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Archive for May, 2009

I just came across this in iTunes. It’s a so-called iTunes Artist Essential Collection of The Black Keys. Seems it was released 7 April 2009.

I’m not sure who picks this collection. I wouldn’t have thought they were the most popular Black Keys songs or well known.

It could be they are just songs re-packaged for a fan wanting an overview of the band who doesn’t want to invest in buying all the albums. Couldn’t really call it  greatest hits either.

If this is iTunes “Essential” mix, what would your top 14 songs be? Leave a comment with songs you think are essential listening.

Personally, I don’t know how they left off The Lengths and The Breaks.

The list of songs:

1. Strange Times

2. I Got Mine

3. Leavin’ Trunk

4. Your Touch

5. Psychotic Girl

6. Goodbye Babylon

7. Things Aint Like They Used To Be

8. Same Old Thing

9. All You Ever Wanted

10. I’ll Be Your Man

11. You’re The One

12. When The Lights Go Out

13. The Wicked Messenger

14. Have Love Will Travel

itunes-essentials-the-black-keys

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I’m pleased to report it’s the 1 year and 1 month and a bit anniversary of The Black Keys Fan Lounge. I kind of missed the true anniversary.

A goal of the site was to write articles I wanted to read but never saw written about the band. I was sure other fans felt the same way and would find such articles interesting too. I think I’ve proven myself right so far.

Importantly, I’d like to think this site has added to the millieu and popularity of The Black Keys. Indeed, the band have never been more popular. Being a fan since 1993, it’s good to see Dan and Pat’s continuing humility whilst enjoying their success and the additional opportunities it brings them.

In the past year there have been 88 posts and 125 comments to the site. I’m surprised how all that original and aggregated Black Keys content has added up.

I’m pleased the most popular post so far has been The Black Keys as Outsiders. I think this post expresses what this type of dedicated fan site can do well.

The most commented post was Why Don’t Girls Like The Black Keys (yup, maybe it would have been better titled Why Don’t More Girls Like The Black Keys).

A real highlight in the first year was to interview The Black Keys, an interview which was recently posted in two parts. Thanks again Pat for your support.

Special thanks to guest contributor, Merlyn, for his posts. I look forward to many fans contributing to the site in the coming years.

I’ve been lucky to have attended 2 Black Keys concerts and Dan’s solo show in the past year, all of which have been covered in depth on this site. At one of those shows Pat was kind enough to do a shout out to The Black Keys Fan Lounge for me, as seen below in the video clip.

But let’s not just look back. Here is to the coming year – a year in which fans’ can expect a new Black Keys album, tours, merchandise, interviews, news, videos and many more posts from this site. So much to look forward to.

Finally, thanks to you – fans of The Black Keys – for whom I hope this site has and will continue to be an enjoyable and worthy read. Thanks for all your comments and support so far.

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This is the 2nd Part of an extended interview with Pat Carney from The Black Keys exclusively for The Black Keys Fan Lounge.

Part 1 can be found here.

I wrote a post relating The Black Keys to ideas of  being an ‘outsider’. Are the conclusions I’m drawing there fair comment?

We are outsiders in the sense that we are from and live in city that is out of the loop. Besides that being out of the loop is the way to be I think and we both are drawn to misunderstood weirdos.

What does it personally mean to you and why do you support other up and coming bands, collaborating at a grass roots level, and producing their music as you (and Dan) have?

We like music and if we can help bands we like because of the position we are in we will try and take advantage of it. We wouldn’t be where we are if it weren’t for people like Sleater-Kinney, or Beck or whomever giving us opportunities early on.

Up until the last album, The Black Keys hadn’t worked with any other producer or recorded with another artist. When choosing someone to collaborate with on a song (Jessica Lea Mayfield) or produce the album (Danger Mouse), what sort of qualities are you looking for? Or is it more of a simple gut feeling or do you realise they fill a hole in the sound that you can’t find/make yourselves?

Well we picked musicians we like and Dan was working on Jessica’s record at the time and we are both big fans of Ralph Carney (who is one of the most talented musicians I have met) and Marc Ribot as well. We respect their work and wanted to borrow some other talent I guess.

Do you know how many live shows you played in 2008?

I don’t but I can guess 75 with another 45 days of travel.

Express to me the importance of the live show to the success of The Black Keys?

Nowadays a band has to tour to make a living so it is how we earn our living so we try and make it as good as it can be.

At the last 2 shows I’ve seen you play in 2008, it’s my personal view there’s a struggle to bring some of the increased subtlety of the Attack and Release album to the audience. At one Dan played the organ yet at another it seems you are playing increasingly to an audience who just wants the heavy beat and cranked up guitar sound. Fair comment?

