In case you haven’t heard of them, the Black Keys are a rock band that started out in Akron, Ohio, which is less than an hour south of our magazine's editorial office.
This week, I was fortunate enough to see them play at the Quicken Loans Arena in downtown Cleveland. Before the show, I spent some time looking online to see if I could get a feel for how the setlist might shake out, and I came across a detail about their background that I didn't expect.
As it turns out, band founders Dan Auerbach and Patrick Carney have been donating a portion of the proceeds from every ticket sold for their Ohio shows to an organization called Community Health Services, a behavioral healthcare provider based in Akron.
According to the agency’s website, it provides comprehensive treatment, rehabilitation, advocacy and support for recovery. There's also a section on the site that recounts the agency's possible role in how the band got its name.
It's actually an interesting story. Apparently, Patrick Carney's father once wrote a story for the newspaper on an Akron-area artist named Alfred McMoore, a client at Community Health Services who suffered from schizophrenia. Dan Auerbach's father, an art dealer, also had numerous interactions with the man.
McMoore would leave messages on each family’s answering machines, often using the term “black keys” to describe people he didn’t like—presumably because he didn’t like the sound of the black (flat) keys on a piano. When Auerbach and Carney were discussing band names, McMoore's term was suggested and the rest is history.
As a fan of the Black Keys’ music, it’s nice to find a reason to be a fan of what they do for their community, and as it turns out, for behavioral healthcare, too. It's also interesting to find out what started it all.