If there’s speaking out to be done, you can usually count on The Black Keys to step up and do some speaking. A few days ago, the BKs inducted Steve Miller into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame, and things didn’t go as well as they would have liked. In his induction speech, Miller tore a strip off the Hall, saying that it needs to be more open to women and more transparent to the public (which is a fair enough comment). He also said that “the whole process is unpleasant”.
Was he done? Oh, he wasn’t done. He piled on more shade, calling the crowd “a bunch of jackasses and jerks and f*****g gangsters and crooks who’ve f*****g stolen everything from a f*****g artist”. As for his record label rep — well, let’s just say there was probably some squirming and red-facedness going on: “All the people that were sitting in the front row tonight, like the guy that came from my record company, I wanted to pull him by his necktie and kick him in the nuts. He’s made a billion dollars off my work over the last 50 years and the motherf****r just came over and introduced himself tonight. That cheery little thing. You know he won’t do any contract work, he won’t clean anything up, he won’t get anything done.”
Now, the Black Keys are saying that among their regrets — of which they’ve had a few — is inducting Miller into the Hall. Speaking to Rolling Stone hacks, Dan Auerbach pretty much chucked The Midnight Toker under the bus, saying “He said the whole process was unpleasant. And for Pat [Carney] and I, honestly, the most unpleasant part was being around him.”
One can understand how the Keys might be a bit peeved. After all, it appeared that Miller didn’t know Black Keys from Mac ‘n Cheese, nor did he care. “He had no idea who we were. No idea. The first thing he told us was, ‘I can’t wait to get out of here’. He knew that we signed up to do this speech for him. And he made no effort to even — he didn’t even figure out who we were. I don’t live in New York City. This is like three days out of my life flying from Nashville and leaving my kids at home.”
Was Miller being unnecessarily negative and dramatic? You bet, says Auerbach: “Of course there are problems in the music industry. Of course. But we were there, unpaid, on our own free will, to come celebrate his achievements and spread the joy of rock and roll. To inspire kids to pick up guitars. To play music. And it felt like we were doing the opposite.” Auerbach also feels that Miller is hypocritical: “He called the whole thing a boys’ club. The Steve Miller Band has had 35 members and no women.”