The band headlines the Open’er festival with a 90-minute set. Auerbach says the crowd has “ten times the energy” of Glastonbury and tells the audience:
…this is our first time here, we heard about you, they said you were wild.
This marks the first time the band has performed in Poland.
Umami creates the Akron Burger — inspired by the Black Keys home town — a premium burger topped with Velveeta cheese fondue, a secret sauce, yellow mustard, chopped onions and dill pickles. A dollar from every Akron Burger will be donated to The Black Keys Alfred McMoore Memorial Endowment Fund at Akron Community Foundation, helping people with mental illnesses get psychiatric and medical help.
In an interview with Rolling Stone, White makes new comments about the Black Keys:
There are kids at school who dress like everybody else, because they don’t know what to do, and there are musicians like that, too. I’ll hear TV commercials where the music’s ripping off sounds of mine, to the point I think it’s me. Half the time, it’s The Black Keys. The other half, it’s a sound-alike song because they couldn’t license one of mine.
The Black Keys perform Tighten Up during The Late Show with David Letterman to promote their album Brothers.
The Black Keys perform I Got Mine during The Late Show with David Letterman to promote their album Attack & Release.
The band releases its eighth studio album. The video for the title track features hypnotist Micah Fitzgerald. Auerbach explains the band’s approach to recording the album:
We didn’t have any demos … we didn’t talk about a direction. We just kinda went in and we did it. Every morning we got to the studio, we’d start from scratch and by the end of the day we’d have a new song and that was really it.
Tyson tweets an announcement for the Black Keys’ upcoming album. The tweet includes the album title (“Turn Blue”) and a link to a video featuring a hypnotist.
The Black Keys continue their sponsorship of the West Akron Baseball League’s Orioles. They are also donating to the entire WABL through the sale of specially designed jerseys available at the band’s website. Carney says:
Dan [Auerbach, the Keys’ lead singer and guitarist] and I played little league when we were kids before we got into music. It was a really positive hobby that kept us from sitting around watching TV. We are proud to be sponsoring WABL to hopefully offset some of the league’s expenses and get more kids outside having fun.
TMZ leaks White’s private emails after wife Elson submits them in the couple’s divorce proceedings. The emails include comments made about Auerbach of the Black Keys, whose children are attending the same school as White’s:
That’s a possible twelve f***ing years I’m going to have to be sitting in kids chairs next to that a**hole with other people trying to lump us in together. [Auerbach] gets yet another free reign to follow me around and copy me and push himself into my world.
In response to Carney’s comments, Bieber tweets:
The band wins four awards at the 2013 ceremony, including best rock song and rock performance for Lonely Boy and best rock album for El Camino. Auerbach also earns “Producer of the Year, Non-Classical” for co-producing El Camino and producing albums by Hacienda and Dr. John.
The Black Keys wins Grammy for Best Rock Performance for Lonely Boy.
We want to thank our fans.
The Black Keys wins Grammy for Best Rock Album for El Camino. Carney:
It’s a weird thing to happen 10 years into your career
Auerbach talks about the impact of The Black Keys’ album Brothers:
Absolutely. I mean, it was our seventh record, so to finally hear our songs on the radio was kind of crazy, and it opened up the door for other songs to get played. But we’d toured like crazy, and each record sold better than the last one, so we definitely laid the groundwork.
The band releases its seventh studio album, featuring the single Lonely Boy. The Keys record in Nashville for the first time after relocating from Akron. Influences include the Clash, the Sweet, and the Cars. Auerbach explains:
A lot of the songs from Brothers were too difficult to play live. We were trying to make a record that we would have fun playing in front of people.
The Black Keys wins Grammys for Best Rock Performance By A Duo Or Group With Vocals for Tighten Up and Best Alternative Music Album for Brothers.
We never expected to get a Grammy-ever.
Auerbach and Carney move to Nashville, TN., from Akron, OH. Nashville was one of several finalists under consideration before the bandmates bought homes there.
Honestly, if Miami had given Pat and I the amount of money they gave LeBron, we would be living in Miami right now.
The Keys release their sixth studio album on Nonesuch Records. The album is recorded after a period of frustration when Carney learns of Auerbach’s 2009 solo album, Keep It Hid:
I was way too sensitive and was taking things personally, but the problem in the band led me to reevaluate everything.
To commemorate the release, the band performs at a pop-up store in the Housing Works Bookstore Cafe in New York City.
The Black Keys releases a collaboration with 11 prominent hip-hop and R&B artists, including Mos Def, Raekwon, and ODB, spending 11 days in the studio to record 11 tracks. Collaborator Q-Tip remarks:
Experimenting with different sounds and genres of music has always been important to me. While collaborating with the Black Keys and Damon Dash in the studio may seem like an unusual fit, it felt natural.
Drummer, a side-project founded by Carney of the Black Keys and featuring drummers from five Ohio-based bands, releases its first album. Carney plays bass on the album, saying:
For the most part, no one ever really wants to play drums, at least when you’re first getting into playing music. That’s how I started playing drums, for sure. It would be the last instrument someone wanted to play. In order to be in a band, you were forced to play drums.
Auerbach and Carney join the 9th Annual Independent Music Awards as artist judges. The international program honors independent artists who
who broaden the definition of commercial success and represent the diversity of the global Indie scene.
