Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Cheap Trick's Bun E. Carlos on limbo, lawyers and friendships.

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Yes, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame ultimately stands as the epitome of First World meaninglessness.

At the same time, when three of your favorite bands are to be inducted in one sweeping act of vindication, it's at least worth a brief self-congratulatory grin. I've been a fan of Deep Purple and Chicago since junior high school, and Cheap Trick came along only shortly thereafter. Their music brings me pleasure; so be it.

Each of these three bands has survived the ephemeral ups and downs of the marketplace, and remain working musical entities. For fans, it's all about the music, but more pointedly, for working musicians, it's about dollars and cents. As with any other business, workers come and go, and often their decisions have to do with money and personalities, not art.

Unsurprisingly, there is an interesting back story for each in the context of personnel. Deep Purple's Ian Paice fears fisticuffs might erupt between present and former band members if they were to share a stage.

Everyone wants to know whether Peter Cetera will reunite with Chicago, but what about original drummer Danny Seraphine, who was fired a quarter century ago, and later wrote a tell-all book about the experience?

And then there's Cheap Trick, three members of which evidently attempted to dump drummer Bun E. Carlos in 2010. After legal wranglings, Carlos remains a partner in the business operation, but is blockaded from performing live with the band. He's in a curious sort of limbo, though at least the checks are still being cut -- after the lawsuit was filed.

When he asks for financial information, does he receive it? Do they forward his snail mail? Have they blocked his e-mail?

Interesting. Very interesting. I have absolutely no idea why, although there is a certain melancholy attached to a statement like this:

"Any friendship we had went away when I had to file a federal lawsuit. That cost a bucket of fucking money. Going after these guys wasn't pleasant. The friendship sort of frittered away there."

Cheap Trick's Bun E. Carlos on Possible Rock Hall Reunion, by Andy Greene (Rolling Stone)

 ... 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.

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