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Moderne Day Man


By Kelly Shannon

Sitting outside a dive bar in Newport Beach on a sunny Sunday, I fittingly sat atop my denim jacket on the sidewalk and had the honor of chatting with the super-talented drummer of The Black Keys, Mr. Patrick Carney. At just 32-years-old, Patrick and lead singer Dan Auerbach have pretty much accomplished everything known as musicians. In just under two years, the rock duo has won both Grammy’s and Moon Men, made the cover of Rolling Stone, sold out Madison Square Garden in 15 minutes, headlined Coachella, played Saturday Night Live - not once but twice in the same year (a SNL first), and their list of grand accomplishments keeps going.

A Midwest boy from Akron, Ohio, Patrick is one of the most talked about musicians for all the right reasons. Unlike so many rock stars, he’s not talked about for being a train wreck, because he isn’t close to being one. He’s talked about for his mega-talent, his incredible work ethic, his hilarious tweets, and his television appearances (Patrick and Dan were recently guests on Anthony Bourdain’s No Reservations and are making a guest appearance on an upcoming episode of Workaholics). There is no doubt in our minds that the success of The Black Keys will continue for years and years to come.

Patrick was so incredibly kind to talk with Mode-Moderne Journal while on The Black Keys El Camino tour in Portland, Oregon.

KELLY: I can’t even imagine how exhausting touring must be. What keeps you going?

PATRICK: Every tour is exhausting in a different way. And we always have different people traveling with us. We’ll play a show, get off stage late, hang for a little, get on the bus, and go to bed sometime around 4am. Wake up at our next destination around noon and do the day all over again. I’ll putz around for a bit, do sound check, take a nap, then play, repeat. When we’d stay in cheap hotels and we would have a break, sometimes I wouldn’t be able to get out of bed for two or three days. But we tour a lot more now, so it’s getting more comfortable. But I always play better when I’ve had a day off. I’m just more with it.

KELLY: What are you favorite cities you’ve visited while on tour?

PATRICK: Every city is awesome. My favorites to play concerts in are probably Chicago, New York, Portland (Oregon), Seattle, Paris, and London. But the smaller cites have more wild crowds, which is rad. We played a show in Portland, Maine recently – we had never played there before - and the crowd was going nuts. It was the most fun show I’ve played.

KELLY: I really admire your affinity for the classics.  How do the oldies inspire your music most?

PATRICK: I listen to a lot of electric blues from the 50s and 60s. That’s the stuff I like...Like Freddie King. Dan, Billy Gibbons, and I were actually asked to play the induction at the Rock ‘n Roll Hall of Fame for Freddie King. But the show was during Coachella.

KELLY: That’s so awesome and flattering. Bummer it couldn’t have worked out. So which drummer do you identify with most from the classics?

PATRICK: For drumming, it’s all old school drummers. Like, Bill Ward (of Black Sabbath) Charlie Watts (The Rolling Stones), Ringo Starr (The Beatles), John Bonham (Led Zeppelin), Keith Moon (The Who). Those guys are the best drummers known.

KELLY: And you!

PATRICK: (Laughs). No way.

KELLY: Way. You guys are like, so IT right now. How weird is that?  What’s it like?

PATRICK: It’s weird. It was way weirder in the beginning. It’s cool in the sense that last time we played in Portland (Oregon,) it was for around 3,000 people, and in just about a year and a half, now we’re playing for 10,000.

KELLY: That’s nuts.

PATRICK: It’s just really crazy. I’m enjoying it while it lasts.

KELLY: So how do you feel about Pizza Hut totally ripping off “Gold on the Ceiling?”  That’s pretty absurd.

PATRICK: It happens to a lot of bands. It’s happened to us a few times before. There have only been two instances with lawsuits, both overseas. It’s infuriating. We’re the most licensed band on Warner Brothers. We use to fly under the radar, but now we’re one of the most requested bands in terms of “sounds like this.” So we just kinda have to fucking deal with it I guess. It happens. 

KELLY: The Black Keys album El Camino released only six months ago and has received an incredible amount of praise, all deserved. I love this album. And it’s so soon… But when can we expect to hear some new Black Keys tunes? 

PATRICK: Dan and I are meeting when we get back to Nashville in July when we have a little break from touring. We still have a lot of touring to do - about 10 more weeks, even though the US tour is almost wrapped. We still have a few shows coming soon in LA, San Diego, Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas, in a six-day run. We’re in Europe in August after Lollapalooza, then spending three weeks touring in Australia.

KELLY: Man that’s brutal. Fun, but brutal. You and Dan keep tweaking your style to keep it interesting.  Can you tell us how will your next album be different?

PATRICK: When we’re in the studio in July, Dan and I are going to try to get started on our next album. We still don’t know what we’re gonna do, but we’re gonna switch gears in July. I’d like to see an album done by the end of March (2013), which means we could have something out as early as May. Or we might hold it for a little while and enjoy some down time. 

KELLY: You’re not just an animal on the drums.  You’ve also produced / are producing several albums.  How did you get into producing?

PATRICK: I haven’t really done it all that much. When we first started the band and we got our first record deal, we were broke. So Dan and I did our first, second, third and fourth albums the same way, producing them in basements. We met Danger Mouse in 2007. Then we did Brothers and El Camino in Dan’s studio.

KELLY: Who are all these bands you’re working with on producing?

PATRICK: Tennis, The Sheepdogs, Royal Bangs, and some friend’s bands in Ohio.

KELLY: I saw Tennis play the other night.  They had some sound difficulties, but other than that their new album Young & Old you produced such good listening.  Are you working on anything else?

PATRICK: I’m so busy traveling with the tour night now that I’m too busy to do stuff. I need some time off. I like to take some time off

Above is an intimate video of The Black Keys and John Fogerty rehearsing "The Weight" by The Band. The rehearsal was for a special tribute performance dedicated to the late great Levon Helm that took place at Coachella Valley Music Festival 2012.

Kelly Shannon is a native Californian & journalist who believes each of our unique lifestyles creates our very own way of life; from our preferences of art & literature to fashion & music. Deeply intrigued by the creators and innovators of trends, style, and vitality, she is also the Editor in Chief of MMJ.


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