Getting Dan Auerbach out of the recording studio is no easy task.
“I’ve been heavily loafing,” laughs The Black Keys’ guitarist from his home in Nashville. “I don’t want to leave my studio…it’s not like I’m James Brown on stage.”
After a five-year absence, Akron natives Auerbach and drummer Patrick Carney are back in the spotlight with the release of their ninth album “Let’s Rock,” which debuted at No. 1 on the U.S. album chart and No. 4 on the Billboard Top 10.
“Every time I look at a chart none of it makes sense to me,” says Auerbach. “I don’t think anybody else in that Top 10 plays an instrument.”
The Black Keys are back on the road this month and will christen the newly refurbished Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse Sept. 30. The duo is no strangers to the building, having played there in 2012 and 2014.
Auerbach talked to Cleveland Magazine about the new album, the rigors of touring and the band’s first concert in Cleveland — long before even the shiniest stadiums felt routine to the rock ‘n’ roll duo.
There were about 12 people at the Beachland, if that. For this show, my mom’s ticket list looks like wedding invitations. I’m telling you, there’s something here. There’s this weird musical spirit that comes out of Northeast Ohio.
What was the inspiration for “Let’s Rock”?
I did a session with Joe Walsh and Glenn Schwartz (James Gang) and it was like going to church. I used to go see Glenn play every Thursday night at Hooples in Akron and all those memories came flooding back. Joe and I both worshipped Glenn. Right after that session I texted Pat (Carney) about getting together. We didn’t tell anybody.
The new album is guitar-driven, primal rock. Is it a throwback to The Black Keys earlier albums?
It’s f—cking rock and roll. We’re touring with three guitars for the first time. It sort of sounds even more like The Black Keys. Before, I only heard that sound in the studio…now, I’m actually hearing it on stage. It makes it extra fun to play the older songs.
The Black Keys made it big by touring constantly. Did that almost burn out the band?
Not almost, it did. When you wake up in the bowels of an arena, it’s all a blur. We kept going back to the same cities over and over and it created a foundation that stuck to us. It’s a hard business to make a living in, especially nowadays. Pat and I were talking the other day wondering if we could start The Black Keys today. I don’t know.
The upgraded Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse is a lot more than just a new name. Here are five things to know about the new basketball and events arena.