I don’t know how much of that is the audience or us. I think that we preferred to just play the loud stuff this last few months of touring.

Why don’t more girls like The Black Keys? Are they really all at Kings of Leon shows, as has been suggested?

I don’t know. I am afraid of them anyway so it is best they stay away. And we look like managers from a sbarro.

Drummer the band. Is it good to have people talking about how your side project might break up The Black Keys rather than people bleeting on about Dan’s side project doing this?

I don’t know why people would say that stuff. At this point the Black Keys can only release like 12 songs every 18 months because of the way everything is structured. So if you figure we spent like a month on the last record that leaves a lot of time making music and sometimes it gets released.

Your own solo music making is very different to The Black Keys. The limited tracks on your MySpace site are very spare, hip hop related, and all I can think is that you will score a soundtrack to a major movie one day. Is that a possibility, the Spiegelman project after all is a start down that track?

I would love to do that. Who knows.

What bands should fans keep an ear out for that might be coming out of Audio Eagle Records in the next year or so?

The next release is a record by a group called Other Girls which comes out June 9th. They are from Cleveland and are a pretty classic indie rock/pop band. I am really excited about it.

The Royal Bangs, they have already released a record on Audio Eagle which I licensed to City Slang in Europe which has just this past week gotten four star reviews in the Sun and Uncut. Their next record comes out on Audio Eagle and City Slang and hopefully in Australia in September.

I am also doing the Drummer record which should be out in the Fall.

What’s the biggest compliment a Black Keys fan can pay the band?

Just coming to a show.

Thanks for your time.

Thanks for running the site. It is pretty amazing…it’s a huge compliment!

pat-carney

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It’s been a long term goal to interview The Black Keys for The Black Keys Fan Lounge. This goal has now been achieved. It was a great experience to recently interview The Black Keys drummer, Pat Carney.

Pat was kind enough to take some time answering a whole range of questions. These included general questions about The Black Keys, his own music, fast food (of course), why more girls don’t like The Black Keys, fans generally, Audio Eagle records and much more.

This then is Part 1 of the interview. Part 2 can be read here.

Thanks again, Pat.

I noticed you’ve proudly bought a cello recently, and you are playing bass in Drummer the band, yet you are universally known as a drummer. What other instruments do you play?

Well I can’t play the cello but I can buy the cello as of right now. We will see I would like to be able to play it but i have been pretty busy. I started out playing the guitar when I was 12. I never really got that great though but I can play it. I actually played a few guitar parts on the last Black Keys record but it is kinda silly since Dan is such a great guitarist. When I was 15 I got a job washing dishes and saved up all summer and bought a drum set and a bass mainly because my friends couldn’t drive and I wanted to have the equipment so we could play. After years of owning this things I kinda learned how to play them all decently. I also have a small obsession with synthesizers which started when I was 14 and got way into Devo so I have a few old synths that I can play as well.

How has this musical awareness affected your album production skills? And equally how you want your live sound to come across?

I think in the past year my whole approach to recording and music in general has changed. I used to have very strong opinions about how things should always sound but lately I am way more into working with other people who have ideas and compromising more. But I do think if you play a lot of instruments you are going to be more aware with how they work and how they are intended to sound which helps a lot. I am also very lucky that I have a lot of very talented friends who teach me shit everyday.

Can you tell me about how your musical relationship with Dan has evolved over the years?

I think we are still coming from the same place it all started 10 years ago but now we are better musicians and also more schooled on music. Playing music always feels exciting and natural.

You’re obviously great friends, there’s a brotherly affection there, and Dan has mentioned since when you first started playing together something special is always created when you play together. Do you see it in the ame way?

Yeah for sure. We have been through some shit together and have shared the same bed and van and all that shit. We have been touring usually over 150 days a year together for seven years so our relationship is very brotherly. And yes I see it the same way.

What can we expect from the next Black Keys album? There’s debate among fans whether you’ll continue the journey started on Attack and Release or you’ll retreat to a ‘traditional’ Black Keys thump-thump blues sound or you’ll move off in another direction?

We have it all planned and studio time booked and it will be what it is. We are both very excited about it and I prefer to let people hear it rather than describe it.

I’m hoping you’ll also tell me The Black Keys and The RZA are working on a track! Or he’s going to produce the album? I’ve long predicted it.

No RZA tracks in the works. But we would be into it.

I’ve always noted the contradiction that in interviews Dan and yourself come across as parts goofy, funny, and ironic yet on stage there’s a seriousness, earnest approach, some might say, predictable presentation of the music. Why the absence of the humor that we see in your personalities away from the stage do you think?

