From page 16 of Classic Rock Magazine September 2006
After 30 years with the same line-up and some classic songs, they’ve just released their best album in years.
INTERVIEW: DAVE LING With the influential Illinois pop-rockers now promoting Rockford, their 15th studio album in a 30-year recording career, Classic Rock met guitarist Neilsen the morning after Cheap Trick supported Def Leppard at London’s Hammersmith Apollo, and two days after they rubbed shoulders with Brian May, Don Henley, Joe Walsh, Dave Grohl and other luminaries at the Nordoff-Robbins songwriting awards.
Last night Cheap Trick were immodestly welcomed to the stage as “the best fuckin’ band this town’s ever seen”.
[Much laughter]. We were? That must’ve been Joe Elliott [Leppard vocalist] or someone from the road crew. It’s not something I’d profess to believe, no way. One or two other good ones – like The Who – have played here before.
The reviewers’ consensus is that Rockford is the best Cheap Trick album in many years. Did you feel under pressure to up the stakes after Cheap Trick  and Special One ?
Not really. We always try to make good records. I don’t think we’ve ever made a great one, but there have been a few good ones. ‘Great’ is a term that should be used sparingly.
How did Christina Aguilera/Pink/Courtney Love hitmaker Linda Perry come to co-write your single Perfect Stranger?
We didn’t think about it like that. She liked Cheap Trick and we like her. It worked. If it hadn’t done, then we wouldn’t have used the track just to have her name on it.
A three-show run at London’s Garage in 2001 saw the band playing the entire Cheap Trick album on the first night, its successor In Color on the second, and Heaven Tonight on the last. Might albums four through six – Dream Police to One On One – someday receive the same treatment?
We’ve talked about it. And they were very cool shows. In Chicago we once did the first four, because we did At The Budokan [the 1978 live album], too. Pearl Jam also opened one of those shows for us – we paid them $250. How’s that for value?
Despite your excitement at playing a venue as legendary as London’s Royal Albert Hall in 2003, the show was anti-climactic.
It definitely wasn’t among our best. I knew during soundcheck that it wouldn’t be great, but we couldn’t cancel just because of some bad omen. Nothing bad happened that night, but nothing good either. But nobody can take away the fact that we played there.
You recently teamed up with the Allman Brothers to sue former label Sony over internet downloads.
The way I see it, both bands are being screwed. When you buy one of our songs from iTunes, Cheap Trick gets four-and-a-half cents out of the 99 it costs. That’s just wrong. We’ve already had 400,000 downloads, which is nothing to sneeze at. It’s all because of old contracts that need updating. If you say nothing about it for two years those guys interpret it as agreement. We’re telling them that we don’t agree. What are they gonna do, take away our gold records? But at the same time it’s not just for us, it’s for the musicians of the future.
• Rockford is out now on SPV