Catching Up With Cheap Trick’s Rick Nielsen, 35 Years After “At Budokan”

A great interview with Rick Nielsen of Cheap Trick and the legacy of their famous, seminal “Live At Budokan” album.


The phrase “Big in Japan” is a universal punchline, and it may have been invented for the band Cheap Trick.

Following their 1977 self-titled debut, Cheap Trick – singer Robin Zander, guitarist Rick Nielsen, bassist Tom Petersson and drummer Bun E. Carlos – hit the road hard, touring incessantly, playing any gig that came their way, and eventually putting out two more albums, In Color (1977) and Heaven Tonight (1978). All three albums were critically acclaimed, but didn’t sell particularly well and certainly didn’t crack the Top 40.

Except, of course, in Japan. Cheap Trick was very big in Japan. All three albums had gone gold there, despite the fact that the band had never toured there. That all changed when Cheap Trick crossed the Pacific in April 1978 for their first Japanese tour. According to Nielsen, they were shocked when they stepped off the plane and saw that…

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