As it prepares to remember its breakthrough with the upcoming “Live at Budokan: 30th Anniversary” boxed set, Cheap Trick is also readying the release of its next studio album, which guitarist Rick Nielsen says is in the can and ready to go — although no label, title or release date are set yet.
“It sounds cool,” Nielsen tells Billboard.com about the set, which the group worked on with producer Julien Raymond and which he calls a “continuation” of Cheap Trick’s 2006 album “Rockford.” “There are a lot of strong songs. I think (frontman) Robin (Zander) sounds great on it. I mean, the thing starts with Robin singing a cappella, which we’ve never really done for a whole song.
Cheap Trick recorded the album at various points during the past 10 months, working “all over the place. We did a song here, a song there — some in Florida, some in Chicago, some in L.A., some in London — and then mixed them all at the same time.”
Nielsen says the group also hopes to release a CD and DVD from its 30th anniversary visit to Budokan this past April, as well as of performances the group did of the Beatles’ “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” in New York and Hollywood. Also on the docket is a release of the 1998 re-recording of 1977’s “In Color” with Steve Albini; Nielsen promises “it’s gonna happen” but won’t say when.
The primary archival focus, however, is on the “Live at Budokan” box, which features the entire concert first released in 1998 for the 20th anniversary along with a DVD and CD of the April 30, 1978, show that was broadcast on Japanese television that year and has been in the vaults ever since.
Nielsen says the best part about these later “Budokan” releases has been the chance to show the world the entirety of the show, which he feels offers a better representation of Cheap Trick than the 10-song 1978 album that became an import sensation and the band’s commercial breakthrough in the U.S.
“It shows a bit more of a heavy side to Cheap Trick … songs that were definitely more heavy than what the (original) record was,” Nielsen explains. “I was always surprised that with the success we had (in 1978-79), the ex-record company and the ex-manager didn’t say, ‘Gee, let’s exploit this and put it out!’ We waited 20 years to put the complete thing out. That’s how smart we were, eh?”