The Black Keys' Dan Auerbach sounds off on bandmate Patrick Carney's big mouth
Dan Auerback (foreground) and Patrick Carney.
The Black Keys could be the rock 'n' roll version of The Odd Couple.
The duo, now one of the biggest bands on the planet, are obviously on the same page musically – what seems to separate the two is, well, some personality differences.
Speaking down the line from Alabama just before a headlining gig at the Hangout Music Festival, soft-spoken singer-guitarist Dan Auerbach had a few choice words for his childhood friend and bandmate Patrick Carney over the noise he's been making with his mouth of late, not his drum kit.
The very outspoken Carney made headlines around the world for comments he made during a whirlwind promotional tour for the Keys’ eighth album, Turn Blue – and it has left Auerbach seeing red.
Carney ratcheted up a feud he's been having lately with Canadian bad boy Justin Bieber, he also told Rolling Stone that Jack White "sounds like an a--hole," and then turned his ire towards Michael Jackson, calling his posthumous record, Xscape, which just happened to share the same release day as Turn Blue, "bull----."
So what does Auerbach think of his snide comments?
"I think they're pretty stupid sometimes," Auerbach says bluntly. "He generally regrets them after he says them... he's always been like that. He's done it a bunch (of times) where he's said something bad about somebody and then completely regrets it, then runs into that person."
When asked if he's attempted to talk to him about keeping a lid on the trash talk, Auerbach points out, with a chuckle, that it always seems to fall on deaf ears. "It doesn't work... he doesn't seem to filter (anything)."
When it comes to the music, however, they've never been more in tune with each other. After building up a strong following early on with their brand of swampy, guitar-heavy blues rock, the pair finally had their commercial breakthrough six albums in with 2010's Brothers, which included the mega-hit, Tighten Up.
A year later, El Camino was released, and seven Grammys later, The Black Keys were a household name. The latest album, which debuted at No. 1 in the U.S. and Canada, sees the band moving into a darker, moodier realm, and, according to Auerbach, it was all unplanned – despite the enormous success of the last two efforts.
"It just happened,” Auerbach says. “We don't ever talk about what we're going to do ahead of time, we just go ahead and do it and see what happens. We never know what the record is going to be like until we're almost done with it, and this was certainly the case with this one. That way, the record is more real for us. They are a snapshot of a moment in time and they are where we were that couple of weeks. I really like that; a cross between a document of time but it's also a studio experiment. It's a good mix of both."
One would think there would be just a little bit more stress in the studio given the accolades that have been reaped on the band the last few years, but their newfound fame was put into perspective with the personal turmoil Auerbach was going through during the recording of Turn Blue – he was in the middle of a very nasty (and thanks to leaked legal documents), public divorce.
"I didn't feel any of the pressure,” Auerbach states. “Pat (Carney) may have, but I didn't feel any of it. He thinks about that stuff more than I do. I was going through a breakup and that was at the front of my mind so anything else was really just not even there."
As far as the band's upcoming North American tour, which sees them play six dates across Canada in September and October and runs until the end of the year, they plan on keeping it as they always do - simple and loud.
"When people come to see us it's never gonna be fireworks and holograms,” Auerbach says with a laugh. “I think people know what to expect from us. It's gonna be a real live rock 'n' roll show."
Will there ever be a time when the twosome plan to scale-down their rigorous tour schedule?
"I really don't know. We love making records and the only way we can make a living is on the road. It's the blessing and the curse of what we do."
Dan Auerbach unplugged
In a lot of ways, Dan Auerbach's quotes are very similar to the band's songs - simple, sharp and ferocious.
Here are some of the quick hits:
On his biggest highlights of their mini press tour with appearances on Saturday Night Live, Colbert Report and The Late Show with David Letterman:
On a world in which fans can enjoy Lady Gaga, Avril Lavigne and his band (they played alongside Gaga's exploding nipples at the 2011 MMVAs):
"If there is a world like that, I've never experienced it."
On how they prepare for a giant tour:
"We do some rehearsing."
On what musician he'd love to or plans to collaborate with:
"I'm not gonna let you break the name."
On success affecting the way the duo operates:
"Just on tour... it's not eight guys in a van anymore."
On what he'd be doing if he wasn't in The Black Keys:
"I'd be a stay-at-home dad."