Born Brad M. Carlson on June 12th of 1950 in Rockford, Illinois (home of the Skatin’ Bacon and Beef-A-Roo), Bun E. Carlos provided the backbone and backbeat of one of the most unlikely rock and roll mega-success stories of their era, or any era, Cheap Trick.
With their self-titled debut in 1977, Cheap Trick introduced an incredibly simple yet somehow revolutionary concept to the music world- turning up the distortion and power chords on Beatles and Beach Boys caliber bubble gum pop. Add that to having a the guitar virtuoso in Rick Nielsen and the lothario singer Robin Zander out in front of the proceedings, Cheap Trick ripped off a string of unbelievably fun and influential albums in the late 70s, whose sound can still be heard reverberating in the power pop and pop punk of today, all with Carlos manning his Ludwig kit.
And though in those years Carlos primarily wore a bushy mustache along with his trademark glasses, short-sleeved shirt and tie (long before Sipowicz made it cool), but as the band matured, so did Carlos’ facial hair, growing into the full beard seen above.
And if there’s a lesson to be learned from the story of Cheap Trick, it’s that sometimes the simplest of concepts, whether it’s power chords to pop melodies or not flying the zone early on a breakout, can sometimes yield spectacular results with the right talent involved.