It appears that Joel Zimmerman, better known as the electronic music megaman deadmau5, has found himself in the middle of a Vegas gambling scandal. While playing at Club XS at the Wynn resort in Las Vegas, Nevada back in February 2011, deadmau5 played “Living On A Prayer” by Bon Jovi- a track you would normally never expect to hear from the usual robotic, progressive-house sound of the mau5. However, in the middle of his set, was Bon Jovi, followed by a man dancing on stage and the words “Don F*cking Johnson” displayed on the titantron behind deadmau5.
This all began when William Morris Endeavor, a high-profile talent agency based out of Hollywood, sent an agent by the name of Joel Zimmerman to Vegas to book a gig for a client (it just so happens that this agent has the same name as deadmau5. They are NOT the same person.). While the client has not been officially named in court papers, it’s evident from the attached video and simply matching facts that it was, in fact, deadmau5. While in Vegas, WME agent Zimmerman met co-owner and managing partner of XS Jesse Waits.
Waits then introduced Zimmerman to a Vegas local by the name of Don Johnson, who was a massive gambler, and known to spend upwards of $500,000 in a nightclub in the course of one night. Johnson is described as the CEO of Heritage Development, which makes him the same guy who won $6 million at the Tropicana, $5 million at the Borgata, and $4 million at Caesar’s palace, and has even been written about as “the man who broke Atlantic City.” Johnson, upon meeting Zimmerman, according to WME, “…made the following offer to Zimmerman — if the Client played a song by a certain musical artist during the Engagement, Johnson would pay $200,000 for the Client’s service. Zimmerman then spoke with Waits, who vouched for Johnson and assured Zimmerman that Johnson could be trusted to pay the $200,000 if the Client accepted the Offer and played the requested song.”
Obviously, as one can see in the above video, deadmau5 played the requested song, which was Bon Jovi, since Johnson was a long-time friend of Bon Jovi. Johnson came on stage, and the text appeared on the screen. However, after the show was over, Zimmerman and Waits went to another hotel to collect the money from Johnson. Johnson was found in the middle of a high-stakes blackjack game, and apparently was losing a lot of money. When asked for the $200,000, Johnson screamed and refused to pay, leading security to escort Zimmerman and Waits out of the building empty-handed. The next day, Johnson left vegas on his jet.
To displace the $200,000 that was said in agreement, in fear of upsetting deadmau5, Waits and Zimmerman made a deal. Waits would pay $50,000, with WME paying the other $150,000 to deadmau5.
Now, starting in June, Waits has taken Zimmerman of WME to court for allegedly refusing to pay back a $50,000 “loan”. While both sides battle back and forth, the status and predictions are hard to come by since there were never any written, formal agreements. According to the latest court papers, they have reached a tentative settlement, but have yet to finalize it.
H/T: Hollywood Reporter