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The Black Keys Talk About Their Success

January 23, 2013 | Posted by Joseph Lee spoke with The Black Keys about their success in 2012, even though they did not release an album.

They have started work on their eighth album this month which will be out by the end of 2013. They have been nominated for five Grammys, including two major ones (Record of the Year and Album of the Year) and Dan Auerbach is up for Producer of the Year.

The band’s tour last year included sold out arenas (including New York City’s Madison Square Garden) and headlining festivals (Lollapalooza, Bonnaroo).

Varney said: “It’s been constant since the beginning for the both of us – the first time you play to 100 people, the first time you play to 500, first time you play a festival, first time you get to go overseas. It just so happens that in the last two or so years, a lot of things that we were never even on our radar happened, like getting gold and platinum records, winning GRAMMYs, selling out MSG [Madison Square Garden], headlining festivals. All that stuff, we never even thought was possible. When it happens, it’s really kind of surreal. We’re really grateful that it’s happened, but we don’t really understand how it happened or why it happened.

The band’s first album, The Big Come Up, was recorded in Carney’s basement and released by the small label Alive in 2002. 2011’s El Camino was a huge deal for Warner Bros Records and debuted at #2 with sales of 206,000. Between those two albums they usually were the opening act at festivals.

Carney added: “There are moments when it can feel really, really hard. The Magic Potion tour [2006]: We were too big for a van but we didn’t have enough money to rent a bus, so we had to rent a Penske truck and a mini-van and drive it around the U.S. for seven weeks. It’s soul-crushing, really. Been lots of moments like that. Being sick and huddled in a van in Europe, traveling around, making 100 pounds a night. I guess the whole time the hope was that one day it would make sense and we’d be able to afford houses. It eventually happened, but it took getting through a lot of really difficult moments. We’ve definitely worked hard, but a lot of bands have worked just as hard. You just have to feel really lucky. Never feel like you’re entitled to it – because then you just sort of turn into a prick.


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Joseph Lee

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