"Living in Akron, believe it or not, can be incredibly boring if you don't have anything to do." That's Black Keys' drummer Patrick Carney on the impetus for his new outfit, Drummer.
Not too long ago, the Keys' vocalist and guitar man Dan Auerbach departed their Ohio hamlet on a solo tour, leaving Carney at loose ends. And so to stave off boredom he recruited four other drummers from groups that were on hiatus or disbanded, including Teeth of the Hydra, Ghostman & Sandman, Six Parts Seven, and Beaten Awake.
This mad scientist experiment led to Drummer, in which everyone except Greg Boyd (who stuck with sticks) plays something new. Their guitar-and-keyboard-focused debut, Feel Good Together, dropped last month, and it's more accessible and melodic than Black Keys' blues/garage-rock infusions. "There wasn't really all that much thought put into how we would sound," says Carney, who plays bass in the group. "But we wanted to make something that was relatively poppy indie rock."
Lead singer Jon Finley wrote all of the lyrics, which veer toward the bombastic; in fact, such tracks as "Lottery Dust" and the album's title track echo such '70s arena-rock acts as Scorpions. "I hope to God not, but it's probably there," Carney says when presented with the unexpected comparison. "I've known our guitar player Jamie [Stillman] since I was 17, and I used to idolize the guy. He can play Scorpions rock solos, but I think he has better taste."
Currently logging a cross-country tour with Drummer, Carney will be back to his old tricks before long. He and Auerbach recently completed a new Black Keys disc, and they also finished up the Blakroc album, which they produced. It features such rap legends as Mos Def, RZA and Ludacris. Damon Dash put the whole thing together, if you can believe that. "He just called us" out of the blue, says Carney, speculating that one of Dame's assistants turned the hip-hop mogul onto them. "We used some loops but no samples. We were able to make music we were into."
Looks like somebody's found a way to stay busy in Akron.
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