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The Black Keys may be a two-man band, but they aren’t going to back down from a fight. Not even if it’s against a major corporation – or two. The rock band is suing the large-scale fast food pizza chain Pizza Hut and major home repair and design store Home Depot. Both lawsuits are for allegedly using large portions of songs from the Black Keys’ newest album, El Camino, in television commercials for the store chains without permission.
The band’s frontman Dan Auerbach and drummer Patrick Carney teamed up with their producer, Danger Mouse, to file the lawsuits last weekend in Los Angeles. They are claiming that Pizza Hut used “significant portions” of the band’s single “Gold on the Ceiling” in a commercial for their Cheesy Bites Pizza. Home Depot is being accused of using portions of another single, called “Lonely Boy,” in a commercial for power tools.
Auberbach and Carney say they sent letters to both companies last month asking them to stop airing the offending commercials, but when the companies failed to comply, the band felt they needed to move forward with legal action. The documents submitted by the Black Keys’ lawyers refer to the use of the songs as “a brazen and improper effort to capitalize on [the] plaintiffs' hard-earned success.”
El Camino is the Black Keys’ seventh studio album and was released in December. According to their complaint, it has sold approximately 800,000 copies thus far. Their first album, The Big Come Up, was recorded in Carney’s basement and released in 2002. One of their most popular singles, titled “Tighten Up,” came out on the 2010 album Brothers and won three Grammy Awards.
The most recent album peaked at number two and has established the band in the mainstream music wave. The band has not lost its small-band mentality, however, and they do not hold back on their thoughts. At all.
For a recent example, in an interview with Rolling Stone raised some eyebrows when Carney spoke quite candidly about Van Halen. When asked which bands he planned to check out at Lollapalooza, Carney went off, stating, “I have no interest in seeing bands with partial lineups. I just saw Van Halen without Michael Anthony. I'm not a very big Van Halen fan but it was such a f---ing bummer. Like what the f--k is the point?” He continued, saying, “I mean, sure, Eddie Van Halen's son is a pretty good bass player and he's a 20-year-old kid and that's cool, but like, what the f--k is that? That's f---ing retarded. If someone is able to be in a band for 30 years and then people are okay with replacing him with a 17-year-old, they're obviously motherf---ing assholes, right?”
Carney has also happily trash talked the band Nickelback in various interviews, and called Napster creator Sean Parker an a-hole.
At least people know where they stand with the Black Keys. And despite what it may seem like, they don’t hate everyone. They recently invited actor Johnny Depp to jam with them, playing rhythm guitar on two songs (the same two songs involved in the current lawsuits) at this year’s MTV Movie Awards.
Best of luck in the lawsuit boys!