Image Courtesy of 429 RecordsThe Empty Hearts, the new supergroup featuring members of The Cars, Blondie and The Romantics, are winding down their 2014 tour itinerary in the coming week with a few shows in the Northeastern U.S. The trek, in support of the band’s self-titled debut album, winds down on Monday with a concert at B.B. King Blues Club in New York City.
Making up The Empty Hearts’ lineup are Cars guitarist Elliot Easton, Blondie drummer Clem Burke and Romantics singer/guitarist Wally Palmar, as well as bassist Andy Babiuk of the veteran garage-rock act The Chesterfield Kings. The band is playing about a dozen or so gigs this year, but Easton says these shows are “the little small baby steps just to try to get this thing going.”
He tells ABC News Radio, “[C]ertainly the hope is that we’re just at the beginning and there’ll be lots of touring and more records and everything.”
As for what fans who come out to an Empty Hearts concert can expect to hear, Easton says that besides songs from the group’s debut album, “We do some things by some of our previous bands, and there’s even a special cover that we do.” He adds, “We’re a new band, so we don’t have the benefit of [having] a real deep catalog yet to draw on…So, we play some fan favorites.”
Easton says he was asked to join The Empty Hearts by Babiuk. The guitarist says Babiuk phoned him “and asked me what I thought about having a band…with Clem and Wally and just playing music for the sheer love of it…the stuff that, as he put it, reminds us of why we want to play guitar in the first place.”
Elliot signed on immediately, although he admits he was skeptical about whether the project would get off the ground, since the members were spread all around the country. “I guess I underestimated Andy’s perseverance,” he says, “because he made it happen.”
To create the album, the band members pooled their writing talents and came up with a set of songs influenced by ’50s rock ‘n’ roll, the British Invasion era and late ’70s punk, polished with a modern-rock sheen.
The album features a guest appearance by Faces keyboardist Ian McLagan, who passed away on Wednesday at the age of 69. Easton says McLagan’s participation “was just sort of serendipity,” since he just happened to be playing in the Rochester, New York, area at the same time that The Empty Hearts were recording the album at Babiuk’s home studio there.
Easton says McLagan’s style of playing fit in well with the band’s music since the Faces are one of the group’s influences.
“I guess the music felt pretty natural for him ’cause he plays so great on it,” says Elliot. “He’s all over the record. I mean, anywhere you hear keyboards, it’s Mac.”
Here are the remaining shows on The Empty Hearts’ 2014 itinerary:
12/5 — Asbury Park, NJ, The Saint
12/6 — Natick, MA, The Centre for the Arts
12/8 — New York, NY, B.B. King Blues Club & Grill
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