LOS ANGELES, Calif. - The Black Keys hardly looked lonesome during Grammy rehearsals Friday, when the blues-rock duo stomped through their hit "Lonely Boy" backed by the swelling brass of the Preservation Hall Jazz Band and legendary New Orleans pianist Dr. John.
Afterwards, the pair was in a joking mood.
The Ohio rockers are up for five Grammys, with Dan Auerbach nabbing a sixth nod for his production work. Although the pair has won three Grammys in the past, this Sunday's show at the Staples Center will mark the first time the Black Keys have nominations in two of the annual award bash's marquee categories: album and record of the year.
Given that it's been 11 years since the band's debut "The Big Come Up" was recorded in drummer Patrick Carney's basement, they were asked how it feels to finally gain such mainstream recognition.
"The only word I could use would be 'deserved.' Nah — I'm just kidding," laughed Carney as he and Auerbach chatted after rehearsals.
"Honestly, three years ago we came to L.A. to go work with (Wu Tang Clan producer) RZA and we landed on a Sunday and found out the Grammys were on. We had no idea where the Grammys even happened — that's how out of touch the Grammys were with our lives up until the next year, (when) we ended up winning a couple.
"We don't really pay attention to that stuff."
Still, they were obviously chuffed to be sharing the stage with Dr. John, whose 2012 disc "Locked Down" was produced by Auerbach.
Not to mention the musicians of the Preservation Hall, a storied New Orleans jazz institution.
"I think it makes you hopeful," Auerbach said of the collaboration. "Being a musician and seeing guys in their 70s and 80s on the same stage as us playing music, it's pretty cool."
As of last month, the Black Keys entered the studio to begin work on their followup to 2011's multi-platinum "El Camino," which will compete against LPs from Frank Ocean, fun., Jack White and Mumford & Sons for album of the year.
They were tight-lipped about the direction of the new material on Friday.
"It's actually already been nominated for seven Grammy Awards," quipped Carney, before being pressed on what the album might sound like.
"We're just going to see whatever wins album of the year and (imitate that)."
Preparation for the Grammys could be viewed as a bit of a distraction from the duo's studio work. But they said the compromise is worth it.
"I mean, we like to focus on stuff — it's harder to leave the studio," Carney said. "But it's cool. The Grammys are a big deal. My parents and Dan's parents are both very excited to watch us."
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