Alex Cameron’s saxophonist & business partner Roy Molloy tells us about the “top 10 cars I spotted in Brooklyn this year”
Anyone who has seen Alex Cameron in concert (or follows his career at all) knows Roy Molloy, Alex’s saxophonist and “business parter.” Together, they make a great comedy duo in addition to the sweet music they make. You can hear Alex and Roy on this year’s ‘Forced Witness.’ You can catch Roy with Alex when they’re on tour with The Killers in 2018, including two NYC shows: Barclays Center on January 9 and MSG on January 12 (tickets). All dates are listed, along with a stream of Forced Wintness and the video for “Politics of Love” (which Roy directed and co-wrote) below.
When Roy offered to do a year-end list, we knew we were going to get something special but we weren’t expecting this. We’ll let Roy take it from here…
Merry everything folks, my name’s Roy Molloy, and I like good cars. In that respect I’ve been lucky in my life, I been privy to many good cars – on the streets, in magazines, on someone else’s screen on a plane – but being a touring musician getting paid in applause means that it’s currently impossible for me to own an automobile. What I’m saying is I’ve got no money and there’s no car with a red bow on it for Christmas. What a drag right? Wrong. My lack of money has served a primarily positive function: to heighten my senses, allowing me to detect and appreciate beautiful cars, even as I speed past on a bus on the way to the next show, or gaze longingly out of a Holiday Inn window onto a wind swept parking lot below. And with each beautiful good car I spot, I’m transported to a well kept highway, hands tight on the wheel, my mind cool and calm.
Now, a lot a folks are gonna say “Roy, these are all just cars from your youth, symptomatic of the millennial dissatisfaction with the present, and the romanticization of an era gone by” — and those people are wrong. You think I wouldn’t love a lease on a brand new 2017 Ford Fusion? Who wouldn’t? The fact is that our generation’s credit scores are all fucked for life, and our motoring options are limited to second hand vehicles. Thankfully, due to the skyrocketing Japanese and American motor industries circa 1989, and our boomer parents’ imbecilic distaste for anything more than two years old, there is a glut of beautiful and affordable 2nd hand vehicles available both for sale online, and on the street as we walk by.
So may I present to you my top 10 cars I spotted in Brooklyn this year:
1) Hyundai Sonata GLS 2002
I’m opening up with the big guns. The 02′ Sonata GLS. Folks, this is a vehicle that’s very hard to fault. Reliable, powerful, affordable, and more than anything: an extremely attractive way to get around town. With the looks of a Korean executive sedan and a V6 3.0L under the hood, it’s got the show and the go. Its reliability is almost unmatched. My guy Petr from back home via Croatia owned one for 7 years and said other than timing belts, tires, and brakes it required almost no maintenance to keep it on the road, and when it did, the parts were cheap and plentiful. Respect.
Online they go for between 2 and 5 grand. I thought I saw one driving around for sale at $1200 USD, but I could’ve been dreaming. Fact is: you’d be a fool to sell one once you got it. There’s a beautiful maroon model getting around Williamsburg as we speak.
2) Toyota Sienna 2000
This was a tough one to put in this list but I’m sticking to my guns. This is a full size family van with the engine genetics of the legendary Camry. If you consider yourself any kind of street operator or move maker this is the car for you. My ex’s housemate had one and he used it to pick up furniture off the street, refurbish it, and re-sell it at a premium. Thinkin about things like that really gets me jacked the fuck up. There is however one sad fact: there are haters in this world that’ll shout stuff like “mystery machine” or “Moby Dick” if they see you driving one of these around. Those people can rest in hell. This is an extremely reliable and, in my opinion, attractive vehicle. You’ll do nothing to it maint’ wise and it’ll do everything for you when it comes to the practicaish’. Respect to this vehicle.
You won’t see em online for less than 2 grand. You will see em in real life. Primarily loaded up with used furniture, white goods, or the extended family of your local Hasidic Patriarch. Respect.
3) Lexus LS300 1999
Now this, ladies and gentlemen, is authentically one of the finest sedans ever put on the road. If you’re talking value for dollar in a used car situaish’ you’re really not gonna wanna go past this one. A V6 3.0L engine allows it to hum along at pace whether you’re gettin around town or hittin the open road. The looks are completely unfuckwithable. There’s a two tone, grey on white model with gold trim ridin around Bed-Stuy that sits high on the pantheon of fine art for me. My drug dealer back home had one these and was happy behind the wheel well past the 300,000 mile mark. Very reliable, cheap parts, cheap repairs. This is an era-defining vehicle in my opinion.
