This thread is dedicated to the underrated but amazing American band Cheap Trick. They started off in 1977, and besides having an impressive track record, they are still active and deliver their high-class material regularly.
The band members are great fans of the Beatles, the Move, the Kinks and even of the ELO. Cheap Trick's British guitar pop-craft can be found in all their work.
I want to thank Uncleson for having drawn our attention to this fantastic band!
Cheap Trick - Heaven Tonight
Last Edit: May 23, 2011 1:47:29 GMT -5 by martin53
Interview with Rick Nielsen By Ronnie Dannelley Article originally printed in Indie File - Sept 1997
In 1979 I never would have imagined Rick Nielsen calling my house. With "I Want You to Want Me" saturating FM radio, I was attempting to master a Sears' Les Paul copy electric guitar, having already blown up the tiny 5-watt amp that came with it. Along with the useless sheet music, I struggled to learn Cheap Trick songs on an improvised amp made from an old record player.
Fast forward to 1997. Yes, that is Rick Nielsen on the phone, I'm actually talking to one of my guitar heroes! I just had to tell him that "Baby Loves to Rock" was the first Cheap Trick guitar solo I figured out. Rick goes into technical guitarist mode explaining, "it's a tricky one to learn because I used a string bender, so you really can't do it unless you're pretty dexterous. So, did you do good?" "Yeah", I responded, "considering I had no string bender, just a cheap electric guitar."
But, I digress, this isn't Guitar Player magazine. I wanted to get the dirt of Cheap Trick's break with their record label, Epic and their manager. "We we're headed in the wrong direction." Why the decline in popularity in the 80's and the lack of record promotion? "It was irritating, a strange time for us." Why did they only record with John Lennon for one day during his last Double Fantasy sessions? Rick avoided all the gossipy questions, concentrating on the new album and the newly energized Cheap Trick.
Cheap Trick was formed in 1974 in Rockford, Illinois out of the remnants of the 60's band, the Fuse. The Fuse, which included Rick Nielsen on guitar and Tom Petersson on bass, released one album for Epic in 1969. Adding Bun E. Carlos on drums and Robin Zander on vocals, Cheap Trick toured endlessly, delivering their own style of metalized-beatlemania. And they really haven't stopped touring, with Nielsen deadpanning, "no, never have & " After the phenomenal success of the album, "Live at Budokan", Cheap Trick hit the arena circuit for several years. But at the pinnacle of the band's success in 1980, Tom Peterssen left the group. The band seemed to suffer from the lack of band chemistry, trying out various record producers (at one time using Beatles producer George Martin). Epic didn't promote the band's albums and most of Trick's releases of the 80's seemed to fizzle. In 1988 Tom Petersson returned and the band released, "Lap of Luxury". Epic simply didn't believe in the band's songwriting abilities and brought in outside writers, coercing the band to release the power ballad, "The Flame". Although the song was successful, it became Cheap Trick's albatross. Finally, the animosity came to a head, and Cheap Trick decided on a change. Nielsen explained, "it was a falling out with the A&R people and a falling out with our manager. We were still good & we ended up going away from the Epic of yesteryear."
Cheap Trick seems to have gone full circle in the 20 years since their vinyl debut in 1977, simply titled, "Cheap Trick". Their 1997 offering is also self-titled, an indie release on Red-Ant records bringing back the rawer, power pop sounds of pre-Budokan-stadium Trick. After being with Epic records for 13 original albums and with Warner Brothers for one, the band went back to basics, producing the new album themselves. I asked Rick if they had a record deal with Red-Ant when they started recording? "Nope, we did not. That came later. We started to make the record on our own." Was using the Cheap Trick title for the record an intentional coincidence with their first record? Rick explained that it was "kind of a coincidence, but that record [first album] was so long ago. It's not like we named Dream Police Twice! We had some other ideas, but they weren't very good."
The live arena is one are in which few bands can match Cheap Trick's stamina. I mention that I've seen the band in both the large arenas and small clubs, but I preferred the club environment. Nielsen agrees, "I think I do & prefer that setting. But it's awful fun to play in front of big crowds, too. The adrenaline kicks in whether its 200 people or 20,000." Sarcastically adding, "I think that the adrenaline that gets most excited on the big shows is the manager and the promoter! The guys that are making the money."
Do you think that pop sensibilities are making a comeback in rock music, with new bands such as Oasis? "Well, if they're not, they should be. I just think the idea of melody and harmony are a good thing. Cheap Trick - we're a pop band, but we have overtones of all kinds of different things." Cheap Trick has had a lasting influence of new generation bands as well, with Rick playing on one of Material Issue's albums. "Yeah, I played about three songs on that. I played live with the Smashing Pumpkins."
