Where It’s At

In this month’s Uncut, we bring together The Black Keys‘ Dan Auerbach and Patrick Carney and Beck for an exclusive interview to celebrate their work together on The Black Keys new studio album, Ohio Players… Let’s just call them The Beck Keys.

Now read on for an extract from this one-off encounter…



That’s a picnic lunch 20 years in the making. The two acts have been circling each other for decades, bound by their shared love of blues, funk and soul. After touring together in 2003, the three musicians often talked about jamming, recording or just hanging out together, but their plans only finally came to fruition in 2022, when Beck stopped by Auerbach’s Easy Eye Sound Studio in Nashville and the trio raced through a handful of songs in an afternoon. “When you’re working on a record and the songs are coming together, whatever the energy and the vibe, it just goes into the music,” says Beck.

Such energies are evident on the lively Ohio Players, which combines the thickfreak attack of The Black Keys with Beck’s bottles-and-cans-and-just-clap-your-hands aesthetic. Of the album’s 14 tracks, Beck co-wrote seven and played on several others, injecting them with lively rhythms and flourishes of funk, r&b and even country. “That’s the whole draw of music,” says Carney. “It’s an art form that’s very collaborative. It’s one of the few forms where you create something from nothing.”

To celebrate their fruitful work together, The Black Keys and Beck – let’s just call them The Beck Keys – sat down with Uncut for an exclusive joint interview. In this excerpt, they discuss their first hook-ups…


PATRICK CARNEY: You might not remember this, but I met you on the Odelay tour. I was about 16 and my uncle Ralph arranged through Smokey Hormel [Beck’s guitarist] to get me a backstage pass. It was the first time I went backstage at a show. That was one of my first concerts and it totally blew my mind. I was a huge fan and still am. I think we talked about The Shaggs for a while.

BECK HANSEN: I remember hanging with you… it must have been ’96 or something? We were playing in Ohio. I don’t remember the place, but I remember we talked for a long time. Your uncle Ralph had auditioned for the band and was friend of Smokey’s. I knew about him because he had played with Tom Waits. I remember he showed up at rehearsal with a Chinese nose flute! He had all these weird flugelhorns, which didn’t really go with the songs we were playing at the time. I was like, “Damn, I wish I had the right album for this guy…”

CARNEY: I came to two shows: you played Akron and the following spring you were headlining with The Roots and Atari Teenage Riot. Then we met again at a Saturday Night Live afterparty in 2003. Our friends in Sleater-Kinney got us in. I gave you a promo of Thickfreakness on CD. A couple of weeks later we learned through our agent that you had offered us a spot on his summer tour. That was huge for us. We jumped at the opportunity.

BECK: I remember meeting you guys that night! It was a huge blizzard and we were stuck in New York. I thought you had snuck into the party.

DAN AUERBACH: We did! We weren’t supposed to be there. But here’s our CD, you’re going to love it!

BECK: People would give me CDs all the time, but I remember listening to your album and thinking, ‘Shit, this is really good.’ Then you played at this place down the street from my house called Spaceland. I think you were opening for a band called Jet. I walked down there just to see y’all. I brought this producer friend along with me. There were probably less than 10 people there. Both our jaws were on the floor. I felt like we were at the Forum watching this band play their greatest hits set when they’re 50.

CARNEY: We didn’t know you were in the audience that night. That’s when we were touring in a Buick Century, just the two of this in a car. There was so much gear that we couldn’t even recline the passenger seat. The night before, we had played Bottom Of The Hill in San Francisco then we had to drive all night to have a meeting at 10 in the morning in L.A. We were completely zoned…

BECK: But you played an amazing show. It was just so formed, the songs were all good. When you would play a song, it was like, ‘Oh man, they’re playing this one!’ Which is wild for a fairly new band. It was undeniable. That’s when I told my manager I wanted to have these guys out on my tour. It was a big tour. All of North America. I think it started in Boston. It was good to reconnect with you.

Read the full feature only in the latest edition of Uncut – in shops now and available to buy direct from us here

Ohio Players is available now from Nonesuch and can be ordered here