Album #47: “Change No Change” — Elliot Easton (1985)
While Ric Ocasek took much of the credit for The Cars, their sound and success was clearly a group effort — as is evidenced by Ocasek’s many (failed) efforts to break out as a hit solo artist. Guitarist Elliot Easton also went the solo route, once, and the result, while not a big commercial hit, did make a splash. It’s certainly one of my favorites.
I picked up this record when Easton came through Pittsburgh on tour in 1985. My girlfriend Cayce Barch and I saw him play in a literal hole–in–the-wall, some club down in McKee’s Rocks that was built in a cave in the side of the hill over looking the Ohio. The sound was terrible, but the songs were such that I had to have the album immediately. “Change No Change” is a jangly, sweet blast, and makes it abundantly clear Ric Ocasek wasn’t the only talented guy in the bunch. (It doesn’t hurt that it Easton’s album was also produced by the same guy who did the first four Cars records, giving it much the same energy).
“Change No Change” probably would’ve remained an nostalgic artifact of my year at the Art Institute and my time with Cayce if I hadn’t rediscovered it a few years ago. It has been re-released a number of times and has aged beautifully, in part because it reached into Easton’s love of early rock ‘n’ roll as a starting influence, added in some ’80s guitar wailing and projected forward into the jangle pop that would become popular over the next 20 years. Elliot Easton shows he would have been at home anywhere from 1950 to 2000.