36. Cheap Trick – Dream Police

They persecute me, they’re the judge and jury all in one. [cackles]

Cheap Trick were not big in England, but when I moved to Australia I caught them on TV. Sounds was a Saturday morning music show hosted by a guy called Donnie Sutherland who always looked hung over. Early Saturday morning must be a hard gig for a late Friday night party animal. I don’t know whether Donnie or some producer chose the songs, but somebody chose Dream Police and I loved it at first hearing.

I had just finished reading George Orwell’s 1984 because 1984 was approaching and I didn’t want to start it without being prepared. Dream Police live inside my head? I can believe that.

There might be four people in Cheap Trick but it’s all about Rick Nielsen. The first time you see him out of the police uniform he’s in mid air playing a checkerboard guitar. His red cardigan has fifteen pieces of flair. He kicks his foot high. He wrote the song. Who cares about the pretty boys with the hair and the teeth when Rick Nielsen wears checkerboard pants that match his guitar!



The bass player is Tom Petersson and he is playing an 8-string bass monstrosity. It is the bass analogue of a 12-string guitar with strings in pairs, each pair the same note an octave apart. He was a bit of a pioneer in odd basses, as he also had a 12-string bass with the strings grouped in threes. Ignoring the distraction of the actual instrument, the line is good.

A few years years later I found myself listening to 2SER’s Prisoner Show, where they played music by request for various convicts in local prisons. In the midst of a pile of metal they played Dream Police and it sounded sublime. Putting them together showed that the glam metal of the late 80s owed a lot to Cheap Trick, and I thank that prisoner for requesting them and reminding me of some fine trousers.

dream police


Previous: 37. The Pretenders – Brass in Pocket


4 Responses to “36. Cheap Trick – Dream Police”

  1. 1 Jean
    July 27, 2009 at 22:55

    weird, when I play the video it goes black and I can’t hear anything. I must not have the right testosterone level for viewing. I believe it needs to be up near eleven.

  2. July 27, 2009 at 23:27

    Funny, it seems to work for me. Drink a few more Hoegaardens and it will all become clear.

  3. July 29, 2009 at 05:25

    a.) I’m concerned that the video worked for me. Given the testosterone requirement, I’m worried I might get unexpected hair.
    b.) I used to work at a Friday’s. They really had managers like that. Some of them.

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