Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about Cheap Trick drummer Bun E. Carlos. He’s one of the first drummers I remember reading about in Modern Drummer and I’ve always respected the music of Cheap Trick when I hear it on the radio. Bun E Carlos is an amazing traditional rock drummer and unfortunately he’s often left off the list of the genre’s best. In case you’re not familiar with Carlos, his style is heart pounding. He is left-handed and plays a right-handed drum kit. He is also ambidextrous. He also has mastered the art of smoking while playing as he’s usually puffing on a butt as he’s splintering his drum set.
Things have not always been perfect in the Cheap Trick camp. On March 19, 2010, the band issued a statement that Carlos had stopped touring with Cheap Trick but that he still remained a band member. Cheap Trick guitarist Rick Nielsen’s son Daxx was named in the statement as the touring drummer. In 2013, Carlos filed a lawsuit against his former Cheap Trick bandmates. On February 26, 2015, Cheap Trick announced that the lawsuit was over. According to Carlos he still has a 25% stake in the band. He also appeared with Cheap Trick on April 4, 2016 as the band was inducted into The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Carlos has founded several other bands to include The Bun E. Carlos Experience, the Monday Night Band and Tinted Windows. In 2004 he released Bun E. in a Box, a drum sample CD. He also has one of the most impressive collections of Ludwig drums in the business. Carlos did a clinic presenting the history of some of the most influential drum licks in the history of Rock and Roll: