Mommy’s Alright, Daddy’s Alright, They Just Need Separate Attorneys
“Bun E. Carlos is not currently the touring drummer for Cheap Trick. Bun E. remains a band member. Everyone is healthy and Cheap Trick will continue to tour as planned.”
This statement was released on the Cheap Trick website on March 19th, 2010. No official reason was given for Bun E.’s departure and the band has never discussed the matter. Daxx Nielsen, the son of pick flicking legend Rick, had substituted for Carlos in the past and became the “touring” drummer.
The band’s existence became more complicated on July 17th, 2011 at a concert for Ottawa, Ontario’s Bluesfest. Due to high winds, the stage they were performing on collapsed, resulting in the hospitalization of three people. Thankfully, no one in the band was hurt. Cheap Trick’s touring company later filed suit against the Bluesfest for $1 million citing damages in equipment, repair, labor, etc.
These two issues are now tied together in court. Carlos (whose real name is Brad Carlson) and former band manager Dave Frey have filed suit against Rick Nielsen, Tom Petersson, and Robin Zander. Frey had managed the band since the late 1990s and was terminated in June of 2012. He had reportedly loaned the band over $350,000 after the Ottawa stage collapse. According to the lawsuit, the band still owed Frey over $70,000 at the time he was terminated. Also, Carlson, who “remains a band member,” was not consulted about the termination.
Bun E. spoke about his tenuous position in May of 2012: “I’m still in the band, but I don’t tour. I don’t hear from them. I prefer to be out on the road performing with them. Maybe we’ll kiss and make up. I really like recording new songs, but I don’t think that’s going to happen with those guys.”
In September of 2012, after being left off of a studio recording, Carlos commented further on the arrangement. “I’m a full member of Cheap Trick in all respects,” he said. “Solely as an accommodation to some of the band members, I reluctantly agreed to take a temporary hiatus from touring. The other members have never seriously talked to me about my leaving the band permanently.”
According to the report published on Monday, based upon the agreement the band made, Carlos was slated to receive “all remuneration that would have been paid to him had he fully performed at all of the live performances.” The tensions within the band must have been tremendous to agree to such an arrangement. Basically, Bun E. was promised full pay to sit at home.
Rick Nielsen and Robin Zander have been predictably quiet on this matter and this is an issue that seems to be ripe for an out of court settlement. In 1998, the band did an appalling cover version of “Money (That’s What I Want)” for the “Caddyshack 2” soundtrack. In retrospective, they should have recorded “Money Changes Everything”.