By Zachary Swickey
The Black Keys had a hell of a year in 2011, finally getting some much-deserved attention (selling out Madison Square Garden in the process), but frontman Dan Auerbach is the first to admit that it used to piss him off that they weren’t bigger.
We can’t blame Auerbach (I was notably confused when I saw them play for just a couple hundred people in 2004), as the band has the catchiest, most dynamic blues-pop combination sound out there today. In an interview with the Sun, the singer said that he had grown frustrated with their lack of mainstream success, but claimed that he and his drummer bandmate Patrick Carney now appreciated it more because it took them longer to achieve.
“Stuff used to piss me off and I’d moan about it. Like, ‘Why aren’t we up here on the bill? Why aren’t we playing a higher festival slot?’” stated Auerbach.
“I don’t know. I’m glad it took us this long because we appreciate every opportunity that we’ve got. Every step up we feel better about it,” he further explained. “I love our audience – that they are all so different. Old and new fans across the board. The shows have got bigger – but gradually, so it’s lessened the blow.”
Drummer Carney took a moment to voice his displeasure with the Grammys, saying, “There’s so much good music in the U.S. and there is just a small section that gets recognized at the Grammys. I don’t have any patience and I can’t bulls**t myself by sitting through a Justin Bieber song. I am not interested in that s**t.”
Things were less hostile when MTV News’ own James Montgomery caught up with the duo in Berlin of all places – the group referred to 2011 as “absolutely insane.” They premiered their slick new video for their most recent hit off El Camino, “Gold on the Ceiling,” which is basically a fun montage of video footage from the road – a nice “cheap and awesome” summation of how far the guys have come.
They describe their recent stardom as “all very new” but modestly refer to themselves as the “bat boys” of the rock and roll big leagues. These are the same guys who have gone from “mowing dirt fields” in Akron, Ohio, to playing arenas in just under a decade. Dream big, kids, dream big.