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If you’re heading to Akron, Ohio, and you are a fan of The Black Keys make your trip even more memorable by seeing some significant points of interest related to the band there.

Use this Google Map I’ve created which has venues, sites, and notable places related to The Black Keys plotted on it. These places were either referenced by Dan and Pat in interviews or are on the public record as being connected to the band.

Akron is, of course, where Dan and Pat were born and grew up. Along with Robert Quine, Chrissie Hynde and Devo, The Black Keys are notable Akron musical exports. Dan and Pat have always been staunch supporters of the town and continue to live and work there.

As Pat explained in an interview about why he identifies with and is proud to say he’s from Akron:

Well, Akron is our home. It’s where all of our friends are. We do that because places like Akron get written off. I don’t think you can’t truly appreciate Akron until you have either lived here or at least been here. It’s not one of those cities where people are waiting in line to come visit. That’s why we like Akron. It’s not flashy. There are lots of cool things, but you just need to know where to go. Because of that, nothing ever changes, which is cool.

The map is a work in progress so if you have suggestions or alterations to places marked on the map I’d love to hear from you. Leave a comment on this post or on the map

The map is freely accessible so it should in time become a resource for all Black Keys fans as more points of interest are added.

A small selection of the points presently marked on the map include:

– Dan and Pat’s High School

– Audio Eagle Records, Pat’s record label

– Where the sculpture for the inflatable Indian Head stage prop used by the band on tour can be seen

– The restaurant where Pat once worked as a line cook

Click on the map image to link through to the Google Map:

the black keys akron ohio google map

I was looking for some reason or another at The Black Keys MySpace page yesterday and I was surprised to see ‘Psychotic Girl’ has had 1,478,056 plays and counting.

That’s quite astounding since the song was released with the Attack and Release album in early 2008.

I’m surprised this track has so captivated the fan base. It’s been played nearly 400,000 times more than ‘Strange Times’.

It would be interesting to know (if there was a way of knowing) across MySpace and commercial radio which Black Keys song had been played most over the life of the band.

Anyone have any ideas how to access such a stat? I guess if I had access to Nielsen SoundScan I’d have a better idea.

Not really what I’m looking for but vaguely related:

“The Black Keys have sold 671,000 records, between five LPs and one EP. The Keys’ recent live DVD has sold another 14,000 copies. Last year’s Danger Mouse-produced Attack and Release continues moving briskly, and is on track to break 174,000 by next week, according to figures Nielsen SoundScan provided Wednesday, May 27 2009.” Source: Rolling Stone

myspace_psychotic_player

This is a post by Black Keys fan Jade Luber who regularly contibutes. All opinions are her own.

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In the post The Best Black Keys Song Lyrics it was noted pretty much all of Dan Auerbach’s lyrics are about life, love, or heartbreak. The Black Keys have not yet written a political song or anything expressing opinions about the state of our economy, society, or world. I relate to The Black Keys lyrics so much because they evoke a lot of personal emotion and heartache. I’d like to highlight some brilliant Black Keys lyrics and somehow justify and interpret them based on my personal experiences. Perhaps other fans can relate.

We have all been heartbroken. Usually lyricists write about what they know best – their own experiences. I’m sure we all know how it feels to be in blissful harmony with love and then all of a sudden getting betrayed. I’m sure we all know how it feels to fuck up and regret choices we made. I’m not trying to assume that all this has happened with Dan, but he sure does sing a lot about someone who hurt him through lies.

A perfect example is the song “Lies” from the Attack and Release album. The tragic irony is that even though the lyrics contain so much pain and anger, they still imply that he loves her:

Said the moon was ours
Yeah
Said the moon was ours
The hell with the day
The sunlight is always
Gonna take love away
Brings up suspicions
And alibis
But I can see blue
Tear-blinded eyes
Lies, lies, lies
Ohh, lies

Dan uses very beautiful imagery. She promised him the moon, perhaps signifying an affair, but when the sun comes out she leads her other life, having him feel alone and suspicious. However, her tears make him forgive her, and he knows that she just lies.

I got a stone
Where my heart should be
I got a stone
Where my heart should be
And nothing I do
Will make you love me
I’d leave this time
Break all my ties
Be no more
Use for any disguise
Lies, lies, lies
Ohh, lies

The stone heart signifies his numbness and utter grief. He is in so much pain because she is lying to him, but there is nothing she can do to keep her from leaving or doing what she does. If he could, he would leave and sever, so there would be no more lying for anyone.

