The just-announced inductees into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame next spring include one of the biggest acts of the Seventies and Eighties, a group that also revealed that their next album will be released on Nashville-based Big Machine Records. Rock-pop superstars Cheap Trick have joined the label that’s home to Taylor Swift, Tim McGraw and Steven Tyler and will release their new LP Bang Zoom Crazy… Hello on April 1st, exactly one week before the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame ceremony on April 8th. Their first album in more than five years (and the group’s 17th studio effort) will be produced by Julian Raymond, the Oscar-nominated songwriter and producer of Glen Campbell’s final recordings.
With a touring schedule that has taken them all over the world (for some 5,000 shows since they first formed in the Seventies), Cheap Trick — which includes guitarist Rick Nielsen, singer Robin Zander, bassist Tom Petersson and drummer Daxx Nielsen — have also been spending a fair amount of time in Music City. Earlier this year, they joined Brad Paisley for a wild, guitar-centric workout on their 1977 classic, “I Want You to Want Me,” aboard Nashville’s famed General Jackson showboat.
Since 1985, the General Jackson has cruised Nashville’s Cumberland River, entertaining tourists and locals. One of the annual events aboard the boat is the Sony Music Nashville showcase that takes place during Country Radio Seminar. The label puts acts like Paisley, Carrie Underwood, Kenny Chesney and Miranda Lambert center stage for the radio programmers and others in attendance, but also orchestrates a number of special appearances from unexpected guests.
Paisley, who headlined the show after performances from Tyler Farr, Jake Owen, and Trisha Yearwood, among others, morphed Van Halen’s “Hot for Teacher” into “I Want You to Want Me,” before being interrupted by Nielsen, who jokingly said, “You’re pretty good on the Halen stuff, but on the Cheap Trick stuff you need a little help.”
The two began to “answer” each other’s seasoned guitar playing and Nielsen, now obviously impressed with the country picker chops, said, “OK, I give up.” After Nielsen broke out another solo that earned a fist-bump from Paisley, the two were joined by Zander, dressed in white jacket and beige top hat with guitar at the ready. Zander then uttered the song’s title in the same way he famously did on the group’s iconic live album At Budokan as the band’s familiar logo flashed behind him.
As the song kicked into high gear, Paisley swapped guitars and stayed in the background for the remainder of the performance. The group also performed the hits “Surrender” and “Dream Police” before the boat docked.
During 2009’s boat show, Paisley jammed with guitar legend Peter Frampton, who co-headlined a 2015 tour with Cheap Trick.