"Mommy's alright, daddy's alright, they just seem a little weird", the familiar strains of "Surrender" and other Cheap Trick classics will fill the downtown air on Friday, September 2nd. Those with a calendar and/or Waterfront schedule in front of them may be saying, "wait, Cheap Trick is playing Thursday the 1st." They would be right. The Trick sound on Friday will be provided by Cheap Chick, the only all female Cheap Trick tribute band.
In many ways the band could be seen as equal parts schtick and power pop rock and roll. Of course, the same could have been said about Cheap Trick, especially in the early days. All four members of Cheap Chick have adopted personas and names to mimick those of their male counterparts. As an example one has only to look at the bio for "Bunni Carlos", the group's drummer, aka Judy Cocuzza. I remember years ago seeing the bio of Bun E. Carlos on the liner notes to their debut album, and I remember the "cheap trick" of it being a fabrication. I haven't read that one in many a moon, but looking at Bunni's life story, I think they are very close if my memory serves. Rounding out the rest of the group are Chick Nielsen (Robin Beacham), Pam Cheatersson (Pamita Neptuna/Pamela Moore) and Robbin' Zander (Kristi Callan). They even go so far as to immortalize legendary Trick manager, the late great Ken Adamany with their faux tribute "manager," Jim Addthemoney.
It doesn't take long to realize that this group was drawn to the music of Cheap Trick because they loved the band, and still do. This adoration creates a genuine nature to their performance and presence that really adds a lot to the experience. You certainly can't argue with great rock music, either. Cheap Trick has always shown a strong sense of humor in their work, and this is something that is definitely not lacking in the persona of Cheap Chick. Indeed, in addition to their "manager", bio's and other such trappings, they go so far as to bring an entourage of groupies and hangers-on along with them to every show. They play a loop of a stadium full of screaming fans between songs.
The result has been popular with fans and critics. They have earned such praise as "(Cheap Chick) turn mere imitation into delightful interpretation" (Falling James, LA Weekly), "Cheap Chick are the only Cheap Trick tribute band you need to see!" (Robert Matheu, Creem Magazine) and even "Cheap Chick are arguably the hottest act in America right now!" (Jim Freek, New Times LA).
Cheap Chick hails from Los Angeles, but from the way they capture the Cheap Trick sound, you would think that they call the Midwest home just as much as the band they emulate. In fact, in many ways the only thing that will tell you that you aren't listening to the real deal is the vocal performance. While the real Robin Zander has a high pitched voice, certainly no one would mistake him for a woman. On the other hand, one only has to hear a couple of notes from Robbin' Zander's performance to know that she is no man. Of course live, there is no question at all.
Cheap Chick has been featured on two compilation CD's, "Dream Tonight - A Tribute to Cheap Trick" (their version of "Lookout") and "It's a Teenacide Pajama Party" (where they provided "Auf Weidersehen"). Information on ordering these discs can be found on the band's website (www.cheapchick.com). That is also where you can purchase their CD single "I Want you to Want Me" with "Surrender", T-Shirts, stickers and more. They are currently readying a very interesting Cheap Trick cover disc for release. Entitled "Rarities" rather than hitting on all of the hits that are very well known, Chick chose to turn their attention to lesser known Trick B-Sides, soundtrack cuts and many more under-appreciated CT gems. I have to say that out of ten songs on the disc, I think I have heard only one or two as done by the original band.
Cheap Chick's Robbin' Zander says about the draw to Trick as a tribute band, "Cheap Trick is the ultimate American rock band - they write song after phenomenal song, have a singer who can't be matched by anyone and they totally get the power of showmanship! They're the kings of power pop! They're worthy of many, many tribute bands. Not only do they keep creating the best songs out there, but they seem completely unassuming and approachable. They're everything all bands should be: smart, funny and talented - no goofy pyrotechnics, no ridiculous posturing, no rock operatic pompous singing, no rock god guitar hero baloney, no double bass drum gong stupidity - they seem like four regular guys who just happened to get more than their fair share of good looks and talent. And that's why they've continued to earn the respect of people with good musical taste long after so many one hit wonders have faded. Their music has a timeless quality. They've always led the pack, been individuals and haven't been tied to any specific era with quirky sounds, silly hair and foolish clothes."
She continues in describing their own contribution as a tribute band, "What we do that makes it our own of course is just being ourselves. We all come from different types of bands - pop underground, metal, punk, garage rock, surf, alternative - and we bring a little bit of that along with us. By being female, of course, the whole thing is different whether we want it to be or not. We lose the whole "you better be an exact replica" thing and it's better that way. Even though I always wanted to be Robin Zander as a kid, I could never really be him - and people don't expect me to be, 'cause I'm female. They want to see our take on Cheap Trick. I would hate to be a man trying to fill Robin's shoes. It would be impossible!"
Now that you've had the confusion regarding the date for hearing "Surrender" at On The Waterfront - you can catch it at least two nights this time around, you might want to learn even more about Cheap Chick. First, you can check out their website, www.cheapchick.com. There you can find plenty of bio information, stuff to buy and much more. Of course, you also need to get down to On The Waterfront to see them. Mark your calendars now, and plan to be there.