By at 5:26 PM Friday, August 2nd 2013


Jack White Calls The Black Keys’ Dan Auerbach an ‘Asshole’ Copycat

Jack White, The Black Keys, Music


Jack WhiteEver since The White Stripes hit the mainstream, it became difficult for any band with a similar structure to make it big while avoiding claims of being ripoffs. One such act was The Black Keys, who took a somewhat similar approach to blues and rock music, with only a drummer and a guitarist/singer. Of course, anyone who’s actually paid much attention to either group would quickly realize that they were going in different directions, and that, most importantly, playing the blues is kind of an old deal by now.

Well, Jack White seems to disagree rather strongly about that.

blackkeys-tulsa-7While Mr. White is currently going through some lawsuit turmoil that we won’t even go into detail here, TMZ found some court papers that are actually kind of interesting. In the document, White gives his reasons for not wanting his kids to go to the same Nashville school as those of The Black Keys’ frontman Dan Auerbach. He states:

“My concern with Auerbach is because I don’t want the kids involved in any of that crap. You aren’t thinking ahead. That’s a possible twelve fucking years I’m going to have to be sitting in kids chairs next to that asshole with other people trying to lump us in together. He gets yet another free reign to follow me around and copy me and push himself into my world.”

Now, we won’t get into the whole “asshole” part, but it seems a bit odd to see him claiming that Auerbach actually copied the Stripes. First, there’s the obvious argument that neither The White Stripes nor The Black Keys were particularly original at the way they played rock music, with plenty of shared influences between both acts, though the latter probably had to be careful to never cover a blues classic that the other did before. And then there’s the two-piece format, which started before either band anyway:


Meanwhile, On The Internet...

  1. Windowlicker says:

    I agree with Mr. White on this one. Whenever the Black Keys come on I can hear it right away. Its not a stylistic thing (regarding both the groups blues based orientation) as much as it is about the TONE! That high output octave pedaled lead line is distinctly A JACK WHITE THING and is totally untouchable, yet Auerbach uses it shamelessly. The two piece thing is no big deal against that distinct sound.

  2. Fatmont says:

    I get it. The timing to me has always been suspicious. The Stripes hit and then all of a sudden another blues/rock 2-piece emerges from the midwest. (Think they might have added a bass player if the Stripes weren’t blowing up at that time?) Jack White moves to Nashville and then all of a sudden so does Dan Auerbach. If they don’t want the comparison than why does he follow Whites every move. Plus, their newer stuff is just a blatant commercial money grab. The Stripes didn’t ever go mainstream…the mainstream came to them….not the case with The Black Keys.

  3. Eric says:

    Jack White has mentioned the Flat Duo Jets as an influence. His mention is specifically what put me onto them. I don’t see the Black Keys returning the favor.

  4. wg says:

    Jack White is a petty self-centered little shit. Zorro on donuts as Noel Gallagher once said. His guitar playing is shrill and sloppy, his voice is a screetching mess. Only 2 out of 6 White Stripes records were listenable, each one getting progressively worse. The solo album, Raconteurs albums, and Loretta Lynn albums were good, but only ’cause other better musicians were involved. This Willy Wonka wannabe is total style over substance.

    By contrast Dan Aurbach has done 7 solid albums with the Black Keys, each better than the last (except for El Camino, which was too pop), and building off the last. The Junior Kimbrough cover album was great, the solo album was great, Blakroc was good, and the Dr. John and Bombino albums he produced were great. His guitar playing is beyond solid, and his singing is good too. Go back before the Black Keys and hear Auerbach fronting the Barnburners. He was a fully formed blues-rock powerhouse already.

    Some people don’t need circus costumes and ridiculous retro-schtick to build a great music career and put out great albums.

    • Unhappy White Stripes fan. says:

      screw you man. Jack can be a dick, but hey, so was Jagger, Kurt Cobain and Johnny Ramone. You gotta admit he had musical talent.

      Also Willy Wonka Wanted to be HIM.

