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Cheap Trick drummer Bun E. Carlos says not to fear, that he remains a “full member” of the legendary power pop group. “I'm a full member of Cheap Trick in all respects," he told Billboard, in an email exchange. "Solely as an accommodation to some of the band members, I reluctantly agreed to take a temporary hiatus from touring."

Speculation that Carlos might no longer be part of Cheap Trick reached a peak recently when word came that he wasn’t invited to play on the band’s contribution to a forthcoming A Very Special Christmas album. Carlos admits that the snub came as a shock. “The Special Olympics was as surprised as I was,” he said. “They had no idea I wasn't on the record.”

For the past two years, guitarist Rick Nielsen’s son, Daxx, has been filling in as Cheap Trick’s touring drummer. Still, Carlos says his bandmates “have never seriously talked [with him] about leaving permanently.” “Tom, Rick and Robin simply can’t make a recording without me and call it Cheap Trick,” he said.

(Russell Hall,

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