Rick Nielsen – Cheap Trick

Dennis Elsas and Rick Nielsen

Dennis Elsas and Rick Nielsen

Rick Nielsen and Tom Petersson first recorded together in 1968 as the band Fuse with limited success. Returning to their home town of Rockford, Illinois in the early 70’s, they joined with drummer Bun E. Carlos and vocalist Robin Zander to form Cheap Trick. Their 1977 debut album was well received in the US, but in Japan they quickly became superstars. Capturing the energy and excitement of their live shows, the album At Budokan (released initially only in Japan in 1978, and in the USA in 1979), provided the spark for their American breakthrough.

Nearly thirty years later the original group is still recording, touring and supported by a loyal and enthusiastic fan base. The band is heard nightly around the world with the theme to TV’s The Colbert Report and That 70’s Show.

In this 1980 conversation with Rick Nielsen, we discuss the early days of opening for Kiss, their Japanese appeal, and several of their greatest hits.