FORMER CHEAP TRICK DRUMMER BUN E. CARLOS DISCUSSES POSSIBLE ROCK HALL REUNION AND HIS FALLING OUT WITH HIS ONE-TIME BAND MEMBERS
RS: Congrats on the Hall of Fame. It’s definitely time.
BEC: Thanks. It was a surprise.
BEC: Nobody gets in on the first year, I figured.
RS: You’re going to perform, right?
BEC: Yeah. As far as I know.
RS: Why do you say that?
BEC: The Hall of Fame is inducting the four original members, and I assume that is who they want to get up there and play.
RS: I spoke to Rick [Nielsen], and he envisioned a scenario where there would be two drummers on Hall of Fame night. How would you feel about that?
BEC: [Laughs] Rick has visions, I guess. He’s a good dad and he supports all his sons, and he probably thinks it would be great if his boy was up there playing along. I can see why he would lead the conversation that way.
RS: A lot of fans are confused as to why you left the band. Can you explain what happened?
BEC: Me and the singer don’t get along very good. A couple of days before Austin City Limits in 2010, we had a big argument on the phone about scheduling for the summer and all this kind of stuff. We’d argued before over 40 years; all of us had. In the middle of the night, he called the office and said, “[Whiny voice] I can’t work with this guy. He hates me.” He didn’t want me at Austin City Limits. I said, “OK, if you don’t want me there, we need to work out some kind of arrangement since I’m a quarter member of the band.” They were like, “We don’t want you there. Can we use your drums?” I was like, “Déjà vu all over again.”
We just drew up a contract that said, “I don’t tour with the band, but I’m a full member of the band.” We’ve got all these corporations. The touring company said, “If you quit touring, you lose your vote.” I wasn’t going to let that happen. I’m a full member of the band. So we drew up a piece of paper, and a couple years later the check stopped coming. I met with Scott Borchetta — that was something special. And then I had to sue them in federal court to get my money back. We did a settlement last spring and its all hunky dory. That’s the short story.
RS: What was the basis of your disagreement with Robin over scheduling?
BEC: The final straw was, we were offered 100 Sgt. Pepper shows in Las Vegas with a huge back-end. He only wanted to do 50. I said, “Why do you only want to do 50?” He said, “[Whiny voice] I have to take my daughter to kindergarten in September. I don’t want her to go to school in Las Vegas.” I smartly replied something like, “We’re scheduling shows around your daughter’s kindergarten classes?” Then he was like, “F–k you, you f–king asshole.” Then I just hung up the phone. People tell me to get f–ked, I hang up. That happened two days in a row. There you go.
RS: Have you guys spoken since?
BEC: I saw him at a settlement conference a year ago, but we don’t speak. Someone sent me a link from Tampa Bay the other day where he said he was going to call me, but he didn’t call. I’m not heartbroken over it. It’s not the end of the world.
RS: Do you think Hall of Fame night will be awkward since you’ll have to play with them?
BEC: Nah. I’m assuming everybody is going to make nice. Me too. I have no agenda here. I won’t get up there and be like, “F–k these guys!” I’m not Jeff Beck. He got up and nailed the Yardbirds.
RS: Do you see any scenario where you’d return to the band on the road?
BEC: I don’t see it happening. Rick’s kid got a gig here and Dad loves that. I’m sure Rick would rather his kid gets paid than Rick supports his kid. Even besides that, any friendship we had went away when I had to file a federal lawsuit. That cost a bucket of f–king money. Going after these guys wasn’t pleasant. The friendship sort of frittered away there.
RS: Is there any scenario where they refuse to let you play drums that night? Is that possible?
BEC: If they do, I think the Hall will do what they did with KISS. They’ll be like, “Well, f–k it, then. Don’t play.” That doesn’t really do much for anybody. These guys got a record to promote. They want the band to be up there playing.
RS: I asked Rick point blank and he didn’t give a firm answer. He said, “He’ll be invited.”
BEC: I was invited by the Hall.
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