The Black Keys: “You can’t be best friends with the person you’re in a band with”

The duo discuss their brotherly bond in an exclusive Uncut interview

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The new issue of Uncut – in shops now or available to buy online by clicking here – features a frank and wide-ranging interview with dynamic rock duo The Black Keys.

As well as breaking down the reasons for the long hiatus between 2014’s Turn Blue and their upcoming new album “Let’s Rock”, Pat Carney and Dan Auerbach candidly dissect their own relationship, and why it’s remained so strong and productive through high times and low.

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“You can’t be best friends with the person you’re in a band with,” says Carney. “It might start off that way, it might get close to it… But I’m more of a family member. Looking back, that’s when I wanted to call [our 2010 album] Brothers – because at the time it got a little tense, when he put 
out a solo record. My attempt to rationalise this was, ‘How would 
I define this situation in the band?’ Oh, at this point it’s like we’re brothers, because we can go a couple months being pissed at each other or just not talking, and that’s fine.

“At the end of the [Turn Blue] tour cycle, I was forced to really re-evaluate what choices I made in the previous four or five years. 
It was a crazy fucking time. It was insane. I saw my life moving in 
a direction I didn’t want to be moving in, and part of it was like directly correlated to the success of the band. It was a stressful time… So being able to take some time and regroup has been good.”

“When we stopped after Turn Blue, I would have been perfectly happy not going on tour again,” continues Auerbach. “The last three years of touring, 
I never went to a soundcheck. I knew what it was going to sound like, what it was going to feel like, what it was going to smell like. I’d be playing and singing the song having completely different thoughts. I’d be in front of 40,000 people thinking about something else.

“I think the best albums The Black Keys make are when we’ve had a lot of time off… It cleared my mind and 
it made it so much more enjoyable when I got back together with Pat. We’d had all that time off and there wasn’t any of that stale, we’ve-been-on-stage-doing-this-shit-over-and-over-and-over-again thing. It was more like, ‘What a cool-ass drummer Pat is!’ I got reminded again how awesome he is. It felt very fresh and that would’ve been impossible if we hadn’t taken that time off. The [new] record is a testament to that feeling.”

You can read much more from The Black Keys in the new issue of Uncut, out now.

The July 2019 issue of Uncut is on sale from May 16, and available to order online now – with The Black Keys on the cover. Inside, you’ll find David Bowie, The Cure, Bruce Springsteen, Rory Gallagher, The Fall, Jake Xerxes Fussell, PP Arnold, Screaming Trees, George Harrison and more. Our 15-track CD also showcases the best of the month’s new music, including PJ Harvey, Peter Perrett, Black Peaches, Calexico And Iron & Wine and Mark Mulcahy.

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