The Rick Nielsen Interview

By Shawn Perry

When I think of the hours I spent in my youth, listening to Cheap Trick's slick and infectious brand of pop rock, I figure what's a few more weeks in between short chats with the band's guitarist, chief songwriter and fearless leader, Rick Nielsen. I'd bumped into the wide-eyed Bowery Boy look-alike over the years, but never had the chance for a lengthy chat. Finally, on the eve of the release of the Budokan!: 30th Anniversary Edition box set, a phone interview was scheduled. Unfortunately, Nielsen was suffering from sleep deprivation in Australia, and we only spoke for a few minutes.

Two weeks later, Nielsen called me from Florida and our conversation resumed. Acutely aware of Cheap Trick's place in the world of music, Nielsen apologized for the brevity of our previous encounter, and went on to fill in the blanks to each and every query I had. We touched on other bands, the legacy of Budokan, the band's current efforts and Nielsen's work on John Lennon's Double Fantasy album. The guitarist also had a few words to share about Barack Obama, the former Illinois senator elected President of the United States. With a new record in the can and ready for release, it looks like Rick Nielsen and Cheap Trick are in for the long haul.

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