Cheap Trick’s Tall Tale About a Young Fan’s Devotion

CMT Crossroads: Cheap Trick and Jennifer Nettles Premieres Thursday Night

Editor’s note: CMT Crossroads: Cheap Trick and Jennifer Nettles premieres Thursday (March 24) at 11 p.m. ET/PT.

If you’re making up a story about a lengthy connection to a new musical collaborator, you might as well make it a whopper. That’s what CMT Hot 20 Countdown surmised after asking Cheap Trick’s Rick Nielsen how the band came to join Jennifer Nettles for a new episode of CMT Crossroads.

It helps when Nettles is willing to go along with the story.

“Since she was in seventh grade or something,” Nielsen began.

“There you go,” Nettles added.

“You got your first Cheap Trick record, and it’s like she started sending us letters,” Nielsen said.

“And we gave her encouragement to keep going to music. And look what happened!”

“I love it!” Nettles said.

The reality is that their collaboration began as a lot of professional friendships do.

“We got a phone call and then got another phone call,” the band’s guitarist said. “And before you knew, it was a conference call — and then we were all on the same conference call. And we all agreed, and we lucked out. Cheap Trick lucked out to be with Jennifer Nettles.”

“That’s for sure,” lead vocalist Robin Zander pointed out.

“I lucked out,” Nettles said. “Are you kidding me?”

“OK,” Nielsen said. “She lucked out to be with Cheap Trick.”

“It’s a win/win,” she said.

“Ah, yeah, there you go,” Nielsen agreed.

CMT/Getty Images

It’s an exciting time in Cheap Trick’s career. They’ll release a new album, Bang, Zoom, Crazy … Hello, their first for Nashville-based Big Machine Label Group, on April 1. They’ll also be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on April 8.

Meanwhile, Nettles will be remembering her time onstage with the band.

“It is 100 percent fun, is what it is,” Nettles said. “I told the guys at the very beginning, ’I’m going to go ahead and tell you, I’m going to have way more fun at this than you are.’

“I have been such a fan of theirs for so long. All of their music is so iconic, and I love that they remain relevant and continue to create. They are busting their butts on tour and bringing it to the people all the time. That’s what I respect.

“That’s what I like to do, too, and I love to see them doing it. The fact that I get to get out on this stage and do it with them is such a kick.”

View the CMT Crossroads performance of one of Cheap Trick’s biggest hits.