I wanna die
Without pain
I wanna die
Oh, without pain
All this deception
I just can’t maintain
The sun, moon
The stars in the sky
It’d hurt me too bad
If you said goodbye
Lies, lies, lies
Ohh, lies

As much as he wants to let go of everything and get rid of the pain, the deception kills him. He loves her like the sun, the moon and the stars, but if she left for real, he would be devastated. Ah, lies, lies, lies…

I am simply fascinated by those lyrics. I want to share a personal experience why these lyrics mean so much to me and how I relate to them.

No one likes cheaters. Men get away with it a little more, but when women do it, they are persecuted and highly disregarded in all aspects. No one is ever right or justified when they cheat, deceiving two or even more people.

I carried a burden of my Father’s affair as a child for years before finally telling my Mom.  I have seen that men can treat women so shitty, and maybe that has obscured my view.

Perhaps because I witnessed my Dad carry his affair on, believing that she was just a “friend”, I somehow feel like all men do that and are disposable. It’s unfortunate when people are so loyal and good to others.

I do, however, believe we go through this heartache and pain to become stronger and grateful for what we have. There are, therefore, a lot of the upbeat and hopeful songs from The Black Keys too.

Each of the ‘Keys albums have at least one song about betrayal, so I shall explore more of the lyrics of those songs and how they affect me in future posts.

dan

photo: msachtler

It’s common in scientific study to do a forensic review of literature already written about a subject. Certain articles best present the core themes, motivations, influences and attitude of a subject that others will take their lead from. Examining them in turn enhances our understanding of the subject.

If someone was to do a review of articles written about The Black Keys these two articles written about events in 2003, I think, would stand out. Both reflect the raw touring band experience which is quintessentially what The Black Keys are all about.

1. Tour Of Duty by Denise Grollmus (Cleveland Scene, February 23 2005)

2.  On The Road With The Black Keys and Sleater Kinney 2004 by Peter Relic (Arthur Mag, May 2003)

Tour of Duty‘ was written by Patrick Carney’s then girlfriend, later to be his wife, Denise Grollmus. She happens also to be a journalist with the Cleveland Scene. Irrespective of her close connection to Pat and insiders view on The Black Keys, it’s so honestly written, concise and slightly dark in tone.

The article is Denise’s account of going on a three month tour with The Black Keys to Europe, Australia and the USA in 2003.

Some highlights from the article:

On meeting Pat in High School…

Pat looked like a ’70s basketball player — a slender torso attached to long, skinny legs ending in high-top Chuck Taylors. His long face was exaggerated with Mick Jagger lips and thick black-framed glasses. A Sonic Youth T-shirt hung from his coat-hanger shoulders. He was exactly my type.

On being offered drugs…

After some small talk, the two [Har Mar Superstar and Conor Oberst] politely invited us to do drugs in Oberst’s room. We declined. As they tucked in their chairs, Pat asked what kind they were doing.

“Blow,” answered Har Mar.

“Nobody does cocaine,” I said. “It’s so ’80s.”

“That’s why I like it,” he said.

On The Black Keys burgeoning fame in Australia – their first tour there and the first country outside the USA to really embrace the band…

The Black Keys are to Australia what David Hasselhoff is to Germany. The band’s rock-star status granted comforts we could never afford back home. We even had real laminated backstage passes and spiral notebooks mapping out a busy itinerary of radio appearances.

On the not so glamourous life on the road…

“I’m sick of bars,” Tarrah [Dan Auerbach’s girlfriend] said. “I’m sick of music.”

When we reunited with the boys in Iowa City, everyone was irritable and anxious. That night, Pat and I ate at Subway. His skin was leathery in the neon light, and he had big bags under his eyes. He was stressed and jet-lagged. On top of it, he was also worried about me.

I told him taking the girlfriends on tour was a bad idea. “This isn’t ‘Take Your Girlfriend to Work Day,'” I said. “This is a job. This isn’t vacation.”

