149 Westchester Avenue
Port Chester, NY, 10573
Doors 7:00 PM / Show 8:00 PM
This event is 18 and over
Cheap Trick is part of the very fiber of American music, inspiring and delighting generations with their unique union of massive melodies and razorblade riffs, their own special brand of mischievous wit and maximum rock ‘n’ roll. Frontlined since 1974 by Robin Zander (vocals, rhythm guitar), Rick Nielsen (lead guitar), and Tom Petersson (bass guitar), the Rockford, IL-born band is set to impact still another era with the spectacular new BANG ZOOM CRAZY…HELLO, their 17th studio collection and first in more than five years. Co-produced by Cheap Trick and GRAMMY® Award winner Julian Raymond (Glen Campbell, Fastball), songs like “Heart On The Line” and the turbulent first single, “When I Wake Up Tomorrow,” are deeply connected to the band’s own irrepressible history just as they accelerate their trademark sound and vision into the now. The glorious “Long Time No See Ya” marks another in a long line of salutations spanning “ELO Kiddies” and “Hello There” to “Goodnight” and “Say Goodbye,” while the piledriving “Do You Believe Me” showcases dueling solos from Nielsen and six-string icon Wayne Kramer – a milestone meeting of the long established Midwestern mutual appreciation society between Cheap Trick and the mighty MC5. BANG ZOOM CRAZY…HELLO prove Cheap Trick to be as energetic and idiosyncratically irresistible as ever before, a callback to their classic canon yet somehow as inventive and exciting as a bunch of crazy kids just coming out of the garage.
“We wanted to make something that was new and fresh but also going back to our 70s sound and feel,” Zander says, “this Midwestern rock band that’s got a hard edge but still plays pop music.”
“It’s loud and it’s noisy,” Nielsen says, “which is exactly what we are. It sounds like there’s a lot going on but really it’s just a three piece band with a great singer.”
Cheap Trick are of course a indisputable institution, beloved for their instantly identifiable, hugely influential, powerhouse pop rock ‘n’ roll. The constant core of the band remains one of a kind – three guys, four chords, and tunes that will last in perpetuity, from “He’s A Whore,” “California Man” and “Dream Police” to “Surrender,” “I Want You To Want Me” and the worldwide #1 hit single, “The Flame.”
“The songs are why everybody knows Cheap Trick,” Nielsen says. “We have some good songs. ‘I Want You To Want Me” has been around for 40 years but people still love it. And even if you’re sick of it, it’s over in three minutes! The songs are still relevant, they still have the right words and the right emotion to move 99% of all humans.”
Amidst that not inconsiderable demographic, one particular fan served as catalyst for Cheap Trick’s return to the studio. Founder, president, and CEO of Nashville-based Big Machine Records, Scott Borchetta has also been a lifelong supporter of the band. Conversations began in 2012 and were sealed when veteran producer/songwriter Julian Raymond – a longtime Cheap Trick associate and Academy Award nominee for co-writing the GRAMMY®-winning “I’m Not Gonna Miss You,” featured in 2014’s acclaimed documentary, Glen Campbell: I’ll Be Me – joined the zeitgeist-defining label as its Vice President of A&R. A multi-album deal was soon struck, a contract as rare as hen’s teeth for any rock band in the modern era let alone one of Cheap Trick’s considerable vintage.
“It’s a pretty big career tool,” Nielsen says. “Much better than putting a bunch of CDs in my car.”
“It’s been great working with Scott,” Petersson says. “He’s such a music lover. It’s rare for the guy that’s running the label to be so musical. Usually we have to battle it out with those guys but he left us alone. He was like, I love your band, you know what you’re doing in there.”
Deal in hand, Cheap Trick and Raymond quickly set to work. Described by all as the band’s de-facto “fifth member,” Raymond has been a friend and sometimes collaborator for three decades, relied upon as both confidante and traffic cop.
“We could produce our own records but we prefer to have Julian there to quell the storms,” Zander says. “You’ve got three writers in the band so there’s a lot of ideas floating around. You’ve got to have somebody that’s outside of the band to help give some direction. Otherwise you just get lost in yourselves.”
“Julian really brings the best out in us,” Petersson says. “He really understands our band and because he’s not us, he can see things that we don’t or can’t see in ourselves. We’re so close to this music, you need somebody else like Julian.”
Sessions got underway in 2015 at Los Angeles’ East West Studio. The band immediately got into their groove by locking into a playful version of “The In Crowd.” Written by Billy Page and made famous in not one, not two, but three distinct chart hits by Dobie Gray, the Ramsey Lewis Trio, and Bryan Ferry respectively, the song was a staple of Cheap Trick’s earliest live sets, a reliable crowd-pleaser as they made their bones at local dives all over the Midwest.
“The feel started there,” Zander says. “We continued writing from that sound.”
All three original members cite drummer Daxx Nielsen as the most significant contemporary influence on Cheap Trick’s current creativity. A musical polymath who has played with artists spanning Dick Dale to Brandi Carlisle, the younger Nielsen was the obvious choice when the seemingly irreplaceable Bun E. Carlos retired from active touring and recording with the band he co-founded. Daxx’s innate virtuosity and spirited musicianship were propulsive in more ways than the usual, inspiring fresh energy while also keeping the band in touch with its roots.
