Corgan on Cheap Trick Album

Slash, Billy Corgan, Art Alexakis pay tribute to Cheap Trick

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Turning twenty-five may not seem like much of a milestone unless you are counting in rock & roll years. Cheap Trick have become one of the few bands to reach the big two-five and they are celebrating the anniversary with the release of the live double-disc set, Silver.

The album was recorded at their 1999 "Silver Anniversary Homecoming Concert" in Rockford, Illinois, where 15,000 fans gathered to commemorate the group -- though some fans had a different way of showing their appreciation. "We had some of the fans come and do the show," said Rick Nielsen about Slash, Billy Corgan, and Art Alexakis who took the stage on a few songs.

The double disc will feature Corgan playing guitar on the track "Just Got Back," and Slash on "You're All Talk." In addition to a celebration of the band's past, the record is also an introduction for fans discovering the group for the first time through the likes of Everclear and Smashing Pumpkins. "The kids today know us from Budokan [1979's Live at the Budokan], their parents' records. We wanted to have something from every CD and some obscure cuts. We've had a good, long career. Going through all that stuff was neat."

All that "stuff" includes some of the band's biggest hits like, "I Want You to Want Me," "Surrender," "Dream Police," "She's Tight" and "The Flame." Jon Brant, Cheap Trick's bassist in the mid-Eighties, was also at the Silver Anniversary concert.

"If I weren't in the band, I would be a fan," Nielsen says of Cheap Trick's catalog. "There are pop songs, heavy songs, ballady stuff, songs talking about computers, robots. You do stuff and you go on to other thing and forget the hard work and the versions and everything."

In the midst of the touring, the band is still continuing to work on the follow-up to 1997's Cheap Trick, to be released on their own label, Cheap Trick Unlimited. "I'd say we're third to the half-way through of picking the songs," Nielsen says. "It's sounding good. Some of it is a bit experimental, using the computer to do sound samples of ideas I've had. Some of it may be used as loops or guides for background vocals. It's just fooling around with the twelve notes. Every time, it's always surprising."

As for any of the special guests on Silver to make repeat performances on the upcoming album, Nielsen says they haven't thought that far ahead yet. Ironically, it's Cheap Trick who are still intact while their "fans" Smashing Pumpkins and Guns n' Roses (at least the original lineup) have met their demise. "So we had a little more sticktuitiveness. We didn't get together to do anything but to play music," Nielsen says. "We're still four great guys and three chords."

Silver will be available through the band's Web site, www.cheaptrick.com, and at retail outlets on February 27th.