On The Road With The Black Keys‘ is a really lengthy article written at a time when The Black Keys were rising in popular music consciousness. The story behind the article is best told by this excerpt of an interview The Black Keys later did with ‘Sup Magazine:

Marisa: The first thing I read about you guys was the tour diary article that Peter Relic wrote for Arthur when you were on tour with Sleater Kinney. Now he’s your manager? How did you hook up with him?
Pat: There was a local paper in Cleveland called The Free Times that got shut down. Before it got shut down, Pete got assigned to do a story on us. Actually he didn’t get assigned, he found our record and wanted to interview us. He came down to Akron and wrote the first feature on us. We became friends and started hanging out. He’s like family now. He knows my girlfriend. He’s friends with our dads. He became a friend. We didn’t know he wrote for Rolling Stone, but he sent the record [Thickfreakness] to the new editor over there and they wanted him to review it. One day we discovered it all. It was really weird. One of our friends called and was like, “Dude, have you seen the new Rolling Stone? You’re in it.” Apparently Janet Weiss [from Sleater Kinney] talked it up to the editors at Rolling Stone and the next week Pete was like, “Hey, I have this new band to review.” And they were like, “Oh yeah, we’ve heard of them.”

The fact that Peter went on to be the band’s manager shows his ongoing guidance to their career.

It’s hard to find articles written in this style and depth in (any) publications in recent memory. Certainly the rapport Peter had comes across in the conversational style spread over many days of The Black Keys tour supporting Sleater Kinney.

Like any band exposed to increasing public adoration, pressure and expectation band members slowly retract to those they can trust and don’t so freely express themselves. The article breathes with the innate possibility of the moment when the The Black Keys were finding their own fans.

Ahh those fans…

“I saw these guys play at the Ale House in Upland last year,” he screams. “They’re awwwwesome!” DA [Dan Auerbach] has told me repeatedly that the Upland show was the worst Black Keys show ever. The lesson being that awesome is in the ear of the beholder.

You know you are thinking too much about The Black Keys when…you start dreaming about them.

I should mention I’ve had a few dreams before where I’ve met Dan and he has ignored me. I guess that can be explained as fan anxiety. I’m not sure how I explain this dream, however.

The dream I had last night went like this:

I’m waiting to see The Black Keys at a live concert. I’m standing back from the stage on the right. Pat comes onto the stage from behind the stage curtains. He sits down at his drum kit with the crowd going wild. He launches into a drum solo. The crowd are screaming with joy, recognising it as the song ‘Scarred’ [note: this song title doesn’t exist in reality]. I stumble with my camera trying to get it to video mode since I realise Pat never does drum solos. As I’m fidgeting with the camera I realise someone in front is videoing on their camera and they are blocking my view. So bummed out. Then Dan comes out and the drum solo segues into Dan playing Michael Jackson’s ‘Billie Jean’ accompanied by Pat. As the song goes on Dan is cranking so hard the song morphs into Metallica’s ‘Enter Sandman’ until only Dan’s playing. The crowd is loving it, screaming with absolute joy. I’m still standing there amazed and fumbling with my camera unable to get it into video mode.

Hmmm.

Have you ever dreamt about The Black Keys? Is that what being a fan is all about?

The musical lineage and influence of the Auerbach and Carney extended families on The Black Keys is often over looked. Until now, I don’t think I really appreciated all the connections.

It’s easy to acknowledge the mythologised road trips Dan took with his Dad to try and see Junior Kimbrough. Whilst that legacy is important, maybe we should pay more attention to the influence of Robert and James Quine on Dan’s development as a musician and guitarist.

Dan Auerbach did a lot of interviews after he released his solo album ‘Keep It Hid’. Not many were as insightful as this one. Listen to the interview here.

In a wide-ranging interview, respected Triple J radio host, Richard Kingsmill, inquired into the musical heritage of Dan’s family and unearthed interesting anecdotes about his Uncle James Quine and noted guitarist Robert Quine his first cousin once removed.

Dan’s full name is actually Daniel Quine Auerbach. The Quine family heritage stretches back via Dan’s Mother’s side of the family. They are all related to the famous analytical philosopher WV Quine (Robert’s Uncle), who was also born in Akron, OH.

In the aforementioned interview Dan tells a great anecdote of playing guitar for and with Robert Quine when he was a 16 year old. The story is even more innocent when you understand the musical legacy of Robert Quine. He was at the heart of the New York punk scene playing with everyone from Lou Reed, Richard Hell and the Voidoids through to Mathew Sweet.

