Ex-Cheap Trick Drummer Sued Over Director Removal

Three members of the rock band Cheap Trick, which has a string of hits stretching back to the 1970s, sued the group’s ex-drummer, claiming he was properly ousted as a director of corporations overseeing the band’s tours and merchandising.

Band members Richard Nielsen, Thomas Peterson and Robin Zander contend in the Delaware Chancery Court lawsuit that former drummer Brad Carlson was ousted from the group when he stopped touring with the band and that left him subject to removal as a corporate director without a unanimous shareholder vote.

“Since March 2010, Carlson has not performed with the band as a touring musician,” the group said in the suit, filed Aug. 31 in state court in Wilmington, Delaware. “The plaintiffs were (and are) free to decide that the defendant is no longer a member of the band.”

The Delaware suit comes more than a month after Carlson, whose stage name is Bun E. Carlos, sued his former musical colleagues in federal court in Chicago over his ouster. Carlson and David Frey, the group’s former manager, contend Cheap Trick’s current members owe them hundreds of thousands of dollars in compensation under various agreements.

Christine Lepera, a lawyer representing Carlson in the Delaware case, didn’t immediately return a call for comment today on the suit.

‘Prompt Resolution’

Cheap Trick, formed in Rockford, Illinois, released its first album in 1977 and had a string of hits over the years including “I Want You To Want Me,” “Dream Police” and “Surrender.” Zander is the group’s lead vocalist, Nielsen its lead guitarist and Peterson plays bass guitar, according to the suit.

The band originally set up corporations to oversee revenues generated by tours and sales of Cheap Trick merchandise that gave each member an equal stake and equal voting power. Last month, the current band members changed the corporations’ bylaws to oust Carlson as a director.

Lawyers for the current band members said they sued in Delaware to get a quick resolution of the question of whether Carlson was properly removed as a corporate director.

“While the dispute at issue in the Illinois Federal Action overlaps with the dispute at issue in this action, a prompt resolution of the corporate governance dispute is needed and the Illinois Federal Court is not in a position to provide that expedited relief,” the band’s attorneys said.

The case is Richard Nielsen v. Brad Carlson, CA No. 8855, Delaware Chancery Court (Wilmington).

To contact the reporter on this story: Jef Feeley in Wilmington, Delaware, at jfeeley@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Hytha at mhytha@bloomberg.net

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