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Perfect Stranger Cheap Trick

Somewhere in the prayers of reverent, melodic, and pop-dependent rock musicians, engineers, and producers, "Thank you for Cheap Trick" is surely muttered on a regular basis.

(click thumbnail)“Perfect Stranger” Cheap TrickSingle: “Perfect Stranger”

Album: Rockford (Cheap Trick Unlimited/Big3 Records)

Date Mixed: Spring 2006 at Long View Farm Recording Studio in North Brookfield, Mass.

Single Producer: Linda Perry

Single Engineers: Linda Perry, Jim “Pinky” Beeman, Steve Thompson, and Roger Moutenot at Kung Fu Garden in Los Angeles; Big3 Studio in St. Petersburg, FL; Long View Farm Recording Studio; and Studio 419 in Nashville

Single Mixer: Steve Thompson

Mastering: Ted Jensen at Sterling Sound in New York City

Other Projects: Thompson has worked with more than a few illustrious and varied artists, including Guns ‘N Roses, Madonna, Metallica, Blues Traveler, Korn, Blondie, Wu Tang Clan, Simple Plan, Brian McKnight, among many others.

Single Songwriters: Linda Perry, Robin Zander, Rick Nielsen, Tom Petersson and Bun E. Carlos

Mix console: Neve 8068

Recorders: Pro Tools|HD

Monitors: Yamaha NS-10, KRK E8, UREI 813

Processing: Universal Audio Pultec EQP-1A, “various plug-ins,” “little” compression or reverb, and “sometimes a nice, tight, ping-pong delay” on lead vocal tracks. Somewhere in the prayers of reverent, melodic, and pop-dependent rock musicians, engineers, and producers, “Thank you for Cheap Trick” is surely muttered on a regular basis. Those who don’t neglect the bestowers of the musical blueprints they regularly depend upon. (If you’re a wonderful, well-written, yet defiantly ragged rock musician and you don’t understand where I’m coming from, then, I’m sorry, but you clearly don’t know the history of the very musical style you embrace.)

Producer, engineer, and mixer Steve Thompson — who fully recognizes the awesomeness of Rockford, Illinois’ finest — recently jumped at the opportunity to mix the band’s 16th studio release named after its hometown. Rockford — an energetic, varied, and expectedly fresh tour of Cheap Trick’s many attributes — features a Linda Perry (ex 4 Non-Blondes)-produced and cowritten single entitled “Perfect Stranger,” upon which vocalist Robin Zander, guitarist/main writer Rick Nielsen, bassist (and 12-string bass inventor!) Tom Petersson and drummer Bun E. Carlos also share writing credits.

“I was very excited and very honored to have been asked to work with them,” Thompson explains. “Cheap Trick has always been hungry, always puts on a great show, writes great songs, and never sat on their laurels — they know what a great song is. I don’t even put them into an age group, either. A lot of the bands today were influenced by what Cheap Trick has done.”
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Like the rest of Rockford, “Perfect Stranger” came to Thompson as Pro Tools|HD files, and Thompson regularly forwarded completed mixes to the band, who toured on and off throughout the completion of the album. “The whole band was involved in the mixing of it,” credits Thompson. Following a few suggested guitar overdubs (‘I thought the main rhythm parts could be a bit heftier,’ he explains of his suggestion to Nielsen), “Perfect Stranger” was mixed using little board compression and whatever else the mixer deemed worthy and that was within reach of Long View Farm’s Neve 8068. “I’ll use what I can — Pultecs, modern stuff, plug-ins, or whatever. I’m a guy who has worked on so many different types of projects that I don’t like doing one certain thing. I try not to follow a rule.”