I saw one in Philly for $1500 USD but the guy had interstate paperwork and couldn’t explain where he bought it, so I passed. Can’t be drivin’ around a stolen car you guys. Always check ya paperwork. That’s just part of keepin’ ya life the zero crime zone.
4) 1986-9 Nissan 300zx
Hot dog. Now this is a vehicle that makes zero concessions when it comes to lookin good, feelin good, and going fast as fuck. Once capable a bridging that 0-60mph gap in 7 or so seconds, it’s one a those drives where you’re gonna have to concentrate to keep ya licence points in shape. An aside from bein low, grippy, and super agile, it’s also good lookin as heck. Man. Bold lines, low profile, an retractable headlamps. Those 80’s Japanese designers really knew how to make a car look good. I used to drive one a these bad boys parkin at a hotel till my boy Tarek backed it up over a curb an told the owner to go fist himself. We never saw it again. There’s a beautiful dark grey one of these somewhere around Greenpoint that I can’t stop thinking about.
This is the most expensive number in the list. The cheapest you’ll find online’ll be about 4 grand, an it’ll need love. But damn, that’s a lot a sex appeal for your buck.
5) Subaru Outback 2000
This vehicle holds a special place in my heart you guys. Now, a lot a people are gonna say the “two tone” crushable plastic on sheetmetal design is intended to reduce injury during low impact collisions, and they’re probably correct. However I choose to believe it has a symbolic purpose: to represent the duality, the yin and yang within the spirit of this vehicle. It has all the low to medium range 4×4 torque of an SUV, while maintaining the looks, safety and comfort of a Japanese passenger vehicle. I fucken love it. The ride is smooth and the handling authoritative. Aside from head gasket issues typical of this generation of Subaru it’ll stay reliable to the last. Overall, this is a cheap and plentiful, red-hot multi-purpose vehicle for the ages.
You’ll see em selling for between one and three grand.
6) 2006 Ford Crown Victoria
Now, I sometimes get accused of exaggerating: the temperature, childhood memories, how far I can throw a housebrick, and for those embellishments I apologize. But the fact is that the Crown Victoria, a simple V8 mid sized sedan, is not only an iconic car made by America, but a car that made America an icon. Its determined indestructibility, rugged good looks, and growling fast paced attitude speak volumes for it’s shared DNA with the American Bad Boy. I get emotional when I think about this vehicle out there puttin in the hard yards. And sure some folks are gonna say “Roy, it’s a car for cops and cabbies, it got discontinued for a reason” and you’re damn right. That reason is free enterprise, a concept that I know for a fact one Henry Ford would have respected. RIP.
Highly inefficient, fuel wise, but you make up for that in that you never have to buy another car again. Find em in Brooklyn for 2.5k and up.
7) Mazda Miata
I don’t know what exactly was happening in Japan in the late 80’s, but their ’89 draft class of cars contains the blueprints for one of the finest generations of automoting the world has ever seen. The Mazda Miata is a fine example of this. It’s the only low priced sports roadster in this list, and the only one in my heart. It’s karate on wheels. Minimalist design means a mechanically simple engine and zero bullshit. Functional good looks. A weight to power ratio that can’t be beat. The driver and vehicle as one. And god damn it looks good. Bugs in the teeth and all. Fuckin hell. I get jacked up just thinking about it.
The mint ones will go for seven or eight grand. Older and crummier for more like three. Fact is it was the highest selling sports car of its era, coinciding with the baby boomers’ peak disposable income potential in the early 1990’s, and also with their collective mid-life crisis in the early 2000’s, so plenty of them were produced and remain on the road as such.
8) Volvo 240 Stationwagon
Like clouds wisp in the sky or a leaf fall off a tree, these vehicles are the oft overlooked finishing touch in the urban landscape. Dwellin in the periphery of our generation’s visual zeitgeist. You’ll have to forgive me if I become a little emotional here you guys. I was lucky enough to own one a these bad boys back home for a couple wonderful years there. But putting aside personal attachment for a moment, this vehicle is a beautiful faithful workhorse. Generous front and rear crumple zones not only keep you safe, but lend a “chunky/funky” kind a braggadacious sex appeal. The boot storage options are near limitless and can, in a pinch, include a queen mattress + sleeping space. The maintenance required to keep these guys ticking over is cheap and minimal. The passenger ride is couch-like comfortable. The pickup ain’t so hot, but who cares? Results and longevity command a kind of respect that allows you to coast, cool and slow as a snowflake, past any potential haters, and into a long future of motoring glory. Respect.
They sell for between $1500 and $5000, dependin on the kind a life they’d lived, and there’s a concentration of em round Red Hook.
