Let’s Go!: Benjamin Orr and the Cars

Let’s Go! Benjamin Orr and The Cars

This was a well-researched book about The Cars and Benjamin Orr, born Orzechowski aka “Benny 11-Letters” because so many of his friends and acquaintances had trouble pronouncing his name. He was almost universally liked as he was making his way in the music business, seemingly a genuinely nice and caring man. Ben was also quite talented when it came to singing and drumming, and learning other musical instruments from what many of his friends had to say in the book. You certainly could use a scorecard for this one to keep up with all of the band incarnations and band member rotations. I was amazed at the number of times the name of the band changed, and it didn’t always depend on whether any members were moved in or out. There were some interesting anecdotes in the book of things that happened to the band members.

The Grasshoppers dissolved in 1965. Orr joined a band called The Proof Sets, playing for about 6 months before changing the name to The Mixed Emotions, playing extensively all over Ohio. Then that band ended in 1967. Then they were The Rush for a while. Then near the end of 1967 several of them got back together again and became the band Colours with Ben and Wayne Weston, John Matuska, and a new manager, a local promoter named Bob Bobchuck They stayed busy with gigs and even cut a single, “You Came into My Life.” Things were going well and they had some interest from Roulette Records in Florida. They were driving down to meet with them when they called home and got a message that Ben had to fly back immediately because he’d been drafted. Everything stopped right then. It took a year before he could get out on a hardship discharge, being the only son. By this time it was 1969 and he had mixed feelings about a music career, as he’d be starting all over basically.

I do however confess to being a great fan of The Cars back in the day, I just loved them and listened all the time. I was surprised to learn in the book that Ric Ocasek also modified his name. It was Richard Otcasek struggling as a draftsman for Ohio Bell, starting out. He also had a band called ID Nirvana he formed in 1967. He met Ben in 1968. They started playing together after Orr joined the band, and they began opening for shows for such Ohio notables as The Bob Seger System, Alice Cooper, The Lemon Pipers and The Strawberry Alarm Clock. To make ends meet, Ric also managed a clothing store called Family Britches, hiring Ben too. They would later become The Cars and famous, The rest is in the book and history. This would be a good read for fans of The Cars or Ben Orr. My thanks for the advance electronic copy that was provided by NetGalley, author Joe Milliken, and the publisher for my fair review.

Rowman & Littlefield 216
Pub: Nov 11th, 2018

RATED: 3.5/5 Stars

The AuthorJoe Milliken has been a music journalist, editor, and website publisher for 20 years. A life-long rock music fan with a degree in visual arts, Joe would turn to writing as his creative outlet, starting as a local reporter, then a Sports/Arts & Entertainment editor, while also freelancing for various national publications. In 2014, he launched Standing Room Only, a website dedicated to promoting music, the arts and specialty food on both a local (Boston, New England) and national level. Originally from Boston, he now resides in southern Vermont with his family. Let’s Go is his first book.

Anatomy of a False Confession: The Interrogation and Conviction of Brendan Dassey

Anatomy of a False Confession: The Interrogation and Conviction of Brendan Dassey

The focus of the book is on false confessions, how they happen, and especially the false confession of Brendan Dassey. Going back into the whole “Making A Murderer” thing, this book goes into the part of Brendan Dassey’s confession and how so many people have been coerced into confessing falsely. 

It sometimes happens when the detectives get on a tangent and start pushing a theory. Particularly when a witness is young, and a bit lower in IQ perhaps, it can happen even more easily under those circumstances. These two interrogators (Wiegert & Fassbender), happened to believe that they were super lie detectors, when in fact they were no more able than anyone else at telling when someone was being false with them. But they liked to think it of themselves anyway and went around bragging about it, especially to people that they were interviewing.

They questioned Dassey after Halbach’s death and after hearing from another juvenile that he’d been losing weight and crying a lot, without even verifying it with an adult to see if it were true, they decided this was their big break. They began finding him and questioning him again, at school and at his home and isolating him to pressure him with pressure tactics and lies until they found that they could get him to talk. Then they picked him up and took him in and read him his Miranda rights, although it was a weird garbled version of it, spoken very fast, intended to get him to waive it.

That was followed by intense questioning that was on video and is purported to be Dassey’s false confession dragged out of him after being fed their idea of what happened at the time of the crime taking place, as Brendan had previously denied taking part. They had spent time minimally getting to know Brendan and making him feel that if he told them the truth about it, that they would “go to bat” for him when it came time for him to go to court, and that everything would be all right. They even let him believe that he would be allowed to go back to school when he finished telling them, which was plainly a lie since he was confessing to taking part in rape and murder. They were just taking advantage of him being a juvenile and not a very sophisticated one at that, and very shy.

They took it a bit at a time until they’d gotten him to say just what they wanted. When he got things wrong, they’d accuse him of lying and make him start that part over, admonishing him to be “honest” with them or they wouldn’t help him. They kept offering him food and drinks, but the subject matter was pretty gruesome much of the time, as they fed him details, but tried to make it look like it came from him, for obvious reasons. After they were finished, they finally told him he didn’t get to go home after all. He couldn’t figure out why they weren’t keeping their end of the bargain. His confession was the only evidence against him.

This book is not overly long, it’s an informative look at false confessions and how the Miranda and interrogation can be manipulated when used with these types of juveniles and others.  My thanks for the advance electronic copy that was provided by Netgalley, author Michael D. Cicchini, and the publisher for my fair review.

Rowman & Littlefield, 248 pages

Pub: Oct 27th, 2018

RATED: 4/5 Stars