“You didn’t know what you were looking for”
“BUZZ: Newspaper Article”
Apr- May 2011 (#2-B)
Cheap Trick, what do you think of when you hear that name ? A magic act, the cartoonish band with the 2 good lookin rock stars to one side and the 2 nerds on the left. Cheap Trick came out at a time when where there was a lot of New Wave Bands (a term seldom used now) and Post Punk Bands, so I kinda feel they got lost in the shuffle. Everybody knows “Surrender” “I Want You To Want Me” & “Dream Police” and later on “The Flame”.
Now I myself was not terribly fond of Cheap Trick when first heard them grace the AM Radio waves in the late 70s. Then one day I went to my High School buddy Brett’s house and he put on the then newest release by Cheap Trick 1979s “Dream Police” and I heard for the very first time the infectious guitar riff of “The House Is Rockin (with domestic problems)” my interest was piqued. Collectors note, the Japanese 45 single of the top 40 hit “Voices” has the middle section cut out of the song completely, b/w the non-lp song “Oh Boy”
I thought “If I like this song maybe there are more that I will like” So I delved into Brett’s Cheap Trick collection and to my pure delight I discovered hidden gems like: “Speak Now Or Forever Hold Your Peace” “You’re All Talk” & “Stiff Competition” from then on I was hooked and lucky enough to get on the Cheap Trick Fan Wagon just in time to experience 1980s “All Shook Up” Produced by Sir George Martin of The Beatles fame, as a brand new release. By far my absolute favorite Cheap Trick album of them all. Stand outs to me: “Baby Loves To Rock” “Love Comes A Tumblin Down” & “I Love You Honey (but I hate your friends)” as well as the top 40 hit “Stop This Game” I saw them on Saturday Night Live that year sing 2 of the just mentioned songs. However with their brand new bass player Pete Comita, more on this later.
In the beginning: Rick Nielsen (22 Dec 1946 Rockford, Il) who briefly replaced Todd Rundgren in “The Nazz” & Tom Petersson (9 May 1950 Rockford, Il) who invented the “12 Sting Bass” began as the band “Fuse” 1969 Epic #26502. About 1972 or so relocated to Philadelphia and changed their name to “Sick Man Of Europe” however things not working out they came back Rockford around 1973 adding Bun E. Carlos (Brad Carlson; 12 June 1951 Rockford, Il) and eventually picking up Robin Zander (23 Jan 1953 Rockford, Il) sometime in 1975.
This line up remained the same until 1980 when Tom Petersson married a singer named Dagmar and left to do a solo LP 1984 Enigma # 1038 titled “Another Language” Enter Cheap Trick’s 2nd bass Player Pete Comita who did the 1981 tour for “Al Shook Up” the “Chicago Festival” was filmed and aired on TV later that year.
Unfortunately, Pete Comita never recorded a full album only 2 songs for the 1981 “Heavy Metal” soundtrack those being “Reach Out” one of my all time favorites & “I Must Be Dreaming” Comita’s leaving is still unclear to me. In 1982 Jon Brandt was hired to be the band’s 3rd bass player and went on to record 4 albums from 1982 to 1986 “One On One” “Next Position Please” “Standing On The Edge” & “The Doctor” .
When an unusual event in rock n’ roll took place Tom Petersson came back into the fold to record Cheap Trick’s 1988 come back album “Lap Of Luxury” this line up has reamined the same ever since recording 8 more albums together. For the 1990 “Busted” album Des Moines, Iowa native Fred Nesbit of the local band “Peter Lorre” (also ‘Saint’) co-wrote the song “Can’t Stop Falling Into Love” Another cool thing about Cheap Trick they are the ‘Soundtrack Kings’ appearing on some 14 different soundtracks or more with songs that are not on Cheap Trick LPs for example 1980s “Roadie” has “Everything Works If You Let It” and 1983s “Spring Break” contains the title track of the same name” .
I got to interview the guys in Cheap Trick back in the late 90s. Here’s some of what I remember:
Robin Zander (to me):
“Hey do you know where this ‘Blues Bar’ is in downtown Omaha ?”
“Do you really want me to sign this album in pencil ?”
“I can not figure out how to set the clock in the dashboard of this rental car”
“Why did I do a Harry Nilsson song on my solo LP, cause I love Harry Nilsson, that’s why”
Tom Petersson (to me):
“Do I have really strong fingers to play my 12 string bass, no, just thick calluses, here feel”
“Am I still married to Dagmar, No, Why? Do you want her?
“This is a nice pen, is it yours?”
“Hey Bun E. come here and sign this for this guy”
Rick Nielson (to me)
“I really love fan art, like this guys home made ‘five neck guitar’ t-shirt, let me sign this for you buddy”
“Sure I’ ll sign that CD, it is part of my job”
“Did you know Tom (Petersson) married a girl from St.Paul
Bun E. Carlos (to me):
“Yea I can sign that for you”
“I have some family here in St. Paul you know”
“No, I only play Ludwig drums, I have a deal with them”
Overview: Cheap Trick has recorded roughly 20 albums since 1977. I myself have seen them about a dozen times almost every tour they pull out a forgotten gem for fans like me and my friends Steve R. & Jeff A. so if you haven’t had the pleasure you can catch them in concert at:
KQRockStock: Styx & Cheap Trick Tickets
Saint Paul, MN