- - - - - - - -  - - - Spring 2016 - - - - - - - - - - - - -



Diehard Fan Channels Love
for Band into Art

By Bob Ruggiero


Many classic rock bands can claim that they have hardcore fans. But only recent Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees Cheap Trick can say they have their own dedicated quilter!

Kristyn McCoy, who does custom machine quilting at her business, Melon Patch Quilts, has a separate section on her website for “Cheap Trick Quilting.” It documents how she has made works both specifically for and inspired by the band she loves—the pride of Rockford, Illinois—as well as her encounters with the group.

And McCoy isn’t the only quilter who has a fondness for the band. Last Christmas, guitarist Rick Nielsen shared a photo online of a quilt made for him by Daria Brooks and Pat Chandler.

Friends@Festival spoke with McCoy about her background, love of Cheap Trick, and how the band that “wants you to want” them inspires her.


Friends@Festival: How were you first exposed to the music of Cheap Trick and why did they become one of your favorites?

McCoy: Cheap Trick became my favorite band when I first heard their song “Dream Police” in 1979. Their music is both catchy and fun, and at the same time dark and mysterious. And Robin Zander’s vocals are incredible…to this day he can scream like he did 30 years ago!

I saved up my birthday money so I could buy my first album, and was captivated with looking at the photos and singing along to the lyrics.

The reason Cheap Trick continues to be my favorite band is that, despite being rock stars, all the band members are just the nicest people. Before one show, bassist Tom Petersson walked through the crowd stands to my seat just to visit and say hi and take a photo with me. They tour through the year and continue to release new studio albums, yet they still find the time to stop and chat with fans after the show.


Friends@Festival: Do you have a favorite record and song?

McCoy: Oh, I couldn’t pick a favorite album, I love them all! Each one has some special memory. My favorite song would be “Anytime” from 1997’s Cheap Trick.

Up until 2015, it was my most wished-for song to hear live. I was standing in line for a concert as Cheap Trick was doing their sound check, and I heard drummer Daxx Nielsen start hitting the drums! I told everyone else in line around me to be quiet because I thought it might have been the only chance I would get to hear the song.

Before the show, when I was meeting the band and giving them some quilts, I thanked Tom for playing “Anytime” in the sound check, to which he replied, “You never know when you might hear it again.”

That comment went right over my head—I was kind of star struck chatting with the band. So, I was totally shocked to hear the song again during the concert.


Friends@Festival: How did you get involved in quilting?

McCoy: I have been sewing since I was a little girl, but only got involved with quilting when my daughter was born and I wanted to make her a quilt. One quilt led to another quilt, which led to me to start a machine quilting business 15 years ago.


Friends@Festival: What made you decide to incorporate your love of Cheap Trick into your quilting?

McCoy: Well, Cheap Trick has always been associated with a black and white checkerboard design, much like a four-patch block. A friend of mine commented that one of the amplifiers at the concert looked like the Irish Chain pattern. So, I grabbed some black-and-white fabric, printed off some photos of various album covers, and made my very first Cheap Trick quilt.

I didn’t expect to make a second one, but we all know how that goes with quilting—once you start, you can’t stop. So I began to look for inspiration for my next quilt. I kept making them and giving them to the band, not knowing what they thought of them.

Did they like my quilts? Did they use them to wash their cars? Should I keep making more? A few years ago, Rick had an exhibit at the Burpee Museum in Rockford. There was an area to display some gifts from fans, and I was shocked and honored that Rick chose one of my quilts for this exhibit. So I figured he might like my quilts, and I kept making more.


Friends@Festival: What kind of interactions have you had with them?

McCoy: Years ago, I had no idea how to get my quilts to the band.  I started off holding them up at concerts and trying to pass them up on stage, and I got some to them. Later, they offered some meet and greet tickets.

I could barely form a sentence when I met them, but found this to be a much easier way to give them my quilts. I started out with one quilt per concert, but last year made four quilts, one for each band member. This year I will be making multiple quilts too.


Friends@Festival: Which Cheap Trick quilt was the most fun to do? Which one the most challenging?

McCoy: The ones with faces are the most challenging, because it’s hard to make them look realistic. So many of the quilts have tiny pieces and keeping them in the exact place when appliquéing is difficult too.


Friends@Festival: How do you construct them and come up with unique designs?

McCoy: Well, I base my quilts on either a poster for an event, a guitar of Rick’s, an album cover, or a side project that a band member might be involved with.

My method of constructing the quilts lacks technical skill and involves a lot of tracing. I find the photo of what I am making, enlarge it with a projector, and trace it on paper taped up to my wall. Then, I reverse the image and trace it in my sunny window onto fusible web so that it can be ironed down.

I then machine appliqué the design after cutting out all those tiny pieces. Cutting around the Cheap Trick logo is quite time consuming! Any art quilters reading this is are probably shaking their heads at my technique! I really need to invest in a light box.

The fun part for me is the machine quilting! There have been a few quilts where I quilt the lyrics to some of their songs on the background fabric, so when you look up close you can see the words.


Friends@Festival: Finally, what are your thoughts about them getting into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame this year?

McCoy: I am just so proud of them and happy for them! They are such a hard-working band and they deserve to be recognized. The day I found out they were being inducted, I dug through my memory box and found my Busted tour t-shirt (from 1990) and wore it all day long!

I was given the opportunity to attend the induction ceremony, and, believe me, it’s so disappointing that I can’t make it, but quilting is my priority.  So I will be showing my support by wearing my Cheap Trick sweatshirt and listening to their music all weekend long!


Cheap Trick Quilts

Cheap Trick guitarist Rick Nielsen, Kristyn McCoy, vocalist Robin Zander, husband Dan McCoy, and bassist Tom Petersson in Toronto. McCoy’s quilt has the lyrics to “Dream Police” on the background.

McCoy’s quilt reproducing the poster for the band’s 35th anniversary Japanese concert commemorating their breakthrough album, Cheap Trick at Budokan.

McCoy’s black and white guitar quilt is the cartoon drawing from the Rockford CD liner notes showing Nielsen’s “Little Uncle Dick” guitar.

Rick Nielsen and Kristyn McCoy with her Black and White Piece Pizza logo quilt. Nielsen is the spokesperson for the business.

Bassist Tom Petersson’s carton image from the Rockford CD cover in fabric.

© 2016. A publication of Quintessential Quilt Media. No portion may be reproduced without the expressed written consent of Quilts, Inc.