News Column

Black Keys drummer Patrick Carney gives candid interview ahead of Ohio concerts

September 4, 2014

By Malcolm X Abram, The Akron Beacon Journal

Sept. 04--The Black Keys will open the U.S. leg of their Turn Blue World Tour in Columbus on Friday with a Cleveland show at Quicken Loans Arena on Saturday.

The duo, drummer Patrick Carney and singer/guitarist Dan Auerbach, is on a world tour behind its eighth full-length album, Turn Blue, the title a nod to influential Cleveland TV show host, Ernie "Ghoulardi" Anderson.

While its predecessor -- the No. 2-charting El Camino with its string of radio- and licensing-ready singles -- solidified the band as an arena rock act, Turn Blue is a hazy, loose, groove-heavy record informed by psyche rock, soul and Auerbach's much-too-public divorce proceedings that were happening during many of the album's sessions. Turn Blue was recorded with producer/songwriter Danger Mouse.

The group also got sucked into pop music media's vortex of beef along with Justin Bieber when Carney offhandedly dismissed the pop star following the 2013 Grammys, garnering the considerable online ire of the Beliebers. Meanwhile, the usually under-the-radar Auerbach also got sucked in by singer/guitarist Jack White, whose public comments and some private emails regarding his feelings for Auerbach and the Keys became more fodder for TMZ and other media outlets.

During a recent telephone interview, Carney talked about the band's current tour, burgers, controversies and more.

Q: So you got to hang out with Chrissie Hynde in Europe?

A: We played the same stage at this thing called Latitude Fest [in Suffolk, England]. The Pretenders sounded awesome and she was super cool as usual, really nice. And then I posted that picture on Instagram and all the comments were "Fatrick Carney," and they were all fat jokes about me. So I went out and joined a gym because of Internet trolls. ... I should gain 300 pounds and show them what the [heck] is really up. Yeah, you want to know what "Fatrick" looks like, give me six months.

Q: So Chrissie sang the entire O'Neil's radio jingle to you?

A: She did and I'd never heard it. I went to O'Neil's when it was still open, quite a few times. But I'd never heard that song and there's like three long verses. It's like a ballad and she remembers every word. It's pretty cool.

Q: Always cool to see another Akron musician out there on the road?

A: Yeah, and another friend of mine was playing the same stage, Ahmed [Gallab] from Sinkane. He opened the stage. It was cool, because I've known him from when I was about 17. ... He has a record coming out next month [Mean Love out Oct. 7] and he's from Kent. So, yeah, it was cool to see Chrissie; we just talked about Akron for a couple hours and chilled out.

Q: So you had the Black Keys Burger at Umami Burger [California burger chain] raising money for the Black Keys Alfred McMoore Memorial Endowment Fund. For those of us who can't get one, how did it compare?

A: Well, it was a heavily modified version of three Akron burgers [Swensons, Hamburger Station and Skyway]. Somebody in Akron sent a [messed]-up Tweet saying "way to rip off Swensons for your own profit," and I was, like, wait [dude], every single burger in Akron has the same toppings: American cheese, onions, mustard, pickles. There are three of these burgers that already exist, plus all the profits go to a charity in Akron, [frickin' dipstick].

Q: Yeah, haters gonna hate; seems like you've gotten a lot of that this year.

A: Yeah, you get that. Everybody has an opinion on Twitter, whether it's I'm fat, or I'm ripping off Swensons for personal gain [chuckles]. Perfect.

Q: Well, you guys have had a few private challenges go public and some public challenges become ... uhh, even more public. Has it been a rougher year than usual from that standpoint?

A: Nope. Not for me. The only thing I've ever done is I fed into, accidentally, into the Bieber trap and TMZ. But I still feel like I was strongly in the right there.

Q: Is being on the road any sort of safe place from all those external distractions?

A: To a certain degree, but whenever there is any sort of drama, I can't stand it. I hate it, to be honest. So I try to avoid it.

Q: Is that the Turn Blue World Tour motto?

A: It's always been my motto, I just opened my mouth and made fun of Nickelback and made fun of Justin Bieber and then I developed a reputation of being a diabolical hater. But I'm far from it. In my mind, I've always tried to be the opposite. [I] try to be supportive of my friends' music and their cool stuff. But, people would rather pay attention to the negative as usual.

Q: So are you becoming a more image-conscious Pat Carney?

A: [Chuckles.] No, but I do know when I'm getting into a TMZ media trap.

Q: Yeah, they can only get you once with that, huh?

A: Well, they got me twice, basically. The second one was misconstruing a statement I made in regards to the Jack White statement. It made it seem like a two-way argument when really it wasn't. Somebody had said something, and I said maybe that comment makes him seem like an [arse], and then I got in trouble for it.

Q: So, do you know if you guys are going to sponsor the Orioles in the West Akron Baseball & Softball League this year?

A: I don't know. We haven't talked about it. We did that shirt and it raised like 25 grand, 28 grand. Maybe we'll do it again; maybe we'll switch our focus to something else. You know, now that LeBron's back, it might be cool to do something for his foundation. I'm pumped, though. LeBron's back.

Q: Yeah, you wrote a supportive note when he left. How do you feel about him coming back?

A: Well, he never left; his house has always been there. You know, I still have a house in Akron, too, so I can say I never left as well. But I think it's bad-ass that he came back. I'm pumped. I think the Cavs are actually going to do really well this year and the next few years. I'm actually thinking about buying season tickets. I won't be able to go to much of the games but I figure I can donate some to some charity or something. Do something good with the majority of them, but I'm going to be coming up to some games for sure.

Q: Hey, did you ever get your Black Keys and/or Devo bobbleheads from the RubberDucks? They really wanted you guys to have some.

A: I do. I have it on my mantel.

Q: Which one: Devo or Black Keys?

A: I didn't get the Devo one, I just got the Black Keys one. I need the Devo one. I like it, but I notice my pants and Dan's pants are pulled up pretty high on that bobblehead. I wouldn't wear my pants that high. I don't think I'd tuck in a baseball jersey either, but, whatever, it's cool.

Q: So, you have some fashion concerns, but otherwise, pretty cool, huh?

A: Yeah, it's really cool. I would've gone to the game but we were in France, I think.

Malcolm X Abram can be reached at mabram@thebeaconjournal.com or 330-996-3758. Read his blog, Sound Check Online, at www.ohio.com/blogs/sound-check, like him on Facebook at http://on.fb.me/1lNgxml and/or follow him on Twitter @malcolmabramABJ.

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(c)2014 the Akron Beacon Journal (Akron, Ohio)

Visit the Akron Beacon Journal (Akron, Ohio) at www.ohio.com

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Source: Akron Beacon Journal (OH)


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