Jack the Knife?

6/15/2006 12:04 PM PDT

Jack the Knife?

When advising young artists it always amazes me how many don't have contracts in place with musicians and producers who work on their early demos or even full length releases. It's imperative to clearly communicate, in writing, what each person's role is to prevent future problems.

The White Stripes are learning this lesson in a courtroom years after recording some early material. A producer sued the band claiming the work he did on their first two records helped create "the White Stripes sound." Jack and Meg White say they paid the guy to record them, but that was it and that he's not due any money beyond the recording fees paid to him all those years ago.

In testimony given at the trial this week an interesting side bar arose. According to the AP, Jason Stollsteimer of the Von Bondies testified about a spat he had with Jack at a Detroit nightclub in 2003. Stollsteimer told the jury he found "a note stuck to my door with a knife in it." The alleged knife pinned up a magazine interview which seemed to minimize White's role in producing a Von Bondies album. The article, Stollsteimer said, had written across it: "That's the last ... time I help you out."

Jack denied the claims and said it was a "laughable lie" that he put the knife in the door. Ironically, the tiff between the musicians grew out of White's involvement with the Von Bondies' 2001 record "Lack of Communication."