    • OmanOman says:

      I agree with WG 90% Jack White has taken a pretty good historically-informed musical hipster sensibility and turned it into a brand. Now he’s pissed because someone else resembles his brand? What a phony commercial egomaniac. “This Willy Wonka wannabe is total style over substance.” Right-on wg.

    • Esol Esek says:

      Noel Gallagher is one of two brothers that constituted the END of great British music. I wouldn’t go to either one of these for anything, except they do admire great UK that were much better than them, like the Smiths and Roxy Music.

      Jack White attempted a blues rock revival that had its moments, but his reach in a stupid country raised on rap and toddler pop is limited. Besides I’ve yet to hear him do any music that matches even the blues greats of the 80s, let alone the 70s and before.

      Black Keys are just another terrible faux folk band with the worst drummer I’ve seen anyone take on a national stage. When the garage recordings of the blues tire, we go to the uptempo bad acoustic yacht rock. Once that tires, we go to he mumbled bad slow pseudo-disco (with bad drumming). Auerbach has a nice collection of guitars. I’ll give him that, but his attitude probably comes from people telling him how much his bands sucks daily.

      It’s not an accident bands that don’t say anything of importance are popular these days. Perfect for Clear CHannel sitting on any youth revolt, which I’m sure the under 20s will muster, even if their pathetic older siblings can’t.

  5. Joe says:

    Wg nailed it

  6. Eric says:

    If Jack White was smart, he’d be quiet and pay no attention to the Black Keys.
    Nothing says you’re better than not worrying about what anyone else is doing in the music world.
    He comes off sounding like a whiny little bitch. Be the better man.
    I never chugged the White Stripes/Jack White Kool Aid, but I always suspected he was one of the egotistical ‘I take my work too serious’ types.
    Jack White didn’t create the blues. He just plays it.
    Looks like Willy Wonka if he was a vampire.
    And besides, Reignwolf takes a nice big shit on Jack White.
    Jack will start whining about him next!

  7. SSSsss says:

    The Flat Duo Jets argument is a tired comparison. “Most” Blues artists were always a voice and guitar throughout history, these bands just added a drummer. Who cares. Solo, Duo, Full Band. It’s still all Rock n Roll.

    Until you know the real story behind the Dan and Jack rift (which has been ongoing for a few years), I would recommend keeping the gossip to a minimum. You can’t deny that Jack and Meg resurfaced the road for lots of bands in the past decade+. Jack has earned his spot. Hard work. Songwriting. Created a style. Opened peoples eyes to old artists. Yadda-Yadda-Yadda.

    Shame on TMZ and the lawyers for leaking these emails. This is his personal shit.

    ++ and to the commenter “wg” above: You call Jack a “self-centered little shit” – do you know him personally? or do you feel like its cool to spew your self-centered comment on this website? dipshit

  8. That's It says:

    I wonder if the public began to get hints about the Jack vibe once he began to answer questions about Meg’s departure from the White Stripes. There was a noticeable shift when he began to be publicly critical of Meg, and I can understand his frustration that such a great unit would have to come to an end; no doubt that would be difficult to process for any normal human. But he took to criticizing her publicly, and that was probably the beginning of the sheen coming off of the Jack White image.

    Jack and Dan are both cranking out musics at incredible rates with their respective outfits/collaborations. For that, the listening world is only the better. If they actually value, as two individual men, to attack each other and remark on the merits of one another’s musics, they are entitled to do so. It seems really ridiculous to engage in such behaviour, there are enough fans for everyone, after all.

    Jack is entitled to become unhinged in a break-up. We all have gone through the turbulence of broken love, and there wasn’t much indication about what Karen has tried to pull on her end of things (I can imagine she is trying to come off as pristine through this whole mess). Just as well, I have no interest in his e-mails (he should at least revise them for “i before e except after c”). Let the two of them sort this out, even if it does take lawyering-up. John Lennon, according to Julian, was the complete opposite of how he comes across through the ‘Imagine’ lens, in the way he treated Julian and Julian’s mom. Everyone is capable of getting crazy.

