Saturday, March 27, 2010

On The Drums, Mr. Bun E Carlos

Quick question:
Can you imagine Cheap Trick without Bun E Carlos?
Of course you can’t. He is an intricate part of the band, not only in terms of the way be plays, but he is ingrained into the vision of the band.
Bun E Carlos is like Kramer in that episode of Seinfeld where he appears in court as a favor for Newman, voicing his (fake) dreams of wanting to be a banker. Carlos never ended up as a banker. He never blurted out “Yo Yo Ma!” under oath. And he never changed out of his banker clothes before walking on stage with the rest of Cheap Trick.
So how did an announcement that Bun E Carlos would not be a touring member of Cheap Trick slip under the radar and only get a brief explanation on their official website?
That’s sacrilegious!
And suspicious. I saw him on the 101 playing the skins for a band featuring James Iha on guitar, one of the Hanson kids on guitar vocals, and some other dude who I later learned is part of Fountains of Wayne. The band is called Tinted Windows, and they obviously toured the country, eliminating the idea that Carlos simply didn’t want to tour any more.
Maybe he’s sick?
Well, their website suggests that everyone in the band is “healthy.”
Cheap Trick got away with replacing the dreamy Tom Petersson on bass with John Brandt back in the early 80’s. That was a little tricky, as Petersson not only had the looks; he had those wild-ass 8 and 12 string bass guitars that sounded weird.
Brandt may have been passable, but I’m still glad that I saw the band when Petersson was still with ‘em (he’s since rejoined).
But Bun E?
You almost have to end the band when he calls it a day. Or change the name.
On In Color, you saw the two lookers mounting their motorcycles on the cover. Flip it over, you saw the two nerdy guys mounting Vespa scooters.
You’re not going to get me to believe that some dude with a full set of hair and who’s under the age of 50 is the drummer of Cheap Trick.
No way.
Two strange things about Bun E Carlos:
The first is how he actually looks his age now. When I saw him back in ’81, he was thirty but he looked like he was fifty. Now that he’s approaching 60, he actually looks like he’s in his fifties.
Another thing: he used to smoke like a fiend. The show that I saw had him playing and smoking at the same time. To me, that was more impressive than his playing (more on that later). He had a pair of fans right by his kit which kept him cool and kept the smoke out of his eyes. On later tours, I heard that the fans were replaced with actual working air conditioners. No shit: even when the gig was outdoors, they ran extension cords to fuel the window units.
A drummer friend of mine used to lament how a man as unflashy as Bun E Carlos would warrant any press whatsoever. He didn’t understand that Cheap Trick didn’t need flash-it was already built into those hooks-and that Carlos keeps time like a motherfucker. Could you hear “Voices” or “I Want You To Want Me” or even that piece of shit “The Flame” drummed any other way than how Bun E Carlos played it?
With someone so vital an element to a band’s image, the news of this should have been bigger story than it seems to be.
In other news according to a recent Billboard article (one that mentions nothing about the Carlos news), Cheap Trick is contemplating doing Dream Police in its entirety in a live setting (yay!), is about ready to release that much booted Steve Albini recording of In Color (which is way better than the original version, IMO), and that Bun E. Carlos has the biggest cock in the band.
Ok, that last part was made up.

9 comments:

DJMurphy said...

The Velvet Rope has Bunny with a bad back. If that's the case, it's akin to an excused absence. He'll probably record with them, just not tour.

Sure it's a shame, but it happens to a lot of us. Now, if he continues to tour with non-Cheap Trick aggregations like Tinted Windows, then I know the jig is up, and there's some shit going down.

Diana said...

Bun is not only an awesome drummer, he fits into CT so well. Together, the band members have a magical chemistry.

If Bun is ill, I hope he does what he needs to do, for his health. I'll always be gratefull for the music.

I hope this is not a band disagreement, or side project. CT has built something incredible and it should be treasured, not wasted.

Daxx is a great drummer.

I don't think CT handled the announcement well. Many fans have cared about this band a long time. A little more info would have made the news easier to take. They don't have to go into private details, just things that relate to the music. CT gets the music right and that is most important. This must be a hard time for CT. I wish them all the best.

Anneke said...

Bun E. is a legend. We all know that. I respect him as much as the writer does,........but if we are being told he is healthy AND remains a member of CT, we should respect that statement as is! Let's not freak out, lets not speculate.

I saw Daxx play with them 3 times last week. He has big shoes to fill, but guess what???....the guys were having as much fun as ever, us fans were having as much fun as ever.

Can we just leave it at that for now?

Diana said...

CT's statement did not give a to speculate, fine. People are different. If people are speculating, there is nothing wrong with that and it does not mean they reason why Bun is off tour. That will leave people to speculate. If CT did not want people to speculate, they should have given a reason why Bun is off tour. If some don't want are freaking out.

I respect CT but, can't respect that statement. The statement was bad PR, imo.

We may have been told Bun is healthy but, a recent article said he was ill. From what I read and heard about Bun's condition, he may not be well. I don't think it's a good idea to blindly believe everything CT says because, they are human beings. It's not a good idea to trust humans 100%.

Daxx is a great drummer but, not everyone was having as much fun as ever, with Daxx on drums. If people like Daxx as much as Bun, that is fantastic. Again, not everyone thinks and feels the same.

This is big news. It was presented poorly and that did not help. If people are talking about it, I can understand why.

Diana said...

CT's statement did not give a to speculate, fine. People are different. If people are speculating, there is nothing wrong with that and it does not mean they reason why Bun is off tour. That will leave people to speculate. If CT did not want people to speculate, they should have given a reason why Bun is off tour. If some don't want are freaking out.

I respect CT but, can't respect that statement. The statement was bad PR, imo.

We may have been told Bun is healthy but, a recent article said he was ill. From what I read and heard about Bun's condition, he may not be well. I don't think it's a good idea to blindly believe everything CT says because, they are human beings. It's not a good idea to trust humans 100%.

Daxx is a great drummer but, not everyone was having as much fun as ever, with Daxx on drums. If people like Daxx as much as Bun, that is fantastic. Again, not everyone thinks and feels the same.

This is big news. It was presented poorly and that did not help. If people are talking about it, I can understand why.

Diana said...

CT's statement did not give a reason why Bun is of tour. That will leave people to speculate. If CT did not want people to speculate, they should have given a reason, why Bun is off tour. If some don't want to speculate, fine. People are different. If people are speculating, there is nothing wrong with that and it does not mean they are freaking out.

I respect CT but, can't respect that statement. The statement was bad PR, imo.

We may have been told Bun is healthy but, a recent article said he was ill. From what I read and heard about Bun's condition, he may not be well. I don't think it's a good idea to blindly believe everything CT says because, they are human beings. It's not a good idea to trust humans 100%.

Daxx is a great drummer but, not everyone was having as much fun as ever, with Daxx on drums. If people like Daxx as much as Bun, that is fantastic. Again, not everyone thinks and feels the same.

This is big news. It was presented poorly and that did not help. If people are talking about it, I can understand why.

Diana said...

First paragraph I wrote came out scrambled. It should have said:

CT's statement did not give a reason, why Bun is off tour. If CT did not want people speculating, they should have given a reason. People are different. If people don't want to speculate, fine. If people are speculating, there is nothing wrong with that and it does not mean they are freaking out.

Anonymous said...

I just hope that Bun is doing well and that he and Ric are still good friends. Doing Austin City Limits without Bun is pretty weird. I'm sure Dax is a good drummer, after all, Bun taught him how to play. Cheap Trick is not Cheap Trick without him. Just like The Who are not the Who without Entwistle and Moony. Who da King?

D Cooper

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