But the session that I most wanted to know about were the legendary John Lennon "Double Fantasy" sessions with Cheap Trick in 1980. Only three songs were recorded before Yoko banned Cheap Trick, citing that they were using John. I told Rick that I recently found a bootleg with the three unreleased Cheap Trick/John Lennon tracks. He asked, "so, could you tell the difference?" I sure could, the tracks seemed to rock more, with even Yoko's song sounding inspiring. Rock comments, "that's the only way you could handle it, have us behind her voice & you need kind of schizophrenic stuff going on." But, why did the band do only one session with Lennon? Nielsen didn't blast Yoko, just explained diplomatically, "we were asked to do more for vocals. What I call those John Lennon baby voices (sings a little). But & ah & by then they were finished. We didn't get lucky enough to play on that one." Still no real answer as to why the recordings didn't wind up on the final record. I guess the story in Albert Goldman's book, "The Lives of John Lennon" is the closest to getting the story correct &
I wondered, is it hard for the 1997 Cheap Trick to be relevant when its 70's contemporaries (dinosaur bands such as Styx, Foreigner, Journey and Boston) are milking the reunion bandwagon? "When you think about it, all those bands that you've mentioned, we've played with. Most bands won't say, 'Gee my favorite band is Boston, or gee, I want to be like Styx when I grow up. Not that they all want to be like Cheap Trick." Rick offers his view of why Cheap Trick is still relevant, still churning out effortless pop gems. "We're a band's band. We tour, we play. We don't wait for a record to tour. That's all we do, we play and make records. Fans like us and bands like us." But, he adds, "we're still noisy enough where you can't play our stuff for your mother and have her like everything."
Finally, Nielsen summed up Cheap Tricks longevity, "we just try to make good records. We do an audition every single night we go out. You know it is an audition, if you play good, maybe somebody will go out and buy your records. If you don't play good, they probably won't come back and see you again. We try to play good. Want to pass that audition!"
John Lennon and Cheap Trick By Tony Hicks Sunday, January 16th, 2011 at 12:28 pm in Uncategorized.
I stumbled upon this after I saw a video of Cheap Trick playing on Conan recently, without Bun. E. Carlos on drums (an awesome version of “Dream Police” with real strings, played by people who looked like they were having a blast). Panicked, because Cheap Trick is one of my most favoritist bands ever, and Bun. E. is one my favoritist drummers ever, I looked around and discovered an interview with Bun. E, when he explained he hadn’t quit the band, he was just touring touring with his side project Tinted Windows instead of Cheap Trick.
So in that story, I found this tidbit:
Months before the 1980 shooting death of John Lennon his Dakota apartment in New York City, the former Beatle was recording tracks that would later become “Double Fantasy.”
Lennon invited Bun E. Carlos and Rick Nielsen to play during the sessions at the Hit Factory, and the two members of Cheap Trick recorded a version of “I’m Losing You” that Yoko Ono ultimately convinced Lennon to scrap. Studio musicians were brought in and the Cheap Trick version of the song remained unreleased until the Lennon Anthology box set was released in 1998.
“We’d done five gigs in Canada that week and I woke up in Montreal and got a plane to New York and went straight to the studio,” Carlos recalls. “It was so cool, walking in because he was, ‘I know you guys, you’re in Cheap Trick.’ It’s like, ‘God, it’s John Lennon!’ He talked and it was just like seeing him in the (Beatles) movies.”
“Looking back on it it’s one of the highlights of my life, of my musical career.”
— Rhys Saunders
Last Edit: May 23, 2011 14:13:48 GMT -5 by uncleson
Great song Martin! Thanks for posting! I was looking for that album on amazon yesterday, couldnt find it. I do have a copy, but Id like another. Anyway, I ordered Cheap Trick performing Sgt pepper and their Anthology.
I saw Cheap Trick at Summerfest 2 years ago in Milwaukee. They are still as exciting to watch as they were in the late 70s when I first saw them as a teenager. Rick Nielson is the epitome of the elder statesman rockstar. He does a great deal of charity in the state of Illinois. he still lives full time in his hometown of Rockford, 2 hours west of Chicago. he operates a full time Recording studio. as well as touring with Cheap Trick.
Nielsen’s son, Daxx, is now drumming for Bun E. on Cheap Trick tour March 22nd, 2010 at 04:51pm Georgette Braun .
Bun E. Carlos, Cheap Trick’s drummer, was absent from the weekend’s SXSW events in Austin, Texas.
Cheap Trick’s statement: “Bun E. Carlos is not currently the touring drummer for Cheap Trick. Bun E. remains a band member. Everyone is healthy and Cheap Trick will continue to tour as planned.” Daxx Nielsen of Nashville, son of guitarist Rick Nielsen of Rockford, is currently filling in on drums.
The statement said no one in the band nor management would comment further.
Carlos also plays drums for Tinted Windows, a power pop band.