Cheap Trick's Bun E. Carlos

Ladies and gentleman ... Mr. Bun E. Carlos! Cheap Trick has released a new greatest hits CD, titled — quite appropriately — Authorized Greatest Hits (Epic/Legacy). This Cheap Trick greatest hits album is not to be confused with the band's other greatest hits album. Released in 1991 by Epic, that one was titled Greatest Hits. The first greatest hits CD was a surprise to the band, as Epic put it together without telling the boys — then, as always, including coiffed singer Robin Zander, glamour guitarist Rick Nielsen, bizarre bassist Tom Petersson and skin thumper Bun E. Carlos.
But whatever, the band — formed in Rockford, Ill., in 1975 — is still rocking on. They're touring their Authorized release and filling venues with fan favorites such as "Surrender," "I Want You to Want Me" and "She's Tight." Carlos, who still lives in Rockford, spoke recently about the band's past, present and Super Bowl plans.
CL: Why did you title this record Authorized?
Bun E. Carlos: The last one, the record company just threw it together and put it out telling us about one week before it came out.
That pissed you off?
Nah, that's the usual for Sony. You know. They treat all their bands like shit.
And this gives everyone the chance to review your careers. It's been a long time since you recorded Cheap Trick at Budokan. How old are you?
I'm 49. Back then, we were the young guys and new faces, and now we're the old guys and the old faces. We never thought we'd end up doing this at this point.
Really? Man, I used to listen to you guys when I was in sixth, seventh grade. I guess I'm getting up there too.
Is there a favorite song you have on this album?
I like the rockin' stuff.
Mine's "Surrender." I bet you get that a lot, though.
Oh yeah, well, it's a good song. It's a well-written song and it's still a lot of fun to play.
Do you get sick of playing that in concert?
No, not really, because every time we play it, people perk up and clap and yell, so it's instant gratification. It's the same with a bunch of those old songs.
One of the cool moments on Cheap Trick at Budokan was when they introduce you and they say, "On the drums ... Mr. Bun E. Carlos!" and you go into the drum solo, you know? Do you still do that? Is that still cool?
Oh yeah. Budokan, there's a lot of goofy memories on there. In Japan, they don't have a concept of a middle initial. So between songs the fans are screaming "Bune!" They thought my name was Bune. It's goofy stuff like that. We go back there all the time. We're going back there in March.
You're also going to the Super Bowl in Tampa this month. You going to the game?
Nah. Just going to play some tailgate party or something. Plus, someone else offered me a gig to DJ something down there, so I might do that, too.
You DJ often?
Once in a blue moon, you know. It's like free money. You just stand there and play some stuff. I mean, I don't like techno or drums 'n' bass or anything. Just stuff from our era. We were supposed to do an Atlanta show for the Super Bowl last year, but we got iced out. We came down to do that thing in Bucktown [sic] and by 10 it was canceled. It's an adventure with weather down there.
You're coming to Atlanta. Is there anything you like or don't like about this town?
It's a fun town. It's the center of civilization for hundreds of miles around. So every person that doesn't fit in anywhere else shows up, or every guy that's really going for it or whatever. So it's a really fun, happenin' town.
So, you're amazed the band's still together. How long do you think it will last? Are you going for the Rolling Stones here?
It's just what we do best. As long as we can do it physically, we'll continue to do it.
Cheap Trick play the Roxy Tues., Jan 23, at 8 p.m. Tickets are $21, available through Ticketmaster.