Ballroom dancing

SXSW panels

By Jim Caligiuri, Fri., March 19, 2010

Ballroom dancing
Photo by Gary Miller

SXSW Interview: Cheap Trick

Austin Convention Center, Wednesday, March 17

Seeing Cheap Trick perform live – Friday night at Auditorium Shores, 8pm – is extremely entertaining, and the band's discussion of a more than 35-year-long career was just as much fun. Led by music writers Jim DeRogatis of the Chicago Sun-Times and Greg Kot of the Chicago Tribune, Rick Nielsen, Tom Petersson, and Robin Zander spent more than a hour bouncing around the subject of their beginnings, hit records, album producers, and some of their most recent work. Unfortunately, drummer Bun Carlos was a no-show. "He's resting," Kot explained, which only lent Nielsen more time to tell some tales. "We didn't want to be like anybody else," the guitarist claimed in a discussion of the band's roots and the origins of their unusual visual style. "Now that I'm older, I'm the voice of reason. I hate it." Predictably, there was a good deal of Beatles talk. Not only did Cheap Trick recently perform the Sgt. Peppers album at the Hollywood Bowl, Nielsen played Yoko Ono on his phone saying how the band inspired John Lennon during the sessions that became Double Fantasy. They may be "everyone's fifth favorite band," as Zander alleged, but with Cheap Trick's absurd charm on full display, three-quarters of the band demonstrated why they remain No. 1 in people's hearts.

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