Selected by Dan Grunebaum
AC/DC, KISS, Deep
Purple...with so many dinosaurs around, you could be forgiven for thinking Tokyo is
beginning to resemble some kind of East Asian rock ' roll Jurassic Park. But of
all of them, it's Cheap Trick-the American power pop band who made their name with a Tokyo
recording - whose return seems the most appropriate. In early April, 23 years after their Live
At Budokan double-album went platinum, Cheap Trick turn up with a tour that, sadly,
doesn't have them booked at the legendary venue.
Formed in Chicago, Illinois in 1973, Cheap Trick were always one of the more unusual rock
acts, thanks to the outlandish getup and eccentric stage presence of guitarist Rick
Nielson. Together with singer Robin Zander, the pair formed the nucleus of a band that
contrasted Nielson's guitar-geek antics with Zander's pretty-boy good looks.
While it may date me, this writer is not too proud to admit to more than a few late '70s
afternoons spent swooning to the soaring vocals and chunky guitars of Cheap Trick hits
"Surrender" and "I Want You To Love Me."
Follow-ups to Live At Budokan, Dream Police and All Shook Up, failed to
duplicate its success, but the band experienced a comeback in 1988 when the single
"The Flame" from the Lap of Luxury album topped the charts.
Cheap Trick saw yet another wave of interest in the '90s, as alternative rockers
influenced by them such as Billy Corgan of the Smashing Pumpkins joined them onstage for
the live double-disc album, Silver. Recorded to mark the band's silver
anniversary tour in 1998, the just-released album features Corgan and Slash joining Cheap
Trick onstage. Guitarist Nielson jokingly told Rolling Stone that, "We had
some of the fans come and do the show."
"The kids today know us from Budokan, their parents records," he added. "We
wanted to have something from every CD and some obscure cuts. We've had a good long
career, [but] were still four great guys and three chords."
Trick play Akasaka Blitz on Apr 4, Shibuya Kokaido on Apr 6, and Yokohama Bay Hall on Apr
7. See listings for details.
Fuji Rock Festival's initial lineup has been confirmed. Smash says that this year's
festival - scheduled again for Naeba ski resort on the last weekend of July - will feature
Oasis, Travis, Manic Street Preachers, Hothouse Flowers, Ricky Lee Jones, Sonic Youth, the
Deftones, the Orb and Jeff Mills, with more to come.