Baker's Dozen

Artists discuss the 13 records that shaped their lives

Glam Bam! Cheap Trick’s Rick Nielsen Picks His Baker’s Dozen

Cheap Trick's Rick Nielsen embarks on a splurge about the music he loves, from which we somehow manage to extract a Baker's Dozen …

Cheap Trick are one of rock music’s oddities: obsessive Anglophiles from Illinois who became stars in Middle America, but never really cracked it in the UK; a mainstream band who were heroes to a generation of alt-rock bands, including Guided By Voices, Pavement and Smashing Pumpkins; a band sufficiently perfectionist to go back into the studio and rerecord their 1977 album In Color with Steve Albini, and then not release the results. They are the band Kurt Cobain thought Nirvana sounded like, albeit he made Nirvana heavier than Cheap Trick managed to be before they teamed up with Albini. No matter that they seem like the essence of a mainstream American hard rock band, Cheap Trick were the godfathers of the US alt-rock boom of the 90s, the group who were just weird enough to infect the minds of the kids who grew up to pick up guitars, form bands, and sign to Matador or Homestead or Sub Pop or Touch and Go.

With the band over for a brief British visit to promote their 18th studio album, We’re All Alright, tQ sat down with their guitarist and main songwriter, Rick Nielsen, to hear about the albums that shaped it. And if this Baker’s Dozen reads oddly, it reflects its subject. Not for Nielsen the simplicity of deciding a list of 13 albums and talking about them in turn, as his manager and publicist had requested. Instead he embarked on an hour-long stream of consciousness about pop music, from which it was left to tQ to extract 13 albums. "You need complete paragraphs? Just make it up. I don’t care."

Click the photo of Rick below to begin reading his Baker’s Dozen

First Record

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