News Segment


May 5, 2006

NEW YORK (Billboard) – Cheap Trick will return on June 6 with “Rockford,” an album named after the veteran rock act’s Illinois hometown.

Beforehand, the group will appear next Tuesday on NBC’s “Late Night with Conan O’Brien,” which is taping at the Chicago Theater. Cheap Trick will return to the show’s New York home on June 29 to perform its new single, “Perfect Stranger.”

Ubiquitous songwriter Linda Perry produced and co-wrote the tune. “She’s an engineer, songwriter, producer, guitar player and a singer,” said guitarist Rick Nielsen, who still lives in Rockford. “She can do it all — I don’t know why in the heck she needs us!”

The album, released via Cheap Trick Unlimited/Big 3 Records, marks the band’s first studio release since 2003’s “Special One.” The band produced the new project itself, but renowned studio pros Steve Albini and Jack Douglas also helped out.

“People look at us like we should know something since we’ve been around for so long, when we actually know about as much as the producers do,” Nielsen told “Making records is harder work than it seems, but it’s not physical labor, so we don’t get many blisters from working too hard. But as far as spending time away from your family and being holed up in a studio — it’s a long, lengthy process. You’ve got to love it — that’s why we’re still doing it.”

Bassist Tom Petersson said Albini mixed everything and made the album cohesive, “because it was kind of all over the place. It was a bit of a pain in the ass for him, but he did a great job, I thought.”

The group, which also includes singer Robin Zander and drummer Bun E. Carlos, has already reserved Albini for its next studio effort. But as for the Albini-produced re-recording of the band’s sophomore 1977 album, “In Color,” which featured the tracks “I Want You To Want Me” and “Souther Girls,” Petersson said there are no concrete plans for its official release.

“Since it’s already finished, we should do something with it. But I don’t know what’s going to happen with it.”

The band is especially excited about shows next month in the United Kingdom supporting Def Leppard. A reunited Sensational Alex Harvey band is also on the bill. “They were huge favorites of ours,” Petersson said. “Unfortunately, Alex is dearly departed, but boy, they were such a great band. It’s a big honor to be working with them. Def Leppard have (also) been real nice to us. They’ve got a great audience.”

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