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 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!).
  • 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 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 cig 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 looked for a version of Robin’s vest for years. 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 a ridiculously fey Roy Thomas Baker. 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 a lifetime of expensive purchases I would later come to regret) and damn near wore the tape out. I watched it so many times.
  • The soundtrack 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 – all played by Frankie Banali, QR’s drummer. Including “Up The Creek”

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