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The View From the Side of the Stage - Ricki C. on the Why Isn't Cheap Trick in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame? experience

I’ve seen a fuckload of Colin Gawel shows.  (“Fuckload” is a unit of measure invented by my brother in the rock & roll and former employer – Hamell On Trial – meaning “a great many” or “a lot.”  It was originally coined by Hamell to describe the wealth of musical knowledge possessed by my friend Kyle Garabadian; i.e. “That Kyle knows a fuckload of shit about rock & roll.”)  

Since 1990, when I first witnessed the nascent Watershed when they were still called The Wire opening for Willie Phoenix, through last week when Why Isn’t Cheap Trick In the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame? made their debut I must have seen more than 150 Colin shows.  (I suspect the only people who have seen Colin more are Michael “Biggie” McDermott, road manager extraordinaire & possibly the real heart & soul of Watershed and Rob Braithwaite, whose place I took in the road crew in 2005 when Rob went off the road.)  From The Wire to Watershed to several incarnations of The League Bowlers to The Lonely Bones to solo acoustic Colin shows, I’ve seen ‘em all, and I find myself forced to make the following statement: The Friday night Kobo edition of Why Isn’t Cheap Trick In the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame? might have been one of the Top Twenty Colin shows of all time.

Colin didn’t pull that off alone, of course.  While he was the brainchild of this tributory rock & roll exercise, without The Lonely Bones – Rick Kinsinger on guitar & vocals, Dan Cochran on bass & vocals and especially original Watershed drummer Herb Schupp (who absolutely kicked ass, maimed, took names & DESTROYED on drums, mightily invoking the Spirit of Bun E. Carlos) – these Cheaps just wouldn’t have gotten Tricked.  The band was on fire both nights, but especially Friday at Kobo, given that rock & roll is a participatory sport rather than a spectator one and the Cleveland audience chose to largely remain spectators.  The Kobo crowd, however, just came to rock away the happy hour show with an energy & abandon of which I think Rick Nielsen and Robin Zander would wholly have approved. 

And if you think those Cheap Trick tunes are easy to play, you better  think again, Jack.  They sound deceptively simple (as many good power-pop songs do) but there’s all kinda twists & turns thrown into the melodies & arrangements that make them into GREAT rock tunes; the weird tempo changes in “Southern Girls,” the bass runs that come swooping in from left field ALL THE TIME, the key change in the last verse to “Surrender,” I could go on all night.  Plus Colin did a killer job on the vocals, which are mostly COMPLETELY up out of his range, easily more suited to his Watershed co-lead singer Joe Oestreich than to Colin’s lower-register Springsteen and Paul Westerberg stylings.

Okay, okay, I could go on & on but that’s 500 words and you 21st century kids have the attention span of a Ritalin-dosed 10 year old, so I’m just gonna close with the fact that I’m proud to have had some small part in this show and that I hope we never have to do it again because Cheap Trick will be inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame next year.  (But I'm not holding my breath.)

Ricki C. is the road manager of The Lonely Bones and a guitar-tech & merch guy for Watershed  and  would like to know why that talentless fuckhead David Crosby has been inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame THREE SEPARATE TIMES (as a member of The Byrds, Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young and as a solo artist) while Cheap Trick, Mott The Hoople and The MC5 HAVE NEVER EVEN BEEN ON THE BALLOT.  He has his own blog – Growing Old With Rock & Roll – if you’d like to read more of his cranky rantings.