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50 Geeky Facts You Didn't Know About The Black Keys

  • 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.”

    Photo: Press/Alysse Gafkjen

    Added: 25 Mar 2014

  • No wonder Patrick Carney grew up to be a rock monolith – it seems to run in the family. His uncle, Ralph Carney, played saxophone with artists like Tom Waits, The B-52's, Elvis Costello, and They Might Be Giants.

    Photo: Richard Johnson/NME

    Added: 26 Aug 2012

  • 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.”

    Photo: Press

    Added: 11 Mar 2014

  • Their name comes from an expression used by a friend of the pair, schizophrenic artist Alfred McMoore. “He would call people he doesn’t like D Flats and Black Keys,” Carney explained in 2006.

    Photo: Richard Johnson/NME

    Added: 26 Aug 2012

  • The pair are vocal supporters of Barack Obama, playing a benefit show for the President in 2008 in their hometown Akron, Ohio with fellow Akronites Devo and Chrissie Hynde.

    Photo: Getty

    Added: 04 Mar 2014

  • Dan Auerbach doesn’t think rock ‘n’ roll will ever die. “Being 16 years old and getting an electric guitar is never going to get old. There's always going to be kids making music. There's always going to be kids in bands.”

    Photo: Tom Martin/NME

    Added: 24 Aug 2012

  • In 2010, Pat’s personal e-mail account was hacked. The hackers sent out messages stating that he was stranded in the UK and needed money to get home.

    Photo: Getty

    Added: 02 Apr 2014

  • Early in their careers, they were offered a six-digit sum to put their music in a Hellman’s mayonnaise advert, but turned it down because they didn't want to alienate their fan base.

    Photo: Getty

    Added: 02 Apr 2014

  • The pair may come from Akron, but relocated to Nashville to make music. When asked in 2011 what he missed about the Ohio town, Dan simply replied: “Nothing.”

    Photo: Press

    Added: 30 Mar 2012

  • 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."

    Photo: Getty

    Added: 02 Apr 2014

  • Their song ‘Set You Free’ is included in the soundtrack from ‘School of Rock’. The song can be heard when Jack Black takes Joan Cusack to a bar for coffee.

    Photo: Getty

    Added: 02 Apr 2014

  • 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.

    Photo: Pieter M Van Hattem/NME

    Added: 04 Sep 2012

  • Pat Carney is slightly less diplomatic about Spotify: in 2012, he called one of its board members, Napster founder Sean Parker, “an asshole.”

    Photo: Getty

    Added: 02 Apr 2014

  • When they won three Grammy’s in 2010 for ‘Brother’ they stayed at the ceremony for a total of 15 minutes. Places to go, people to see…

    Photo: Getty

    Added: 02 Apr 2014

  • Pat thinks that “music [that is] too perfect is boring.” "When you turn on the radio it's all kind of perfectly sequenced, perfectly written, perfectly performed by machines,” he complained.

    Photo: Getty

    Added: 02 Apr 2014

  • Pat blames the recent downturn of interest in rock ‘n’ roll solely on Nickelback, described as “watered-down, post-grunge crap, horrendous shit.”

    Photo: Press

    Added: 30 Mar 2012

  • When visiting London, the pair often stay at the capital’s Columbia hotel – made famous by Oasis who wrote the song ‘Columbia’ after being banned from the establishment for bad behaviour

    Photo: Getty

    Added: 02 Apr 2014

  • The Keys have also had their fair share of wild nights at the Columbia. “Once, when the guy wouldn't serve us any more, we took a tablecloth and wrapped it around the beer tap [to keep] the beer flowing all night,” remembers Carney.

    Photo: Getty

    Added: 02 Apr 2014

  • Pat cites his main influence as Ney Jersey cult heroes Feelies, who disbanded in 1992 and reunited in 2008 for a show with Sonic Youth in NYC.

    Photo: Getty

    Added: 02 Apr 2014

  • Dan’s mantra for life is "the groove is king.”

    Photo: Getty

    Added: 02 Apr 2014

  • Dan is of Polish Jewish descent – he’s the son of an antique dealer father and French teacher mother. His great-uncle was a Holocaust camp survivor and his grandma got out just before the Nazis closed the borders.

    Photo: Tom Martin/NME

    Added: 24 Aug 2012

  • 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.

    Photo: Getty

    Added: 02 Apr 2014

  • Pat has never had a drum lesson or bought a drum magazine unless he's in it.

    Photo: Getty

    Added: 02 Apr 2014

  • The first DJ in the world to play their music was John Peel, for whom they recorded three sessions, including one at his house, where they hung out with the family. "We were on the way to the fourth when we received news that John had died," said Pat.

    Photo: Getty

    Added: 02 Apr 2014

  • 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.”

    Photo: Press

    Added: 30 Mar 2012

  • In 2012 they sold out Madison Square Garden in only 15 minutes. One Direction currently hold the record at under a minute but the pair were still quicker than Jay-Z.

    Photo: Richard Johnson/NME

    Added: 18 May 2012

  • Before becoming famous, Pat worked in telemarketing. Dan meanwhile played music for diners during brunch at a vegetarian restaurant before the band made it.

    Photo: Getty

    Added: 02 Apr 2014

  • Dan is friends with Billy Gibbons, of ZZ Top fame. They met through mutual friend. Producer Rick Rubin. The pair also recorded together with Gibbons describing the session as “hyper-pedal”. Whatever that means.

