“REO Speedwagon are not a cool band. They’re not now, and they weren’t then. You could argue that when Journey was featured in The Sopranos, that made them cool, but you never would have heard REO on The Sopranos. They just don’t have that kind of cache.
“That said, Hi Infidelity is a tremendous record. For the longest time I wanted to do a track-for-track cover of it. I told Evan Dando about it, and he threatened to steal the idea. We ended up getting into a fight over it.
“When it came out, I remember putting it on and keying right into what Gary Richrath was doing on the guitar. I thought he was so heavy. Listening to it now, I realize there’s nothing heavy about the record at all. It’s drenched in reverb, and it sounds like the band is in another room.
“It’s still good, though. When Gary hits the guitar chords at the end of Don’t Let Him Go, it’s like, ‘Whoa!’ And the solo in Take It On The Run is pretty great. The song isn’t quite a ballad, but it could be. It opens and closes with the same lyric, which is cool. Plus it’s a terrific line: 'Heard it from a friend who/ heard it from a friend who/heard it from another you been messin' around.’
“REO laid down the template with Keep On Loving You. That's the one that made it easy for bands to grab the money with super-lame power ballads. I can imagine them saying, ‘And then we’ll put a fiery guitar solo in it just to show everybody we haven’t totally pussied out.’ Roy Thomas Baker toyed around with the concept on some Journey records, so he put the germ of the idea out there. But REO nailed it, and every band took from them. Everybody stole from REO.”