Dan Auerbach: I Want Some More

 
You can't do better than the basics. It's never unsatisfying. No amount of Pro-Tools edits will ever be as satisfying as a good band being recorded in a room altogether. That energy is the heart and soul of any kind of good music.

-Dan Auerbach

 

Deciding one's limits for themselves has real creative mojo. Necessity and conscious parameters can fuel real ingenuity in the studio. It's a cornerstone of The Black Keys' duo-philosophy that's carried into Auerbach's work outside that band.

"I never felt Pat and I were ever limited when we went into the studio. In fact, a lot of times we'd have too many ideas and have to tone it down," says Auerbach. "It helps to take some stuff off, let it breathe."

Dan Auerbach
So, what prompted the solo album? What made these tunes something he wanted to steer on his own outside of his partnership with Carney?

"The thing most people don't realize is I've been recording on my own on the side forever, since before I met Pat, and the people on this record I've been playing with longer than I've been playing with Pat," offers Auerbach. "My uncle [Charles Auerbach] is the guy who taught me how to sing and play guitar. I've been playing music with him since I was 14. So, this is new to everyone else but it's just normal to me. I've just never had the opportunity to release anything."

"What's really new to me is touring behind something like this and having six people on stage playing music. That's the new thing," continues Auerbach. "The album is pretty fleshed up and we get to do all the stuff live – the percussion, the keyboards, the harmonies, rhythm guitar, it's all there. This tour has been pretty overwhelming. It's been amazing to play with these guys. They're so great. Having two drummers and keyboards is so much fun. And I think we're doing things in an understated way; we're not just bashing away. They only play two kits at the same time on two songs. The rest of the time one plays drums and the other does percussion. It's cool."

'Cool' isn't a temperature setting in much of Auerbach's songwriting, which often throbs with uncivilized carnality, real man/woman stuff that presses skin on skin. "Mean Monsoon" and "Street Walkin'" on Keep It Hid have real hips and juicy immediacy.

Put a dollar in the jukebox
But don't you play our favorite song
'Cause seeing you dance to that
Is only gonna bring me to ruin

Dan Auerbach
"Well, I don't know, things just kind of happen in the studio," offers Auerbach with a verbal shrug at odds with the ass hound lurking in his music. "I felt really great about the lyrics on both those songs. I felt I was in a really good place of writing when I was putting this album together, the last half of the album anyway. Both those songs were pretty much in the studio live. On 'Mean Monsoon' I had a loose idea of what I wanted, and my uncle was there and he's a big fan of Cuban musician Arsenio Rodriguez, so I told him I sort of wanted that feel on the rhythm guitar. He goes to Cuba and the Dominican a lot and he just started playing that [begins mouthing a loping, sensual Latin guitar stroll]. That was the idea and we built around that. And I told Bob [Cesare, drums] that I wanted the beat to stop and start. We threw it together and it just flowed. Both those songs are SUCH fun to play live!"

Auerbach seems to draw from the same well that gave us "Not Fade Away" and "Rock Around The Clock," the original spring that fed this beast that became rock 'n' roll.

"I've never really listened to The Rolling Stones or any of the British stuff. When I was young I sought out the stuff those guys had listened to. Obviously, I knew who the Stones are but the song I knew the most was 'Paint It Black.' And the same thing holds true for the guys I'm playing with, too. That's why I knew it would work so well. They love that music. They know as much or more than me about who was playing in Muscle Shoals or at Stax Records or Motown, or who was playing on the sessions for Pet Sounds. They know all about that stuff."

"It's all about the maracas. I'm fucking serious. Maracas are the unsung hero of rock 'n' roll. And having the ability on this tour to have a dedicated maraca player is so incredible," asserts Auerbach, who offers a clue to his mania by making the first photo in the CD booklet a shot of hand painted maracas. "Patrick [Hallahan, MMJ drummer on tour with Auerbach's band] can fit six maracas in his hands – three in one hand and three in the other. It's so amazing! You get that primal drumbeat and those maracas going and I could just go wild and listen to that all night."

See JamBase's review of Keep It Hid here and a review of the touring band's recent performance in S.F. here.

Auerbach and his merry men are currently on tour in Australia and hit Europe in May. See dates here. And The Black Keys hit the road again in the U.S. for a handful of dates in April before summer festival season kicks off. Find the full itinerary here.

The title cut live in San Francisco

Covering Grand Funk Railroad in S.F.

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Comments

joxley1 starstarstarstarstar Thu 4/9/2009 07:21PM
+3 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

This album is soooo good. Thank goodness for musicians like these guys (inc P. Carney too). I love the line about not wanting to sound "old" but wanting to sound "timeless". I think you've succeeded on that front Dan.

Here is hoping me and this band are in the same place at the same time sometime soon.

Chaloupka starstarstarstarstar Thu 4/9/2009 09:53PM
+1 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

Chaloupka

Dude is a badass mofo!

sschaffner starstarstarstarstar Fri 4/10/2009 10:17AM
+2 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

sschaffner

yes indeed, the man is definitely a badass... and super intelligent too. i really dig the recording style, and they're pulling it off with perfection. great article as well, it's nice to read some lengthier quotes... i feel like dennis really let dan speak. rockin!

hardingmr Fri 4/10/2009 10:56AM
0 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

I love this album!! Better than anything he has done with the Black Keys. The live show was amazing, but surely Hacienda helped with that. All I can say is I hope he cuts another solo album soon.

Old No. 7 Fri 4/10/2009 11:02AM
+2 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

Old No. 7

what a beard

ZRipper starstarstarstarstar Fri 4/10/2009 11:07AM
+1 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

I am in love with this album...it really has no weak points. Thank you JamBase for giving this man the attention he deserves!

flarrdogg starstarstarstarstar Fri 4/10/2009 05:18PM
+1 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

flarrdogg

akron represent- hells yeah.

redwhiteandgreen starstarstarstarstar Sat 4/11/2009 11:46AM
+1 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

redwhiteandgreen

Love the Keys...can't wait to check out Dan's solo stuff too...If you guys like this style of dirty, grungy, stoner-blues, then ya'll may like Blues and Lasers. They're this band I caught in NYC a little while back and they sound kinda like the Keys and put on a fun show.

iwantstogetfunkedup Sun 4/12/2009 11:04AM
0 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

Stoked for the Keys on Saturday at the Fox in Oakland!

ksublime47 Sun 4/12/2009 01:06PM
+1 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

ksublime47

Love The Black Keys and think this could be even better! It is so refreshing to hear a musician who does not need all the technology everyone is using today - so raw and definitely "timeless"

RainbowSerpent Sun 4/12/2009 05:25PM
0 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

RainbowSerpent

I think Blues and Lasers is Grace Potter's band, The Nocturnals, side project.

justin r starstarstarstarstar Sun 4/12/2009 09:03PM
+1 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

justin r

Great album, great review, great videos thanks jambase

manjotar starstarstarstarstar Thu 4/16/2009 02:09AM
0 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

manjotar

he sounds awesome on this tour too, anybody catch his opener a while back, Those Darlins?

those chicks kick some ass...