The Black Keys http://www.guitarworld.com/taxonomy/term/1750/all en The Black Keys' Dan Auerbach Discusses New Album, 'Turn Blue' http://www.guitarworld.com/black-keys-dan-auerbach-discusses-new-album-turn-blue <!--paging_filter--><p><em>This is an excerpt from the September 2014 issue of </em>Guitar World<em>. For the rest of this story, plus features on Dan Auerbach's off-beat guitars, Eric Clapton and his new J.J. Cale tribute album, Judas Priest, 17 Amazing practice amps, columns, tabs and reviews of new gear from Epiphone, ESP Guitars, Visual Sound, Blackstar, G&amp;L Guitars, Ibanez and more, <a href="http://guitarworld.myshopify.com/collections/guitar-world/products/guitar-world-september-2014-the-black-keys/?&amp;utm_source=gw_homepage&amp;utm_medium=article&amp;utm_campaign=BlackKeysExceprt">check out the September 2014 issue at the Guitar World Online Store.</a></em></p> <p><strong>Black and Blue: <em>Dan Auerbach tells how the Black Keys made their latest hit album, Turn Blue, in the midst of personal hardship, using a handful of guitars, amps and effects and a whole lotta spontaneous inspiration.</em></strong></p> <p>Black Keys guitarist and singer Dan Auerbach is obsessed with arcane, el-cheapo mid–20th century guitars: Teiscos, Nationals, Supros, Silvertones. </p> <p>But that fixation is rivaled only by his passion for collecting vintage vinyl and under-the-radar new music. “Yesterday, I was listening to some dub [reggae] that I have on vinyl,” he says. “And this morning, I was listening to some South American Sixties psych music.”</p> <p>When it comes to current music, Auerbach’s passion for contemporary hip-hop is balanced by a fondness for less mainstream fare, like moody Canadian act Timber Timbre and U.K. retro-pop unit Metronomy. “I love their English Riviera album,” the guitarist raves. “There’s some really amazing plectrum bass playing on it. I just love the record’s experimentation and sonic limitlessness.” </p> <p>In one way or another, these variegated influences find their way into the Black Keys’ own music. Their new album, <em>Turn Blue</em>, takes them further along the ambitious sonic trajectory they’ve been following ever since Auerbach and drummer Patrick Carney teamed up with über producer Brian Burton, a.k.a. Danger Mouse (Gnarls Barkley, Beck, Gorillaz, Norah Jones) for the Keys’ 2008 album, Attack &amp; Release. Like all the Black Keys’ records, Turn Blue’s sound is firmly based in the garage-rock interplay between Auerbach’s bluesy squawk-box aggression and Carney’s flailing frenzy. But over this foundation, the Keys have woven a mesmerizing web of ghostly synths and eerie sonic textures. Auerbach plays bass as well as guitar on the album, and he splits keyboard duties with Danger Mouse.</p> <p>“Anybody can jump on any instrument at any time,” Auerbach says. “There are really no rules when we’re in the studio.”</p> <p>With its stately tempo, lazily strummed acoustic guitar and spectral synth line, the album’s opening track, “Weight of Love,” invites comparison with the classic-rock majesty of Pink Floyd. “We love that kind of music,” Auerbach admits, “so it’s in us to be capable of doing that. It’s just something that we’ve never tried to go for before. But we had the time and that little spark of creativity to start us in that direction, and on a couple of songs we saw it through.” </p> <p>“Weight of Love” also is the most guitar-solo-intensive Black Keys track to date. Auerbach’s psychedelicized midsong magic carpet ride is followed up by a soaring outro excursion to the creative dark side that lurks somewhere underneath his regular-guy, flannel-and-denim Midwestern exterior. </p> <p>“That was all spur of the moment,” he says. “We’d just built that song up, and the end has this massive crescendo where everybody’s really going for it. It really called for a guitar solo, and I just improvised something. Then I put a harmony guitar on top of it. Honestly, it was 20 minutes and done, not something I really labored on very long. Everything on this record happened very naturally.” </p> <p>Auerbach seems to have little or no use for premeditation. He appears to be proud of the fact that he and Carney were completely unprepared when they entered the studio to make True Blue, the heavily anticipated follow-up to 2011’s strong-selling, Grammy-winning and critically lauded <em>El Camino.</em></p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/trk7P-9QDyc" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <p>“We didn’t have any songs written,” he says. “We had no sense of what we were gonna do. We just went in blind. The blind leading the blind. We didn’t have any real goal other than to make an album. So we wrote songs every day. We just improvised. I guess the goal was to try to have a song done every day, maybe every two days at the most. And we did.” </p> <p>Sessions for <em>Turn Blue</em> began at a studio in Benton Harbor, Michigan, called the Key Club, where Auerbach and Carney worked on their own. Danger Mouse joined them for subsequent sessions at Sunset Sound in L.A. and Auerbach’s own Easy Eye studio in Nashville. Auerbach also seems to take pride in the fact that he came up with the album’s infectious lead single, “Fever,” during the early sessions in Michigan, without assistance from Danger Mouse, who has served as the band’s co-writer as well as producer on the past few albums. </p> <p>“Fever” exemplifies Auerbach’s formidable strength as a tunesmith—he can write catchy pop hooks that go straight to your head like a sugar rush. The song’s main synth line wouldn’t be out of place in an early Eighties hit by OMD or Depeche Mode. “Fever” is also one of many seriously bass-driven songs on <em>Turn Blue</em>. Throughout the album sessions, Auerbach played a Fender Mustang bass guitar through “a good, old-time transformer D.I.,” he notes, usually employing a pick. “I really like palm-muted pick bass,” he says. “Especially if you’ve got flatwound strings. It’s just classic—a really nice bass sound that kind of sits well in a mix and is really propulsive.”</p> <p><em>This is an excerpt from the September 2014 issue of </em>Guitar World<em>. For the rest of this story, plus features on Dan Auerbach's off-beat guitars, Eric Clapton and his new J.J. Cale tribute album, Judas Priest, 17 Amazing practice amps, columns, tabs and reviews of new gear from Epiphone, ESP Guitars, Visual Sound, Blackstar, G&amp;L Guitars, Ibanez and more, <a href="http://guitarworld.myshopify.com/collections/guitar-world/products/guitar-world-september-2014-the-black-keys/?&amp;utm_source=gw_homepage&amp;utm_medium=article&amp;utm_campaign=BlackKeysExceprt">check out the September 2014 issue at the Guitar World Online Store.</a></em></p> http://www.guitarworld.com/black-keys-dan-auerbach-discusses-new-album-turn-blue#comments Black Keys Dan Auerbach September 2014 The Black Keys Interviews News Features Magazine Mon, 21 Jul 2014 17:49:40 +0000 Alan Di Perna 21872 at http://www.guitarworld.com The Black Keys Extend World Tour in Support of 'Turn Blue' http://www.guitarworld.com/black-keys-extend-world-tour-support-turn-blue <!--paging_filter--><p>The Black Keys have extended their upcoming worldwide tour in support of their new album, <em>Turn Blue</em>.</p> <p>The Ohio-based blues-rock duo will be supported on the nearly year-long jaunt, at different times, by St. Vincent, Cage the Elephant and Jake Bugg. </p> <p>Check out the band's upcoming dates below.