Cheap Trick: We're All Alright, As The American Rockers Return To Australia

  • Written by 
  • Monday, 15 March 2021 11:13
Cheap Trick will tour Australia as part of Under The Southern Stars 2021 festival series. Cheap Trick will tour Australia as part of Under The Southern Stars 2021 festival series.

If you want Cheap Trick, you got it!

The legendary American rock quartet are among the first international bands to grace Australian live stages post-lockdown as part of the Under The Southern Stars tour series.

Cheap Trick will be joined on the bill by Stone Temple Pilots, Bush and Rose Tattoo, in a line-up sure to sate our thirst for live shows. "I think it's great too, I can't wait," Cheap Trick frontman Robin Zander laughs.

"We each get an hour or so, that's going to be pretty cool under the stars."

The slated tour is a welcome reprieve from the live music drought of 2020, with anticipation for the shows mounting among bands and punters alike.

"Everybody [in the band] I'm sure can speak for themselves about this, but we're overly anxious because we finished a record a year ago, more than a year ago, and the release has been postponed because of COVID," Robin explains.

"So, we're very excited, can't wait to get out and start playing – we haven't done so in a whole year – and going to Australia to start off is starting off with a bang."

"We're still Cheap Trick. . . We are music friends; we are held together I think by musical super glue."

For their first shows in over a year, Robin plans to give the Australian audiences the full Cheap Trick live experience. "You know, we're probably going to start with something new and something that rocks, something up-tempo," he says.

"And then go back into our catalogue and do some stuff from the most recent records, then of course 'I Want You To Want Me', 'Surrender', 'Dream Police' and 'If You Want My Love', things that Australians are familiar with."

This year will also see the release of Cheap Trick's aforementioned new album entitled 'In Another World', confirmed for release on 9 April.

Lead single 'Light Up The Fire' has the band reaching back to the hard rock roots of the era in which they formed. "We've always been kind of a diverse band," Robin states.

"We come out of the '70s; during the time that we started, the music scene was very diverse and interesting. I think we've carried that on with us on our backs all the way. We haven't changed much – we're still Cheap Trick, and that's it," he laughs.

Though Cheap Trick are best-known for their bubble-gum, power-pop rock hits, their deeper catalogue exposes numerous songs that dabble on the dark side of life, a characteristic of the band Robin says is intrinsic to their make-up.

"It's a pretty diverse record, and when the album comes out, you'll see what I mean. It goes all over the place, but it's still Cheap Trick," Robin says.

"Even on our first record we had things like 'The Ballad Of TV Violence' [a song written about mass murderer Richard Speck] and then right next to it is 'Mandocello'. It's like, 'what?!'" he laughs.

"I think that part of it you're going to enjoy because it's the same, it's the same as our first record and throughout. Not everything we do is great, we know that, but at the same time we're going to do what we like to do and hope everyone else enjoys it."

Cheap Trick are a band that are undoubtedly beloved. They formed in small-town Rockford, Illinois, in 1973. In 1976, the band was signed to Epic Records and released their self-titled debut album in 1977, followed later that year by 'In Color'.

Finding early success in Japan, Cheap Trick toured there in 1978 where they were received by the music-loving public with a rabidity akin to Beatlemania.

Their live album recorded during that tour, 'Cheap Trick At Budokan', became their sudden breakthrough to mainstream success. "I'm humbled by it, that's for sure," Robin says of the band's journey. "But we've had our ups and downs, we're like a roller-coaster group.

"We've gone from playing in a club with three people standing on our heads, to 'Budokan' and being chased around Tokyo by taxicabs and getting our hair cut off by [fans with] scissors. For me, I was a little put off by the bulk of all these people coming to see us play all of a sudden, like 'whoa, what happened?'."

On the flipside of success, Cheap Trick endured their fair share of struggle and turmoil through the '80s and '90s, including legal issues with their record label, waning sales, personnel changes and the breakdown of personal relationships within the band.

Persevering through the hard times, and never surrendering, Cheap Trick emerged into pop culture greatness. Their cover of Big Star's 1972 song 'In The Street' was used as the theme music for popular sitcom 'That '70s Show', introducing a new generation of listeners to Cheap Trick and associated bands of the era.

In 2016, Cheap Trick were at long last inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame cementing their legacy as giants of rock. "That's another humbling experience. After 25 years of recording, you think 'wow, we could be in the Hall Of Fame', you know?" Robin says.

"Five years go by and you're still not there, ten years go by and you're still not there, and 15 years go by. Then you're like 'f... you, you guys don't know what you're talking about anyway', and then all of a sudden you get a phone call, and all is forgiven," he laughs.

It's been a long and hard road to travel for four young fellas from Middle America, from dizzying highs to deathly lows and everything in-between. The one thing that kept it all from unravelling? A shared love for creating music they like.

"We just roll with all those punches because really the most important part of us is, first of all, we don't live in a commune together, we don't pee in each other's backyard, we're not all best friends," Robin states.

"We are music friends; we are held together I think by musical super glue. As long as we can write decent songs that we're proud of, put out recordings that people seem to enjoy, that's what holds us together. We're from a small town in Illinois called Rockford. I was born in Rock county, grew up in Rockford and I'm in a rock band. It's all predestined, I guess."

Cheap Trick's new studio album 'In Another World' is released 9 April.

Under The Southern Stars 2021 Tour Dates

Fri 30 Apr - WIN Entertainment Centre (Wollongong)
Sat 1 May - Camp Shortland Field (Newcastle)
Sun 2 May - The Entertainment Grounds (Central Coast)
Wed 5 May - Qudos Bank Arena (Sydney)
Fri 7 May - Bonython Park (Adelaide)
Sat 8 May - Foreshore Reserve (Hastings)
Sun 9 May - Yarrawonga Showgrounds (Vic)
Wed 12 May - The Timber Yard (Melbourne)
Fri 14 May - Kings Beach Amphitheatre (Sunshine Coast)
Sat 15 May - Southport Sharks (Gold Coast)
Sun 16 May - The Riverstage (Brisbane)



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