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Robin Zander Says Spilled Beer Helped Revive Cheap Trick, Discusses Bun E. Carlos Lawsuit

Robin Zander
Mike Coppola / Jacqueline Romano, Getty Images

Sharing a round of drinks can often create the bonds of friendships needed to form a band (or, for that matter, lead to the arguments that break them up). But what about when a drink winds up in someone’s less-than-luxurious lap? According to Robin Zander, a spilled beer helped revive Cheap Trick‘s fortunes.

Zander’s magnetism was on full display during a recent Eddie Trunk podcast, where the singer discussed the difficult times the band faced shortly after the breakthrough success of 1979’s Cheap Trick at Budokan. “We went through some real trauma,” he recalled. “We almost broke up as a band in the early ’80s, because Tom [Petersson] had left the band. We weren’t writing; we were kind of in limbo.”

Petersson left Cheap Trick following the release of 1980’s All Shook Up. The band replaced him, first with Pete Comita and then with John Brant, on a series of albums that failed to replicate the group’s previous successes. But it was a chance meeting that led to the accident that brought Petersson back.

“It was at a birthday party for Julian Lennon in New York City here,” Zander remembered. “And we were invited, so Rick [Nielsen] and I went. We were sitting at a table. Tom came in with a pitcher of beer and tripped and spilled the beer in Rick’s lap. And then, from that point on, we had Tom in the band again.”

Their next album, 1988’s Lap of Luxury, featured the smash hits “The Flame” and a cover of Elvis Presley‘s “Don’t Be Cruel.” And while Petersson has been back ever since, the same can’t be said for original drummer Bun E. Carlos, who was replaced in 2010 by Nielsen’s son Daxx. Zander revealed that the legal issues between Carlos and Cheap Trick are in the past.

“We’ve settled our differences,” Zander continued. “Bun E.’s a member of the band, but he’s not touring and he’s not recording. … We’ve had our differences, but we’re all settled up now and hopefully we can forget about that era. These decisions that Cheap Trick makes, Bun E. is part of.”

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