Cheap Trick Scores with the Basses Loaded
Volume 9, Number 4
August 12, 1982
Newsreal Magazine was published in Tucson, Arizona and was distributed throughout the southern part of the state. It was initially named Tucson Mountain Newsreal when it was founded in 1974 as a monthly alternative culture tabloid, then later evolved into a popular music magazine and expanded its reach into the Phoenix area. Publication ceased in 1985.
The interview with Rick Nielsen and Bun E. Carlos is quite good and well planned, especially so considering this is a local publication. The discussion is largely focused on the tough times Cheap Trick had been having, with a lot of time spent reviewing the bassist changes from Tom Peterson to Pete Comita to Jon Brant. A few excerpts:
“Pete just wanted to play guitar, which was his ‘real’ instrument, and we needed a bass player,” explains Bun E. “Tom got sick and we had a tour the next day so we called Pete. When it came time to record, we wanted a real bass player. We wanted to sit down with Pete and see what he wanted to do, but he said, ‘I want to play guitar’ and split.”
But last Christmas, when everyone had reason to suspect that the Comita-Trick marriage was solvent, Pete called his good friend and fellow d’Thumbs alumnus, Jon Brant, to ask him for a ride to a Cheap Trick rehearsal. Jon, who’d been living in L.A. and was visiting his Chicago suburban family for the holidays, obliged. Little did Comita know at that time that he was being chauffeured by his successor.
“We were messing around before rehearsal, and Pete picked up a guitar, Jon picked up a bass and we started jamming old Yardbirds songs,” says Bun E., a large part of whose rock ‘n roll savvy comes from studying old British Invasion sides, “and while Peter was smokin’ on the guitar, Jon was playing a 6-string bass and all ears were on him. Seeing that he’d be home for the holidays, we said, ‘Come out to our recording session, lay some bass licks over one of the tracks, and let’s see how it sounds.’ He just listened to our songs - didn’t know ‘em - and we knew he was the one.”
The interview continues with details of Rick’s five-necked guitar before returning to the subject of Jon Brant:
“All the while, Jon holds his own, flailing his 4-, 8- and 12-string bass while adding in an occasional harmony (“if you want to call it singing,” he jests). Robin, at one point, informs the audience that, “This is not Tom Petersson nor Pete Comita but Jon Brant,” to a stream of cheers.”
“Who, exactly, is this third and hopefully final bass player? Back at the hotel lounge, we corner Jon and ask him to talk to our readers. “I’m probably like every other musician you’d ever talk to,” he replies in a voice that is surprisingly soft-spoken and self-admonishing. But we’re certain he’ll loosen up. “I played in high school bands, one of which was called the the Difference Between. I played in show bands, backed up strippers, played with d’Thumbs, and for a short time, The Hounds (although not on vinyl).”