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Exploring the Feud Between Jack White and the Black Keys

The Black Keys at Music Midtown

It all started with a leaked email. No, I’m not talking about WikiLeaks — I am, of course, discussing the feud between the Black Keys and Jack White, one that began after emails between Jack White and his ex-wife Karen Elson regarding the custody of their children got out into the open. In the emails, Jack White bemoaned the fact that his children would have to attend a private school with Black Key’s Dan Auberach kids. The email allegedly read “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.”

First, perhaps some background is required. Jack White is a pretty divisive and generally controversial figure in the music industry, both for his actual music and for his personal life. He started out as a member of The White Stripes, who spawned the uber-hit “Seven Nation Army.” His relationship co-band-member Meg White came under constant scrutiny — they usually referred to themselves as siblings (two of ten) but were revealed to have married in 1996, later divorcing in 2000. He went on to perform with The Raconteurs (co-writing their biggest hit “Steady, As She Goes”), before forming The Dead Weather with members of several other high-profile bands, including the keyboardists for Queens of The Stone Age. During this time, he’d been involved in a high-profile relationship with Renee Zellweger, which culminated in a car-crash that broke White’s finger, forcing him to cancel a number of tour dates. White also found himself slapped with an aggravated assault charge in 2003 after he got involved with an altercation with Jason Solsteimer, part of The Von Bondies. He swiftly went on to a critically acclaimed solo career and met the woman who was to become his second wife, British model Karen Elson. After their wedding — in which Meg White served as Maid of Honor, they were married by a Shaman priest, and both declared that this was their first marriage — they lasted six years and two kids before surprising those close to them with a divorce party. Last year, Elson filed a restraining order against her ex-husband, around the time that White donated $142000 to Detroit Masonic Temple to stop it’s closure. In short: busy personally, busy professionally.

So that’s his history: the Black Keys are a rock duo made up of Patrick Carnet and Dan Auberach, who really cracked into the scene along with the second wave of grunge in the early 2010s. Auberach himself has kept pretty quiet on the subject of his personal life, but we know that he has one daughter with Stephanie Gonis who he started divorce proceedings with last year. The pair seem like an unlikely duo to get involved with a feud — so what happened after the unfortunate email found it’s way to Auberach?

The Black Keys actually did address the issue in an interview with Rolling Stone, with most of the criticism aimed at TMZ, the company that leaked the email that sparked the feud in the first place, declaring them a “common enemy” for both the band and Jack White for their intrusive reporting. “”Everybody should be scrutinized? I don’t believe that. I think that if you come off with a strong platform or moral agenda, then, yeah, maybe you should be scrutinized if there’s a conflict there.
 Like, if you’re a TV evangelist who’s doing something awful. But you’re a fucking rock musician, you’re a fucking actor, you’re a fucking model or whatever. It’s your job, you know what I mean?…..No one’s doing anything illegal, it’s just that people are living lives that get complicated.” There’s also a chance that Auberach sympathizes with White’s difficult time during divorce, also stating in the interview that “”I don’t know him, so it’s extra-unexpected….”I actually feel embarrassed for him. I don’t hold grudges, man. I really don’t. We’ve all said fucked-up shit in private, and divorce is hard.”

So, really, the idea of a “feud” between the two has probably been blown a little (well, a lot) out of proportion. The long and short of it is that Jack White, who is typically controversial and tempting to the tabloids, said something misjudged in a private correspondence, and Dan Auberach’s response was basically a sympathetic shrug to the intrusion on the singer’s private life. It seems that the Black Keys star summed up best in his own words “
Those e-mails that Jack White wrote that got leaked, as fucked up as that shit is, that was a private conversation, and it doesn’t register to me. You know how horrifying it would be if all of our private shit was aired? And people go sniffing around looking for this shit. And ultimately it’s no one’s business.”

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