Cheap Trick lawsuit

By Frank Schier
Editor & Publisher

July 22, 2013, was a sad day for Rockford’s favorite band Cheap Trick and their fans, as the band’s former “manager David Frey, Silent Partner Management, Brad Carlson aka Bun Carlos and Cheap Trick Unlimited Inc., sued Richard Nielsen, Thomas Petersson and Robin Zander in Cook County Court,” reported Courthouse News Service and

These sources state: “‘Plaintiffs Carlos and Frey are, respectively, the drummer and manager for the world-renowned rock band Cheap Trick,’ the complaint begins. ‘Plaintiffs are forced to bring this action against the three defendants (who are the other members of the band) due to 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 lawsuit claims that according to consent agreements signed by all four members of the band, ‘Carlos is no longer required to participate in live performances by the band, but remains a full member of the band, and is entitled to continue to receive all remuneration due to him under the [Cheap Trick Companies’] Agreements (including, without limitation, all remuneration that would have been paid to him had he fully performed at all of the Live Performances) without delay, penalty or offset.’”

Doing very well, Daxx Nielsen, guitarist Rick Nielsen’s son, has been playing drums for Cheap Trick since 2009, when some sources said Carlos took time off for a bad back.

This paper addressed the issue in 2011. For that article, go to

Since then, it has become apparent the separation of Carlos from the band had become very serious.

Since the separation, Carlos has had several side projects such as Tinted Windows (, his Monday Night band (regular gigs at Finnegan’s, The Adriatic and Mary’s Place, and even Anderson Gardens) and the occasional sit-in at the drums with Nielsen’s other son, Miles, and his band, Rusted Hearts. Other local groups frequently invite Carlos to join them on stage, and he does, as does Nielsen when he is out and about on the local club scene. The local musicians have a great deal of affection and admiration for Bun and the rest of the band as well.

Several sources alleged conflict between Zander and Carlos over set lists and their duration, the result of one or the other’s health and capability, depending on the favorite of the source. They alleged the control issue was paramount, even though most have always perceived Nielsen as the group’s leader and the front man.

Nielsen has had recent side gigs of his own, including a project with Ministry’s Alain Jourgensen, Buck Satan and the 666 Shooters, as well as Burpee Natural History Museum’s exhibit, “Rick’s Picks,” and his new restaurant, Piece Pizzeria & Brewery (Rockford dropped a grander version) at 1927 W. North Ave., Chicago.

The full Courthouse New Service piece can be viewed at The article solely addresses the issue as it is presented in the lawsuit, with no shown attempt to get counter quotes from Nielsen, Petersson or Zander.

This paper attempted to contact all of the band members, and Nielsen did answer his phone with an immediate, “No comment.” When informed the contact was made in an attempt to present a balanced article, Nielsen replied, “I really can’t comment.”

Carlos was unavailable at press time, but the phone number we have had a voice message that was not Carlos’ voice, possibly not his correct number.

Cheap Trick’s Tour Manager Carla Dragotti returned our call to say the band will release an official statement on the lawsuit soon.

As an editorial note, with admiration and affection for all parties involved, I hope this can be settled out of court to the satisfaction of all.

From the July 24-30, 2013, issue

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