An interview with Cheap Trick
The first time I heard Cheap Trick’s music was when I was in a car and “Dream Police” played on the radio. I loved how it sounded and wondered who the band was that wrote it, and what the song was about.
I researched the band online and listened to more of their music. I became familiar with more of their songs and the band members Robin Zander, lead singer; Rick Nielsen, lead guitar; Tom Petersson, bass guitar, and Bun E. Carlos, drums. Soon after finding out more about the band online, they had another album out with new music “Bang, Zoom, Crazy... Hello” which I wanted to listen to. After I heard it, I was intrigued to meet the band and ask them questions about their songs.
My uncle heard they were coming to a venue close to where I live. In order to get an interview, I needed permission from the band’s publicist in New York. Luckily, my interview was granted. Ken Weinstein, the band’s publicist at Big Hassle Media, was nice enough to email me a bio on the band so that I could have some additional information about them before the interview. Since I am a kid and don’t have a driver’s license yet, adults had to drive me to Penn’s Peak in Jim Thorpe, the venue where the band would be performing, and where the interview would take place.
When I arrived at Penn’s Peak, I had to go to the will call at the box office to get my backstage passes. I was given an envelope and opened it to find the passes, and tickets for the concert that night!
Carla Dragotti, their tour manager, took me backstage.
This was my chance to meet the band Cheap Trick and to ask my questions!
I first met lead singer Robin Zander and Tom Petersson, the bass guitar player. They liked my special Cheap Trick t-shirt that I wore for them. Next Daxx Nielsen, the current drummer, introduced himself. Then, Rick Nielsen, the lead guitarist, walked up behind me, surprising me.
I had written some questions a few days earlier, so that I was prepared for the interview.
Did you ever think millions of people would listen to your music?
Tom Petersson, the bass player, told me, “No, we didn’t think that. We really just did it for our own enjoyment.”
Robin Zander, the lead singer, added, “Yeah, we’re from a little town. We grew up in Rockford, Illinois and as long as we were pleasing our neighbors it seemed like a good thing.”
Why did you name this band Cheap Trick?
Tom said, “It was the only name that was left. All the good ones were all taken.”
What’s it like to be famous and have people recognize you?
Robin said, “Scary. It’s scary.”
I asked Daxx Nielsen, the current drummer, whose father is Rick Nielsen, the lead guitarist, for the band, what’s it like having a rock star for a dad?
He said, “It’s cool. You meet lots of great people like you.”
I like movies and video games and asked if the band ever had any music in a movie or video game.
Rick Nielsen, said, “We’ve been in a bunch of that stuff like Guitar Hero”.
I also asked what do you like to do for fun?
Rick said, ”Interview by Rodeo.”
After the interview, the band autographed my vinyl record copy of the album “Dream Police”, and posed with me for pictures. Then I gobbled down a burger at the restaurant, and stood with lots of other people in front of the stage for the show.
It was loud, noisy, but most of all it was fun! I wondered about what songs they would sing. They played a lot of their hits including “Surrender,” “I Want You To Want Me” and yes, my favorite, “Dream Police”!
I clapped and put my fist in the air. Next time I’ll catch a guitar pick.
To see my full “One On One” videotaped interview with Cheap Trick, and find out how they came up with the idea for the song “Dream Police,” and what it’s like to be inducted into The Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame, go to https://youtu.be/oLlAnzeHlM0.
For more information on Cheap Trick go to: www. cheaptrick.com.
Cheap Trick members Rick Nielsen, Robin Zander, Tom Petersson and Daxx Nielsen with Rodeo Marie Hanson, 11, of Fleetwood, before a concert at Penn’s Peak in Jim Thorpe.