Dan Auerbach and Patrick Carney began a friendship as pre teens, meeting in the neighborhood they shared in Akron, Ohio. Although they had different friends and interests in high school, they shared a love of music, meeting to jam together and after Carney got a tape recorder, to record music.
After high school and unsuccessful stints at college, Auerbach asked Carney to help him record a demo he could use to try and book out of town shows as he was attempting to make a living playing music. At the first session, none of the musicians Auerbach asked to record with him showed, so Carney filled in as backing band. This led the pair to form a two man band and record a demo for submission to record labels.
Their first record came in 2002 and the collection of new material and blues covers gained a cult following with the pair mowing lawns to fund a first tour to get in front of their fans. Still on a modest budget for their 2nds album, “Thickfreakness” was recorded in a single 14 hour session in Carney’s basement.
The Black Keys bluesy low fi sound and midwest origins often drew comparisons with the White Stripes. Neither group appreciated the critique and it led to friction, with Jack White at one time banning Auerbach from his recording studio. In 2010 the Black Keys came fully into their own with their “Brothers” album.
After moving to Nashville, the pair recorded the album mostly in Muscle Shoals using others to help in the production. The result was their most successful album with the Danger Mouse produced “Tighten Up” from the album spending 10 weeks on top of the Alternative charts. The album won three Grammys and sold 1.5 million copies worldwide.