    Ah….fueds between bands. Nothing new. I delighted in that when I lived in Chicago. There was always a good laugh one could get from the little, petty fueding. Much of it was not too far off from the American high school experience.

    We lost JJ Cale last month. He played guitar and avoided the public, left us with a massive songbook. Everyone goes about it differently, I guess. We can all live however we choose.

    I hope this whole divorce mess doesn’t distract Jack White and Third Man from continuing to promote the new Pokey LaFarge album ‘Central Time’. That fella’s doing some neat things with his outfit.

  9. José Pepe says:

    Oh yeah, ’cause Jack invented the blues and garage rock, right. You know, this reminds me a lot of the part in Keith Richard’s memoirs when he writes that he’s more than happy for all the times he met one of his idols, except for Chuck Berry, one of his biggest influences, just because he admire him so much and then he met a complete asshole. You can read that one yourself. I feel Jack White makes amazing music, but I’m almost certain that he’s one of those complete assholes you’d rather not meet, being a fan and a human being.

  10. Mike Mattner says:

    My son loves Jack White. Met him last year in Nashville. Jack refused to spend 5 seconds to take a picture with him. No one else was around. Not cool.

  11. me says:

    The northern ohio are is filled with some of the biggest posers in the world and I can see it every time I look in the eyes of the black keys guys.

    • Ohio Me says:

      It’s interesting how you make a judgement about an entire geographic region. Honestly, White seems like a total asshole who is too caught up in trying to be authentic that it has made him one of the most cynical people in the music biz. From everything that I have heard, Dan seems like a really nice guy. When you hear “the black keys talk shit about…” thats always Pat, who kinda seems like a douche.

      In conclusion, just because you find one or two guys from northern Ohio that you think are posers, you still can’t make a conclusion about everyone who lives there. Doucebag.

  12. Kevin Cogill says:

    i love jack white, but he’s got no real right to call anyone a copycat. and everyone comparing the black keys to the white stripes seems to forget that when the white stripes came out, everyone was comparing them to the strokes. and a dozen other bands they sounded like.
    he doesn’t own a trademark on white people playing the blues on shitty guitars.

  13. Kls says:

    I have a feeling that these comments allude to something much more than “your band ripped off my sound”. I’ll bet there has been personal business interactions that we the public know nothing about. Remember that this comment was supposed to be a private conversation that referred to a previous discussion. Just assuming that Jack heard the Black Keys & thought “oh, they’re trying to be me” is rather myopic to the idea that all disputes are always on display to the public.

  14. wg says:

    funny, I’ve heard jack white compared to kurt cobain. like he’s the successor to the whole tortured, misunderstood white-boy musical genius crown. i idolized cobain as a young teen, like many idolize white today. the more I read about cobain and watched/read his interviews (like the film “about a son”) though, the more I realized he was a complete egomaniacle, rancorous, douchebag that treated people like shit (he also had beef with pearl jam, the other big band working in “his” genre. sound familiar?) . funny that he and jack white seem to have these qualities in common.

    • wessco says:

      to be fair to Cobain though, from what i read in his biography (heavier than heaven) it seemed to me he had a troubled upbringing and also was a bit strange in the head. jack just seems like a dick. Dan is pretty normal, its just Pat gets in all the arguments making them both look bad.

    • Esol Esek says:

      I’m glad that you discovered by aging, that you knew Kurt Cobain’s character personally without ever knowing him. Congratulations on learning zero as you aged. Cobain wouldn’t have gotten anywhere in life if he had just been a guy who sat on his hands. WHat bummed him out was he discovered was that instead of relating to more cool people as he got famous, he had to relate to more scummy, aggressive jerks, and then the myriads of morons, prob like you, that thought they knew him.

      Lots of people are aholes in their 20s, and they pay a price, then they discover they have to regulate or they get rich and famous and totl nutcases like presidents, CEOs, and joke bands like the Black Keys.

