Lonely boys? Hardly. The stomp-rocking Black Keys are gaining new friends daily. Their popularity is growing on the strength of the Grammy-winning 2010 album Brothers and last year’s El Camino, not to mention a slew of licensing deals that placed their music in films, commercials and video games. The Ohio-bred, Nashville-based duo of drummer Patrick Carney and singer-guitarist Dan Auerbach tore up the Molson Amphitheatre last summer, and they’ll be back again this August with the Shins. In between, there’s a show at Air Canada Centre on March 14. Despite their omnipresence, here are five things you might not know about the bloozey Black Keys.
- Tickets for the band’s concert at Madison Square Garden on Monday sold out in 15 minutes, the same amount of time Auerbach and Carney lasted at the Grammy gala in Los Angeles in 2011, where they picked up three trophies. They left during a commercial break.
- The boogieing single and hit video from last year, Lonely Boy, is now the goal song for the Buffalo Sabres.
- Auerbach has an arsenal of instruments, including a funky Valco national map, an early sixties guitar originally sold through Montgomery Ward, and so named because its shape resembled the mapped outline of the United States. His mother bought him his first guitar, a Stratocaster for $2,000. But because the young Auerbach was taken with the dirty sounds of Chicago bluesman Hound Dog Taylor, he traded it in – “because I was clueless” – for a late ‘60s Teisco model he found at Tom’s Guitar in Cleveland.
- El Camino was recorded in the famed Muscle Shoals Sound Studio, but it wasn’t an altogether inspired decision that brought the band there, nor was it a particularly magical experience. They had hoped to record at either the Sam Phillips Recording Service in Nashville or Robin Hood Studios in Tyler, Texas. “We got talked into Muscle Shoals,” Auerbach told Mojo magazine. “There’s nothing there any more – it’s an empty building.”
- Carney and his fiancée recently rented a furnished loft in Manhattan, in a building with neighbours that include Strokes drummer Fabrizio Moretti, author Bret Easton Ellis and, rumour has it, Tom Cruise, the Top Gun actor who feels the need for Katie Holmes and Scientology.
The Black Keys play Toronto’s Air Canada Centre, March 14; Vancouver’s Rogers Arena, May 9; Calgary’s Saddledome, May 11; Edmonton’s Rexall Place, May 12; Winnipeg’s MTS Centre, May 14; Toronto’s Molson Amphitheatre, Aug. 4.
Editor's note: An earlier online version of this story incorrectly identified drummer Patrick Carney as Keith Carney. This version has been corrected.