Deadmau5 gave it a shot and a high-roller held on to what he had. As a result, Deadmau5 is indirectly entangled in a lawsuit after the Canadian EDM superstar played Bon Jovi's "Livin' On A Prayer" during a Las Vegas show in 2011 and wasn't paid a promised $200,000 to do it.
The Hollywood Reporter reported a tentative court settlement has been reached following a rather bizarre incident involving Deadmau5, Las Vegas nightclub co-owner Jesse Waits, a big-time gambler named Don Johnson (not the actor). Adding to the oddity is the fact the William Morris Endeavor talent agent representing Deadmau5 (born Joel Zimmerman) is also named Joel Zimmerman.
Court documents from the Nevada federal court case reveal what transpired. Prior to signing the agreement getting Deadmau5 to perform at the Las Vegas nightclub XS on Feb. 21, 2011, Zimmerman (the agent) met Waits who introduced him to Johnson. Johnson -- who has won millions of dollars at casinos and a friend of Jon Bon Jovi -- said he would pay $200,000 if Deadmau5 dropped Bon Jovi's "Livin' On A Prayer" during his set.
As shown in a YouTube clip (embedded below) Deamau5 begins playing the song a minute or so in with a man (Johnson) appearing behind him. Johnson and Deadmau5 hug before the two start dancing. "Don Mother Fucking Johnson" is then shown on the screen behind them. Johnson dances a bit more before the two hug again and Johnson leaves.
Following Deadmau5's performance, Zimmerman (the agent) and Waits went to Johnson to collect the $200,000. However Johnson, reportedly losing "a lot of money" playing blackjack, refused to pay the money and left the next morning without paying. Zimmerman (the agent) told Waits to avoid damaging the relationship he'd have to pay the $200,000 Johnson promised. Waits offered $50,000 with the rest covered by William Morris Endeavor.
Johnson, of course, probably could have paid up -- as Grantland noted, he's been dubbed "The Man Who Broke Atlantic City" in an Atlantic profile about him winning between $4-6 million in epic blackjack runs at three separate casinos.
In June, Waits sued Zimmerman (the agent) for failure to repay the $50,000 "loan" while William Morris Endeavor replied with counterclaims in July. The talent agency said Waits essentially knew Johnson would not be able to pay the $200,000, something Waits says is incorrect.
In September, the judge hearing the case stated the agency's claims are "no more or less credible than Plaintiff's claim in the Complaint that he made a $50,000 oral loan with such indefinite repayment terms." The judge also said while it seems odd the agency didn't use a "breach-of-contract" theory regarding Johnson's promise to pay, the arguments "are viable." William Morris Endeavor having until next Thursday (Oct. 17) to file an amended counterclaim.
Deadmau5 made no comment regarding the court proceedings or outcome. According to his official site the artist will play Mexico City on Saturday as part of the Festival Corona Capital 2013. Deadmau5 has a handful of North American dates rounding out 2013 before heading to Australia for dates in March.