  15. mikoras says:

    Most of the comments on this board are fairly stupid. Jack White is a bad ass. End of story. I have not ever had the desire to listen to the Black Keys. I remember when I saw Kings of Leon at Coachella. They were the “next big thing”. They sucked! They still suck! They will always suck! Anyone that thinks differently sucks as well. Black Keys? Suck.

    Good day,


  16. Joe_Easy says:

    @Windowlicker “That high output octave pedaled lead line is distinctly A JACK WHITE THING and is totally untouchable”…never heard of Jimi Hendrix then?

  17. Jacksbitch says:

    And in other shocking news Jack White found to invent the blues and the dynamic of guitar drum combo. Stfu you stupid twat, Jack.

  18. Its About Time says:

    The Black Keys are the biggest douche bags since Nickelback, glad people are starting to realize that!

  19. No one will fight me if I say that Jack is a total asshole. Because he is.

    I don’t think Dan is an asshole as he is portrayed here. Its always the drummer that makes the band look like a pair of douches.

    Also, The Black Keys started before the White Stripes even got famous, so i honestly don’t know why people make such a big deal out of this. And anyways, I can hear way more of real bluesmen in Aurebach’s playing than i can hear in White’s. And I for one can not hear much similarity at all between Jack and Dan’s playing styles. Jack is more out of control and WAY WAY fuzzier; and Dan’s is more of a modern take on classic blues players, with less fuzz, but a lot of grit (which i think is more tasteful). So, maybe I’m just blind, but I can’t see how the Keys ripped off the Stripes.

    • falcon dave says:

      surely you jest. I used to sit behind those fudge packers at Firestone HS and they’d be listening to ‘Fell In Love With a Girl’ off the White Blood Cells CD about 20 times in a row at Study Hall.

      Their entire band was formulated based on copying the White Stripes.

  20. stripes fan says:

    I saw Jack White taking a shit in a urinal at the airport one time years ago. Seriously, news paper and all. Just sitting there, shitting. He is rather tall and very odd. That’s a total dick move though. Someone had to clean that shit up, literally.

  21. Everyone who has nothing going on in thier career always cries someone stealing my style. Its jealously to be honest the black keys are 1000 times more talented then that jack white dude. What so anyone that has a 2 man rock grouo is a knockoff thats crazy

    • black anus is more like it says:

      bwahahahahaha, the Black Keys suck!!! The only thing that sucks worse than those homos are their fans!!

  22. Rome says:

    Wow I feel like there are a lot of people speaking out there asses here. There both good bands with completely different flavors of the same milkshake. Leave all the personal bullshit out of it and enjoy the music while its still around. Ten years from now when all you hear on the radio is shitty electro and indie bands your gonna miss the days when people were still making rock n roll.

  23. Jack White needs to get over himself. The Black Keys sound NOTHiNG like him. I think he’s jealous as hell that Dan and Pat are doing good and are MORE popular than he is.

  24. Black Keys are ripoffs. says:

    The Black Keys are probably the worst band in the history of music. Seriously, thank the heavens they barely play that crap on the radio anymore and Im in Ohio!

  25. Honestly.. says:

    Jack White is a great artist. He did help bring blues and garage rock back to the radio. I’ve followed his music from White Stripes to Dead Weather and so on. But even I know he’s all ego. He criticizes anyone who doesn’t follow in his footsteps. The Black Keys I have nothing but respect for. They played music and gigs for 10 years and didn’t start getting fame until afterwards. They never quit. Anyone who hates on “El Camino” or their recent albums, stop what you are doing and listen to their very first couple of records. The songs Hard Row, Have Love Will Travel, Thickfreakness. All just raw heavy blues.

