Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Back in 1985, original MTV VJ Martha Quinn toured Rick Nielsen’s house

Cheap Trick in 1977

Back in the early days of MTV, original VJ Martha Quinn hosted the series Basement Tapes. Quinn would tour the homes (and basements) of musicians such as Frank Zappa and Rainbow’s Joe Lynn Turner while featuring music videos from unsigned bands competing for a recording contract. In the particular episode below, Quinn explores the “somewhere outside of Chicago” (Rockford) home of Cheap Trick guitarist—and Rock ’N’ Roll Hall Of Fame inductee—Rick Nielsen.

Basement Tapes was kind of a blueprint for Cribs as well as the glut of singing competition shows that became popular in the early ‘00s. Unfortunately, the clip excises the competing bands’ videos (Recordings for The Silent Types, and Soma Holiday can also be found on YouTube). Nielsen is his typical silly self and comes off as a touch more sincere than usual, but how can you not when talking with the charming Martha Quinn? He shows off his gold records, a taxidermied Tasmanian Devil, and his collection of sweaters. (Cheap Trick fanatics will recognize that Quinn dons the sweater featured on the cover of Cheap Trick’s One On One album from 1982.) Robin Zander, Bun E. Carlos, and ”Tom Petersson-type” Jon Brandt show up to cover the MTV theme and Rick also takes Quinn to look at some of his guitar collection, including ones owned by Jimi Hendrix and The Everly Brothers.

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