Auerbach releases his first solo album on Nonesuch Records. The album features a full band and is recorded in Akron at Auerbach’s home studio. The songwriter talks about the lyrical differences between this album and Black Keys records:
I wrote all the lyrics on the Black Keys albums. So I wasn’t trying to make some kind of grand statement. I just wanted to make a good album. The similarities will be there, but it’s way more personal. I’ve written some story songs, which I never did before.
The band’s single I’ve Got Mine is ranked 23rd on Rolling Stone’s top 100 singles of the year. The editors write:
With Danger Mouse behind the boards, the Akron, Ohio, duo pack an epic blues jam into four hard-rocking minutes of bliss.
Lance Bangs directs the band’s second live DVD. The release includes a full concert set, three bonus music videos, and a behind-the-scenes feature on the making of Attack & Release. Carney says:
We didn’t actually know it would be a DVD when it was being filmed. Our friend asked if he could film it and then later it became a DVD.
The band releases its fourth album and major label debut on Nonesuch Records (distributed by Warner). The album features 11 original tracks written by Auerbach and Carney and recorded in Carney’s basement:
on like $5,000 worth of crappy equipment. We paid $350 to get it mastered, took it home and there was, like, no bass on it. And we just dropped it in a FedEx envelope, mailed it to Warner Brothers and were done with it. Of all things that we’ve ever done, that’s my biggest regret — is that we just kind of were like, “Oh, OK.”
The band releases a collection of six covers of influential bluesman Junior Kimbrough tracks. Auerbach writes in the liner notes about how Kimbrough changed his life while attending college (before dropping out):
The bar had been set impossibly high and there was nothing more those professors could help me with. I’d found a new teacher.
Also known as the Live in Sydney DVD, this concert video is released by Fat Possum Records. Brian Tanto of “Love Police” introduces the band onstage, which later becomes a regular feature of the band’s Australian tours:
I just said to them that I liked the idea that a band was introduced, like the Stones, like Bob Dylan still is etc. They said, go for it. It was the 3rd tour we had done together and we had become quite close. When there are only two band members, one crew guy and me, there is nothing but getting close. We had to make our own fun.
The band releases its third studio album, recorded in an abandoned General Tire Factory in Akron. The release is marked by discord between the band’s two labels, Epitaph and Fat Possum. Auerbach says:
When we first started, I didn’t even know it was possible to have a CD.
Now we’re living in the Ronald McDonald House of limbo-dom.
The band releases a four-track maxi-single on Alive Records. The album includes two covers: No Fun by the Stooges and Have Love Will Travel by Richard Berry.
TIME chooses Thickfreakness as its third best album of 2003:
While the blues were being embalmed over on PBS, this twenty-something Akron white-boy duo released a great, contemporary blues album — to absolutely no acclaim. The Keys may pillage the occasional Stevie Ray Vaughn or Hendrix lick, but they’re not playing the blues to be precocious. They’re doing it because Dan Auerbach’s rusty holler is 100% pure ache.
This split album features tracks from two up-and-coming Ohio bands: one from the Six Parts Seven and three live tracks from the Keys recorded on WMBR in Cambridge, Mass. The album is released on independent label Suicide Squeeze.
The band makes its national TV debut on Late Night with Conan O’Brien in support of Thickfreakness.
The band releases its second full-length album, Thickfreakness, on the Fat Possum record label. The album’s two covers include Richard Berry’s Have Love Will Travel and Junior Kimbrough’s Everywhere I Go. The liner notes refer to the band’s unique recording style:
All songs recorded and mixed in December 2002 by Patrick Carney in Akron, Ohio, at Studio 45 using his patented recording technique called ‘medium fidelity.’
The duo releases its first album, the “garage-ish” blues-rock The Big Come Up. The album features covers of Junior Kimbrough, the Beatles, and traditional blues in addition to 10 original tracks, ending with the 23:20 “240 Years Before Your Time”. On the decision to release the album on the Southern California indie label Alive, Auerbach says:
They released [albums by] Doctor Ross the Harmonica Boss as well as Stooges records. I figured they might understand what we were doing.
The band plays its first show at the Beachland Tavern in Cleveland, shortly after the release of its album. The band plays to a half-empty room and reportedly earns $20.
The Black Keys mails demos out to a number of record labels. Boissel signs the band and offers to release their first full-length. When asked Patrick Boissel at Alive Records response:
I received the demo in the mail. I think I later got an email from Dan mentioning Dr Ross, I thought it was cool. I called him and the rest is history as they say. That’s how I remember it.
Dan Auerbach is born in Akron, Ohio. His father is an antiques dealer who introduces him to artists like Robert Johnson, the Grateful Dead, and Hank Williams, while he is introduced to spiritual songs and bluegrass at his mother’s family gatherings. Auerbach says stories of his grandmother’s escape from the Nazis has a big influence on him.
Mum, dad, elder brothers, everyone. She made it to England and learned to speak English. She met my grandpa, who was in the army, and they moved to New Jersey, and eventually reunited with my great-uncle. All those stories were a big part of my growing up. You realise how lucky we are. It certainly makes you work harder.
Auerbach is captain of the soccer team in high school, but also experiments with drugs and listens to Howard Stern. He lives just blocks away from future bandmate Carney.