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Black Keys Reflect on Their First Headlining Coachella Slot

Patrick Carney, Dan Auerbach
Kevin Winter, Getty Images

The Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival is wrapping up its second of two sold-out weekends today (April 22). This year marks the fifth Coachella appearance for the Black Keys, and the first as headliners. Seeing as they worked their way up the lineup over the years, the Akron, Ohio duo believes it has made them “super-tough.”

Rolling Stone sat down with the Black Keys before they were set to close out the first night of Coachella over a week ago (April 13). The two were pointing out the differences in their experiences between being a headliner and small band in a hot tent.

“I like to remember the first time we played Coachella, in ’04,” drummer Patrick Carney says. “It was hot as f—ing balls. We were sweating our asses off, and there were very few people there.”

“It was in a tent with no ventilation,” vocalist/guitarist Dan Auerbach adds. “It was the kind of hot where you’re completely drenched, except for the top of your head where the heat’s coming out of.”

Carney joked that they survived rock festival boot camp so anything else is a piece of cake. “So if we can make it through that, which is basically, like, Navy SEALs hell week for rock ‘n’ roll — this is, like, the Palm Springs retirement.”

“Yeah,” Auerbach adds. “We made it. We’re, like, super-tough now. Tough as nails.”

The Black Keys aren’t ready to take a break anytime soon. They will continue to tour throughout North America, as well as Europe and Australia. However, the blues-rock revivalists plan to record new material for a follow-up to last year’s ‘El Camino’ album.

“We’re going to start soon,” Carney says. “We’re not sure how long it’ll take, but I think we’d both like to put another record out next year. We’ve got to keep rolling the dice.”

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