Black Keys

  • 09 June 2004

Band form


The Black Keys (formed 2001)
The Black Keys are an American garage rock duo who have won 7 Grammys and released four number 1 singles.

Childhood and formation: Guitarist and vocalist Dan Auerbach and drummer Patrick Carney met as children both living in Akron, Ohio. They became friends when they attended Firestone High School despite being in different social groups; Auerbach was a soccer team captain and Carney was an 'outcast'. They started playing music together in 1996 because Auerbach had a guitar and Carney had four-track recorder and drum kit. They both attended the University of Akron but soon dropped out. Auerbach wanted to make a living from performing but needed a demo so he roped in Carney who helped him out with recording space and equipment while Auerbach hunted down a backing group. When they didn't show, the pair played together instead and ended up recording a six track demo which got them signed to Alive records. The band are named The Black Keys after a schizophrenic artist that they knew named Alfred McMoore kept leaving messages on their answering machines calling their fathers names of 'black keys' like D Flat.

Musical career: The Black Keys recorded their debut album 'The Big Come Up' in Carney's basement and released it in 2002. It included 8 original tracks and 5 covers including from blues stars Muddy Waters, Junior Kimbrough and R. L. Burnside. It later landed them a deal with Fat Possum Records. After the album was released they made their live debut at Cleveland's Beachland Ballroom and Tavern in front of just 4 people. They released their second album 'Thickfreakness' soon after signing to Fat Possum and recorded it within 14 hours. From it, three singles were release: 'Set You Free', 'Hard Row', and a cover of 'Have Love, Will Travel'. It was also named third-best album of 2003 by Time. One of their first festivals was at SXSW in Texas which took them a full day to drive themselves to in a 1994 Chrysler van. An English mayonnaise company offered them £200,000 to use one of their songs in an advert but they declined out of fear that it would alienate their fanbase. They toured throughout 2003 playing overseas and opening for the likes of Sleater-Kinney, Beck and Dashboard Confessional. However, they cancelled their European dates due to exhaustion. They later played at Reading and Leeds Festivals. In 2004, they were struggling to sell any records and so began licensing their music letting their song 'Set You Free' be used in a Nissan commercial. That year saw them play at Coachella and Bonnaroo festivals. They also released their third album 'Rubber Factory' named after where they had to move their recording studio to; an old tyre-manufacturing factory. It was their first charting album and they had comedian David Cross direct the video for one of its singles '10 A.M. Automatic'. They released their first live video album 'Live' in 2005 after it was recorded at The Metro Theatre in Sydney, Australia. They left Fat Possum in 2006 after releasing covers EP 'Chulahoma: The Songs of Junior Kimbrough' and signed to Nonesuch Records through which they released fourth album 'Magic Potion'. They then embarked on their largest tour yet in many 1,000 seat venues. The first professional studio album they released was fifth effort 'Attack & Release' in 2008 which they had Danger Mouse produce after their original project with Ike Turner fell through. It opened at number 14 on the Billboard 200. That year they supported band Devo at a concert for presidential candidate Barack Obama at the Akron Civic Theatre. They also toured with Liam Finn in Europe and released concert video 'Live at the Crystal Ballroom'.

Brief hiatus: In 2009, Auerbach and Carney struggled to get along due to Auerbach's hatred for Carney's then wife Denise Grollmus. Auerbach released a solo album called 'Keep It Hid' but Carney felt betrayed and went on to form his own band called Drummer, releasing their first album 'Feel Good Together' in September that year.

