Howlin’ to Sue: Dan Auerbach facing lawsuit for leaving Howlin’ Wolf doc

Dan Auerbach, lead singer and guitarist of the Black Keys and the Arcs, might need a little of the gold he keeps on the ceiling. He’s being sued for $100,000 for violating a verbal agreement, unfair business practices and a handful of other offenses after allegedly driving up the cost of a new documentary on blues legend Howlin’ Wolf and then walking away.

According to multiple reports, Auerbach was one of many musicians interviewed for the documentary, which is also set to feature Jimmy Page, Buddy Guy and Bill Wyman. Auerbach was later asked by the film’s producer, Smokestack Lightning Inc., if he’d be interested in directing and executive producing the documentary.

The Hollywood Reporter, referencing a complaint filed August 17 in Los Angeles County Superior Court, says Auerbach “verbally agreed that he would take control of the project in exchange for nine percent of the profits and one major caveat: He would have complete creative control of the film, which was in postproduction when the deal was made.” He demanded some re-writes, interviews to be re-shot and to secure rights to copyrighted images. His team says Smokestack was informed if they had any discomfort about the demands, Auerbach would consider walking away from the project, but they complied with everything.

But that didn’t matter: he soon left the project and refused to reimburse any of the expensive for the additional footage.  Neither Auerbach or any of his people have commented on the suit.


Amber Healy

I write about music policy and lawsuits because they're endlessly fascinating.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.