The public can argue the merits of Deep Purple and Steve Miller Band, or whether a rap act like N.W.A. belongs in the Rock ‘N’ Roll Hall Of Fame. But there’s one thing that is certain: Cheap Trick’s induction is overdue, and the power-pop foursome will finally receive the honor—along with the aforementioned Steve Miller Band, Deep Purple, N.W.A., and neighbors to the south Chicago—April 8, 2016 at Brooklyn’s Barclay Center. (Better luck next time, Ric Ocasek, Nine Inch Nails, and The Smiths.)
“I was prepared not to get it and say, ‘Oh, well, better luck next time,’” Cheap Trick guitarist Rick Nielsen said upon hearing the news. “Live at Budokan wasn’t too bad. Getting our first record wasn’t too bad. Doing 5,000 shows, not too bad,” the Rockford native told Rolling Stone. “It’s all good. This might get moved right to the top of our résumé, though. We won’t write this at the bottom.” Cheap Trick has been eligible since 2002 but has been consistently been passed over every year, prompting a social-media push for the band and a cover act called Why Isn’t Cheap Trick In The Rock ‘N’ Roll Hall Of Fame? that performs Cheap Trick covers “every year on the night of the [Rock ‘N’ Roll Hall Of Fame] induction ceremony until Cheap Trick gets the call to draw attention to this injustice.”
“I’m sure he’ll be invited,” Neilsen says of the possibility of original drummer Bun E. Carlos joining Cheap Trick on stage at the induction ceremony. “Do I know if he will? I don’t know. This is all about our history, and the way I look at it, our future. We’re Cheap Trick. We’re too dumb to quit.” Ex-members of the other honored bands are expected to rejoin for the ceremony as well: Deep Purple’s Ian Gillian would gladly have Ritchie Blackmore join Deep Purple on stage, despite his leaving the band in 1993, and rumors of a N.W.A. reunion minus the late Eazy-E have been bubbling since the release of last year’s Straight Outta Compton. (Asked about a reunion, Ice Cube tells Rolling Stone that “Snoop might do an honorary Eazy-E. I can’t speak for him, but we’ll ask him.”) And Peter Cetera may perform with Chicago for the first time since 1985, as vindication against the shadowy syndicate that has kept Chicago out of the Hall Of Fame all these years.
As for Cheap Trick, the band that perfected—and then transcended—power pop is currently working on a new album, tentatively titled Bang Zoom Crazy Hello, that’s due out sometime next year. “It has flavors of 1975,” lead singer Robin Zander tells Hits Daily Double. It certainly feels like the ’70s are coming back: A new Star Wars movie and Cheap Trick in the Rock ‘N’ Roll Hall Of Fame on the same day? To quote Darth Vader, it will be a day long remembered.