Cheap Trick Without Bun E. Carlos? Drummer Reacts to 'Shock' Snub

Founding Member Left Off New Song, Warns Band 'Simply Can't Make a Recording Without Me'

Bun E. Carlos wasn't invited to play drums on an upcoming Cheap Trick recording for the "A Very Special Christmas" series, and though he's annoyed by this latest slight, insists he's still a member of the legendary power pop band.

"I'm a full member of Cheap Trick in all respects," he tells Billboard in an e-mail exchange. "Solely as an accommodation to some of the band members, I reluctantly agreed to take a temporary hiatus from touring."

During this hiatus, which has lasted a couple years, guitarist Rick Nielsen's son Daxx has filled in as the touring drummer.

"The other members have never seriously talked to me about my leaving the band permanently," Carlos says.

Carlos (born Brad Carlson) formed the band in 1973 with singer Robin Zander, bassist Tom Petersson and Nielsen. Their signature songs include "Surrender," "Dream Police" and "I Want You to Want Me," off the landmark 1976 live album "Cheap Trick at Budokan." The band's biggest hit came in 1988 when the ballad "The Flame" topped the Hot 100 for two weeks.

The drummer says the inclusion of a Cheap Trick song without his participation on the "A Very Special Christmas - 25 Years," which benefits the Special Olympics, came as "a real shock."

He adds, "The Special Olympics was as surprised by this as I was... they had no idea I wasn't on the record. And, I don't want them to lose an opportunity to support this great cause because of this."

"But Tom, Rick, and Robin simply can't make a recording without me and call it Cheap Trick."

It's unclear whether Carlos intends to take legal action to stop the song -- a rep confirms it's "possible" -- but he asserts he's "looking after my interests in Cheap Trick and doing my best to make sure we stand for what is great about rock 'n' roll."

Earlier this week, Carlos took to his website to thank fans for their support and included a link to donate to the Special Olympics.