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Low-cost Trick’s Rick Nielsen on the band’s twentieth album, lacking his son’s beginning to play with John Lennon

Cheap Trick is chargeable for a lot of your favourite karaoke staples: “The Flame.” “Ghost Town.” “Dream Police.” “I Want You to Want Me.”

However Rick Nielsen – the band’s co-founder, guitarist and chief songwriter – is sort of overly modest when requested in regards to the group’s longevity.

“I identical to what I do. We’re not the best however we’re not dangerous,” Nielsen tells USA TODAY. “We’re not superstars. We’re lots of people’s fifth favourite band. They are saying, ‘I’ve bought Led Zeppelin, Ozzy Osbourne, the Beatles.’ However I do not thoughts being fifth.”

The Illinois-based rockers put out their self-titled debut in 1977. On Friday, they launch their twentieth album, a sprightly 13-track effort titled “In One other World.” The album options longtime vocalist Robin Zander and bassist Tom Petersson, in addition to Nielsen’s son, Daxx, on drums. It additionally features a cowl of John Lennon’s 1971 protest tune “Gimme Some Truth,” which Nielsen believes is as related now because it was then.

Between “the pandemic and the politics of the final 5 years, it was not precisely an inspiring time, which is without doubt one of the causes we added ‘Gimme Some Fact,’ ” he says. “We let John Lennon get the credit score and the blame as a result of we’re not a political band.”

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USA TODAY talked to Nielsen, 72, in regards to the new music, his reminiscences of Lennon and Kiss’ Gene Simmons, and ideas on ex-Low-cost Trick drummer Bun E. Carlos:

Query: What types of concepts or themes have been you drawing from for “In One other World?”

Rick Nielsen: We launched “The Summer Looks Good on You” as a single just a few years in the past earlier than we began engaged on the album. The refrain, “Right here comes the summer season,” (suggests) one thing good and constructive that is coming. The summer season could possibly be a metaphor for change, a brand new thought, one thing recent, trying ahead. So a few of these phrases have been in our thoughts and sort of flowed out (as we wrote the brand new music). We attempt to be a bit darkish however then on the identical time uplifting. Uplifting is a greater factor than doom and gloom.

Q: You and Bun E. Carlos initially performed on John Lennon’s “I’m Losing You” and “I’m Moving On” in 1980. Your son, Daxx, was born when you have been within the studio, proper?

Nielsen: My spouse knew that John Lennon was my favourite, so I bought a corridor move. If it was Paul McCartney, I’d’ve been again on the hospital. (Laughs.) And by then, it was her third child, so she knew what was happening. I am in all probability no consolation anyhow.

Q: Did you ever float any concepts by John about different collaborations?

Nielsen: Whereas we have been doing “I am Dropping You,” he mentioned, “Man, I want we might had Rick on ‘Cold Turkey.’ (Eric) Clapton froze up.” I did not hear that straight from him, however I heard it from Jack (Douglas, Lennon’s producer). And really after that, we had talked about Low-cost Trick being the band for John Lennon. We have been huge followers of Plastic Ono Band and all the opposite spinoff bands he had, and we thought we might be good at it. We’re not session guys, however we knew that stuff. It was sort of second nature to us. Not the large preparations that the Beatles had (later), however the Cavern Membership mentality (from once they began out) as a result of we had performed so many exhibits in golf equipment.

Robin and I have been going to do concord on the report, which turned out to be “Double Fantasy.” However by the point we bought again from Japan and went to New York, that they had completed the report and we did not get to do this.

Q: Low-cost Trick opened for Kiss on tour in 1977. Did you ever get to celebration with them?

Nielsen: I hung round fairly a bit with Gene (Simmons). He was a very distinctive man. Paul (Stanley) was sort of on his personal on a regular basis. Gene was probably the most level-headed whereas nonetheless completely eccentric, which did not trouble me. So we bought alongside pretty effectively.

Q: Eccentric how?

Nielsen: What I assumed was most fascinating was once we’d keep at a resort. As a substitute of getting bothered by individuals, we had aliases (that we would test in below). First I used to be Les Paul, then I used to be Neil Richards. Gene would all the time go below Gene Simmons as a result of he wished ladies to go up and see him. “Is Gene Simmons there?” “Yeah, we’ll put him proper by way of.” “Whoa!”

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Q: You additionally launched “I Need You to Need Me” in ’77. How does it really feel to see that tune dwell on all these years later?

Nielsen: I all the time joke that I want I used to be that silly extra typically, to jot down one thing that is gone on to place my youngsters by way of college. I in all probability wrote it in about 5 minutes and now it has been round for ages. Everyone sort of is aware of it and it makes individuals blissful, even robust guys with leather-based and spikes. All of them have tender moments with their family members, too. For 3 minutes, they arrive collectively.

Q: Do you’ve a favourite cowl of it?

Nielsen: Niko Flynn and The Holmes Brothers each do cool variations of it. And this band Propagandhi, a punk band, did it actual quick. Taylor Swift truly did it, too. She performed it dwell in Chicago, like, “Hey guys, here is a tune I like from some guys that dwell proper round right here.” And so there’s 18,000 (mothers) within the viewers and their youngsters singing “I Need You to Need Me.”

Q: Do you get pleasure from Taylor’s music?

Nielsen: Oh, she’s so gifted, yeah.

Q: What did Low-cost Trick’s 2016 induction into the Rock Corridor imply to you?

Nielsen: That simply validated us being in a band as a result of once we began, there was no Rock and Roll Corridor of Fame. We have been eligible fairly some time again, however I felt all of the exhibits we had executed, these have been the (true) Rock and Roll Corridor of Fame. We continued to play it doesn’t matter what occurred. We have had success, we have had failures and it is cool that it wasn’t all success as a result of then our egos could be larger than they’re.

Q: How did it really feel to reunite with Bun on the ceremony? (Carlos fell out with the band and was changed by Daxx Nielsen as drummer.)

Nielsen: We’re execs so we do what we now have to do. He is a terrific participant and it is too dangerous that, at this level in our profession, we did not find yourself with all the identical guys however issues simply did not work out that approach. He was of a distinct mindset and he thought we might by no means make one other report. We might by no means change the setlist as a result of he was like, “You’ll be able to’t play that, you possibly can’t play that.” And we did not argue, we simply agreed with him. He was by no means snug enjoying greater than the wanted hour and 55 minutes. So it was simply time.

Q: Have you ever been in contact with him since then?

Nielsen: Yeah, by way of lawsuits, clearly. However once we have been collectively, we by no means actually chatted or frolicked.

This text initially appeared on USA TODAY: Cheap Trick guitarist talks ‘eccentric’ Gene Simmons, Bun E. Carlos

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