</p> <p>06-20 Neuhausen Ob Eck, Germany - Southside Festival<br /> 06-22 Scheessel, Germany - Hurricane Festival<br /> 06-24 Zagreb, Croatia - Inmusic Festival<br /> 06-27 St. Gallen, Switzerland - Open Air St. Gallen<br /> 06-28 Beuningen, Holland - Down the Rabbit Hole<br /> 07-02 Gdansk, Poland - Open'er Festival<br /> 07-04 Pas-de-Calais, France - Main Square Festival<br /> 07-05 Werchter, Belgium - Festivalpark Werchter<br /> 07-06 Belfort, France - Les Eurockeennes<br /> 07-08 Rome, Italy - Rock in Rome<br /> 07-11 Lisbon, Portugal - Optimus Alive<br /> 07-12 Bilbao, Spain - Bilbao BBK Live<br /> 07-15 Nimes, France - Festival de Nimes<br /> 07-17 Vieilles Charrues, France - Les Vieilles Charrues<br /> 07-20 Suffolk, England - Latitude Festival<br /> 09-05 Columbus, OH - Schottenstein Center *<br /> 09-06 Cleveland, OH - Quicken Loans Arena *<br /> 09-07 Grand Rapids, MI - Van Andel Arena *<br /> 09-09 Milwaukee, WI - BMO Harris Bradley Center *<br /> 09-10 Louisville, KY - KFC Yum! Center *<br /> 09-12 Detroit, MI - Joe Louis Arena *<br /> 09-13 Pittsburgh, PA - CONSOL Energy Center *<br /> 09-14 Rochester, NY - Blue Cross Arena *<br /> 09-16 Toronto, Ontario - Air Canada Centre *<br /> 09-17 Ottawa, Ontario - Canadian Tire Centre *<br /> 09-18 Montreal, Quebec - Bell Centre *<br /> 09-20 Philadelphia, PA - Wells Fargo Center *<br /> 09-21 Boston, MA - TD Garden *<br /> 09-23 Brooklyn, NY - Barclays Center *<br /> 09-24 Brooklyn, NY - Barclays Center *<br /> 09-25 Washington, DC - Verizon Center *<br /> 09-27 Chicago, IL - United Center *<br /> 09-28 Chicago, IL - United Center *<br /> 10-24 Minneapolis, MN - Target Center #<br /> 10-25 Winnipeg, Manitoba - MTS Centre #<br /> 10-27 Calgary, Alberta - Scotiabank Saddledome #<br /> 10-28 Edmonton, Alberta - Rexall Place #<br /> 10-30 Vancouver, British Columbia - Pacific Coliseum #<br /> 10-31 Portland, OR - Moda Center #<br /> 11-01 Seattle, WA - KeyArena #<br /> 11-03 Oakland, CA - Oracle Arena #<br /> 11-04 Sacramento, CA - Sleep Train Arena #<br /> 11-06 Los Angeles, CA - The Forum #<br /> 11-09 San Diego, CA - Viejas Arena at Aztec Bowl #<br /> 11-10 Phoenix, AZ - US Airways Center #<br /> 11-12 Salt Lake City, UT - Maverik Center #<br /> 11-13 Denver, CO - Pepsi Center #<br /> 11-15 Houston, TX - Toyota Center #<br /> 11-16 Dallas, TX - American Airlines Center #<br /> 12-04 Baltimore, MD - Baltimore Arena ^<br /> 12-05 Raleigh, NC - PNC Arena ^<br /> 12-06 Richmond, VA - Richmond Coliseum ^<br /> 12-08 Nashville, TN - Bridgestone Arena ^<br /> 12-09 St. Louis, MO - Scottrade Center ^<br /> 12-11 Atlanta, GA - Philips Arena ^<br /> 12-12 Charlotte, NC - Time Warner Cable Arena ^<br /> 12-13 Greenville, SC - Bon Secours Wellness Arena ^<br /> 12-15 Fort Lauderdale, FL - BB&amp;T Center ^<br /> 12-16 Tampa, FL - Tampa Bay Times Forum ^<br /> 12-17 Orlando, FL - Amway Center ^<br /> 12-19 Austin, TX - Frank Erwin Center ^<br /> 12-20 Tulsa, OK - BOK Center ^<br /> 12-21 Kansas City, MO - Sprint Center ^</p> <p>* with Cage the Elephant<br /> # with Jake Bugg<br /> ^ with. St. Vincent</p> http://www.guitarworld.com/black-keys-extend-world-tour-support-turn-blue#comments The Black Keys News Mon, 02 Jun 2014 20:47:17 +0000 Jackson Maxwell 21420 at http://www.guitarworld.com The Black Keys Premiere New Song, "Bullet in the Brain" — Listen http://www.guitarworld.com/black-keys-premiere-new-song-bullet-brain-listen <!--paging_filter--><p>The Black Keys have premiered another portion of their upcoming album, <em>Turn Blue</em>, sharing a moody new track — "Bullet in the Brain" — via BBC Radio 1.</p> <p>You can hear it via the YouTube player below.</p> <p>If fact, you can hear the duo's entire Zane Lowe BBC session <a href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p01y8kqr">HERE.</a> Let us know what you think of the song, and, for that matter, the other two songs that are available for your listening pleasure. There's <a href="http://www.guitarworld.com/black-keys-premiere-fever-music-video">"Fever"</a> and <a href="http://www.guitarworld.com/listen-black-keys-premiere-new-song-turn-blue">"Turn Blue."</a></p> <p><em>Turn Blue</em> will be released May 13, following the band's May 10 performance on <em>Saturday Night Live</em>.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/GOEQncMDnQ8" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> http://www.guitarworld.com/black-keys-premiere-new-song-bullet-brain-listen#comments Black Keys The Black Keys News Mon, 05 May 2014 15:47:08 +0000 Damian Fanelli 21167 at http://www.guitarworld.com The Black Keys Premiere "Fever" Music Video http://www.guitarworld.com/black-keys-premiere-fever-music-video <!--paging_filter--><p>The Black Keys have premiered the music video for "Fever," the first single from their upcoming album, <em>Turn Blue</em>. You can watch it below.</p> <p>The album will be released May 13 by Nonesuch Records — and the band will celebrate the occasion with a May 10 appearance on NBC's <em>Saturday Night Live</em>.</p> <p>The Black Keys will headline the Hangout Festival in Alabama May 16 before embarking on a European festival tour this summer; more U.S. dates will be announced soon. You can see their current dates below the video.</p> <p><em>Turn Blue</em> was recorded at Sunset Sound in L.A. in 2013 with additional recording done at the Key Club in Benton Harbor, Michigan, and Dan Auerbach’s Easy Eye Sound in Nashville in 2014. Produced by Danger Mouse, Auerbach and Patrick Carney, <em>Turn Blue</em> features 11 new tunes.</p> <p>This is the duo's eighth full-length album and the followup to 2011’s <em>El Camino</em>, which made its way onto a few year-end best-of lists here in GW Land. Will the new album do as well? Only time will tell.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/trk7P-9QDyc" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <p><strong>THE BLACK KEYS TOUR</strong></p> <p>May 16-18 Gulf Shores, AL Hangout Music Fest<br /> June 20 Neuhausen Ob Eck, Germany Southside Festival<br /> June 22 Scheessel, Germany Hurricane Festival<br /> June 24 Zagreb, Croatia Inmusic Festival<br /> June 25 Pilton, U.K. Glastonbury<br /> June 27 St. Gallen, Switzerland Open Air St. Gallen (sold out)<br /> June 28 Beuningen, Holland Down The Rabbit Hole<br /> July 2 Gdansk, Poland Open’er Festival<br /> July 4 Pas-de-Calais, France Main Square Festival<br /> July 5 Werchter, Belgium Festivalpark Werchter<br /> July 6 Belfort, France Les Eurockennes<br /> July 8 Rome, Italy Rock In Rome<br /> July 11 Lisboa, Portugal Optimus Alive<br /> July 12 Bilbao, Spain Bilbao – BBK Live<br /> July 15 Nîmes, France Festival de Nîmes<br /> July 17 Les Vieilles Charrues, France Les Vieilles Charrues<br /> July 20 Suffolk, U.K. Latitude Festival<br /> July 22 Nyon, Switzerland Paleo Festival</p> http://www.guitarworld.com/black-keys-premiere-fever-music-video#comments Black Keys The Black Keys Videos News Thu, 01 May 2014 20:41:06 +0000 Damian Fanelli 21149 at http://www.guitarworld.com The Black Keys to Release New Album, 'Turn Blue,' May 13 http://www.guitarworld.com/black-keys-release-new-album-turn-blue-may-13 <!--paging_filter--><p>Last week, ear-biting (and boxing) legend Mike Tyson announced the new Black Keys album, <em>Turn Blue</em>, via his Twitter feed. </p> <p>The Tyson Tweet led readers to the strange video below, which — eventually — provides a few details about the band's upcoming album. It also lets us know the Black Keys are "rock musicians."</p> <p>The album, the band's eighth, will be released May 13. It will be the follow-up to 2011's Grammy-winning <em>El Camino</em>. It is rumored that the album's first single — "Fever" — will hit radio today, March 24. Stay tuned for more details on that.</p> <p>The Black Keys will headline the Hangout Festival in Gulf Shores, Alabama, which runs May 16 to 18. </p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/Zq40vTdaa2w" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> http://www.guitarworld.com/black-keys-release-new-album-turn-blue-may-13#comments Black Keys The Black Keys Videos News Mon, 24 Mar 2014 15:24:11 +0000 Guitar World Staff 20811 at http://www.guitarworld.com Anthrax, Megadeth, Jack White and More Receive Grammy Nominations http://www.guitarworld.com/anthrax-megadeth-jack-white-and-more-receive-grammy-nominations <!--paging_filter--><p>Last night, the nominees for the 55th annual Grammy Awards were announced. </p> <p>In the rock music category, Jack White led the way with three nominations, including a nod for Album of the Year for his debut solo album, <em>Blunderbuss</em>. White was also nominated for Rock Album of the Year, which will see him going up against Bruce Springsteen, the Black Keys, Coldplay and Muse.</p> <p>Thrash metal is the theme of this year's Hard Rock/Metal Performance nominations, with Megadeth, Anthrax and Lamb of God all garnering nods, along with Iron Maiden, Marilyn Manson and Halestorm.</p> <p>"I was watching The Dave Matthews Band perform when I received a text saying 'Congrats on the Grammy nomination!'," said Anthrax drummer Charlie Benante. "Huh? I had lost all hope of ever being nominated for another Grammy, but I guess I was wrong. We put so much hard work into 'Worship Music,' and I am so honored to be nominated with a group of bands that have also sustained the Test of Time like the legendary Maiden and Megadeth. Heavy Metal is a Force, it has fans that range from six to 66, and I'm so proud to be a part of this Force...it's in all of us."</p> <p>Your full list of guitar-related nominations:</p> <p><strong>Best Rock Performance</strong></p> <p>Bruce Springsteen — "We Take Care Of Our Own"<br /> Mumford &amp; Sons — "I Will Wait"<br /> The Black Keys — "Lonely Boy"<br /> Coldplay — "Charlie Brown"<br /> Alabama Shakes — "Hold On"</p> <p><strong>Best Hard Rock/Metal Performance</strong></p> <p>Anthrax — "I'm Alive"<br /> Lamb of God — "Ghost Walking"<br /> Marilyn Manson — "No Reflection"<br /> Halestorm — "Love Bites (So Do I)"<br /> Iron Maiden — "Blood Brothers" (Live)<br /> Megadeth — "Whose Life (Is It Anyways?)"