How much do you know about Ohio garage kingpins The Black Keys? Bet you didn’t know that guitarist Dan Auerbach’s goal in life is “not to go bankrupt or get some incurable disease,” while Pat Carney on drums is simply “excited to become a 70-year-old man with no taste buds left who only wants to eat mustard.”
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The duo once launched a charity t-shirt, designed by Patrick Carney’s brother Michael and sold at shows for £15, to raise money for the baseball little league they used to play in as children, the West Akron Baseball League. Carney explained: “Dan and I played little league when we were kids before we got into music; it was a really positive hobby that kept us from sitting around watching TV.”
Patrick’s brother also did the artwork for the album ‘Brother’ which leads with the line “This is an album by the Black Keys. The name of this album is Brothers.” It won a Grammy for best packaging but Dan still insists that “we’ve just never given a shit about image, and generally hate people who do.”
Don’t expect to see either of them taking out Spotify subscriptions anytime soon: both Carney and Auerbach have been outspoken about their opposition to the streaming service, and refused to let their 2011 album ‘El Camino’ to feature on the platform. “If it was fair to the artist, we’d be fine with it,” explained Dan.
Credit: Pieter M Van Hattem/NME
Pat got into music first. Aged 12, he’d begged his father for a guitar, but despite having lessons, he admits he was one of the worst guitarists in the neighbourhood. “I really don’t have an ear for pitch,” he claims. “I can’t sing at all, I can’t hum melodies and I can’t write riffs.” Good job he met Dan.
By the time of their mainstream breakthrough, following 2010 album ‘Brothers’, the pair were speaking to one another. Pat had felt betrayed to discover Dan was touring a solo album, ‘Keep It Hid’, which he says was made without his knowledge. Dan claims: “I told him about it, but he likes to think I didn’t.”
The pair have dabbled with drugs – “We ate mushrooms in the van one time, going from Amsterdam to Paris,” Dan recalls. “We opened up the door at one point at a truck stop, fully on mushrooms, and it was like when they went into Willy Wonka’s. I haven’t done them in a long time, but mushrooms rule.”