Reconciliation and breakthrough success: When the band reconciled in 2009, they played alongside the likes of The Roots and Public Enemy at the Roots Picnic on the Festival Pier in Philadelphia. They then featured on a collaborative album called 'Blakroc' which featured various hip hop artists such as Mos Def, Ludacris and RZA. In 2010, they released their sixth album 'Brothers' which sold 1.5 million copies worldwide and reached number 3 on the Billboard 200. The lead single, 'Tighten Up', spent 10 weeks at number one on the US Alternative chart and its video won the MTV Video Music Award for Breakthrough Video. The album had the duo win three out of a possible five Grammys and they were subsequently in high demand for shows everywhere. They cancelled several dates in Australia, New Zealand and Europe, however, again suffering from exhaustion. In 2011, they released their more up tempo seventh studio album 'El Camino', produced and co-written by Danger Mouse, which opened at number 2 on the Billboard 200. The lead single, 'Lonely Boy', reached number 2 on the Australian Singles Chart and was certified nine-times platinum in Canada. The song and album went on to win three out of five Grammys yet again at the 2013 awards. The album sparked their first headlining tour in 2012, performing in Europe and North America.

The Black Keys - 31st Annual Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame Induction Ceremony - Press Room - New York, New York, United States - Friday 8th April 2016

Patrick Carney Patches Things Up With Jack White Following Bar Fight Rumours

By Ed Biggs in Music / Festivals on 14 September 2015

Jack White Black Keys White Stripes

The Keys v Stripes rivalry was reported to have plumbed new depths on Sunday night.

A stormy altercation between two of America’s premier rock musicians has raged and blown itself out in the last 24 hours. Earlier today, the Black Keys drummer Patrick Carney alleged that former White Stripes frontman Jack White tried to start a fight with him in a New York bar on Sunday night (September 13th).

In a series of Twitter posts on Monday, the Keys sticksman wrote: “I’ve never met Jack White. Until last night.” He then alleges White visited to a bar Carney often frequents with friends and “tried to fight me.” Carney says, “A 40-year-old bully tried to fight the 35-year-old nerd,” then describing White as “basically Billy Corgan’s dumb-ass Zero t-shirt in human form.”

Image caption Jack White

Continue reading: Patrick Carney Patches Things Up With Jack White Following Bar Fight Rumours

Isle Of Wight Festival - 2015 Live Review

By Jim Pusey in Music Reviews on 16 June 2015

It's perhaps fitting that my prevailing memory of this year's Isle of Wight Festival will be guitars. This was after all the 45th anniversary of Jimi Hendrix's legendary performance on the Island, something that was being widely celebrated by festival organiser John Giddings and his team across the site. Fender, for example, brought some specially designed guitars to the party for artists including You Me At 6 to play, and there was also a world record attempt for the most number of people in one place to be wearing a mask, the face in question was naturally Hendrix himself. Despite that backdrop, it was some of the guitarists who played across the weekend that demonstrated the power of the instrument and reinforced that guitar based rock isn't on its last legs as some have speculated over the past few years.

The festival got into full swing with a Stones-esque swagger on Friday afternoon when The Struts took to the Main Stage. Their enthusiasm signalled a continuation of their set from the previous year's festival, indeed they are an ideal opening act when you want to energise a crowd. Their appearance at Download the following day, will no doubt have had a similar effect. There seemed to be a Rolling Stones theme to many of the acts getting the festival underway. Over in the Big Top The Ruen Brothers covered 'Miss You' during their rousing set that was well received.

The first moment that sent a shiver down my spine this year was the Counting Crows though. The guitar line to 'Round Here' sent a wave of excitement across the main arena. It was a strong opening statement in a nine song set that featured the likes of 'Mr Jones', 'Miami', and 'Rain King' into which singer Adam Duritz dropped some Elbow lyrics as a nod of the hat to Guy Garvey. If Counting Crows' guitars weren't haunting enough, it was actually The Black Keys' Dan Auerbach whose riffs were the most powerful and elemental of the day. The dirty Blues grit of Auerbach's playing was like a roll of thunder that saw the heavens open to drench the crowd in torrential rain. While much of the set was dedicated to material culled from 'El Camino' and 'Brothers', rather than recent record 'Turn Blue', the band's graduation to a headlining slot was well deserved and warranted. The final song of the set 'Little Black Submarines', which builds from a delicate solo performance to a dramatic climax, utilised every trick in the book for The Black Keys' expanded touring band. If Patrick Carney's drums and Auerbach's guitars are the perfect union on record, it seems their live shows rightly now have the power to command top billing with the inclusion of bassist Richard Swift and keyboardist John Clement Wood.

