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I must say The Black Keys and Dan Auerbach always have cool tour posters.

Hopefully Dan will have posters for sale at his upcoming gig I’ll be going to.

Below are a couple of variations on Dan’s recent graphic theme.

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A lot of people buy Black Keys merchandise. Often a higher price is attached to goods if it has Dan and Pat’s autograph on it.

Having said that, I doubt anyone would pay for a used Black Keys concert ticket with their signatures on it.

If you are buying something purporting to have been signed by The Black Keys you can now compare the  squiggles with the examples below.

Hmm, I’m pretty sure the scribble on the left of the ticket is Pat’s and the one on the left is Dan’s.

If you were buying some Black Keys merchandise, would you pay more for their signature on the goods?

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If you’ve ever wanted to know what Dan Auerbach’s guitar pick looks like, well, here it is.

There’s probably a few guitar pick spotters who will appreciate this close up.

Even though I don’t play the guitar I’m pretty chuffed to have it. I have it due to luck more than anything else.

A guy seated next to me at the recent Melbourne gig had asked a roadie for the spare Gomez guitar picks after their set. He threw one  over. The guy was stoked.

After the Black Keys gig, the same guy yelled out to the Black Keys roadie (whose name I would later learn is Mattrix) for a guitar pick. The kind soul that he is threw 2 picks in our direction. I caught one and the other dropped between the front row of seats and the stage, down into what would normally be an orchestra pit, far out of reach. I was now stoked, and the other guy was unhappy.

I suppose I can never say that Dan actually played with this particular pick, but it certainly was in his available rack.

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Beer tastes better in a Black Keys stubby holder!

Here’s a stubby holder I picked up at a recent gig, below.

I guess now that I have two Black Keys stubby holders I can be righteous and say I’ve got a collection.

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I always look forward to Black Keys live concerts, not only to see the band live but because it’s an opportunity to pick up some new Black Keys merchandise. It feels way more righteous buying it from the show than from an anonymous website.

More importantly tour t-shirts with tour dates generally are only ever sold at live shows.

This shirt adds to my collection of Black Keys clothing merchandise.

Below I’ve recorded the front and back of the tour t-shirt for the recently ended Black Keys world tour.

ATAC SI ELIBERARE is of course Romanian for “Attack and Release”.

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Recently I wrote a post about the Black Keys posters the band commissions to promote their live shows.

I noted one of the best Black Keys poster artists was Chicago native, Dan Grzeca. I love his posters and other Black Keys poster art fans might do too.

I wanted to know more so I contacted Dan Grzeca and he was kind enough to share his thoughts, explain a little more about his Black Keys posters and his connection with the band.

Below the interview are the posters Dan refers to in the interview.

How and when did you first get started in doing poster art generally?

I started making posters about 12 years ago for bands in Chicago, mostly for Ken Vandermark and the Free Jazz scene here. I was introduced to screenprinting by Steve Walters and Bob Hartzell initially.

How did you first make contact with The Black Keys to produce poster art for them? Or did they contact you?

I was hired by the Metro to make a poster in Dec 2005 for a pair of ‘Keys shows; I met Patrick at Pitchfork the following year when I was showing my work there. From there I started working with the band directly on making posters.

Any idea how many Black Keys specific posters you have done now?

Probably 15 or so.  I need to go count.

Does the band give you complete freedom of expression for each poster?

They do.  It’s really great.  Dan and Patrick are super nice and seem to like the insanity I pour into my work.   I have a lot of fun making images for their shows.

Do you approach designing a poster that will be used to promote a show in a specific place differently to others? ie. London, England, vs Akron, Ohio

Sometimes I do, subconcsciously.  First I always want to make sure each poster functions in a pretty direct, iconic way visually..  The last Akron poster was specifically one that would only to me work in an American venue, esp the midwest, with this sort of mythic woodend dog wandering through the hills.   I had just made a poster before that for a show at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville. I had to use the Bald Eagle with a broken down shack.  I just had to.

Black Keys posters are quite varied in their look for each show. The horse and eagle motifs are represented in a few, although represented in very different ways. Is there something about the band that triggers those representations or is the symbology just what you are interested in?

It’s a case of images and symbols I’m interested in generally and directing them to the band specifically. The Eagle was great to use as the Keys are what I would call, in no ironic sense, a great American rock band.

I presume you like the band’s music. Or is this irrelevant to how you express yourself with the poster art?

I pretty much have to really like a band’s music to make posters for them.  The progression on the last 4 ‘Keys records has been great to listen to.  I really appreciate their covers (Beefheart, Sonics) too.

Do you have collectors buying every print you do for the band?

I do.  It gets crazy.

Any specific Black Keys projects you are working on now that you would like to let Black Keys’ fans about?

Just drumming up ideas for shows in 09 that they might need posters for.  I have piles of sketchbooks with thumbnails of poster and print ideas, so there is no lack of images waiting to turn into posters.

Any advice for budding poster artists trying to get their break?

Make a lot of work, start locally and then build up from there.  Love what you do, or don’t even get into it.

How can fans buy your Black Keys artwork?
I sell my posters in my online shop: www.jetsah.etsy.com

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The Black Keys have also represented themselves with pretty cool poster art, t-shirts and general tour merchandise.

I haven’t framed my 2008 Australian tour poster yet, but I thought I better document it for the time being (below). I bought it at the Sydney show this year. I also really like the poster that promoted their ‘secret’ Byron Bay show earlier this year which I added to a post.

Here’s some places where you can buy Black Keys posters:

The Black Keys own official merchandise including posters

Ebay Black Keys Posters – good selection and slightly cheaper than official site (Note: this is the Australian site address so hopefully everyone can access)

Dan Grzeca is a noted artist of Black Keys posters and has them for sale from his etsy site

bMethe is another prominent artist of ‘Keys art. You can buy his work over at this gigposters address

Hajimeru has some ‘Keys poster artwork on his Flickr site that he made but I don’t know where you can buy it from

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