</p> <p><strong>Best Rock Song</strong></p> <p>Jack White — "Freedom at 21"<br /> Mumford &amp; Sons — "I Will Wait"<br /> The Black Keys — "Lonely Boy"<br /> Muse — "Madness"<br /> Bruce Springsteen — "We Take Care Of Our Own"</p> <p><strong>Best Rock Album</strong></p> <p>Jack White — <em>Blunderbuss</em><br /> Coldplay — <em>Mylo Xyloto</em><br /> Muse — <em>The 2nd Law</em><br /> Bruce Springsteen — <em>Wrecking Ball</em><br /> The Black Keys — <em>El Camino</em></p> http://www.guitarworld.com/anthrax-megadeth-jack-white-and-more-receive-grammy-nominations#comments Anthrax Jack White Lamb of God Megadeth The Black Keys News Thu, 06 Dec 2012 15:54:02 +0000 Josh Hart 17325 at http://www.guitarworld.com Interview: ZZ Top's Billy Gibbons and the Black Keys' Dan Auerbach http://www.guitarworld.com/interview-zz-tops-billy-gibbons-and-black-keys-dan-auerbach <!--paging_filter--><p>Mississippi Fred McDowell’s haunted, woody voice sails through the air as the Black Keys’ Dan Auerbach nurses a cup of coffee and flips through a vintage lunchbox-sized valise designed for carrying 45 rpm records.</p> <p>“Lord, when you get home baby,” the late bluesman cries as his slide guitar cuts a zigzagging melody, “won’t you write me a few of your lines.” </p> <p>“Found it!” Auerbach exults as McDowell keeps spinning on the well-used turntable at his Nashville home base, Easy Eye Studio. He pulls an orange-labeled single out of the case and shows it to Billy Gibbons, who’s sitting next to Auerbach on the worn office sofa, sipping a Diet Coke.</p> <p>“The first ZZ Top record, on Scat. I want to have you sign it,” he says.</p> <p>“Sure,” Gibbons says, examining the flashback from his—and the music industry’s—past.</p> <p>“Cool,” Auerbach replies. “Which was the A-side: ‘Miller’s Farm’ or ‘Salt Lick’?”</p> <p>“It was ‘Salt Lick,’ ” Gibbons says in his laconic twang.</p> <p>It’s a classic moment: Gibbons, the godfather of Texas-style blues rock putting his signature on a treasured disc belonging to Auerbach, a ZZ Top devotee and today’s most prominent practitioner of blues-influenced garage rock. Separately, the men represent two badass pinnacles of rock and roll, demonstrating through their music, guitar work and choice of instruments how the blues has influenced—and continues to shape—music, well into the 21st century. Together, Gibbons and Auerbach are a blues summit—a pair of experts who can riff on the contributions of blues legends like Hound Dog Taylor, Lightnin’ Hopkins and Junior Kimbrough, while discussing the finer points of the vintage gear that helped shape the sound of classic blues records. </p> <p>Although the occasion for Gibbons and Auerbach’s meeting is an interview for Guitar World, it might as well be a record collectors’ convention, a guitar swap or a blues-fan nerd-out. The conversation embraces the gleaming faux-silver-pickguard-bedazzled Silvertone charmer that Gibbons has brought along with three other guitars, plus a pair of vintage Kustom speaker towers that he and bassist Dusty Hill are using on ZZ Top’s current tour for Texicali, their new back-to-basics four-track EP. Gibbons and Auerbach also extol the charms of vintage vinyl and the sounds and rambunctious spirits of a host of bygone blues six-stringers, including McDowell, Lil’ Son Jackson, Junior Kimbrough, Hound Dog Taylor and, of course, Lightnin’ Hopkins, whose music cuts close to both men’s bones (see sidebar).</p> <p>Gibbons and Auerbach have been friends for nearly a decade, and when they get together it’s like an exuberant reunion of long-parted pals. Despite the difference in their ages, the two have many similarities that belie the distance between their generations. </p> <p>Gibbons got his start in the mid Sixties playing gnashing guitar in the Moving Sidewalks, a group that breathed the same dusty psychedelic Texas air as the legendary Roky Erickson and opened for Jimi Hendrix and the Doors. He educated himself in the ice-pick guitar styles of protean Texas bluesmen like Hopkins and Jackson and their Louisiana neighbor Frankie Lee Sims, plus the laconic hypnosis of Jimmy Reed and Eddie Taylor. Since then, Gibbons and ZZ Top have recorded 15 studio albums and 42 singles onto which he has cut one of the greatest guitar tones ever to bark out of an amp. </p> <p>Auerbach, who has pasted some of the past decade’s most evil and snarling guitar sounds onto seven studio albums by the Black Keys, started clean—playing bluegrass with his family—but set out on a personal quest to explore the same dirty secrets of the blues as Gibbons, albeit 30 years later. For him, discovering the serpentine melody lines of Mississippi hill-country guitar anti-hero Junior Kimbrough was like being struck by the other kind of lightning. It jolted him out of college and into cofounding the Black Keys in Akron, Ohio, in 2001. With three Grammy Awards, a Platinum album for 2010’s sonically daring Brothers, a solo disc, March’s sold-out Madison Square Garden concert, an April headlining gig at California’s eclectic Coachella festival and a near-ubiquitous presence on TV and in film soundtracks, Auerbach and the Black Keys are burning their names into rock’s Big Black Book.</p> <p>Over the course of nearly four hours Gibbons and Auerbach will laugh, talk, pick out licks and share the camera’s focus with Auerbach’s big brown dog, Bella, a natural charmer who saunters through the studio greeting visitors like Easy Eye’s unofficial hostess. They’ll also take four minutes to listen to a cut Auerbach’s been producing for Los Angeles–based songwriter-guitarist Hanni El Khatib that’s gritty, haunting and reverb-drenched enough to be a lost gem from the vault of Chicago’s Chess Records. Which prompts our opening question: </p> <p><strong>Have you guys ever recorded together?</strong></p> <p>BILLY GIBBONS: Oddly enough, we were brought into the studio under the auspices of our buddy [producer] Rick Rubin. We had developed a friendship aimed at just taking the time to talk about the kind of stuff we’re talking about now: Lightnin’ Hopkins and Lil’ Son Jackson, Gold Star Records out of Houston... So much of that stuff was primitive by today’s standards but did a fine job then.<br /> Anyway, Dan and Patrick [Carney, the Black Keys’ drummer] and me got together in California in the studio and spent a couple days knocking around, and it brought us even closer together. The funny thing was, we were having such a blast, and the richness of the exchange had Rick Rubin speechless. He just kept saying, “Keep on, keep on…”</p> <p>DAN AUERBACH: Rick had us doing this weird thing where he would throw out an idea and we’d start jamming. Patrick and I would leave going, “What just happened?”</p> <p>GIBBONS: Rick has got this unwarranted reputation for taking forever to get a project done. He’s quite the opposite. I think in the course of one day we had starter-kit ideas for about 20 songs. Rick would come out of the control room and go, “Well, we’ve got that. Let’s do something else.” He’d look around and say, “Patrick, give me a beat!” It was, like, hyper-pedal…</p> <p><strong>How did you guys meet?</strong></p> <p>AUERBACH: Billy came to one of our shows in New York City, at Irving Plaza. </p> <p>GIBBONS: Yes, that was early on, but previous to that was the Paramount in Santa Fe, New Mexico. What drew me there… I was living out there for a time, and my buddy Freddie Lopez, who is an actor but also has a mind for sounds, said, “What are you doing tonight?” I said, “Not much. What do you have in mind?” He said, “There’s this group called the Black Keys.” “The Black Keys?” I said. “Man, I can’t believe you’re bringing this up. Just last week, I was in Los Angeles and the filmmaker David Lynch,” who is partnered up with his musical buddy, um…</p> <p><strong>Angelo Badalamenti?</strong></p> <p>GIBBONS: Yes! Well, they had come to the house, and Lynch said, “I just wanted to bring you this,” and it was the first Black Keys record.</p> <p>AUERBACH: We were touring at that point in the minivan. I remember listening to Bob Dylan’s <em>Basement Tapes</em> as we were rolling over the hills at night, seeing the lights of Santa Fe in the distance. </p> <p>GIBBONS: Upon hearing the Black Keys for the first time, it resonated. We stuck around after the show that night and I made it a point to get to know Dan and Patrick. I said, “I don’t know how you guys do this, but don’t change it. It is working.” The room was rocking; the walls were rattling. We got to talking about so many like-minded things. It came as no surprise that much of the inspirations that lead me to continue to do what I do are the same things that lead Dan to do what he does. So we connected. The brush fire had started.