Woke Up with a Monster

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Woke up with a Monster
Studio album by Cheap Trick
Released March 4, 1994
Recorded 1991-1992
Studio Andora Studios, Hollywood, CA
Larrabee North, Universal City, CA
Genre Hard rock, power pop
Length 49:00
Label Warner Bros.
Producer Ted Templeman
Cheap Trick chronology
Woke Up With A Monster
Cheap Trick
(1997)Cheap Trick1997

Woke up with a Monster is the twelfth studio album by Cheap Trick released on Warner Bros. Records in 1994 and produced by Ted Templeman. It was their first and only album for Warners and peaked at US number 123 on the Billboard chart. Shortly after the album's release Cheap Trick was dropped from the Warner Brothers label. The album contains songs co-written with Jim Peterik, Julian Raymond, Todd Cerney, Mark Spiro and Terry Reid. There were two videos shot for this LP; "Woke up with a Monster" and "You're All I Wanna Do." The band later released a CD only 'cutout' that also featured a live performance of the title track.

The album is now only available as a digital download at various online retailers.

Reportedly, Nielsen's favourite song from the album is "Tell Me Everything".[1]


After the disappointing sales of the band's 1990 album Busted, Cheap Trick left Epic Records to sign with Warner Bros. Records, who offered the group a ten album deal.[2] The band soon began work on their twelfth studio album, and appointed veteran hard rock producer Ted Templeman to produce the album. As a result, the album featured a heavier, guitar-based sound, and excluded the dominant keyboards of the band's previous albums. In 1994 Tom Petersson spoke of working with Templeman, revealing: "Ted didn't try to soften the sound up. That happens to us a lot. People think our sound is... well, kind of sick to begin with, but he didn't try to change that. In fact, he enjoyed it." The album took a year-and-a-half to create, though it only took four months of writing, arranging and recording.[2]

In the Deseret News of August 5, 1994, Nielsen described the album as "a breath of fresh air." He commented "The new label kind of put a new life into Cheap Trick. When I listen to the album, I have no regrets about it. This is the first album in the second half of our career."[3] In the Star-News newspaper of August 28, 1994, Nielsen had revealed the album was written with live performance in mind.[4]

Song information[edit]

The majority of the material was new, however a small number of unused songs were brought in from previous projects. Petersson revealed: "It's all pretty much new. A couple of things are older, not much. We played Ted everything we had. It didn't matter who did what, we just played him all the bits of ideas and old things."[2]

The title track evolved from a jamming session during a soundcheck. Petersson described it as one of the album's songs that came together easy, and evolved naturally.[2]

"Ride the Pony" was originally written by Zander and Mark Spiro, for Zander's solo album, though it was never used.[2] Another creation between the pair was the song "Walkin' Shoes" which appeared on the solo album.[5] In a September 1994 interview with Petersson for Prime Choice magazine, Petersson revealed "For some reason, his producer didn't like it. But we liked it and Ted liked it."[2]

"Girlfriends" was another song that Templeman opted to develop, despite it being initially considered by the band as unsuitable for inclusion. Drummer Bun E. Carlos had brought in a live tape during one session, which featured a soundcheck recording of "Girlfriends". Templeman loved the song, and decided to work with the song from then onwards.[2]

The song "Let Her Go" had no writing credit on the album's release, and instead states "Writers and Publishers pending".[6] This was due to a situation between the band and Procol Harum lyricist Keith Reid. The song had been written by Zander and Nick Graham, with assistance from Nielsen. Reid had contributed lyrics for the song, however the band opted not to use them. Despite this Reid claimed the band had used some ideas he had submitted, and therefore deserved a writing credit. In an interview with Nielsen for 20th Century Guitar (May/June 1994), he confirmed the song was written by Zander and Graham, during the period when Zander was writing songs for his debut solo album. However it wasn't used for the solo project. Instead the demo was put forward to the band, and this led to the band recording their own demo of it in Rockford, Illinois. Nielsen explained "I come up with the idea to de-modulate the song at the end where the riff keeps going down; instead of going up it goes down. Then we changed it around a little bit and Ted Templeman likes it. Then we record it. While we are doing it we get some lyrics from Keith Reid. He called it "Let It Roll", about a truck or something like that. We just laughed it off and didn't use it, we already had our stuff. Right before the record comes out we get a call from Keith and he says 'Hey, I wrote that. I want credit on the song'. All the artwork was done and we had to re-do it and take the credits off."[7][8]


The album suffered from a lack of promotion, largely because the two label reps who signed Cheap Trick to Warner Bros. were fired at the time of the release. In an interview with Nielsen for Star-News, dated December 23, 2004, he commented "Everybody who signed us was worried for their jobs, so we got no promotion on that one." He added "We had two good studio records that nobody actually heard [Woke up with a Monster and Cheap Trick (1997)]. It's like getting hit with a stick twice - or a baseball bat. You wanna go for a third one?"[9]

