Night Music: Cheap Trick, “I Know What I Want (and I Know How to Get it)”

I always have regretted not having seen Cheap Trick during their hey days in the late 70’s.

There were a couple of opportunities, particularly in 1978 at a Day on the Green, when AC/DC came around for the first time.

Also on the bill were Ted Nugent, whom I hated almost as much then as I do now, Journey, whom I hated almost as much as Ted Nugent, and Blue Oyster Cult who I couldn’t take seriously. For which I am now sorry.

But, AC/DC and Cheap Trick–the opening acts–were of major interest. And, I had a hard time justifying buying a ticket to just leave after two bands.

During their three-disc run of In Color and Black and White, Heaven Tonight, and Dream Police, the band totally kicked it for me, with driving pop-rock tunes peppered with clever lyrics, and a collection of players who seemed to have a shitload of fun doing what they were doing and being who they were being.

A side note about those three albums is, if you look closely at the album jackets, you will see a shot of the cover art of the previous album hidden. I always loved that.

By the time Budokan hit, and the band broke through, I was mostly done with them. Not that Budokan was not a hot set, or that Cheap Trick had done anything wrong. They just got too popular for me, I guess. They also lost air play time.

I was reunited with them when I started playing guitar for real, a little because they use simple major chords, and a little because my teacher and friend, Steve Gibson, was also a fan. And, then I met another friend and musician, Steve Chattler, who is a big “Trick,” as he calls them, fan as well.

Not to mention Diane grew up not so far from Rockford, home of the quartet, so somehow Cheap Trick wanted to be part of my existence, thus little point in resisting.

The song I picked for your bedtime listening is a fave. I Know What I Want has all kinds of Beatlesque stuff to it, especially the wonderful Eight Days a Week sus chords during the bridge.

I think the album version would be a lot cleaner than this live track from that very Budokan set, but since Steve (as in Moyer) is such a gearhead, I thought he would like what appears to be 30 strings among three guitar players.

4 thoughts on “Night Music: Cheap Trick, “I Know What I Want (and I Know How to Get it)”

  1. Lots to say here:

    1) I can’t find 30 strings. Two regular guitars (12) plus that goofy bass that Petersson always played (8) = 20. What am I missing?

    2) I like Cheap Trick a lot, but for me it’s two albums, not three – In Color and Heaven Tonight. They got too commercially one album sooner for me. I still play those two a lot.

    3) Is there’s the most mediocre debut album ever to be followed by two gems or what? So odd. 90 percent of the time my favorite is the debut, but not here at all. A 30/70 mix of good and not good if I remember correctly.

    4) Looked it up and I saw Cheap Trick 11/17/77 with The Motors opening at the Roxy Theater in Northampton. Still have several guitar picks thrown by Rick and Tom. (A friend of mine just sent me two pictures some guy on Facebook just posted of early AC/DC at the Roxy that he stumbled upon in his basement. Was at that show too. Roxy shows were like $5. If any of the bands were half-decent and we weren’t doing something else, we went.)

    5) My eldest daughter is named Harmony Riley after a road between Chicago (where I worked at STATS) and Rockford (where my now ex-wife lived) that we would both pass under on the highway to see each other. (No, Harmony was not conceived there, as is the common perception.) One of Rick Nielson’s sons later formed a band named Harmony Riley and we got in touch with them. Unfortunately, the album sucked. (It is shit.)

  2. To me it looks like Tom is playing a 12-string bass and Robin a 12-string as well (I as trying to count tuners).

    Never saw the Motors, but own their debut release, and also saw Bram Tchaikovsky at the SF version of the clubs you suggest (The Old Waldorf).

    $5. Saw U2 and the Cars and Ian Hunter (w/Ronson) etc. there. Was a great venue.

  3. This is a good Cheap Trick song. I don’t know their albums but I always liked them. Great tone on the guitars, the rhythm section gets it done and then some. Didn’t they get kind of late-Beatley? That stuff ain’t so hot but not, you know, shit.

  4. Don’t feel bad about Blue Oyster Cult, Lawr. I walked out on them. Saw ’em headlining when we went to see The Stooges, and as it happened the Dictators (before Handsome Dick) opened for both. They sucked too except for a good version of “We Ain’t Got Nothin Yet.” The Stooges were great. BOC came up with the one riff eventually. They insulted the audience in that near-empty theatre (Capitol in Port Chester), which always pisses me off. Iggy insulted the audience too but that was different. Someone threw a big wine jug at him as soon as he got onstage. That was uncalled for. The Stooges played only songs that had never been released, which is great. Eventually the demos were released as Kill City, which is a better album than it gets credit for although the sound is kinda dead.

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