By A. L. Boulden
One of the hardest working bands in the music business, Cheap Trick, has released a studio album titled, Bang, Zoom, Crazy…Hello. Cheap Trick was once coined “the American Beatles” and gained tremendous popularity overseas in the late 70’s and early 80’s. After their 1978 studio album, Heaven Tonight, went gold in Japan, American audiences started to take notice, and Cheap Trick has been releasing albums and touring ever since. The band is best known known for singles like “I Want You to Want Me,” “Surrender,” “In the Street” (written by Todd Griffin for that 70’s Show), and the hard rocking cover of Fats Domino’s classic, “Ain’t That a Shame.” The key change at 2:20 in “Surrender” remains one of the greatest of all time. The band has not released an album since Sgt. Pepper Live, their fantastic and faithful rendition of the famous Beatles album.
Cheap Trick is a band that just sounds good, and their new album is no exception: it sounds crisp, clear and punchy. The recordings are clean and produced well. As always, it’s hard rocking but has a good variety of slow and fast tunes. The new songs on Bang, Zoom, Crazy…Hello contain consistently catchy melodies. “Long Time No See Ya” showcases Zander’s still powerful vocals while “Blood Red Lips” and “Roll Me” are classic Cheap Trick: raunchy rock and roll. The album contains guitar solos, build ups and breakdowns; songs about cheating women and taking shots but also self-reflective love songs. “When I Wake up Tomorrow” talks about the hardships of love and sacrifice. Zander sings, “These days I wonder how I’m gonna make it tomorrow…please be here when I wake up tomorrow.” It’s great to see a band stand the test of time while still producing original music and staying true to the drive and power that solidified them as one of the greats.
Cheap Tricks’ Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction which took place on Friday, April 8, 2016 could not come at a more opportune time for the band to start touring. Cheap Trick is the definition of rock and roll. Robin Zander’s vocals are loud, clear and high-pitched. Rick Nielsen is known for his gritty slide guitar playing and array of rare, flashy guitars including checkered Explorers. Tom Petersson played a strange 8 string bass where each string had a smaller octave string, producing a thick, huge tone. And we can’t forget about the original drummer, Bun E. Carlos, the cigarette smoking, vintage Slingerland-playing, hard hitting maniac on drums. They have used Daxx Nielsen in the past on drums and will be using him on tour this year.
Cheap Trick is already working on another album. As a fan, it would be nice to hear some more acoustic songs from them.