</p> <p>AUERBACH: Now it’s a bro-mance that’s taken years to blossom.</p> <p>GIBBONS: What I enjoy about watching the Black Keys is the sense of abandon. It’s wonderful to be embraced and appreciated by many, many fans that get it and want to be part of it. At the same time, Dan and Patrick are being propelled to deliver something.</p> <p>There is something remarkably mesmerizing about getting to do what we get to do. It’s beyond design. We’re just drawn to it. And there are those moments when, I don’t know how to describe it, but you’re just enjoyably drawn to get it out. It’s beyond yourself. </p> <hr /> <p><strong>Billy, you’ve been eyeing the wall of about 600 albums in the studio’s office, and Dan, you’ve kept discs spinning since Billy arrived…</strong></p> <p>GIBBONS: If we can address the value of vinyl… Upon entering Dan’s Easy Eye Studio, I was drawn immediately to the Macintosh tube amp and the turntable, and it was in the groove. The rawness and the richness of music on vinyl almost went away, but it still seems to be on a lot of people’s radar, and for good reason. It does something different than more accessible means of music playing, like MP3 players and downloads and whatnot. You get in front of these archaic contraptions that go ’round and ’round. It’s mesmerizing, not only to look at but to sit back and experience. Wouldn’t you agree?</p> <p>AUERBACH: Yeah, yeah. There’s nostalgia there, for sure, but it also sounds fucking great. Everything sounds really good on vinyl, if you’ve got a nice setup. I’ve got a bunch more albums at home.</p> <p><strong>Billy, do you have a big vinyl collection?</strong></p> <p>GIBBONS: Oh yeah. Unfortunately, it had to be rescued. We were in England and I was notified to call my assistant, Denise. She said, “Well, there’s been a horrific rain storm and that flat roof of your condo sprung a leak. I was retrieving the mail and I saw something that looked like a garden hose spraying straight into the room.” She called the handyman and they were able to put the valuables aside, but part of the rain went right into a column of vinyl.</p> <p>Water doesn’t hurt a vinyl record. Put it into a dishwasher and you’re fine. But the paper began to mold and my secretary, being rather protective, decided it was unsafe and threw them all away. I was able to rescue several garbage bags. It was just one column, but it happened to be a column of favorites. I ordered up a bunch of plain white sleeves to put them in and they were fine.</p> <p><strong>What are some of your favorite titles on vinyl?</strong></p> <p>AUERBACH: It changes every day. I always obsess about something and listen to it over and over and over again. </p> <p>GIBBONS: I’ll turn one track into a two-hour listening session. It’s that obsessive thing. I share it with Dan—the passion and obsessiveness that can enter one’s pathology when it comes to vinyl and tubes and all this crusty stuff.<br /> I have a longstanding buddy who is a true audiophile and has invested a lot of time and money, to the point where he bought a platform that was invented to stabilize electron microscopes from the rattling as the Earth spins…</p> <p>AUERBACH: The rattling of the Earth’s rotation? [laughs] </p> <p>GIBBONS: It was causing this low-end rumble that he was able to perceive. Given the power of an electron microscope—and at 100,000 times magnification, it better darn well be stable or it’s going to be very fuzzy—he decided that if he put one under his turntable it would be a little more precise.</p> <p>AUERBACH: Shit. Just have one of those built into the soles of your shoes. Check this out… [He pulls another single out of a case.] Here’s Hound Dog Taylor’s very first 45, before he had his band the Houserockers: “Christine” backed with “Alley Music,” on the Firma label.</p> <p><strong>Did you know that Hound Dog Taylor left Mississippi with the Ku Klux Klan on his trail? They wanted to lynch him for seeing a white woman, so he took off at night and hid by crawling through drainage ditches until he got to Memphis, where he lit out for Chicago.</strong> </p> <p>GIBBONS: Well, that brings up something really interesting. How did Memphis become this musical melting pot? As the African-American exodus to leave Mississippi started building up steam to head up to Chicago—where it was a little more open and job opportunities were better—very few people had enough money to have an automobile or even to get a bus ticket, so walking out of Mississippi was the way to get on your way. From the Delta, Memphis was about as far as you could make it on one set of soles. That was a great stopping spot, with Beale Street and the nightlife. The attraction must have been beyond imagination.</p> <p>AUERBACH: Think about how exciting it was before the days of being able to check shit out on the internet. All you would hear were stories, and as they were told and retold they’d get grander and grander. Can you imagine how the stories about what it was like hanging out in Memphis sounded in rural Mississippi?</p> <p>GIBBONS: I heard a story: Freddie King and Little Walter walked…you know the [Howlin’ Wolf] song “I Walked from Dallas.” I think Freddie did a version. Word has it that Freddie King and Little Walter walked from Texas to Chicago. Maybe not all the way, but significantly…</p> <hr /> <p><strong>One of the things you both appreciate in classic blues artists like Little Walter and Lightnin’ Hopkins is their expressionism—the idea of changing and moving on to new ideas when you feel it in the music, not because it’s dictated by form.</strong></p> <p>GIBBONS: It’s become acceptable to address that which is emanating from a spiritual and soulful spot within—something that doesn’t necessarily have a requirement to be perfectly boxed in forms of 12 bars or 16 bars—like a math problem.</p> <p>AUERBACH: When did that happen? Did British blues do that?</p> <p>GIBBONS: Well, yeah. </p> <p>AUERBACH: Did you like British blues? You know, like the John Mayalls and the Peter Greens?</p> <p>GIBBONS: Yeah. The British have a tendency to take whatever subject they plow into down to the genetics, and blues was no exception. But they were getting blues records much, much later, when the art form itself here in the United States ran the risk of being abandoned. Then the Rolling Stones, the Pretty Things, a lot of these groups—especially John Mayall, who was the leading exponent of hardcore electric blues experimentation—made it so appealing and repopularized the art form. I call it the Great Salvation. They are to be credited for the salvation of this art form that was nearly extinct.</p> <p>AUERBACH: I could never get into British blues. I don’t know why. I grew up listening to Memphis recordings and Texas stuff, and then I couldn’t understand the British approach. I just didn’t get it. </p> <p><strong>But didn’t you come up playing bluegrass, which requires so much precision?</strong></p> <p>AUERBACH: Bluegrass was more about the harmonies for me, and vocal group stuff, like the Stanley Brothers. It’s about songs. And bluegrass is soul music—white soul music. </p> <p>GIBBONS: Ah… the Stanley Brothers. That harmony work was so perfect. When you analyze the complexity of where the melody would go, and to have three guys intuitively able to follow, it’s just…beautiful.</p> <p><strong>You guys not only have musical tastes in common, you have a shared interest in a certain kind of guitar tone. You’re always looking for dirt. Where does that come from?</strong></p> <p>AUERBACH: It was listening to these records and I’d think, How did Elmore James get his guitar to sound like that? You couldn’t go to Guitar Center and plug into an amp and get that sound. I had to dig for it. It’s hard to say, but still to this day, I listen to some of those old 45s and just can’t believe the sounds they got. And they were using weird shit. Little Walter was using that weird Danelectro amp with six eight-inch speakers. Electric music wasn’t defined yet. Companies were making weird stuff, and those guys were taking advantage of it.</p> <p>GIBBONS: It’s no secret that, even then, Fender and Gibson kind of led the pack as far as high-quality instruments, and after them you’ve got what maybe even then would be considered lesser instruments, only because they were more affordable. And those are the instruments that were largely present on vintage blues records, making these sounds that are so appealing. I mean, they’re magnetic.