Cheap Trick bassist Tom Petersson talks about his latest project ahead of South Shore show
If you go
What: Cheap Trick
When: 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 19
Where: Harrah’s Lake Tahoe
Tickets: $44.95 plus fees
Cheap Trick bassist Tom Petersson’s latest project is his most personal to date.
Petersson recently released “Rock Your Speech Volume One” with the help of his wife Alison. The album includes plenty of Cheap Trick’s British Invasion influences, but with a specific mission in mind — helping Petersson’s young son Liam, who is working to overcome a speech disorder associated with autism spectrum disorder.
Liam has undergone speech therapy for years, inspiring the couple to incorporate speech and language lessons into rock music.
“We wanted to make a record that would really help him,” Petersson said during a Wednesday phone interview.
“Music is so big in these kids lives. It’s a powerful thing that they’re really attracted to.”
Evidence of that attraction came shortly after the Peterssons began writing songs for the album. One of the first songs they recorded was “What’s Your Name,” which led to Liam ask perfect strangers “What’s your name?” in response, a huge step for him.
Music has the potential to help people of all ages and not just those with autism, Petersson said. Same goes for the album.
“Music is something everyone can be included in,” Petersson said.
“Rock Your Speech” features simple, repetitive lyrics with rock instrumentation and has been well received by music therapists. Petersson said the album has taken on a life of its own. A second volume is already in the works.
“It’s an emerging field and we and we’re very excited to be involved,” Petersson said of music therapy.
As for Cheap Trick, Petersson said the band is excited to be nominated for induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Although it had yet to be revealed prior to Wednesday’s interview, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame announced Thursday, Dec. 17, that Cheap Trick will be among this year’s inductees to the hall. The band will be inducted in April along with Chicago, Deep Purple, N.W.A. and Steve Miller.
“Cheap Trick had perfected an extremely individual yet classic rock and roll band sound by the time it released its first album in 1977,” according to a press release from the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. “It has never changed it much. It didn’t need to. Cheap Trick’s records and concerts display a singular musical consistency over almost 40 years. Remaining interesting, sometimes hilarious, in that way is also pretty much unparalleled — and indispensable to understanding them. Cheap Trick is led by Rick Nielsen’s classic and perpetually fresh guitar and the sweet power of Robin Zander’s vocals. The group’s original lineup with Tom Petersson on bass and the amazing Bun E. Carlos as the powerhouse drummer influenced pretty much every other hard rockin’ band that came afterwards. They somehow bridge the gap between the fierce clowning of early punk and the accidental-on-purpose humor of metal, without ever sounding a bit like either.”
The band will have a new record ready by the time it’s inducted.
“It sounds like classic Cheap Trick,” Petersson said of the as-of-yet-untitled album.
The band has long been chasing the perfect record by writing songs that sound good to band members, Petersson said. That chase finds Cheap Trick on the road most of the year, something the bassist doesn’t expect to change.
“We’ll just keep going,” Petersson said.
Cheap Trick plays the Harrah’s Lake Tahoe South Shore Room this Saturday. More information is available at http://www.ticketmaster.com.