Deadmau5 plays Bon Jovi for $200K, gets stiffed, lawsuits fly

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In the kind of wild story that could only start in Vegas, talent agency William Morris Endeavor and XS co-owner Jesse Waits are mired in a lawsuit over one very expensive song request. The incident took place in February 2011, when Joel Zimmerman, aka Deadmau5, performed at Las Vegas nightclub XS. Before the gig, Zimmerman’s agent — coincidentally also named Joel Zimmerman — was approached by Jesse Waits, who introduced him to a man named Don Johnson. (High-roller Johnson had previously made headlines as “The Man Who Broke Atlantic City” by winning millions of dollars within a span of four months.)

One way to spend his winnings? WME says Johnson offered Deadmau5 $200,000 to play Bon Jovi’s Livin’ On A Prayer later that night during his set. Deadmau5 obliged, but when Waits and Zimmerman went to collect the money from Johnson, the high-roller refused to pay, and left Vegas in his private jet the next day.

WME didn’t want to risk burning bridges with the artist, as he was (and still is) one of the top earners in the agency’s electronic music division. The company covered $150,000 of Johnson’s non-payment, while “Waits said he would contribute $50,000 toward the $200,000,” according to WME’s legal papers. Deadmau5 gets paid, the end, right?

Not so fast: Now Waits is suing Mau5′s agent, saying the $50,000 was a loan, rather than a definite payment to the artist. WME countered with the claim of “negligent misrepresentation” — that is, Waits made the initial offer knowing Johnson would not pay. So far, court papers indicate that both parties have reached a “tentative settlement,” but nothing is confirmed as of yet. In the meantime, watch the Mau5 get his Bon Jovi on below.