</p> <p>In 1950, the biggest amp you could get was no bigger than a tabletop radio. Imagine trying to be heard in a joint with people screamin’ and shufflin’ their feet and bottles breakin’. You had to take that amp and turn it up all the way. When you’d get up past that “acceptable” point, you’d get into the land of distortion, which is where it really gets groovy. And I don’t think it was intentional. I think they just wanted to be heard.</p> <p><strong>Getting back to the idea of performances coming from a soulful place within: do you think that happens much in contemporary music?</strong></p> <p>GIBBONS: You don’t see it as often because the more popular outlets, like TV, are designed to be predictable. That’s to say, it’s easier to see a soulless…no, it’s easier to see something that may lack what you are describing, but I feel there are probably more soulful performers under the radar. </p> <p>AUERBACH: With record labels getting smaller, record sales going way down, local record shops closing up, it’s harder for people to find the stuff that’s under the radar but still as easy for people to find all the big pop stuff. That stuff’s not for transcendence; it’s kid stuff. It’s for people who buy one or two CDs a year. Music is not their thing. </p> <p>The internet makes finding interesting music and soulful music easier, but you have to search for it. I have a buddy who used to own a magazine in California who’s the first guy who told me about YouTube. He said, “You’ve got to check this out. It’s gonna be really big.” He sent me a link to a video by Parliament-Funkadelic playing at a Boston television station in 1969, and they were going bananas. It was insane. I’d never seen that footage before, and it was the coolest shit ever. YouTube is amazing for a guy who used to have to go to the public library and have them search for shit for me, and half the time they’d never find it.</p> <p>GIBBONS: Because of the overwhelming amount of stuff that’s out there on YouTube, the real challenge is just sifting through to something where you’re bonused by the discovery. How about [blues and gospel legend] Sister Rosetta Tharp?</p> <p>AUERBACH: She was a monster…on a white SG with triple pickups. [<em>Gibbons picks up his phone and plays a video of Tharp’s performance of “Up Above My Head,” which includes a burning solo on that SG. Auerbach responds with a clip of black South African guitarist Hannes Coetzee playing acoustic slide guitar—and beautifully—with a spoon held in his teeth. Gibbons laughs.</em>] </p> <p>GIBBONS: There’s an example of “You can’t do that.” “But I am!” [<em>laughs</em>] Bonused!</p> <p><strong>Do each of you have a favorite guitar right now?</strong></p> <p>AUBERBACH: I’ve been playing my white Kent a bunch. We’ve been doing an album in here over the past week and we’ve used that on every song. I bought it in a guitar shop in San Jose. I’ve had it about a year and a half.</p> <p>GIBBONS: The tremolo arm on that is the sweetest primitive setup. This ain’t rocket science. It’s just a bending piece of metal. Dan told me, “I bought a ’53 Gibson Gold Top and this Kent…”</p> <p>AUERBACH: At the same shop. </p> <p>GIBBONS: On the same day. And he said, “I don’t know if I’ve played that Gold Top yet.” There’s a great guitar player here in Nashville, Mike Henderson…</p> <p>AUERBACH: Oh, I love him. [<em>sings a line from Henderson’s “When I Get Drunk”</em>] “When I get drunk, who’s gonna carry me home…”</p> <p>GIBBONS: Well, he’s had one guitar and one amp that he’s played as long as I’ve known him, which is a significant amount of time. </p> <p>There are two premises to aspire to. Number one: learn to play what you want to hear. And two: know what you want to hear and then go after it. If that’s the platform you’re playing from, it doesn’t matter what you’re playing.</p> <p>In this business, I know it’s popular to have the most valuable or most esoteric guitars. And there’s a lot of stuff out there. Just about the time you think you’ve seen it all, go to one of these guitar gatherings and somebody pops up with the mystery amp or guitar. But it comes back to familiarity. I mean, who would think that if you take a Kent—an early low-tier budget guitar—and start banging on it, oh yeah, you got the goods?</p> <p>The harmonica player Shaky Walter Horton [a.k.a. Big Walter] took a job as a cab dispatcher up in Chicago—not because he needed that gig or wanted to become a cab dispatcher; he wanted the microphone. After about two weeks, they said, “Okay, this guy’s good.” Then he got wire cutters, cut the mic and split. And that was it.</p> <p>AUBERBACH: The thing I’ve learned about guitars and amps is that it’s fun to collect them. I love that stuff. But it doesn’t matter one bit what instrument you play. Lightnin’ Hopkins could pick up anything and still sound like Lightnin’ Hopkins. Usually when you fall in love with a guitar it’s because it’s lightweight, it sits nice when you put it on, the headstock doesn’t weigh it down. Sometimes it’s even more about comfort and whether it feels like it could be an extension of your body than about sound.</p> <p>GIBBONS: In closing, Dan and I could warrant this: get one of each guitar you love, and then turn them up loud. </p> <fieldset class="fieldgroup group-additional-content"><legend>Additional Content</legend><div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-related-artist"> <div class="field-label"><p><strong>Related Artist:</strong>&nbsp;<p></div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/zz-top">ZZ Top</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> http://www.guitarworld.com/interview-zz-tops-billy-gibbons-and-black-keys-dan-auerbach#comments Billy Gibbons October 2012 The Black Keys ZZ Top Interviews Features Tue, 13 Nov 2012 16:44:05 +0000 Ted Drozdowski, Photo by Joshua Black Wilkins 17147 at http://www.guitarworld.com The Black Keys Begin Sessions for Next Album http://www.guitarworld.com/black-keys-begin-sessions-next-album <!--paging_filter--><p>The Black Keys, the power-packed Akron duo who released <em>Brothers</em> in 2010 and followed it soon after with 2011's <em>El Camino</em>, have already started sessions for their next album.</p> <p>"We spent a week in the studio," guitarist Dan Auerbach told <em><a href="http://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/black-keys-begin-work-on-new-album-20120906">Rolling Stone</a></em>, referring to a Nashville session that took place in July. He added that it wasn't "the most focused studio session," but he and drummer Patrick Carney did "get some ideas down and started the ball rolling." </p> <p>The duo plan to regroup in earnest in early 2013 more more sessions. "We might not finish it until March since we have to tour so much, but we'll see," Carney told <em>Rolling Stone</em> earlier this summer. </p> <p>"We never know what's going to happen," Auerbach added. "We don't talk about it. We don't plan it. We start recording, and then all of a sudden it starts to take shape and we have an idea." Auerbach adds that each Black Keys album, to him, represents "a snapshot of a moment in time. We like to let them be like that," he says. "Sort of a spontaneous thing."</p> <p>Auerbach added that a producer hasn't been chosen yet — and they might even produce the next album themselves.</p> <p><strong>Auerbach and ZZ Top's Billy Gibbons shared the cover of the October 2012 issue of <em>Guitar World,</em> <a href="http://store.guitarworld.com/collections/guitar-world/products/guitar-world-oct-12-dan-auerbach-billy-gibbons/?&amp;utm_source=gw_homepage&amp;utm_medium=daily_scroller&amp;utm_campaign=BlckKeysNewCD">which is available now at the Guitar World Online Store.</a> Check out an excerpt from that issue <a href="http://www.guitarworld.com/excerpt-zz-tops-billy-gibbons-and-black-keys-dan-auerbach-value-vinyl">right here.</a></strong></p> <p><iframe width="620" height="349" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/mpaPBCBjSVc" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> http://www.guitarworld.com/black-keys-begin-sessions-next-album#comments Black Keys Dan Auerbach The Black Keys News Mon, 17 Sep 2012 18:27:58 +0000 Damian Fanelli 16766 at http://www.guitarworld.com Excerpt: ZZ Top's Billy Gibbons and the Black Keys' Dan Auerbach on the Value of Vinyl http://www.guitarworld.com/excerpt-zz-tops-billy-gibbons-and-black-keys-dan-auerbach-value-vinyl <!--paging_filter--><p><em>The following in an excerpt taken from the October 2012 issue of Guitar World. For the full story, as well as features on Buddy Guy, Pierce the Veil, A Beginner's Guide to Sweep Picking and more, pick up the issue on newsstands now, or in our <a href="http://http://store.guitarworld.com/collections/guitar-world/products/guitar-world-oct-12-dan-auerbach-billy-gibbons/?