Continue reading: Isle Of Wight Festival - 2015 Live Review

Isle Of Wight Festival Sees World Record Attempt In Honour Of Jimi Hendrix

By Ed Biggs in Music / Festivals on 16 June 2015

Isle of Wight Festival Jimi Hendrix Black Keys Prodigy Blur Fleetwood Mac

The IoW organisers attempted to break the world record for most masks worn simultaneously at one place to commemorate the 45th anniversary of Hendrix's set.

On the 45th anniversary of his legendary set at the venue, the organisers of the Isle of Wight Festival 2015 have honoured Jimi Hendrix by attempting to break a world record.

Amid the fun of four massive headliners over three nights – The Black Keys and The Prodigy sharing the slot on Friday, Blur on Saturday and Fleetwood Mac on Sunday – the IoW chiefs had been encouraging the 50,000 festival-goers to buy cut-out Jimi Hendrix masks in order raise money for its nominated charity WellChild.

Image caption IoW made the world record attempt to commemorate the 45th anniversary of Hendrix's 1970 set

Continue reading: Isle Of Wight Festival Sees World Record Attempt In Honour Of Jimi Hendrix

The Black Keys and Dan Auerback - Isle of Wight Festival 2015 - Day 2 - Performances at Isle of Wight Festival - Isle Of Wight, United Kingdom - Friday 12th June 2015

Fleetwood Mac And Blur Sing-A-Longs Are Expected For Isle Of Wight Festival 2015

By Staff Writer in Music / Festivals on 08 June 2015

Isle of Wight Festival Blur Fleetwood Mac Prodigy Black Keys Billy Idol Groove Armada Paul Oakenfold Charlatans Counting Crows First Aid Kit James Bay Suzanne Vega Foxes Chicks On Speed Sharon Corr Ash James Walsh Honey Ryder

We preview some of the top acts on the bill this year.

Summer festival season kicks into high gear this weekend with the first big event of the calendar taking place on the south coast. Tens of thousands of people will be heading to Seaclose Park on the Isle of Wight for a bill, which is top heavy on heritage acts that bring with them a sense of nostalgia. While recent years have welcomed the likes of Jay-Z, Calvin Harris and Kings Of Leon to headline, this time round it seems big names with an even bigger back catalogue are being used as the main attraction.

Image caption Patrick Carney needs time to heal

Fans from the UK and Europe will be thoroughly disappointed to hear the news that seventeen concerts have been axed from February 16th to March 10th following Carney's injury, but rest assured they'll be up and running for their festival run and other global tour dates later this year. For those hoping that the Europe leg of their Turn Blue World Tour will be re-scheduled for a later time, we're afraid to reveal that you're out of luck. While the band attempted to find the time to squeeze in the dates, it is with regret that they have to announce that fans will have to wait for future shows. Full refunds on all tickets before March 10th have been made available.

Continue reading: Disaster Strikes For Patrick Carney As The Black Keys Cancel Europe Tour Dates

Drake, Black Keys, Lana Del Rey, Florence And The Machine Among Acts Confirmed For 2015 Governors Ball

By Stephanie Chase in Music / Festivals on 07 January 2015

Drake Black Keys Lana Del Rey Governors Ball

For the fifth year running, the Governors Ball three day festival will take place in NYC.

Drake, The Black Keys, Florence And The Machine and Lana Del Rey are among the names confirmed for this year’s Governors Ball, to be held in New York’s Randall's Island from June 5th to 7th. The festival will mark the first time both Florence And The Machine and Lana Del Rey have played in NYC since 2012.

Image caption Drake will be heading to Randall's Island on June 5th

DJ DeadMau5, who will be playing his first NYC show since 2011 has also been confirmed, along with Bjork, My Morning Jacket, Ryan Adams, Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds, St. Vincent and Weird Al Yankovic.

