Published: May 1, 2012
When CBS News’ Sunday Morning aired April 22, it included a feature near and dear to the heart of Ohio antiques dealer Chuck Auerbach, whom Antiques and The Arts Weekly readers last saw at the Pier Antiques Show this spring.
The nine-minute feature was about the Black Keys, a two-man rock band featuring Chuck’s son, Dan, on guitar and lead vocals, and Dan’s childhood friend, Pat Carney, on drums. Longtime antiques showgoers will remember seeing Dan and his brother, Geoff, helping their dad set up at the Pier show for years.
The gist of the feature, which melded live on-stage footage, interviews, as well as then-and-now photographs, was how they formed their band and toured small clubs around the country for ten years and now are enjoying fame and accolades as one of the hottest acts on the charts.
You may not know who The Black Keys are but chances are you have probably heard their music and did not know it. The musicians have had their music used in more than 300 movies, TV commercials and television shows from such films as School of Rock, 2003; Twilight Saga: Eclipse, 2010; Zombieland, 2009; and Limitless, 2011, to last year’s Subaru Legacy commercial featuring a man driving through puddles and only seeing the splashes.
The Black Keys’ breakthrough album was their sixth studio album in 2010 titled Brothers, which won the duo the Best Alternative Music Grammy in February 2011 (one of three Grammys they won that year). Their most recent album, El Camino, was released last December and as Chuck Auerbach was setting up his Pier show booth this past March, he squeezed in some time to see the band perform at Madison Square Garden.
In the CBS interview, reporter Anthony Mason notes that the first of two Black Keys shows at Madison Square Garden sold out in 15 minutes. Dan quips that was a huge deal for them, but he tries not to think about those kind of things too hard. Both Auerbach and Carney come across as down-to-earth.
“Our brothers would make fun of us if we tried to act like rock stars,” Dan said during an interview in his parents’ home in Akron, Ohio, in March, which showed Chuck and his wife, Mary, a retired French teacher, on screen briefly. Chuck Auerbach is quoted about Dan: “He’s still the hardest-working guy I know. How can you not support hard work and passion?”
The Auerbachs are amazed at all that has happened over the last few years from The Black Keys appearing on the cover of Rolling Stone and on Saturday Night Live to the sell-out New York shows. “I don’t know that it gets…maybe Yankee Stadium,” dad says, pondering how could it get any better, to which Dan jokingly retorts, “I’m never good enough, Dad.”
Growing up blocks away from each other, Carney and Auerbach met while attending Harvey S. Firestone Senior High School in Akron, to which they were recently inducted into the school’s “Alumni Wall of Fame.” They began practicing in Carney’s basement and toured for years in a minivan. In the CBS interview, Carney recalls their first high-paying gig was at a club in Seattle, Wash., and it paid the princely sum of $539. Carney slept in the van that night to guard the cash, which he says was more than enough to pay for gas for their whole trip.
Having replaced their minivan with a tour bus, the duo no longer worries about gas money and if they are selling out huge arenas like Madison Square Garden, life is pretty good indeed.
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