    Photo: Getty

    Added: 02 Apr 2014

  • Pat claims that his vocal outbursts in the press are merely to entertain his band mate. “That’s usually why I end up saying retarded shit sometimes, it’s just to get a rise out of him.”

    Photo: Getty

    Added: 02 Apr 2014

  • Their 2010 album ‘Brothers’ was a licensing bonanza. The single ‘Tighten Up’ appeared in a Subaru ad, a video game, a Gossip Girl episode and on the soundtrack to several Hollywood films.

    Photo: John Peets/Press

    Added: 07 Nov 2011

  • 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."

    Photo: Getty

    Added: 02 Apr 2014

  • There is a seven inch height difference between Dan and Pat which they both claim “still make hugs awkward.”

    Photo: Getty

    Added: 02 Apr 2014

  • Pat's younger brother, Michael, was friends with Dan's younger brother, Geoff at high school with the Keys meeting during a tag American football game with them.

    Photo: Getty

    Added: 02 Apr 2014

  • Dan’s numerous side projects include stints in the production chair for Dr. John, Michael Kiwanuka and Valerie June. He’s also collaborated with Lana Del Rey.

    Photo: Getty

    Added: 02 Apr 2014

  • Dan plays a Fender Jerry Donahue Telecaster, originally designed for the Fairport Convention member, Jerry Donahue, and also played by the Hellecasters.

    Photo: Getty

    Added: 02 Apr 2014

  • In 2005, Pat founded Audio Eagle Records. It signed acts such as Houseguest, Royal Bangs and Carney's own side-project Drummer before closing down in 2010.

    Photo: Getty

    Added: 02 Apr 2014

  • The pair are signed to Nonesuch records, which used to be a classical label. The first record they ever released was by Franco-Flemish composer of the late Renaissance Claude le Jeune.

    Photo: Getty

    Added: 02 Apr 2014

  • Dan’s production on Dr. John’s ‘Locked Down’made it into Rolling Stone’s top 50 albums of 2012, described by the US mag as “a soggy wasteland where honest men have equal fear of the KKK and the CIA."

    Photo: Getty

    Added: 02 Apr 2014

  • Dan and Pat have also produced other musicians, including the self-titled album for Canadian rockers The Sheepdogs and the second studio album by Tennis, titled ‘Young & Old’.

    Photo: Getty

    Added: 02 Apr 2014

  • Pat’s first wife, who he divorced in 2008, wrote an article called ‘Snapshots from a Rock n’ Roll marriage’ on the debacle. It starts by explaining that she was wearing their Tin Huey T-shirt the day he asked for the divorce.

    Photo: Getty

    Added: 02 Apr 2014

  • Pat’s uncle has composed music for two spoken word poetry records: Robert Creeley’s ‘Really!’ and Ira Cohen’s ‘Stauffenberg Cycle’.

    Photo: Getty

    Added: 02 Apr 2014

  • In 2009 Dan and Pat released a hip-hop collaboration under the pseudonym ‘Blackroc’. It featured contributions from Mos Def, Q-Tip and Ludacris and a limited edition Chevrolet Camaro was released to promote it.

    Photo: Getty

    Added: 02 Apr 2014

  • The spiral album cover of upcoming release ‘Turn Blue’ is a disappointment to some fans who had seen a leaked ‘alternative’ album cover of a pooping elephant.

    Photo: Getty

    Added: 02 Apr 2014

  • In Dan’s recent divorce settlement his ex-wife, Stephanie Gonis, is said to have received $5 million and a lock of Bob Dylan’s hair.

    Photo: Getty

    Added: 02 Apr 2014

  • Dan and Jack White’s children attended the same school. In letters released during the latter’s divorce he is rumoured to have not been a fan, saying "[Dan] gets yet another free reign to follow me around and copy me and push himself into my world." Ouch.

    Photo: Jo McCaughey/NME

    Added: 27 Apr 2012

  • Pat has his own monthly radio show on SiriusXM. It’s called ‘Serious Boredom’ and is “a mix of standard indie rock leavened with Captain Beefheart.” The drummer has a theme for each show, centred around a different American city.

    Photo: Getty

    Added: 02 Apr 2014

  • One of Pat’s nicknames is ‘The Salesman’, said to have come about as a result of his multi-coloured drum kit.

    Photo: Daniel Sims/NME

    Added: 21 Jan 2011

  • The creepy promo for upcoming release, ‘Turn Blue’ featured the actor Micah Fitzgerald, who’s previously starred in 13/13/13, The Tsarevich and The Sunshine Shop: The Lovaganza Convoy Proof of Concept. Nope, we’ve never heard of those films either.

    Photo: Getty

    Added: 02 Apr 2014

  • Their first album, ‘The Big Come Up’, was a lo-fi affair. Dan and Patrick recorded the entire album in Pat’s basement studio on 8-track recording equipment. Follow-up ‘Thickfreakness’ was recorded in the same studio during a single 14-hour session.

    Photo: Daniel Sims/NME

    Added: 18 Nov 2010

  • Before the band could afford a driver they used to drive from gig to gig in an old Chrysler van nicknamed ‘the Grey Ghost’.

    Photo: Getty

    Added: 02 Apr 2014