomaly
Jessica Cassyle Carr
The video for "She Blinded Me with Science" is a perfect artifact of ’80s pop culture: It features that decade's wacky synth experimentation, infatuation with Asian women (combined with nerdy girl-turned-hot to boot) and superficial scientific curiosity. And throughout it all, British TV actor Magnus Pike yells "Science!" Dolby has been forever branded as a one-hit wonder in America thanks to this song. Too bad he considers it his most meaningless song, written with the video in mind.
There's an assumption about has-beens that, after their short-lived glory is tapped dry, the artist sinks back into oblivion and lives out the rest of his or her life in boring obscurity. With Dolby (his actual surname is Robertson), this isn’t the case at all, as he's exceedingly more interesting than most of his fellow ’80s one-hitters. His post-“Science" music career is rich, even exiting. He played keyboards on Def Leppard's Pyromania, for Forgiener, David Bowie, Roger Waters, The Soft Boys and Robyn Hitchcock. He's also an inventor and entrepreneur, having started Beatnik Inc., a tech company that works with polyphonic ring tones.
Winner! Thomas Dolby and BT (yes, that BT) play El Rey Theater on Friday, Dec. 1, at 8 p.m. Tickets are $30 in advance through www.abqmusic.com, Natural Sound and Bookworks, or $35 at the door.