Continue reading: Drake, Black Keys, Lana Del Rey, Florence And The Machine Among Acts Confirmed For 2015 Governors Ball

The Rentals Are Back With Members Of The Black Keys And Lucius [Listen]

By Holly Williams in Music / Festivals on 09 September 2014

The Rentals Black Keys Weezer

Ex-Weezer bassist Matt Sharp and his collaborative band The Rentals re-group with The Black Keys' Patrick Carney and unveil new album 'Lost In Alphaville'.

Newly signed to Polyvinyl Records, Matt Sharp's pop supergroup The Rentals are back after fifteen years with a new line-up featuring The Black Keys' Patrick Carney and their brand new album 'Lost In Alphaville'.

Image caption The Rentals are back with 'Lost In Alphaville'

The Rentals are the latest addition to the Polyvinyl roster, along the likes of Xiu Xiu, Generationals and Japandroids, with a line-up that has been shaken up and now includes Matt Sharp from Weezer, The Black Keys drummer Patrick Carney, Lucius vocalists Jess Wolfe and Holly Laessig, Ozma frontman Ryen Slegr and The Section Quartet viola player Lauren Chipman. Like a revolving door, artists are constantly leaving and joining the band with Sharp making an effort to surround himself with a variety of new musicians with each release. With Patrick Carney and the Lucius girls becoming some of the latest members, the new set-up seems especially exciting.

Continue reading: The Rentals Are Back With Members Of The Black Keys And Lucius [Listen]

The Black Keys and Dan Auerbach - Glastonbury Festival 2014 - Performances - Day 4 - The Black Keys - Glastonbury, United Kingdom - Sunday 29th June 2014

Patrick Carney and Black Keys - Glastonbury Festival 2014 - Performances - Day 4 - Glastonbury, United Kingdom - Sunday 29th June 2014

Lana Del Rey And Dan Auerbach's 'Ultraviolence' Conceived In New York Strip Club

By Elinor Cosgrave in Music / Festivals on 13 June 2014

Lana Del Rey Dan Auerbach Black Keys

Lana Del Rey and Dan Auerbach, vocalist and guitarist of The Black Keys, decided to work together on Del Rey's latest album 'Ultraviolence' whilst at a strip club in New York!

Lana Del Rey and The Black Keys' guitarist and vocalist Dan Auerbach have decided to work together after enjoying each other's company in an unusual location - a strip club.

Image caption Lana Del Rey and Dan Auerbach ended up in a New York strip club.

It seems the pair had not previously met but were aware of each other's music. In an interview with The Sun, the singer described her meeting with Auerbach in New York and how the pair had met for dinner and wound up in a strip club. She said ''Dan and I weren't friends before this. We both knew each other's music, but it's not that we listened to it a lot of the time. The thing that was fun about Dan was we went out one night for a meal and ended up in a strip club in New York."

Continue reading: Lana Del Rey And Dan Auerbach's 'Ultraviolence' Conceived In New York Strip Club

Jack White Apologises For Black Keys & Meg White Rolling Stone Comments

By Elinor Cosgrave in Music / Festivals on 01 June 2014

Jack White Meg White White Stripes Black Keys Adele Amy Winehouse Duffy Karen Elson

Jack White has issued an apology following the remarks he made about a number of musicians, including Meg White and The Black Keys, during a recent interview with Rolling Stone.

Jack White, the former frontman of The White Stripes, has apologised for the seemingly insensitive comments he made in an interview with Rolling Stone magazine. White is the cover of June's Rolling Stone magazine and made a series of comments in the accompanying interview in which he appeared to criticise The Black Keys, amongst others, for capitalising on the sound and music style he made so popular.

Image caption Jack White has issued an apology to numerous acts.

White's comments about The Black Keys were revealed when his ex-wife, Karen Elson, made public emails between the two which described White's opinions on the band. The revelation was as a result of their ongoing divorce case.

Continue reading: Jack White Apologises For Black Keys & Meg White Rolling Stone Comments

Dan Auerbach, Manchester Arena and Black Keys Tuesday 11th December 2012 The Black Keys performing live at the Manchester Arena