&amp;utm_source=guitarworld.com&amp;utm_medium=article&amp;utm_campaign=peripheryexcerpt">online store</a>.</em></p> <p><strong>Billy, you’ve been eyeing the wall of about 600 albums in the studio’s office, and Dan, you’ve kept discs spinning since Billy arrived… </strong></p> <p>GIBBONS: If we can address the value of vinyl… Upon entering Dan’s Easy Eye Studio, I was drawn immediately to the Macintosh tube amp and the turntable, and it was in the groove. The rawness and the richness of music on vinyl almost went away, but it still seems to be on a lot of people’s radar, and for good reason. It does something different than more accessible means of music playing, like MP3 players and downloads and whatnot. You get in front of these archaic contraptions that go ’round and ’round. It’s mesmerizing, not only to look at but to sit back and experience. Wouldn’t you agree?</p> <p>AUERBACH: Yeah, yeah. There’s nostalgia there, for sure, but it also sounds fucking great. Everything sounds really good on vinyl, if you’ve got a nice setup. I’ve got a bunch more albums at home.</p> <p><strong>Billy, do you have a big vinyl collection?</strong></p> <p>GIBBONS: Oh yeah. Unfortunately, it had to be rescued. We were in England and I was notified to call my assistant, Denise. She said, “Well, there’s been a horrific rain storm and that flat roof of your condo sprung a leak. I was retrieving the mail and I saw something that looked like a garden hose spraying straight into the room.” She called the handyman and they were able to put the valuables aside, but part of the rain went right into a column of vinyl.</p> <p>Water doesn’t hurt a vinyl record. Put it into a dishwasher and you’re fine. But the paper began to mold and my secretary, being rather protective, decided it was unsafe and threw them all away. I was able to rescue several garbage bags. It was just one column, but it happened to be a column of favorites. I ordered up a bunch of plain white sleeves to put them in and they were fine.</p> <p><strong>What are some of your favorite titles on vinyl?</strong></p> <p>AUERBACH: It changes every day. I always obsess about something and listen to it over and over and over again. </p> <p>GIBBONS: I’ll turn one track into a two-hour listening session. It’s that obsessive thing. I share it with Dan—the passion and obsessiveness that can enter one’s pathology when it comes to vinyl and tubes and all this crusty stuff. </p> <p>I have a longstanding buddy who is a true audiophile and has invested a lot of time and money, to the point where he bought a platform that was invented to stabilize electron microscopes from the rattling as the Earth spins…</p> <p>AUERBACH: The rattling of the Earth’s rotation? [laughs] </p> <p>GIBBONS: It was causing this low-end rumble that he was able to perceive. Given the power of an electron microscope—and at 100,000 times magnification, it better darn well be stable or it’s going to be very fuzzy—he decided that if he put one under his turntable it would be a little more precise.</p> <p>AUERBACH: Shit. Just have one of those built into the soles of your shoes. Check this out… [He pulls another single out of a case.] Here’s Hound Dog Taylor’s very first 45, before he had his band the Houserockers: “Christine” backed with “Alley Music,” on the Firma label.</p> <p><strong>For the full interview, pick up the October 2012 issue of <em>Guitar World</em> now in our <a href="http://http://store.guitarworld.com/collections/guitar-world/products/guitar-world-oct-12-dan-auerbach-billy-gibbons/?&amp;utm_source=guitarworld.com&amp;utm_medium=article&amp;utm_campaign=peripheryexcerpt">online store</a>.</strong></p> <fieldset class="fieldgroup group-additional-content"><legend>Additional Content</legend><div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-related-artist"> <div class="field-label"><p><strong>Related Artist:</strong>&nbsp;<p></div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/zz-top">ZZ Top</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> http://www.guitarworld.com/excerpt-zz-tops-billy-gibbons-and-black-keys-dan-auerbach-value-vinyl#comments Billy Gibbons October 2012 The Black Keys ZZ Top News Features Tue, 21 Aug 2012 13:58:46 +0000 Ted Drozdowski, Photo by Joshua Black Wilkins 16568 at http://www.guitarworld.com Interview: Guitarist Dan Auerbach Discusses Gear, Influences and the Latest Black Keys Album, 'El Camino' http://www.guitarworld.com/interview-guitarist-dan-auerbach-discusses-gear-influences-and-latest-black-keys-album-el-camino <!--paging_filter--><p>His Nashville studio is full of sweet vintage gear, but Dan Auerbach isn't just a retro-obsessed guitar hound. The Black Keys guitarist gets his motor running for an in-depth discussion about his group's latest album, <em>El Camino</em>.</p> <p>“I’m not too picky about guitars,” says Dan Auerbach, who’s known for manhandling a motley assortment of electric instruments with brand names like Teisco Del Ray, Harmony, Supro, Silvertone and National onstage with the Black Keys. </p> <p>“I love to collect them, mostly oddballs, but I’m not married to any brand or model. Whatever guitar has the best character for the song is the one I want to use, because if you’ve got a style, you’re going to sound like yourself no matter what guitar you play.”</p> <p>Thus, while it might seem out of character for Auerbach to use a 1953 Les Paul as his go-to six-string for the Black Keys’ new <em>El Camino</em>, the album still sounds like classic Keys. It’s driving, melodic, brash and bristling with unbridled rock and roll energy. </p> <p>Actually, it’s even more “classic” than usual, weaving in a vocabulary of rock filigrees from the Fifties and Sixties -- from handclaps and vocal harmonies to swirling Leslie speakers, big melodies and even bigger hooks. The result is a garagepop masterpiece that’s likely to ratchet Auerbach and his drumming compadre Patrick Carney a few steps closer to rock’s Olympus.</p> <p>However, Auerbach is picky -- and proud and protective -- about his new Easy Eye Studio in the band’s recently adopted hometown, Nashville, Tennessee. It’s where he and Carney produced <em>El Camino</em> with Brian Burton, the musical auteur who goes by the name Danger Mouse. Burton helmed the Black Keys’ 2008 sonic breakthrough, <em>Attack &amp; Release<em>, and the single “Tighten Up” on 2010’s commercial door buster <em>Brothers.</em></em></em></p> <p>“We don’t know any other producer we’d like to work with,” Auerbach explains, sitting on a worn brown leatherette sofa in Easy Eye, a comfortable, big black box just outside of downtown. Immediately to his right is a towering Moog modular synthesizer topped with a photo of a dapper, pomaded Muddy Waters from his days as a Chess Records artist. </p> <p>And within the surrounding 20 feet are many of the keys to his sonic kingdom: a recording console from the Sixties, a rack of well-worn guitars, amps with tattered grills, a Vako Orchestron (an early sample player that played back sound recorded on optical discs), a vintage Scully eight-track tape machine ... and the list goes on.</p> <p>It’s gear that Auerbach has been collecting since before the Black Keys recorded their 2002 debut, <em>The Big Come Up</em>, in Carney’s basement back in Akron, Ohio, under the influence of dirty three-chord rock and the haunting psychedelic echoes of North Mississippi trance bluesmen Junior Kimbrough and R.L. Burnside, artists who still remain the cornerstones of the Black Keys’ music.</p> <p>“Having a place that’s tailor-made for you is a real luxury,” Auerbach says. “Everything here works. These keyboards ... all you need to do is pull up a fader on the console to start recording. You see a lot of studio websites and think they’ve got cool shit. Then when you show up, half of it’s not working. If it doesn’t work in my studio, it doesn’t stay on the floor.”</p> <p>Despite his retro passions, Auerbach also believes in evolution. <em>El Camino</em> was recorded on Easy Eye’s Pro Tools rig, and there’s a pitch-shifted yelping in its first single, the riffpumped “Lonely Boy.” So that’s where our conversation begins.</p> <p><strong>GUITAR WORLD: Listening to the Black Keys’ seven albums in sequence, it’s striking to see your evolution from chord cruncher to sonic explorer. Where did it all begin?