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Almost as exciting as hearing about the The Black Keys’ new Blakroc project, is realising that Patrick Carney from The Black Keys is on Twitter. Here’s his address – @patrickcarney

How pleasing to see Pat on there since this site reported on hope for a Black Keys Twitter page.

There have been people hijacking other people’s names including a false Black Keys address. The Black Keys Fan Lounge therefore contacted Pat to verify the authenticity of the account and he confirmed the address it is indeed his. The comments certainly are uniquely his you’d have to say.

Pat’s Twitter stream are now rss fed down the right hand side of this site’s home page.

pat twitter

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Have you ever seen a random interview with The Black Keys and noticed the photo used to accompany the story is the same one that was used on another article you’ve read?

It’s obviously easier and cheaper for magazines and newspapers to use a stock PR photo than commission a new one. In any case, bands like using the same images to build up an identifiable attitude or profile.

I’ve assembled the commonly seen publicity images that have come to define the look and story of The Black Keys (in no particular order).

From the look of this lot, I guess there’s only so many band photo faces you can pull.

They are interesting in that they each capture a moment in the band’s life, a piece of it’s history, from the early days to recent days. None of them portray a self-satisfied or smug attitude, rather the modesty and irony of Dan and Pat’s personality comes across.

In a recent comment on this post, Black Keys fan Dan mentioned the first image below of Dan and Pat in the basement would make a great poster. I’d have to agree.

I look forward to seeing some new images for the new Black Keys album being released. With a bit of luck they’ll be done by James Quine who took all of Dan Auerbach’s recent solo press images.

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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?

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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’

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Patrick Carney of The Black Keys seems to have caused a bit of a stir with his recent comments for a Pittsburgh Post-Gazette article promoting their recent appearance at the Three Rivers Festival in Pittsburgh on June 5, 2009.

Reminiscing about his time in Pittsburgh, Pat said:

“I used to live in Pittsburgh for like six months. I used to go to that pseudo art school Downtown,” he says of the Art Institute of Pittsburgh, in the fall of ’98. “I was getting straight A’s, so I knew there was something wrong, because I had 2.0 in high school. So that’s why I left. It felt like a joke.”

This has prompted no less than the President of the Art instute of Pittsburgh, George L Pry, to respond in a letter to the paper:

I am moved by overwhelming collective response within The Art Institute of Pittsburgh college community to extend our disdain for Scott Mervis’ article announcing the appearance of the Black Keys at the Three Rivers Arts Festival (June 4).

Our outrage is not with the opinion of the band’s drummer, for every institution of higher education deals with the negative commentary from a dissatisfied dropout from time to time. More specifically, our concerns are directed squarely at Mervis, for his surprising lack of professional decency.

Still greater is our sense of wonder about how the drummer’s quote speaks in any meaningful way to telling Mervis’ story about how the Black Keys formed or drawing the relationship between its members and the City of Pittsburgh.

Patrick Carney’s quote about his academic performance and his insult to one of the city’s most successful, historic and largest academic institutions have no relevance to the Arts Festival or the city, and therefore, it can only be concluded that Mervis lacked the judgment to disregard the statement.

The Art Institute of Pittsburgh is a thriving institution closing in on a century of success with an alumni network of tens of thousands of successful commercial artists, photographers, illustrators, filmmakers, animators and designers of all disciplines.

Despite its delivery, Patrick Carney’s opinion concerns us. The Art Institute of Pittsburgh takes pride in a continuous cycle of improvement and our commitment to graduate success has been the core of our mission since 1921.

Mervis’ indiscretion in choosing to lead his story with such an unsavory, irrelevant remark to a college that hosts over 12,000 students, 340 employees and 900 year-round residents of Downtown Pittsburgh? That’s another matter. One that raises a simple question about his motivation.

George L. Pry
President, Art Institute of Pittsburgh

Crikey, I didn’t realise The Black Keys were were now such tall poppies or their views on education were crucial to the well being of an established institution.

Anyone who has read many interviews with Pat over the years knows his comments are often acerbic and ironic. He likes to poke fun at issues that are generally taken so seriously. Clearly he was just speaking of his own experiences. Big deal. Some of the educated alumni might have seen the comments in the context in which they were offered.

The President is obviously concerned other students will be turned off studying at the Institute. His spleen is venting more toward the reporter Scott Mervis’ use of the quote but he cant help himself to dis-credit Pat as a “dissatisfied dropout”.

In summary, funny.

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For a long time, I didn’t give The Black Keys lyrics much thought. I was all about the music. For some reason the lyrics seemed less important.

Then I found the excellent Lucid Dreams blog. Scott, who runs the site and is clearly a fan of The Black Keys,  posts a band’s lyrics with an image.  The image and words contrast and concentrate your thinking. It caused me to start looking at the lyrics of The Black Keys again.

Dan Auerbach, who writes all The Black Keys lyrics, has noted in many interviews that he is growing in confidence with his lyrics. One might even argue his recent solo album is the best example of his lyrics. In all his lyrics there’s a continual focus of loss, heartbreak, distance, girls, lurking, and being on the fringe and not fitting in. All good blues themes.

Interestingly enough I don’t think there’s one overtly political song lyric in The Black Keys’ catalogue.

As an aside, it’s quite interesting that people often quote this part of the lyric from ‘When The Lights Go Out’ on Twitter. It’s such an evocative phrase:

you know what the sun’s all about
when the lights go out

My favourite Black Keys lyrics would have to be ‘The Lengths’. Lucid Dreams has other lyrics that other’s might also consider as some of the better lyrics including ‘When The Lights Go Out’, Memories Of Night’, ‘Midnight In Her Eyes’, and ‘Elevator’ .

What are your favourite lyrics?

The Lengths

tell me where you’re goin or
what is going wrong
I felt you leavin before
you’d even gone
and hold me now
or never ever hold me again
no more talk
can take me away from this pain I’m in
see the moonlight shinin on
your window pane
see it leave you as
faithful as it came
please yourself so you
don’t have to be afraid
make amends
or carry on another way

tell me what you were thinkin
to treat somebody so
the care he took the
lengths to which he’d go
coals are hot to walk
across without your shoes
but in the end
know that you got nothin to lose

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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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