Cheap Trick keeps exploring new horizons

By MIKE CHAIKEN

EDITIONS EDITOR

Some bands who stick around for a couple of decades resort to retracing their steps rather than forging ahead with new ones.

But Cheap Trick, despite a sizeable catalogue of hits and well-known tracks, continues to release new music. And the band, which comes to Connecticut on July 25, has just released an album of new material titled “BANG ZOOM CRAZY… HELLO.”

“Our thing about being in music is doing new music and not playing something over and over,” said the band’s bassist Tom Petersson.

“It’s really what we do,” said Petersson of the group’s continuing efforts to put fresh recordings in the ears of the fans. “It’s why we got in to music in the first place.”

As a musician, he said, you’re always looking for the perfect record, the perfect song, the perfect tone. “It’s a crap shoot (finding that moment),” he said, but that’s why you keep writing, recording, and playing.

About five years have passed since Cheap Trick’s last album. But Petersson said the band wasn’t exactly lounging about.

Petersson said the band is always writing music. And the group—which also includes singer Robin Zander, guitarist Rick Nielsen, and drummer Daxx Nielsen—was constantly in the studio over those five years.

Petersson said the delay was more due to legal issues rather than the lack of effort.

For the new album, Petersson offered a tip of the hat to the band’s producer Julian Raymond for helping give the effort its shape. Petersson said Raymond is great at going through the band’s ideas and figuring out what works and doesn’t work.

The band also is unafraid of striving for the best material for an album, said Petersson. When something goes awry or just doesn’t work, he said, “We have no qualms about piping up.”

As for his assessment of “BANG ZOOM CRAZY… HELLO,” Petersson clearly is waiting for that perfection he spoke about. “It’s as good as we could do at that point,” said the bassist, “You could always improve.”

“BANG ZOOM CRAZY… HELLO” is Cheap Trick’s 17th studio effort. The band also was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame this year.

When the band started, Petersson said there was no sense that the group would still be a vital concern in the second decade of the 21st century. There was no long-term career goal beyond working at that moment in time.

“You’re not thinking of what is going on in 40 years,” said Petersson.

When Cheap Trick gathered together for the first time in 1974, Petersson said the focus was on the day-to-day. They were trying muster gigs six to seven nights a week, doing five sets a night, for little money and no gas money and no money if their car beaks down.

“All you’re trying to do is stay afloat,” Petersson said. A regular job is always a temptation for a musician. “People wouldn’t normally advise you to do this. Entertainment is crazy.”

For this tour, Cheap Trick is out on the road with Heart and Joan Jett on the Rock Hall Three For All tour. The three bands are long-time acquaintances, said Petersson.

Petersson said Cheap Trick toured with the Runaways, Jett’s first prominent band. (The other opening act was a then-unknown Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers). “We’ve known (Jett) since she was 16.”

Cheap Trick first toured with Heart back in 1977, said Petersson. And then the two groups toured together again about five years ago.

Heart, Joan Jett, and Cheap Trick come to the Toyota Oakdale in Wallingford on Monday, July 25 at 6:30 p.m. Tickets are $59.50 to $114.50.

For more information about Cheap Trick, go to CheapTrick.com

Cheap Trick comes to Connecticut Monday with Heart and Joan Jett.

Cheap Trick comes to Connecticut Monday with Heart and Joan Jett.