</strong></p> <p>I started playing bluegrass with my family, so there were the G, C and D chords. I was playing a Martin acoustic because that’s what Carter Stanley of the Stanley Brothers played. Then I got into the really raw blues of Hound Dog Taylor and started on electric guitar. </p> <p>My mom bought me a white Strat, but that wasn’t what I wanted, so I went to a guitar store in Cleveland and -- the guy told me it was a really good deal -- made an even swap for a blue Teisco Del Ray. I loved that guitar and used it a bunch. I got into open D tuning, like Hound Dog. Since then I’ve gotten into other people’s styles, but I’ve never tried to master them.</p> <p><strong>Despite your bluegrass roots, you seem more interested in sound and texture than notes.</strong></p> <p>Definitely. That’s something I got from Junior Kimbrough. Junior changed everything for me. When I heard his album <em>All Night Long</em>, I dropped out of college and started playing seriously. His shit is weird North Mississippi dance music. He came up with his own style, influenced by local folks. He had the bravery to try something different.</p> <p><strong>Speaking of something different, the wideopen sound of <em>Attack &amp; Release</em> seemed to radically expand your universe as a guitarist. Did working with Brian Burton and Marc Ribot help open you up?</strong></p> <p>I was inspired by a lot of Turkish, Japanese and South American psychedelic records at the time. They turn the guitar into a canvas that you can put sounds on top of, instead of using it as a lead instrument. Now I try to incorporate that into whatever I’m doing. Patrick and I learned from Brian, but he learned from us too. </p> <p>We brought a lot of the same music -- like hip-hop, psychedelia and Ennio Morricone -- to the sessions for inspiration. We have fun when we work together, and we are competitive, so we’re always trying to one-up each other with cool music that we’re into and wild ideas in the studio. And Marc is one of my all-time favorites. </p> <p>The first thing Ribot started doing when he began recording guitar solos was scraping the strings with his car keys. He was almost frothing at the mouth sitting in his chair playing his guitar overdubs. I first heard him on his <em>Los Cubanos Postizos</em> album. [Ribot’s homage to Cuban composer Arsenio Rodriguez, who played the tres, a Cuban guitar.] I’ve never tried to play along to a Jimi Hendrix or Cream record. That was the first album I played along to. [He sings a Latin-sounding guitar phrase.] That shit is so amazing. Then I got one of Rodriguez’s albums and got into the tres, which sounds like Big Joe Williams’ homemade nine-string guitar. I love that weird shit.</p> <hr /> <strong>After expanding the Black Keys’ sound so much on <em>Attack &amp; Release</em> and <em>Brothers</em>, why go back to the roots of classic American pop-rock for <em>El Camino</em>?</strong> <p>Patrick and Brian and I were listening a lot to the Clash, Jonathan Richman, the Cars and the Johnny Burnette trio -- music from different decades that was all influenced by Fifties rock and roll. We got inspired by it and went into the studio with absolutely nothing. We hadn’t rehearsed; there were no demos and no lyrics except for “Little Black Submarines,” which Brian and I had written. </p> <p>We’d never done it like this before. We also wanted to make an album that would translate to the stage. <em>Brothers</em> was very difficult to play live because it had a lot of open spaces. We added a bass player and keyboard player for touring, which I love, because otherwise the songs felt compromised, which bummed me out. When we went into the studio for <em>Brothers</em> I’d written the lyrics, the chord changes and all the verses and choruses. We just had to work on grooves so the music fit the lyrics. This time all the music was done first. </p> <p>When I recorded my solo album, <em>Keep It Hid</em>, in 2008 I’d gotten more interested in songwriting, inspired by reading Charles Bukowski and connecting with unfancy, interesting language. But <em>El Camino</em> is focused on melody and groove. A lot of the lyrics are absolute throwaways, but you want to sing along because the melody is so strong. Next time I’ll try to make the lyrics as memorable as the melodies. The bottom line is that, for us, the groove has always been king. And I have to keep my eyes and ears open because Patrick fluctuates in tempo a lot. That’s how we play live, and you can hear it on the records. Pat never plays a normal drumbeat, which is why he’s so awesome.</p> <p><strong>There’s a pitch shifter on “Lonely Boy,” a talk box on “Money Maker” and vibrato and wahwah effects elsewhere. How important are stomp boxes to you?</strong></p> <p>My core tone just comes from my amps. For <em>El Camino</em>, I used a Magnatone and an Ampeg V-92 with a JBL D-130 speaker. I blew the speaker, and in three or four songs you can hear it rattle, like at the beginning of “Lonely Boy.” I use fuzz pedals, but I’ve never used a distortion or overdrive pedal -- just boost pedals. The Shin-ei Companion Fuzz and the Marshall Supa Fuzz are my favorites. Before the sessions, Dunlop sent me a box full of effects, including a talk box. </p> <p>I was listening to Pete Drake a bunch. He was a pedal steel player from Nashville who invented the talk box. He has this song called “Forever” that’s amazing. So Pat and I tried to set it up and it wouldn’t work. “How does this work? How do you plug this in?” Then our engineer said, “It goes like this, dumbasses,” and just plugged it in, and we started playing with it, laughing the whole time. I cut the solo in two takes, and then I put it in a box and haven’t seen it since. I like pedals, but they have to be easy. I want instant gratification.</p> <p><strong>Did you use any workhorse guitars for <em>El Camino</em>?</strong></p> <p>I got a ’53 Les Paul while I was on tour. It looks like it was attacked by a shark. I used that a bunch, plus a Danelectro and an early Harmony Stratotone. I had the Stratotone before the Black Keys, and I’ve used it on every one of our albums. When Ribot walked into the studio for <em>Attack &amp; Release</em>, he brought a Tele and one of those.</p> <p><strong>How has your growth as a singer -- even to the point of having a beautiful falsetto on “Stop Stop” -- brought depth to the Black Keys’ sound?</strong></p> <p>My voice is like my guitar playing. I listen to records, like Curtis Mayfield’s and Marvin Gaye’s, and get inspired. I’ve always sung falsetto and sang the high harmonies playing bluegrass with my family. But I never thought to do it as a lead vocal on a Black Keys album until <em>Brothers</em>, and I loved it. You have to build your confidence to sing lead in a high register. Put that kind of vocal up against really fuzzy guitars and you get a really interesting contrast. There’s always got to be contrast. If the guitar is fuzzy, the bass is going to be clean; if the bass is fuzzy, the guitar is going to be clean. I like to focus on that kind of stuff. That comes from owning a studio and being able to mess around while making records. You start to understand how elements are going to work in a mix.</p> <p><strong>There’s a lot of sweet gear in Easy Eye, from analog synths to vintage board modules to stacks of amps and guitars covering nearly every inch of the place. Did you have all of this in your home studio in Akron?</strong></p> <p>All of this stuff was at my house. [laughs] It’s not healthy to have your workplace be your home. I am obsessive and would never leave. If I leave here, I’m gone. </p> <p><strong>Is Easy Eye a commercial enterprise?</strong></p> <p>Well, I have other bands that I know and like and can trust with all my stuff. Most of it’s irreplaceable if it’s broken, so I can’t just let anybody in. I have a couple engineers I work with now, so if a band I like wants to use the studio I can let them come do that. I just produced a Dr. John album. I assembled the band, and we were here 10 days. We cut everything live. It was so fucking cool. </p> <p>I did albums here with the Growlers and the Reigning Sound. I just finished working with Hacienda and mixed a record for a guy from Cincinnati named Brian Olive. We’ve been doing some super-cool stuff. You get to be around these people and feed off their energy. I’ve made a lot of records with different people, and every time I’ve learned something, and I bring it to the table when we make a Black Keys record.</p> <p><em>Photo: Joseph Anthony Baker</em></p> http://www.guitarworld.com/interview-guitarist-dan-auerbach-discusses-gear-influences-and-latest-black-keys-album-el-camino#comments Black Keys Dan Auerbach GW Archive The Black Keys 2012 Interviews Features Tue, 13 Mar 2012 17:05:04 +0000 Ted Drozdowski 14972 at http://www.guitarworld.com The Black Keys' Dan Auerbach: "Is Rock Music Dead? I Don't Really Care." http://www.guitarworld.com/black-keys-dan-auerbach-rock-music-dead-i-dont-really-care <!