Cheap Trick: “Up The Creek”

A few notes:

  • From the soundtrack to the 80’s movie comedy romp “Up The Creek”
  • Written by Rick Nielsen and Randy Bishop – Rick has said on more than one occasion how much he’s embarrassed by and/or hates the song (I can think of at least one other CT song that’s far worse, “Mighty Wings” from the Top Gun soundtrack. Though Robin’s vocals and Rick’s guitar solo I still love).
  • I’ve always loved the song, and this live performance. First, it rocks. Second, it was the first time I saw Rick playing the “Gonna Raise Hell” guitar which to this day might be my favorite guitar he has (and I got to play it once!).
  • The official “Up the Creek” video is fun, too. Gotta love Bun E. coming out of the pool with the two hotties.
  • It was several years later I realized Rick’s solo is basically copped from Jeff Beck’s “Freeway Jam”. Call it a homage, as Rick is an unabashed huge fan of Beck, and I would bet he threw that in there more for the humor of doing so, given his dislike for the song.  Love the whammy bar in the solo here.
  • Also, is there anything cooler than the stoic Bun E. Carlos bashing away with that cigarette dangling?
  • That’s Jon Brant on bass – the second bass player after Tom Petersson left. I was totally enamored with how he held the bass and just banged away in this song.
  • Love Rick’s leap. And I looked for a version of Robin’s vest for years around the time this video came out. Found something similar, but in gray. I already had a pair of white Capezzio shoes.
  • The opening riff to the song still puts a big grin on my face.
  • The site of those big screens with the revised logo on either side of Bun E.’s drums made me jump for joy in 1984 when I saw this on TV. I still think they look great.
  • This might be the only live performance of this song. I think the show was called “Rock Palace” and the host was producer and ridiculously fey Roy Thomas Baker (Baker produced CT’s 1981 album One On One. CT also performed “I Can’t Take It” and “She’s Tight” on the broadcast. And there was a horrible band called Zot on it as well. So 80’s.
  • I recorded it with my trusty top-loading VCR (which cost a whopping $600 – the first of several very expensive purchases I would later come to regret) and damn near wore the tape out. I watched it so many times.
  • Overall, the soundtrack is really cool. It featured not only Cheap Trick, but also Heart, Kick Axe, Shooting Star, The Beach Boys, Ian Hunter – basically a slew of mid-80’s CBS Records/Epic Records rock vets.
  • One of the soundtrack’s co-producers was Spencer Proffer, who produced the Quiet Riot’s huge-selling debut album, Metal Health.  The entire album has that big drum sound – I’ve wondered if its all played by Frankie Banali, QR’s drummer. Including “Up The Creek.”

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