  26. All artists copy, including Jack White says:

    Jack White is such an egotistical “I don’t get no credit” little sh&$t. He has plenty of musical influences from bands who’ve had no commercial success. Both White and Black keys build on and borrow from plenty of nlues musicians who never made enough off their music to amount for squat. So White get off your freakin paranoid almost delusional ego and just focus on your music. I personally live both White and Black Keys.

  27. Scott says:

    This whole thing is retarded. Both bands have a very distinct sound. I’m not really in to the white stripes, but love the black keys. The jack white stuff I do like more than the white stripes though. The solo Dan Auerbach is good too. Jack White can go to hell with his childish bullshit.

  28. Hinkle142 says:

    What did he invent!?!? The blues????

  29. Kris Perdew says:

    Thank you for reminding everyone of the greatness of Dexter Romweber/The Flat Duo Jets.

  30. Esol Esek says:

    BLack Keys are so awful it isn’t really worth discussion. Their newest music is more millenial dreck weenie faux folk or bad slowed down disco with a drummer who can’t play.

    Jack WHite was cool in the way he brought back a style, but he’s hardly wowed with following it up, and he was only ok, also because he chose to play with a horrid drummer at the beginning.

  31. Bo Jangles says:

    Black Keys. White Stripes.

    Can’t Blacks and Whites just get along?

    Someone had to say it

  32. Vaughn says:

    The Blues existed for 60 years before Hack White was even born. Rock N Roll, 20-30, depending on your timeline. A bass-less duo with only guitar and drums goes back to T Rex. Everything Hack White has capitalized on was already done by Jon Spencer, Royal Trux and others.

    Black Keys suck. That’s the only way they “Copied” Mr. Gillis, er, i mean, Mr. “White”.

  33. turtleburglar says:

    I was first a fan of the White Stripes before I discovered The Black Keys. I do get why people would say they have the same sound, but that does not mean TBK copied the Stripes. It’s more like because they have the same roots/influences but not necessarily one is copying the other. Although, the first time I heard The Black Keys, I thought Dan Auerbach’s voice and guitar playing is much better that Jack’s.

    • turtleburglar says:

      **than Jack’s. I thought in some of their songs, Jack White comes off as whiny. I don’t get that with Dan’s.

  34. Mike Murray says:

    How old are All you people? I happened upon this site by accident and became intrigued, then confused and now just embarrassed. Get lives, listen to the music that moves you and stop acting like the Jr. High girls I used to teach.

  35. Alex says:

    It’s weird but both artist completely changed their blues style with their last albums, Jack is just an egomaniac fool, he is not the only one that can play blues rock…. I really miss his White Stripes music but i really don’t understand his hate against Dan. It’s good to hear blues rock music going around, Jack do not own that style. I mean come on man!

  36. HighSeer says:

    Surprised no one mentioned Doo Rag, Bob Log, Cash Money, and one person mentioned Jon Spencer. Predated both these shitheads by decades. Gimme a fucking break Jack White.

  37. Sonofasonofsonhouse says:

    There is so little worth debating on the topic of originality. Interpretation is what it boils down to. Take a break and follow Isaac Hayes through Stax and beyond and you will find the Black Keys. They’re OK. Chill. But Jack White is more artistic and devoted to creating meaningful interpretations, and defending them.

  38. ninjahedge says:

    EVERYBODY in modern music copies someone these days.

    It is IMPOSSIBLE to be 100% original these days. Track rock music. You get about a 20-30 year generational gap before rhythms and melodies come back with a new face. The Stones and Zeppelin are good bookmarks for this, tracing back their influences and who they influenced.

    Now Mr. White complaining about another band that he thinks is copying him is a sign of insecurity. Instead of taking it as a compliment (whether they are or not) and calling it cheap shows insecurity.

    I think Jack definitely has a talent that cannot be denied, but I NEVER listened to any song by the Keys that I have thought “wow! That sounds just like the white stripes!!!”.

    If anything, they have both copied the classic blues of the 40s rather than each other.

  39. Spoons says:

    Eh. They both are very heavily drawn from Clapton/Hendrix.

    Move along, nothing to see here.

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