With apologies to a song from 1979’s Dream Police, the Cheap Trick house is rockin’ with domestic problems. Drummer Bun E. Carlos—who stopped touring with the still-spry Rockford, Illinois, power-pop act several years ago, leaving under mysterious circumstances—and the band’s former manager, David Frey, are suing the other three band members (vocalist Robin Zander, guitarist Rick Nielsen, and bassist Tom Petersson) in Cook County Court.
According to Courthouse News Service, the lawsuit stems from the “defendants' outright refusal to account for, or pay, hundreds of thousands of dollars which are owed to each of the plaintiffs, or to otherwise comply with their obligations to plaintiffs." The filing alleges that the entire quartet agreed Carlos “is no longer required” to tour with Cheap Trick, but agreed that he would still be a full member of the group. The suit claims that the terms of that agreement were not fulfilled, and now the band owes Carlos “hundreds of thousands of dollars” because they refused “to allow Carlos to participate in any of the activities of the band"—including making a new studio album. Frey also alleges that he and his firm, Silent Partner Management, have yet to see the $160,000 that was owed in June 2012, when he was let go. (The suit also notes that "pursuant to the terms of the unanimous consent agreement, this purported termination is null and void because Carlos did not consent to it.”)
In the years since Cheap Trick’s 2010 statement on Carlos’ touring status (“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”), relations between the two camps have deteriorated. Rick Nielsen’s son, Daxx, has been the touring drummer since, and in 2012, Carlos said of his bandmates, “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 like recording new songs, but I don’t think that’s going to happen with those guys.”
Cheap Trick has yet to respond to requests for comment on the suit—which isn’t the only legal matter in which Cheap Trick is currently entangled. In July, the group sued the Ottawa Bluesfest for $1 million, in response to the frightening 2011 stage collapse that happened in the middle of its set.
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