--paging_filter--><p>In an issue of <em>Rolling Stone</em> last month, the Black Keys caused quite a stir when they proclaimed rock and roll was dead.</p> <p>"Rock &amp; roll is dying because people became OK with Nickelback being the biggest band in the world," said drummer Patrick Carney. “So they became OK with the idea that the biggest rock band in the world is always going to be shit – therefore you should never try to be the biggest rock band in the world."</p> <p>(Nickelback later issued a response, saying: "Thanks to the drummer in The Black Keys calling us the Biggest Band in the World in <me>Rolling Stone. Hehe."</me></p> <p>While it may seem like the band were speaking passionately about the death of rock, frontman Dan Auerbach couldn't care less.</p> <p>"Is rock music dead? Ha. Honestly? I don't really care," he recently told <a href="http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/music/features/rock-and-roll-will-never-die-the-worlds-hottest-bands-answer-the-doomsaying-cultural-commentators-6297961.html"><em>The Independent </em></a>. "I don't listen to just one kind of music."</p> <p>He added: "As long as music doesn't die, I'll be OK. All that talk is just fads and stories, and that's not my job. I don't worry about anything other than playing music. We've always ignored the trends."</p> <fieldset class="fieldgroup group-additional-content"><legend>Additional Content</legend><div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-related-artist"> <div class="field-label"><p><strong>Related Artist:</strong>&nbsp;<p></div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/nickelback">Nickelback</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> http://www.guitarworld.com/black-keys-dan-auerbach-rock-music-dead-i-dont-really-care#comments Nickelback The Black Keys News Fri, 10 Feb 2012 15:43:37 +0000 Josh Hart 14599 at http://www.guitarworld.com The Black Keys Debut Video for "Gold on the Ceiling" http://www.guitarworld.com/black-keys-debut-video-gold-ceiling <!--paging_filter--><p>Check out the new music video for "Gold on the Ceiling" from the Black Keys' late-2011 release, <em>El Camino,</em> which made <em>Guitar World's</em> list of <a href="http://www.guitarworld.com/guitar-worlds-top-50-albums-2011#slide-14">last year's 50 best studio albums.</a></p> <p>It's a nice, simple clip devoid of movie stars and rocking rabbis.</p> <p>The video, which premiered last night on MTV (Yes, sometimes MTV shows music videos), features only the band playing live, just like in the old days.</p> <div style="background-color:#000000;width:620px;"> <div style="padding:4px;"><iframe src="http://media.mtvnservices.com/mgid:uma:video:mtv.com:730497/cp~series%3D1717%26id%3D1518072%26vid%3D730497%26uri%3Dmgid%3Auma%3Avideo%3Amtv.com%3A730497" width="620" height="315" frameborder="0"></iframe><br /> <p style="text-align:left;background-color:#FFFFFF;padding:4px;margin-top:4px;margin-bottom:0px;font-family:Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif;font-size:12px;">Get More: <a href="http://www.mtv.com/music/artist/black_keys/artist.jhtml" style="color:#439CD8;" target="_blank">The Black Keys</a>, <a href="http://www.mtv.com/videos/the-black-keys/730497/gold-on-the-ceiling.jhtml#id=1518072&amp;vid=730497" style="color:#439CD8;" target="_blank">Gold On The Ceiling</a>, <a href="http://www.mtv.com/music/" style="color:#439CD8;" target="_blank">Music</a>, <a href="http://www.mtv.com/music/video/" style="color:#439CD8;" target="_blank">More Music Videos</a></p> </div> </div> http://www.guitarworld.com/black-keys-debut-video-gold-ceiling#comments Black Keys The Black Keys News Tue, 07 Feb 2012 15:26:55 +0000 Damian Fanelli 14532 at http://www.guitarworld.com Nickelback Respond to Comment by Black Keys Drummer http://www.guitarworld.com/nickelback-respond-comment-black-keys-drummer <!--paging_filter--><p>I think it's safe to say Nickelback knows they are simultaneously one of the most popular and most hated bands in the world -- after all, they went through the trouble of <a href="http://www.guitarworld.com/video-nickelback-respond-detroit-lions-fans">creating a (hilarious) video response</a> to a petition from Detroit Lions fans to keep them off the Thanksgiving Day halftime show.</p> <p>We recently reported about a statement made by Black Keys drummer Patrick Carney in the new issue of <em>Rolling Stone</em>, in which he said: "So they became OK with the idea that the biggest rock band in the world is always going to be shit -- therefore you should never try to be the biggest rock band in the world. Fuck that."</p> <p>The quote got a lot of press, and it looks like Nickelback heard about it, because they posted a response on their <a href="https://www.facebook.com/Nickelback?sk=wall">Facebook page</a>, saying: "Thanks to the drummer in The Black Keys calling us the Biggest Band in the World in <em>Rolling Stone</em>. Hehe."</p> <p>Nickelback released their latest album, <em>Here and Now</em>, last November.</p> <fieldset class="fieldgroup group-additional-content"><legend>Additional Content</legend><div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-related-artist"> <div class="field-label"><p><strong>Related Artist:</strong>&nbsp;<p></div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/nickelback">Nickelback</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> http://www.guitarworld.com/nickelback-respond-comment-black-keys-drummer#comments Nickelback The Black Keys News Fri, 06 Jan 2012 15:14:56 +0000 Josh Hart 14069 at http://www.guitarworld.com The Black Keys' Drummer Blames Death of Rock and Roll on Nickelback http://www.guitarworld.com/black-keys-drummer-blames-death-rock-and-roll-nickelback <!--paging_filter--><p>While we're all about music as a civil, dignified community here at <em>Guitar World</em>, it never ceases to be entertaining when bands take jabs at one another in the press. </p> <p>Case in point, the upcoming issue of <em>Rolling Stone</em> features a cover story on the Black Keys, who took the opportunity to stick it to a certain Canadian rock band. </p> <p>"Rock &amp; roll is dying because people became OK with Nickelback being the biggest band in the world," said drummer Patrick Carney. “So they became OK with the idea that the biggest rock band in the world is always going to be shit – therefore you should never try to be the biggest rock band in the world. Fuck that! Rock &amp; roll is the music I feel the most passionately about, and I don’t like to see it fucking ruined and spoon-fed down our throats in this watered-down, post-grunge crap, horrendous shit. When people start lumping us into that kind of shit, it’s like, ‘Fuck you,’ honestly."</p> <p>You can check out more excerpts from the upcoming cover story <a href="http://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/cover-story-excerpt-the-black-keys-20120104">here</a>.</p> http://www.guitarworld.com/black-keys-drummer-blames-death-rock-and-roll-nickelback#comments Nickelback The Black Keys News Wed, 04 Jan 2012 15:56:35 +0000 Josh Hart 14021 at http://www.guitarworld.com Video: The Black Keys Perform on 'The Colbert Report' http://www.guitarworld.com/video-black-keys-perform-colbert-report <!--paging_filter--><p>Last night, the Black Keys hit the stage on Comedy Central's <em>The Colbert Report</em> to perform two tracks off their new album, <em>El Camino</em>. You can check out performance videos for "Lonely Boy" and "Gold on the Ceiling" below.</p> <p><em>El Camino</em>, the band's seventh studio album, was released yesterday, December 6. </p> <p>The Black Keys won a Grammy for their last album, the critically acclaimed <em>Brothers</em>, which won for Best Alternative Music Album.</p> <object width="620" height="345" data="http://media.mtvnservices.com/mgid:cms:video:colbertnation.com:403736" type="application/x-shockwave-flash"> <param name="data" value="http://media.mtvnservices.com/mgid:cms:video:colbertnation.com:403736" /> <param name="src" value="http://media.mtvnservices.com/mgid:cms:video:colbertnation.com:403736" /> <param name="allowfullscreen" value="true" /> </object><p><br /></p> <object width="620" height="345" data="http://media.mtvnservices.com/mgid:cms:video:colbertnation.com:403741" type="application/x-shockwave-flash"> <param name="data" value="http://media.mtvnservices.com/mgid:cms:video:colbertnation.com:403741" /> <param name="src" value="http://media.mtvnservices.com/mgid:cms:video:colbertnation.com:403741" /> <param name="allowfullscreen" value="true" /> </object> http://www.guitarworld.com/video-black-keys-perform-colbert-report#comments The Black Keys News Wed, 07 Dec 2011 15:01:56 +0000 Josh Hart 13806 at http://www.guitarworld.com