Cheap Trick – ‘Cheap Trick’ (1997) – Album Review (The Cheap Trick Collection Series)

Let’s see if I get this right. Two albums earlier with ‘Busted’, Cheap Trick leaves their label Epic Records. They then get signed with Warner Brothers and release “Woke Up With A Monster” and then the label drops them. The band finds an indie label called Red Ant Records to release their new album on April 29, 1997, the self titled, ‘Cheap Trick’, only to be label-less again after Red Ant goes bankrupt a mere 3 weeks after the release causing it to only go to #99 with the lack of promotion. The poor guys are having some major issues.

Now, that doesn’t mean the new album is not any good. It just didn’t get the full promotion it deserved from a financially strapped label. The album, ‘Cheap Trick’, was a fresh start. A starting over. A time to re-introduce the band to a brand new generation of kids, thus having the album self-titled like they did with their debut album. This was a band getting back to their roots and remembering who Cheap Trick were. This was the beginning all over again.

What I love about the cover is a play on what the band had done with most of their covers over the years. Their older albums always had Robin Zander and Tom Petersson on the front and Rick Nielsen and Bun E. Carlos would be relegated to the back cover. This time around, Rick & Bun are on the front and Robin and Tom are on the back. However, to switch up, it is the instruments. Well done boys, well done.

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Kuni – ‘Lookin’ For Action’ (1988) – Album Review (The Jeff Scott Soto Series)

After Jeff Scott Soto’s stint with Yngwie Malmsteen was over, Soto was able to land a gig with the Japanese guitar virtuoso, Kuni. The rest of the band included Mike Terrana on Drums, who played with Yngwie and Beau Nasty, as well as Douglas Taylor Baker on Bass, who also wound up playing with Beau Nasty. Behind the boards on this one is a name a lot of you should be familiar with due to the bands Vinnie Vincent Invasion and Slaughter. That is right, Dana Strum produced the album and I have to say the production work on here is fantastic.

The band was very popular in Japan and they even got to tour. One of the shows was recorded for TV so it makes wonder if there is a live album or bootleg of that show anywhere. I need to start looking for that.

The copy I have is actually a re-release from 2018 and has a couple live bonus tracks and who doesn’t love bonus tracks. All releases of this album are Japan only which means…yes…OBI strips and my copy is no different. You can see it a few pictures down. Also included is a fold out page that has an essay in Japanese and I have no idea what it says, but you see Vinnie Vincent’s name mentioned, Loudness, Yngwie and several other band names so I am guessing it is talking about the band members and where they came from plus tons of other great information that would be nice to read…if I read Japanese. The page also has the lyrics to the songs, in English, on both sides.

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