Monday, August 29, 2016

40 Year Itch : Cheap Trick Signed

Cheap Trick : Southern Girls (live in 1975)

We were struggling. We were just a rock band in the Chicago area from a little town trying to make a living. We didn't really think about how long our band was going to last or if we were going to record anything that would be released. We played for ourselves. We'd play shows to three people.
-Robin Zander

In August of 1976, years  of touring and playing three to four sets a night finally paid off for a Rockford, Illinois quartet when Epic Records signed Cheap Trick. There were far easier ways for a band to make money than to play originals in suburban bars,  as bassist Tom Peterson noted in a Chicago Reader oral history about the Cheap Trick's  early days:

People wanted to see the Top 40 bands, but the audiences who'd come and see us, they'd be hooked. But we were making $50 to $75 a week, and the cover bands were making $800-$900 a week. We had enough to survive and buy guitars and strings. All those cover bands would come up to us and say, "You guys are so lucky, you get to play all your own material." And we'd go, "Lucky?" There was no way those cover bands were going to take a pay cut. We were dying out there.

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