Robin Taylor Zander Steps Out of Cheap Trick for Debut Album ‘The Distance’
For the past seven years, Robin Taylor Zander has been playing rhythm guitar in his father’s band, Cheap Trick. The remarkably versatile musician has also played drums, bass, and lead guitar when other members of the group had to step aside for illness or personal matters. “It’s all just been mind-blowing to me, and it’s shown me what I can do under pressure,” Zander told Rolling Stone last year. “It’s opened my eyes to so many things.”
During downtime from the road, the younger Zander quietly plugged away at songs for his debut album The Distance, co-produced by Kenny Siegal, which arrives on April 21. Here’s the video for the single “What Am I To Do.”
The song he co-wrote with buddy Johnny Keach dates back to 2016 when Zander was living in Nashville. “We kind of collaborated on the lyrics, pieced it together,” Zander says. “It’s like one side of the song deals with the classic ‘tell a lie, tell a truth.’ Who I choose to open up to, who I choose to hide from. That kind of vibe. I wanted to use the imagery and let the listener relate to it in their own way.”
The Distance was cut at Old Soul Studio in Woodstock, New York. “The music is similar to Cheap Trick, but my influences go all over the place,” he told Rolling Stone last year. “I love Sixties British Invasion music. I love Seventies-punk. I love New Wave from the early Eighties. I’m all over the place when it comes to my influences, and you’ll hear that.”
At the moment, Zander is on the road with Cheap Trick. Most nights, he takes over lead vocal duties from his father to belt out the 1977 classic “Downed.” At some point this year, he plans on touring solo.
“I’m actually going to be writing for the first time with [Cheap Trick] on their next record,” Zander said. “After that, I’ll take time to myself to try to get a band together and then find those elusive off days so that I can go out and start planning my own stuff, which will have to happen. I’m going to have to split time between them for the next two years. It’ll be interesting to see how I can pull it off, but I am looking forward to it.”