Dan and I and all of our friends spend most of our time making fun of each other. I like funny shit and prefer to talk about stupid shit in most interviews but I hate funny music. Trying to be funny on stage can be a disaster as well so it is best to just play I think.

Why do you seemingly always talk about fast food in interviews?

Fast food is real edgy and seems to be real important right now as well. I think fast food is very taboo and therefore it is extreme to talk about.

I’m led to believe Dan’s favourite hot dog topping is sauerkraut and mustard. What’s yours?

Well that is Dan’s favorite hot dog topping while he is in NYC (mine too) but I think we are both partial to the Chicago style dog, although Dan has ventured timidly into the chilli cheese dog lately.

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Check out this cool mash up of The Black Keys ‘Psychotic Girl’ track and rapper Jay Z’s ‘Say Hello’.

It’s been noted that many of The Black Keys’ beats, especially off the Attack and release record, are inspired by a hip hop sensibility. Now someone has taken this thought to an interesting conclusion.

What do you think, love it or not?

Check out the track via mp3 here – Jay Z vs The Black Keys.

Check it out via YouTube here – no video just the song.

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The Black Squeeze are not the only band who cover Black Keys songs. The Black Squeeze, however, only play Black Keys songs.

They recently caught my eye after they uploaded live footage of themselves at Trophy’s Bar and Grill in Austin, Texas.

If you can’t see The Black Keys live I guess the next big thing is to check out a cover band of the original.

Do you know of, or are you in a Black Keys cover band? Leave a link to your band in the comments.

The Black Keys Fan Lounge recently caught up with Joel Johnson (aka Dan Auerbach, who started the band) to ask him about being a fan of the ‘Keys and what it’s like to pay tribute to The Black Keys by forming and performing in this cover band.

When did you first become a fan of the band and what drew you to their music?

I got Rubber Factory from a friend not long after it came out in 2004 and didn’t really like it that much. I guess I listened to the first few tracks and felt like it all sounded alike. I don’t think I even finished it. It wasn’t until a 07 that I dug it back out and listened to “Grown So Ugly” and “Keep Me” and started taking them really seriously. I got the rest of the albums and got really pumped. I’m still most drawn to Rubber Factory as a complete album.

I think what drew me to them is what most people feel about them. I really need musicians to be genuine, to believe in what they are playing. Also, I think they are one of the only bands playing actual rock n roll today. I think we need a lot more of that!

How long have you been playing ‘Keys songs for, prior to starting the band?

The Black Squeeze started last Summer (2008). Before that, I had only learned a few songs because most of them don’t really translate to acoustic guitar, which was what I was playing on by myself. “Act Nice & Gentle” and “The Lengths” were favorites to play before I Brian, the original drummer, agreed to play. Any of the slower ones, really. A friend and I came up with the idea to start a Keys tribute band in the Fall of 07 and I started woodshedding to learn as many songs as I could. I knew I had to have it down before I got a drummer to play with me.

What songs are the hardest play? Specifically guitar parts?

Most of them aren’t too hard technically, but the tone is a real challenge. Once I made a few gear changes, it opened everything up for us. The ones with a lot of thumbing still give me fits. “Countdown” I may never get that completely figured out. I would love to able to play the Seven Parts Six Ep version of “The Moan” just like that someday.
“Evil” is almost ready but has taken me a while.

This project has made me a much better player because their music can be such a good introduction to some important blues techniques. Want to get started on slide? Start playing “Desperate Man.” “Thickfreakness” is such a good way to get your thumb going. They aren’t so crazy hard that you get discouraged. A little at a time.

Have you ever met Dan and Pat from The Black Keys?

I met Dan at SXSW. His manager and I have emailed for awhile and he introduced me. I told him I was in The Black Squeeze and he got a real kick out of it.
He had already heard of us because I gave his sound/tech guys some Black Squeeze t-shirts when they were here for Austin City Limits Music Festival in September. I don’t really know what they think about, but the sound guys were pleased.

You say you are a tribute band not a cover band. Why is the distinction important to you?

That’s more of a joke than anything. But, to get technical, I think a cover band would play a Black Keys song, and like, “La Bamba”, or something. “Margaritaville,” followed by “The Breaks.” A Tribute Band would only play the works of one band. Again, I think we just wanted to be clever. Not sure if it worked.

What’s your favorite song to play live?

Either “I’m Glad” or “The Breaks.” We have done those two at every show we’ve done. Matt really loves “Just Got To Be.” I can’t say I blame him. The drum part in that is amazing.

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Check out this awesome video interview with Dan Auerbach when he was in Melbourne, Australia, recently.

Some really good work from the Student Youth Network to get this interview.

It covers everything from Dan’s solo album, Jessica Lea Mayfield, Greville Records to Booker T’s keyboard.

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