Skip to main content

Rick Nielsen of Cheap Trick

Video Interview


In 1972, Nielsen partnered with bassist Tom Petersson, another Rockford, Illinois native and performed internationally under several band names. In 1973, they returned to Rockford, renamed the band Cheap Trick, and added drummer Bun E. Carlos. The longstanding band lineup was solidified in 1974 when lead singer Robin Zander joined.

Nielsen has owned nearly 2,000 guitars throughout his career and when out on tour, takes no less than 45 of them on the road. His axe of choice is provided by the Hamer guitar company, who has created numerous custom models built only for him. Fans seeking a piece of memorabilia from Nielsen need only get seats in the first six rows as Nielsen throws a copious amount of personalized guitar picks into the audience during live shows.

Nielsen and band mates achieved huge fame with the live album "At Budokan" reaching #4 on the U.S. Top 40 album charts and the single "I Want You to Want Me" reaching #7 on the single charts. He has also had some other quite notable music and film cameo appearances:

  • Nielsen, along with Cheap Trick, recorded the theme for the television program The Colbert Report® and appeared on the show in 2006 and 2009.
  • Nielsen joined a "dream team" lineup that included Little Richard and Aerosmith's Joe Perry of Aerosmith to record the 2006 Monday Night Football® theme song with Hank Williams, Jr.
  • Nielsen made an appearance in the Michael Moore film The Big One, the Fat Boys movie Disorderlies as the hijacked car driver, and also appeared, as himself, along with Cheap Trick band mates in the Eddie Murphy movie Daddy Day Care.


Product names, logos, brands, and other trademarks featured or referred to within the website are the property of their respective trademark holders. These trademark holders are not affiliated with Other World Computing, Inc., our products, or our website.