“Daxx is so talented,” Petersson says. “He’s so into it, he can play all of our songs on any instrument. We’ll pull something from our back catalog and he’ll tell us how the bridge goes.”
“We have to recall stuff,” Rick says. “Daxx remembers.”
After more than half a decade away from the studio, Cheap Trick was fired up and ridiculously prolific, cranking out close to 30 new tunes over two pair of sessions in Los Angeles and Nashville. Tracks like “No Direction Home” hit hard as a teenage crush’s kiss, affirming the eternal strength of Cheap Trick’s smart, sly, sometimes sarcastic songcraft. Each member has skin in the songwriting game, contributing elements – a riff, a chorus, a hook that won’t stop – which are then jammed into three-and-a-half minute pop perfection by the entire unit, ensuring everybody’s respective two cents are represented in every finished tune.
It’s been five years since Jesse Malin last released an album, and that only upped the stakes for this one. New York Before the War is a hymn to everything Malin believes in most: respecting your roots, grabbing the future by its throat, and creating a soundtrack for a life filled with meaning. None of those things is easy to do, especially now. In fact, that’s what the war in the title is all about: the battle to create and hold onto what’s worthwhile even as so many forces, both internal and in the world outside, conspire to sweep it away. At the very top of that list is music.
“I wanted to make a record that encompassed everything I’ve been through since I started playing hardcore when I was twelve or thirteen,” Malin says. Two years ago he had completed an album “out in the country” at White Star Studio near Charlottesville, VA. But then he realized it really wasn’t finished. “Late last December, just back from a tour, I found myself sitting in my studio apartment in an old, crooked building that had the words THE WAR boldly painted on its side,” Malin says. “In the silence of the holidays, away from family and friends, I found myself questioning everything I believed in. Looking out the window at a broken world where our values, culture and art have become instantly disposable, I felt lost and alienated, but still yearning for something more. Turning to my music, I tried to carve out a place where I could once again exist, and I sat down and wrote the rest of this record.”
He ended up with close to forty songs. “I’ve always been a fan of the album as an art form,” Malin says, and New York Before the War is a unified statement. It opens with “The Dreamers,” a haunting ballad that nearly became the album’s title track. Resting on an elegant piano figure, the song evokes both the alienation and the sense of deep connection that travel can bring. Wherever you are and whomever you meet, “the blood still runs red,” Malin sings. That sense of doubleness, that emotional complexity – carving your own path but desperate for connection to a larger community -- runs throughout the album. Darker meditations like “She’s So Dangerous” and “Bar Life” nestle next to rockers like “Freeway” (which features a blistering solo by the MC5’s Wayne Kramer) and “Turn Up the Mains” (with Alejandro Escovedo on backing vocals).
Even within individual songs a sense of openness and possibility sometimes feels inextricable from the lure of destruction. In “Death Star” a woman gains a wealthy lover who “dresses to the right,” but loses her soul. The jauntily upbeat “Bent Up” is about a friend and former band mate who died of a drug overdose. It’s a roses-and-thorns kind of thing. The very qualities that make you compelling and creative can spiral you down. And, as with the lure of technology today, things that feel good and make your life seem easier can also destroy you.
“I always thought of music as a lifestyle, a place to exorcise your demons, connect with others and rejoice in the lonely places,” Malin says. “Somehow there’s a romance and an energy to all of this.”
Peter Buck contributes a vintage R.E.M.-style guitar part to “I Would Do It For You,” a tale of personal loyalty filled with longing and an aching sense of conviction. “That’s my favorite and maybe most honest lyric on the record,” Malin says. “It’s about someone from your past who tracks you down and needs something from you, and because of your history, you can’t say no. I never say what it is – whether it’s a crime, drugs, a sexual relationship.”
Malin finished New York Before the War at the Magic Shop in Soho and Flux Studios on Avenue A . Players include guitarist Derek Cruz, who co-produced the New York sessions with Malin; bassist Catherine Popper, who has played with Ryan Adams and Jack White; and drummers Randy Schrager (Scissor Sisters) and Paul Garisto, who played on Malin’s debut solo album, The Fine Art of Self-Destruction, and with the Psychedelic Furs. Guitarist Don Dilego played on and produced the sessions in Virginia.
“New York Before the War is a metaphor for surviving in an ever-changing, rapidly desensitized world, while trying to find a way to live truly,” Malin says. “It’s not one particular war, but a global sentiment made for these times. It’s a daily battle to keep the human spirit alive. Things are moving fast and forward, and this is my life right now.” – Anthony DeCurtis
$35 // $45 // $65 (ADVANCE) $40 // $50 // $70 (DAY OF SHOW)
This event will have a general admission standing room only floor and a reserved seated Loge and Balcony. Reserved Loge and Balcony tickets will NOT have access to the general admission floor.
18 & over unless accompanied by a parent or legal guardian.