The more outspoken half of multiple Grammy-winning duo The Black Keys, bespectacled drummer Patrick Carney formed the backbone of their rough and ready blues-rock sound, while also achieving acclaim as a producer for ... Read more »
The more outspoken half of multiple Grammy-winning duo The Black Keys, bespectacled drummer Patrick Carney formed the backbone of their rough and ready blues-rock sound, while also achieving acclaim as a producer for several cult indie-rock outfits. Born in Akron, OH, in 1980 to a court deputy clerk mother and local newspaper reporter father, Carney grew up on the music of Pavement, Captain Beefheart and Devo and played the drums in various high school bands before briefly attending the Art Institute of Pittsburgh and his hometown's university. In 2001, he hooked up with Dan Auerbach, a singer/guitarist friend and one-time jamming partner he'd known since he was eight years old, to form The Black Keys. Recorded in Carney's basement on an eight-track tape recorder, the pair's distinctly lo-fi debut album, The Big Come Up, arrived in 2002, but like 2003 follow-up Thickfreakness and 2004's Rubber Factory, the record failed to transcend the band's small but growing cult following. The duo eventually broke through to the mainstream with 2008's Danger Mouse-produced Attack and Release, but tensions between the pair, reportedly caused over Auerbach's increasing dislike of Carney's wife Denise Grollmus, forced the band go on a hiatus shortly after. Carney used the break to showcase his bass guitar skills in side-project Drummer, an indie-rock quintet consisting entirely of sticksmen from other bands who released their debut album, Feel Good Together, through Carney's own Audio Eagle Records label in 2009. After patching up their differences, The Black Keys returned in 2010 with Brothers, a spiky blues-rock affair which earned three Grammy Awards, landed on several year-end lists and became their first million-seller, while buoyed by the success of MTV hit "Lonely Boy," 2011's El Camino helped to propel the band onto rock's A-list. In the same year, Carney was recruited as producer for husband-and-wife indie-pop duo Tennis' second album, Young & Old, and in 2012, took on the same role for The Sheepdogs' Canadian chart-topping self-titled fourth LP. Having previously discussed his acrimonious divorce from Grollmus in an interview with Rolling Stone, Carney then found himself in the tabloids again thanks to high-profile spats with Justin Bieber and Jack White. But The Black Keys' 2014 album, Turn Blue, switched attention back to his musicianship, giving the band their first number one on the Billboard 200.