The Black Keys: Badass Guitars and Killer Grooves

By RS Staff
Oct 18, 2011

Dan Auerbach: Badass Guitars

"Guitar bores the shit out of me 99 per cent of the time," says the Black Keys frontman. "A solo has to be strange: There's gotta be that little 'crack' element, where it sounds like part of the song has been smoking crack."

1. "Shot Down" | The Sonics, 1965
A gnarly, over-the-top precursor to punk that was never really outdone by punk.

2. "Dearest" | Mickey & Sylvia, 1957
Mickey Baker was underrated magic.

3. "I Love You More Than You'll Ever Know" | Blood, Sweat & Tears, 1968
It's very much like an Isaac Hayes song, but with fuzz guitar way up front. It's just cool.

4. "Heart Full Of Love" | The Invincibles, 1965
My favorite soul song of all time. It's perfect.

5. "Your Body, Not Your Soul" | Cuby and the Blizzards, 1966
Completely bonkers. They're a Sixties European garage band, and everybody's bashing in unison.

6. "All Night Long" | Junior Kimbrough, 1992
He'd play the rhythm part, locking in with the drums in a hypnotic way. It's not blues; it's weird North Mississippi soul.

7. "The Spook" | Pete Drake, 1964
It sounds like Ethiopian music recorded at Stax.

8. "Commotion" | Creedence Clearwater Revival, 1969
Fogerty played a f***ing miniature Rickenbacker through a solid-state Kustom amp. Nobody used that shit; his whole sound was unique.

9. "Some Kinda Nut" | Moon Men, 1963
The most aggressive, I-wanna-kill-you guitar ever put to tape. It's like Link Wray's trying to destroy people's minds with the solos in this song.

10. "Space Guitar" | Johnny "Guitar" Watson, 1953
He used to have, like, a 50-foot guitar cable, and he'd go through the audience playing guitar on his buddy's shoulders. He was a total showman, and you hear that on this song: crazy, showy, with wild studio effects.

Patrick Carney: Killer Grooves

"The simpler the beat, the better," declares the Keys' drummer. "I love John Bonham and Bill Ward, but the best beats are repetitive, like guitar riffs. You never wanna overthink it."

1. "Tramp" | Lowell Fulson, 1967
When we first started, we just wanted to sound like this: simple, but heavy as hell.

2. "Groovin'" | Willie Mitchell, 1968
The most badass, sinister thing I've ever heard.

3. "Satisfaction" | Devo, 1978
It's real drums, but it sounds like a machine. To keep time like this is insane.

4. "Can You Get To That" | Funkadelic, 1971
The drummer's behind, then he's on top. He really has feel.

5. "Down On The Street" | The Stooges, 1970
It makes me wanna walk down the street with a switchblade.

6. "She's Alright ('Electric Mud' Version)" | Muddy Waters, 1968
Music to have sex to, honestly!

7. "She's Not There" | The Zombies, 1964
This is a classic groove. It feels like summertime.

8. "Needles In The Camel's Eye" | Brian Eno, 1974
It's two drummers playing together, off time. But it never sounds f***ed up.

9. "I Got The..." | Labi Siffre, 1975
Eminem sampled this on "My Name Is." Siffre was a badass.

10. "25th Century Quaker" | Captain Beefheart, 1971
It's cave-man music: 10 minutes long, sloppy and out of time – but the feeling is there.

Illustration by THOMAS FUCHS





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