The Black Keys are notoriously blunt when it comes to expressing their feelings, the most famous example being their backhand slap to Nickelback earlier this year, calling the popular Canadian rockers “watered-down, post-grunge crap” during an interview with Rolling Stone. Black Keys drummer Patrick Carney attempted to apologize for the crack a couple of months later, but only compounded the situation.
“I didn’t mean to single them out,” Carney told MTV Canada about the Nickelback slam. “It just came out… There’s much worse bands than Nickelback, maybe. That was the worst apology,” adding, “I don’t like bad music, but look, I’ve got a lot of friends and not one of them has a Nickelback record. I’m not a small minority.”
Maybe it’s karma coming around to bite the Black Keys in the butt, but now it’s major corporations Pizza Hut and Home Depot being accused of the ultimate dis – using blatant “soundalike” versions of popular Black Keys songs to soundtrack TV commercials. Not only do the spots allegedly pimp the Black Keys’ sound to make Pizza Hut and Home Depot seem cooler to a certain demographic, but now that the band has struck back with a pair of copyright infringement lawsuits, both companies have added insult to injury by denying all charges, essentially telling the Black Keys to go kick rocks.
According to the Associated Press, the Black Keys filed a suit against the Home Depot Inc. for plagiarizing the song “Lonely Boy,” while a separate suit levied against Pizza Hut takes the company to task for lifting parts of “Gold on the Ceiling.” Both songs reached No. 1 on the U.S. Alternative Rock chart.
In documents filed by each of the accused companies, the judge has been asked to have their legal fees paid by the Black Keys if they’re victorious in court. Danger Mouse, co-producer on the band’s El Camino album where the songs originally appear, is also suing both companies. Each suit seeks more than $75,000 apiece for the copyright infringement, as well as a cease and desist order for Pizza Hut and Home Depot to stop using the songs.
The Black Keys have a much more harmonious relationship with the makers of the Rock Band video game, allowing the songs “Tighten Up,” “Howlin’ For You” and Lonely Boy” to be added to Rock Band 3 and Rock Band Blitz starting August 21.
–Scott T. Sterling, CBS Local