The Black Keys' Dan Auerbach talks blues power

Dan Auerbach
Dan Auerbach

"I fell in love with the blues as a kid, and that was it - the die was cast," says Dan Auerbach, guitarist and vocalist for the acclaimed Akron, Ohio duo The Black Keys.

Since 2001, Auerbach and drummer Pat Carney have been their own Little Engine That Could, releasing a string of bold, down-and-dirty blues-rock albums such as The Big Come Up, Rubber Factory and Magic Potion.

The Black Keys' last album, 2008's Attack & Release, was produced by Danger Mouse (he of Jay-Z's Grey Album and Gnarls Barkley fame). A volcanic affair of blistering psychedelic blues, it debuted at #14 on Billboard and topped numerous critics' year-end Top Ten lists. "Isn't that amazing?" says Auerbach. "After all this time, we're actually flirting with fame."

Going solo with Keep It Hid

"It's just me being real, making music that's genuine. That's the only stuff that lasts" Dan Auerbach on his solo album

The Keys are the latest in a small yet distinguished list of rock duos that includes Local H and The White Stripes, and now Auerbach has gone one step further (or smaller, if you will) by releasing a self-produced solo album called Keep It Hid.

Recorded in his own studio in Akron (the appropriately named Akron Analog), Keep It Hid is a wickedly unpredictable 14-track thrill ride that sees Auerbach handling a multitude of instruments and putting his own scruffy stamp on gospel (Trouble Weighs A Ton), gothic Delta blues (When I Left The Room) and bone-crunching rock (I Want Some More).

"I think people got the impression that I made a solo record to sort of divorce myself from The Black Keys sound," says Auerbach. "I don't see it that way. It's just me being real, making music that's genuine. That's what The Black Keys have always striven for too. That's the only stuff that lasts."

In this exclusive MusicRadar podcast, Dan Auerbach talks about Keep It Hid. The iconoclastic musician also discusses his abiding passion for the blues, plans for the next Black Keys album and an impending collaboration with Rick Rubin and ZZ Top.

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Joe Bosso

Joe is a freelance journalist who has, over the past few decades, interviewed hundreds of guitarists for Guitar WorldGuitar PlayerMusicRadar and Classic Rock. He is also a former editor of Guitar World, contributing writer for Guitar Aficionado and VP of A&R for Island Records. He’s an enthusiastic guitarist, but he’s nowhere near the likes of the people he interviews. Surprisingly, his skills are more suited to the drums. If you need a drummer for your Beatles tribute band, look him up.