Thursday, July 4, 2013

"They're ALL Mistakes!" What The Austin Chronicle Left Out Of My Cheap Trick Piece

TIM: "Say, Rick! Whaddaya say we blow this joint, grab a couple 7-11 chili dogs and some Nesbitt Orange Soda, and listen to Move outtakes all night?" RICK NIELSEN: "Who IS this freakin' nutjob?!" (Pic: Todd Wulfmeyer)
First of all, Happy July 4th! I'll probably celebrate my freedom by hitting the neighborhood 7-11 for a Quarter Pound Big Bite with chili, mustard, and onions and a Mexican Coca Cola, which should just about clear out the five bucks I have 'til midnight. Livin' on the edge in America, baby....

Secondly, thanks to the 147 of you who have hit my post on the HB2 hearing in the Texas State Legislature on Tuesday. That's 147 readers since it was posted at 8:30 PM last night, making it the largest audience this blog has had in the shortest amount of time. That piece was my first attempt at long-form news and politics coverage, and I felt I had to get down my impressions. There was just too much rich journalistic material at my disposal, just by reacting in my natural fashion to what I saw and getting it on paper. I knew I was surfing straight into Hunter S. Thompson territory there, whether I write that well or not, or if I'm even worthy of it or not. But it turned out good, and your feedback just confirms it. Maybe I have a future at gonzo journalism? Is there an outlet for me to do this? 

Last week, the Austin Chronicle website ran an interview I did with Cheap Trick's Rick Nielsen in anticipation of his band's return to the ACL Moody Theater here in Austin last Tuesday night. (Yep, the same night Sen. Wendy Davis and several thousand pissed-off Texans stood up to the bastards in the Lege and vocally shut down SB5, a mile from my East Austin home. I, of course, was at Cheap Trick, unaware how heated it was getting in the statehouse.) I was happy in general with what got run, although my editors chopped off the best part of the interview! I also preferred my original, unedited intro. So, in the interest of my self-interest, I present both to you, my loyal readership:

If it's 1979, and you're a 14 year old boy trapped growing up in a small South Texas town, Cheap Trick means everything. Apparently, that was the case for plenty of other people, too: Enough to propel them to record stores all over by the millions after hearing the live take of “I Want You To Want Me” that took over the airwaves that summer. That single, and its parent album Cheap Trick At Budokan (still the best audio document of Japan's love of anything skinny, white, and loud), made the Midwestern rock 'n' roll act stadium-filling and chart-topping stars after years of hard work. And it finally spelled the end of the disco era and a chart return to high-energy rock 'n' roll, if only for a moment.

Cheap Trick At Budokan defined a certain brand of rock 'n' roll excitement: One that embraced both The Beatles and The Who, as well as punk's blitzkrieg approach, high energy plan, and economy of structure. They certainly didn't look like your standard issue rock band: There were two 16 Magazine-style pin-ups, a zany lead guitarist who dressed like Huntz Hall and spazzed out behind a prodigious guitar collection, and a drummer who looked like a chain-smoking accountant staying up all night filing taxes. That wacky guitarist, Rick Nielsen, also happened to write songs that reflected a warped worldview, one that could produced a “My Generation”-in-reverse called “Surrender” that would become as immortal as that Who song: “Mommy's alright, daddy's alright/They just seem a little weird....” And who can forget the verse about catching Mom and Dad on the couch, rolling joints on your Kiss albums?

Cheap Trick has survived the usual career ebb-and-flow and has remained a hard-touring, meat-and-potatoes rock 'n' roll band that occasionally still issues solid records as strong as any of their '70s classics. They'll be at ACL Moody Theater on Tuesday. Rick Nielsen checked in with us by phone from where you'll usually find him: The road.
RICK NIELSEN:  I've always liked live bands. My favorite live band of all time is The Who. They were always great live.
TIM: And I've always heard a lot of The Who in what Cheap Trick does.
RICK NIELSEN: Yeah, our mistakes are real! (laughs)
TIM: Well, sometimes, those mistakes become songs, don't they?
RICK NIELSEN: (laughing) They all do!

And now, let me leave you with a patriotic ditty from D.O.A. (Yes, they're Canadian. Shut up!)

1 comment: