The Black Keys have been keeping busy lately, though very little of that activity has to do with actual music.
Instead, the Keys — who wrapped one leg of their El Camino world tour last month — are using their downtime to fire up the legal machine, filing a pair of copyright infringement lawsuits against Pizza Hut and the Home Depot.
The suits, filed late last week, allege that two recent commercials — one touting Pizza Hut’s Cheesy Bites Pizza, the other promoting Ryobi power tools — feature music that sound a bit too much like the Keys’ hits “Gold on the Ceiling” and “Lonely Boy,” respectively. The Keys are seeking damages and an order preventing the continued use of the songs in the spots.
The suits claim that both companies received written notices that the ads misused the Black Keys’ music, and according to The Associated Press, the band is looking to make them pay, to the tune of “unspecified damages of more than $75,000 apiece.”
“The experts confirmed that this was copyright infringement,” a band spokesperson told the AP.
A spokesperson for Pizza Hut told the AP that the company had yet to actually review the suit, and a rep for Home Depot added that “respect for intellectual property rights is a matter we take very seriously.”
Of course, that’s not the only bit of Black Keys news out there. On Friday, oft-quoted drummer Patrick Carney — who in the past has taken shots at Spotify’s Sean Parker, Nickelback and Lady Gaga — was at it again, sounding off to Rolling Stone on a variety of topics, including dance music and the fact that the recently reunited Van Halen (which features Eddie Van Halen’s son, Wolfgang, on bass, in place of founding member Michael Anthony) is “f—ing retarded.”
“I have no interest in seeing bands with partial lineups. I just saw Van Halen without Michael Anthony … it was such a f—ing bummer. Like, what the f— is the point?” Carney said. “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— is that? … 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 a–holes, right?”
He also added that on a majority of recent festival dates, the Keys have witnessed first-hand the ascent of electronic dance music, and it mystifies him, to say the least.
“I don’t understand it. I think when you’re trying to sell a hundred thousand tickets, you have to have a diverse crowd,” he said. “I think you have to kind of hedge your bets and make sure there’s stuff for people who listen to that music. I don’t know who listens to that kind of music, instrumental versions of LMFAO or whatever.”
Oh, and Carney added that the Keys will return to the studio in July to begin work on the follow-up to El Camino, with the hopes of having the album out next year. So, yeah, there’s a lot going on right now — even if there really isn’t.