Back on November 27, 2015, Cheap Trick released a 3 Volume set called The Epic Archives, yet they were only released digitally. There was no physical product at the time. That has since been corrected as they eventually did release these on vinyl for Record Store Day on three separate occasions. I was lucky enough to get all 3. And since we been through ‘The Epic Archive, Vol. 1 (1975-1979) and ‘The Epic Archive, Vol. 2 (1980-1983), it is now time to review ‘The Epic Archive, Vol. 3 (1984-1992) and did they save the best for last? We will see.
My copy is the 2019 Record Store Day Release on April 13, 2019 and let me tell you it is yet another quite stellar release. As the sticker below says, it is a 2-LP Gatefold Set that is limited to 2,000 copies and both LP’s are on a beautiful flame red vinyl. And Bun E. Carlos might not be in the band anymore, but he was involved as the liner notes on the inside of the Gatefold are track-by-track commentary by Mr. Carlos as well as Rick Nielsen and this time around Robin Zander as you can see below. This Volume didn’t have the “Golden Ticket” like the Vol. 1 where you received a band picture autographed by all four original members. Nope, nothing like that in here.
I can’t believe we are already on the band’s 8th studio album. We are slap dab in the middle of the 80’s and Cheap Trick were still going, but I wouldn’t say they were still going strong. I say that because for this album, the band did something that hand’t done much of prior. They had a song doctor come in and help with the songwriting process. This was becoming very common back in the day. The song doctor was Mark Radice and he has 8 co-writes on the album which I feel is a little disappointing. Has the band lost its edge?
The line-up was consistent as we still have Robin Zander, Rick Nielsen, Bun E. Carlos and Jon Brant who is the newest member and he has some writing credits on this album as well. That part I like as it is great to see him now contributing to the creative aspect of the band. The band brought back a familiar face to produce the album, Jack Douglas. If you follow this site at all recently that name will sound familiar as not only has he produced prior Cheap Trick albums, he has also produced many of Aerosmith’s best albums which we have reviewed in the Aerosmith Collection Series we are also doing here at 2 Loud 2 Old. Big connection between the bands.
The band worked on the album during 1984 and 1985 and it finally saw its release on July 19, 1985. The album ended up not sounding like the album intended by Jack Douglas because he was unable to mix the album. Due to some legal complications he was having with another artist (Yoko Ono), he couldn’t mix it so Tony Platt was brought in. Tony didn’t have Jack’s vision of a harder, rawer sounding album, but instead went with the sound of the 80’s and added some keyboards and drum machines much to the dislike of Bun E. As a result, I think we get an album that doesn’t have the edge, the pizazz that we needed from Cheap Trick. The band ended up only releasing one single off the album and it didn’t even crack the Top 40. Cheap Trick were starting to be forgotten.