The Black Keys rock KROQ's Red Bull Sound Space
A hundred or so lucky KROQ 106.7 FM listeners, who were fortunate enough to score tickets to the station’s taping of Kevin & Bean’s Breakfast with the Black Keys this week, were treated to an intimate show in the station's state-of-the-art Red Bull Sound Space.
The blues-rock duo from Akron, Ohio performed a tight eight-song set including tracks familiar to KROQ listeners, “Howlin’ For You,” “Tighten Up,” “Lonely Boy” and “Gold on the Ceiling.”
Vocalist and guitarist Dan Auerbach and drummer Patrick Carney were joined on stage by John Wood on the Hammond organ and Gus Seyffert on bass. With a full band, the songs vibrated the tiny venue as they tore through tracks like “Next Girl,” “Dead and Gone,” “Little Black Submarine” and “She’s Long Gone.” At one point, during “Next Girl,” Carney was playing so hard, his thick-brimmed glasses melted off his face.
With the Grammy Award-winning band headlining two nights at Staples Center in Los Angeles on Friday and Saturday, as well as stopping by Honda Center in Anaheim on Monday, fans experienced a rare up-close-and-personal performance during which the band took breaks to chat with KROQ’s morning DJ’s Kevin Ryder and Gene “Bean” Baxter as well as answer questions from the audience.
The pair discussed the early days of Black Keys: recording records themselves in a basement, traveling in a beat up 1991 Dodge Caravan with over 170,000 miles on it (which appeared on the cover of the latest album, El Camino) and having to live with only being paid as little as $10 a night for gigs.
“We made nothing the second gig,” Auerbach says when asked about only being handed a $10 bill once for a performance at a club. “(The first night) they said, ‘You guys did great’ and handed us $10 and gave us a gig two weeks later and we came back and played that one and didn’t get paid anything.
As for the van, KROQ actually hosted a contest in May and gave away the famous album cover vehicle to a hardcore Keys fan. Carney shared that it was just the two of them traveling in the van for about a year and a half and it served not only as transportation from gig to gig, but was also their living space.
“We’d sleep in rest areas which were awesome,” Auerbach says with a laugh. “Just two dudes hanging out in a rest area.”
The guys also commented on their performance at Central Park in New York City last week, a free show dubbed the Global Citizen Festival which was also featured the Foo Fighters, Band of Horses, K’Naan and Neil Young and Crazy Horse.
“He (Neil Young) came in and said, ‘You guys sounded great from my hotel room,” Auerbach says. “He was in his hotel room while we were playing.”
The Black Keys, along with members of Foo Fighters and Band of Horses, joined Young on stage for “Rockin’ in the Free World.”
“(Neil Young) stepped on my foot,” Auerbach says with dry sarcasm. “He had tennis shoes on, it didn’t hurt, (plus), he’s Neil Young.”
Auerbach and Carney also answered questions about working with producer and musician Danger Mouse, the first person the duo had ever let in on their previous do-it-yourself recording process with the 2008 album Attack & Release.
“He’s just like having a third person (that) we trust in a room to bounce ideas off of,” Auerbach adds. “We’re all growing and changing every year (and) it was great having him around because we respect him and trust his taste so much. He’s a great guy too.”
Ryder commented on the fact that the Black Keys have been able to record an entire song in one day which led Auerbach to shrug his shoulders and kind of scratch his head, replying “Why has that become crazy?”
“It takes five days for our engineers to auto-tune it,” Carney quickly added.
The entire Kevin & Bean’s Breakfast with the Black Keys can be viewed at kroq.com/redbullsoundspace.