9) Honda Civic 2000
Lot a folks gonna say “oh Roy, you’re just payin’ lip service to the compact car lobby” and look: I am a little afraid of the compact car lobby. But the fact stands that despite practicality and efficiency, New Yorkers don’t have a lot a time for the humble hatch, so you don’t see million of em around. That is of course with the exception of one beautiful and timeless vehicle, the 2000 Honda Civic. Now I don’t know if it was the classic film “The Fast and the Furious” that prompted ya’ll to change ya tune, but there’s a tonne a these bad boys around Brooklyn, and they rule. They run, turn, and brake like they’re on Ritalin. Near flawless handling, and the power delivery generated from a 4-cylinder 1.6L engine is astonishing. Said to drive reliably over the 250m odometer mark. The looks are simple, low key, and timeless in my opinion.
People sell em for as low as $1,500 USD, but that’s generally after they hit a deer or something.
10) Cadillac Coupe Deville 1988
Now old timey Cad’ “purists” are gonna sit around tellin you the 80’s was a bad time for Cadillac, and those dusty old prunes can fuck off. The smaller wheelbase and mid size body kit got accused in its day of being undersized, which speaks volumes about that generation of men’s dick length hangups. The fact is that this gen of Cad had flashy good looks, a better weight to power ratio than the 70’s models, and the 1988 V8 4.5L engine is fast as hell and’s stood the test of time all around America. My business partner and I were lucky enough to own a black on black on black one a these. Completed two tours of this fine nation in her, and I’m proud to have completed the NY to LA solo run in a hasty 49 hours behind the wheel of that same car. Don’t ask how I did it. Just take my word that when you get one a these bad boys into the 90mph zone the suspension kind a lowers into itself, and the motor goes to a hum, the cabin stops rattlin, and it becomes like you’re a leaf on the breeze. Holy fuck. I loved that car so much. Crispin Glover’s the one to blame for its being crushed into a cube. But that’s another story.
Saw a midnight blue model for sale for $2000, corner 9th and 4th St in Gowanus. I never wished I had 2 grand so bad in my life.
Alex Cameron – 2017 Tour Dates
Fri. Jan. 5 – Toronto, ON @ Air Canada Centre $
Sat. Jan. 6 – Laval, QC @ Place Bell $
Sun. Jan. 7 – Boston, MA @ TD Garden $
Tue. Jan. 9 – Brooklyn, NY @ Barclays Center $
Wed. Jan. 10 – Washington, DC @ The Anthem $
Fri. Jan. 12 – New York, NY @ Madison Square Garden $
Sat. Jan. 13 – Philadelphia, PA @ Wells Fargo Center $
Mon. Jan. 15 – Detroit, MI @ Masonic Temple Theatre $
Tue. Jan. 16 – Chicago, IL @ United Center $
Wed. Jan. 17 – St. Paul, MN @ Xcel Energy Center $
Thu. Jan. 18 – Milwaukee, WI @ The Back Room at Colectivo
Sun. Jan. 21 – Duluth, GA @ Infinite Energy Center $
Tue. Jan. 23 – Miami, FL @ American Airlines Arena $
Wed. Jan. 24 – Orlando, FL @ Hard Rock Live $
Fri. Feb. 2 – Adelaide, AUS @ Laneway Festival
Sat. Feb. 3 – Melbourne, AUS @ Laneway Festival
Sun. Feb. 4 – Sydney, AUS @ Laneway Festival
Sat. Feb. 10 – Brisbane, AUS @ Laneway Festival
Sun. Feb. 11 – Fremantle, AUS @ Laneway Festival
Tue. Feb. 13 – Sydney, AUS @ Oxford Art Factory
Wed. Feb. 14 – Melbourne, AUS @ Howler SOLD OUT
Tue. Feb. 15 – Auckland, NZ @ Kings Arms
Fri. Feb. 16 – Wellington, NZ @ Meow
Fri. Feb. 23 – Los Angeles, CA @ Lodge Room
Tue. Feb. 27 – Vancouver, BC @ Fox Cabaret
Wed. Feb 28 – Seattle, WA @ The Crocodile
Thu. Mar. 1 – Portland, OR @ Doug Fir Lounge
Fri. Mar. 2 – Boise, ID @ The Olympic
Sat. Mar. 3 – Salt Lake City, UT @ Urban Lounge
Mon. Mar. 5 – Denver, CO @ Globe Hall
Wed. Mar. 7 – Chicago, IL @ Lincoln Hall
Thu. Mar. 8 – Columbus, OH @ A&R Bar
Fri. Mar. 9 – Washington, DC @ Rock & Roll Hotel
Thu. Apr. 12 – London, UK @ KOKO
$ = supporting The Killers