In 2000 Nielsen was interviewed for KAOS2000 magazine, where the interviewer Philip Anderson called the album "great" and asked what happened to it. Nielsen responded "Yeah, there was some fun stuff on there. The president and Mo Ostin got fired right when the record came out. That didn't help."[10] In March 2002, Nielsen was interviewed for Salt Lake City Weekly, where he revealed why the band decided to later create their own independent record label: "When we did "Woke Up With A Monster" on Warner Bros., we were signed by Lenny Waronker and Mo Ostin, two of the biggest guys in the business. They got fired right as our record came out, so that was the kiss of death for us. Then our next record came out on Red Ant Records and they went bankrupt as soon as it came out. So, we had two records with virtually no one hearing about it, unless you were a real die-hard Cheap Trick fan. There was no push behind either one of them, so people were thinking we didn't put out records. So, we got a bit gun-shy; if we put out new stuff, nobody listened. We stood back and looked at the history we've had and decided to emphasize it."[11]

Around the time of the album's release, attention focused on the band after MTV's Beavis and Butt-head feature put the band on its "Cool Band" list.[3]

After the band's appearances on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno and The Late Show with David Letterman, the band spent a month in Japan before returning to America to begin supporting the album by touring.[2] Before the tour commenced Petersson commented: "We'll do almost every song off the record. We can do all of them. We kind of wing it. We don't practice the songs, really. We'll maybe do them at a soundcheck or something, or get a tape and go, 'Yeah, maybe we should do... "Oh Claire."' Sometimes people suggest things."[2]

In regards to the tour the band undertook to promote the album, Nielsen commented on the diversity of the audience's age range. He revealed "Our audience now comes in all ages. Let me tell you, it's very cool. It really keeps it interesting. We have some fans who think "Woke Up with a Monster" is our first album, and we have to go out on the road with that attitude."[3]

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 3/5 stars[12]
Billboard favorable[13]
Chicago Sun-Times 3/5 stars[14]
Chicago Tribune 2/4 stars[15]
Daily News (Kentucky) mixed[16]
Entertainment Weekly C+[17]
Rolling Stone 2/5 stars[18]
Prime Choice magazine favorable[2]

In the April 9, 1994, issue of Billboard, a review of the album stated "This veteran band has always worked best when it's worked without a net - turning out slightly loose and loopy songs cut through with a frenetic rock edge. "Monster," with the expected mix of pleasantly rocking power ballads ("Never Run Out of Love," "You're All I Wanna Do," and catchy "Tell Me Everything") and pounding stompers ("My Gang"), isn't the band at its best, but there are flashes of that earlier edge in "Woke Up with a Monster" and the sexy little romp "Ride the Pony."[13]

In the December 24, 1994, issue of Billboard, the song was mentioned in "The Critics' Choice" section, where the magazine's editors and writers chose their top 10 records, videos and live concerts of 1994. Ed Christman, the magazine's senior retail editor, listed the album as one of his top ten albums for that year.[19]

For the Prime Choice magazine, writer Roger Lotring spoke of the album in an interview with Petersson. Dated September 1, 1994, Lotring wrote "Woke Up with a Monster is an obvious, if unintentional return to the melodic heaviness that characterized their first several albums. From the eccentric harmonies of the title track, to the simple, yet powerful guitar chords on songs like "You're All I Wanna Do" and "Girlfriends," Cheap Trick’s latest studio album ignores the distillation of style that plagued recent records like "Busted" and "Lap of Luxury". If a renaissance of the classic Cheap Trick sound has to be narrowed to a single reason, one possibility would surely be the enlistment of veteran hard rock producer Ted Templeman. Templeman’s appreciation of the outrageous makes the album worthy of the band's legacy."[2]

Track listing[edit]

  1. "My Gang" (Tom Petersson, Robin Zander, Rick Nielsen) – 4:22
  2. "Woke Up with a Monster" (Nielsen, Petersson, Zander) – 4:32
  3. "You're All I Wanna Do" (Nielsen, Petersson, Zander, Jim Peterik, J. Raymond, Terry Reid) – 4:03
  4. "Never Run Out of Love" (Nielsen, Peterik) – 4:08
  5. "Didn't Know I Had It" (Nielsen, Todd Cerney) – 4:31
  6. "Ride the Pony" (Zander, Mark Spiro) – 4:31
  7. "Girlfriends" (Nielsen, Petersson, Zander, Bun E. Carlos) – 4:32
  8. "Let Her Go" (Zander, N. Graham/Publishers still pending) – 4:28
  9. "Tell Me Everything" (Zander, Petersson, Nielsen, Michael McDonald, Julian Raymond) – 3:59
  10. "Cry Baby" (Petersson, Nielsen, Zander) – 4:18
  11. "Love Me for a Minute" (Zander, Nielsen, Petersson) – 4:12

Japanese version[edit]

  1. "Sabre Dance"

The band also recorded a cover of John Lennon's "Cold Turkey" during these sessions. It went to the Working Class Hero: A Tribute to John Lennon album while an alternate version was released on one of the Bun E.'s Basement Bootleg albums.


All singles were promotional singles only.

Unreleased outtakes[edit]

  • "Don't Blame It On Love"
  • "All Those Years" (Later re-recorded for the 2006 album Rockford)
  • "Down, Down" (Later re-recorded with different lyrics in 1996 as "Baby Talk" and released on the 7 inch single Baby Talk/Brontosaurus)
  • "Anytime" (Later re-recorded for Cheap Trick (1997 album)


Cheap Trick[edit]

Guest musician[edit]


Chart performance[edit]

Chart (1994) Peak
U.S. Billboard 200[20] 123 2