I never knew that it was actually Robert Quine who laid down the instantaneously catchy guitar lines on Sweet’s song ‘Girlfriend’ (listen to it below).

As with Kimbrough, Dan never got to play with Robert Quine in a professional capacity. You can feel Dan’s lament in the interview that Robert died in 2004 just as The Black Keys were making great strides and before they had a chance to seriously play together. It would have been a raucous jam, for sure.

It’s always been too easy to pigeon hole Dan’s guitar style and The Black Keys song book as “blues rock”. Like Robert Quine, Dan has not been fearful to experiment and define his own sound, most impressively on his solo album. Robert’s influence might be reflected in the angular sounds of ‘The Breaks’, through the harsher electric sound on the Magic Potion record, while the country influence on ‘Keep It Hid’ reflects the heritage of James Quine.

James Quine, of course, accompanies Dan on the track ‘Trouble Weighs A Ton’ and took the publicity photos used for the album. He’s actually an acclaimed photographer and it’s worth checking out both his photographs and music. James is the brother of Dan’s mother.

Keeping it all in the family, let’s not forget that Dan’s father Charles Auerbach wrote the words to ‘Whispered Words’. It’s interesting to hear Dan discuss this on the interview. I’m surprised like the interviewer that he didn’t press his father for a deeper interpretation of the lyrics. Charles apparently told Dan about Jessica Lea Mayfield as well, the rest is history.

I also hear whispers that Pat Carney is recording with his Uncle Ralph Carney who helped out on The Black Keys’ Attack and release record. Pat has recently changed his MySpace page to reflect the naming “Pat and Ralph Carney” including a photo. Ralph Carney has had a long association with Tom Waits and interestingly Robert Quine played on Tom Waits’ 1985 album, ‘Rain Dogs’. Both Robert Quine and Ralph Carney have played with guitarist Marc Ribot (also of Tom Waits’ band) who also contributed to the Attack and Release album.

I loved Mathew Sweet’s ‘Girlfriend’ (with Robert Quine on guitar) when I was growing up. I also briefly studied WV Quine’s philosophy at University. Very tenuously, no wonder I like The Black Keys so much!

This version of ‘Girlfriend’ is played from the video game Guitar Hero. Can’t be too long until we hear a Black Keys song featuring on this game also. The Black Keys have after all licensed ‘Strange Times’ to be used in Grand Theft Auto 4.

Come to think of it I’d love to hear a Black Keys version of ‘Girlfriend’. Too cheesy? Maybe, but I reckon it would work.

Dan Auerbach Triple J Radio Interview:

Listen to the interview here

Mathew Sweet – ‘Girlfriend’

Dan Auerbach w/ James Quine – ‘Trouble Weighs A Ton’

This video for Dan Auerbach’s “I Want Some More” track was created by Black Keys fan Vampireplayground.

The video is not just a few still images and a music track slapped together. Thought and time has gone into the imagery and editing to create a professional result which reflects the themes of the song.

So far Dan has only made videos for “Trouble Weighs A Ton” and “Heart Broken, In Disrepair”.  It would be great for Dan or The Black Keys to run a fan oriented video competition to create a video for the band in the future.

The Black Keys Fan Lounge recently caught up with Vampireplayground to ask him about his inspiration for the video:

I have been a fan of The Black Keys for a long time and have seen them perform live about 8 times.
I have all of their studio released albums and would put them in my top 5 favorite bands right now.

The song ” I Want Some More ” really stood out to me on Dan Auerbach’s new solo album.
I love the hard driving blue/rock arrangement and the context of the song. It painted a very vivid picture in my mind of love, sex and lust.

I am always combing through old footage looking for thing to appropriate for projects. When I heard the song for the first time it conjured up the footage of the women with the coke bottle that I had
pulled around the same time. I thought the imagery and the track would compliment each other well. The other elements I just inserted where I felt it worked. The character footage ended up giving the video more of an ominous – “fat cat” – enough is never enough context.

The video only took me about 4 hours to put together (Not counting rendering time). I would call it a rough cut for sure. I did it just for fun – I loved the song and thought the images worked well with it.

I guess you could say I have made a few other music videos… I find it very relaxing to edit things like this together with no clients or deadlines… Just for me.
I am sure I will continue to do more videos in the future as the fancy hits me…