Patrick Carney – The Drummer for The Black Keys?

October 12, 2023

If you’ve ever found yourself tapping your feet to the rhythmic beats of The Black Keys, you’ve already met our main character – the drummer for The Black Keys. 

Patrick Carney, with his signature glasses and laid-back style, is the rhythmic force behind this acclaimed rock duo. Crafting beats that are as inventive as they are infectious, he’s the man who brings the music to life and gets the crowd moving.

Who is Patrick Carney, and how did he end up as one-half of this Grammy Award-winning team? We’re about to take a deep dive into the life, the beats, and the dynamic energy of this phenomenal drummer.

Ready to rock and roll? Let’s hit the beat and explore the rhythmic world of the drummer for The Black Keys!

Patrick Carney - The Drummer for The Black Keys

Drummer for the Black Keys

Early Life

Meet Patrick Carney, a native of Akron, Ohio, whose childhood was anything but ordinary. At the young age of 11, Patrick was already embracing the rhythm, discovering beats that would eventually shape his life and career. 

With a home that echoed with diverse tunes, it seemed like destiny was already orchestrating his path to musical fame.


Fast forward to 2001, and voila, The Black Keys were born! This wasn’t just any band; this was a dynamic duo of Patrick Carney and Dan Auerbach, creating more than just music—they were crafting anthems. 

Their debut album, “The Big Come Up,” marked their territory in the music industry. From indie scenes to grand arenas, Patrick’s signature drumming became the heartbeat of The Black Keys, garnering them several Grammy Awards and a fan base that spanned the globe.

Notable Performances

When reminiscing about legendary gigs, one cannot overlook The Black Keys’ performance at Coachella 2011. With the desert stars as their backdrop, Patrick’s drums weren’t just played; they roared, leaving an indelible mark on every listener.

Notable Collaborations

In the world of music, Patrick Carney hasn’t just stayed in his lane. From collaborating with the likes of Michelle Branch to working with Calvin Johnson on a solo project, Patrick’s been weaving his rhythmic magic across genres, proving that his drumming prowess knows no boundaries.

Ready to dive deeper? Keep scrolling as we unravel more beats and tales of the drummer for The Black Keys!

Awards & Accolades

  • Grammy Awards
    • Best Alternative Music Album for “Brothers” in 2011.
    • Best Rock Performance for “Tighten Up” in 2011.
    • Best Rock Album for “El Camino” in 2013.
    • Best Rock Song for “Lonely Boy” in 2013.
  • MTV Video Music Awards
    • Breakthrough Video for “Tighten Up” in 2010.
  • Billboard Music Awards
    • Top Rock Album for “Turn Blue” in 2015.


      • 2002: The Big Come Up
      • 2003: Thickfreakness
      • 2004: Rubber Factory
      • 2006: Magic Potion
      • 2008: Attack & Release
      • 2010: Brothers
      • 2011: El Camino
      • 2014: Turn Blue
      • 2019: “Let’s Rock”
Patrick Carney’s drummer for the black keys Drum Kit

Patrick Carney’s drummer for the black keys Drum Kit

Drum Set:

  • Kit Model: Ludwig’s Salesman Kit (26″)
    • Story: Replica of a vintage Ludwig’s salesman kit, created upon Patrick’s request.
    • Usage: Used during the El Camino tour and the Dropout Boogie tour, 2022.

Snare Drum:

  • Model: Black Beauty (New)
    • Details: Patrick owns several of these, citing them as his favorite snare drums due to their distinct sound.


  • Brand: Pisces
    • Models:
      • 24-inch Pisces Giant Beat Ride (used as a crash ride)
      • 18-inch Pisces 2002 Medium Crash
      • 15-inch (and a half) Giant Beat Hi-Hats
    • Inspiration: Follow the John Bonham recipe with a mix of vintage Pisces symbols for diverse sounds.


  • Usage: The same cowbell used since 2008, specifically for the bridge to “I Got Mine.”

Drum Heads:

  • Brand: Remo (except for the snare)
  • Snare Head: Evans Dry (features small holes for a distinct sound)
  • Kick Drum Front Head: Customized by Patrick with a Sharpie.
  • Additional Detail: Drum tech Matt Romano has dialed in the kit exceptionally well.

Drum Sticks:

  • Brand: Vic Firth
    • Model: 5B’s

Additional Gear:

  • Kicker: Employed to enhance the feel of the music during live performances.
  • Aquarian Ring: Used on top of the drum head for a drier sound.

Style & Influences:

Patrick describes himself as an “accidental drummer,” starting on the guitar and gradually shifting to drums.

Major Drumming Influences: Drumbo from Captain Beefheart, Bill Ward from Black Sabbath, John Bonham, Russell Simmons from the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, and Jay Bellarose.

Approach to Drumming: Prefers to hit hard and feel the music, especially during live performances, aiming for a “caveman territory” where he’s entirely within the music.

Patrick Carney’s drumming style is a harmonious blend of raw energy and intricate rhythms. 

Known for hitting hard and immersing himself in the music, especially during live performances, he aims for a “caveman territory” – a state of being completely enveloped within the music. 

Patrick’s approach to drumming is both intuitive and self-taught, and he takes pride in having developed his unique style. He’s not one to shy away from experimenting with different sounds, utilizing a mix of vintage and new gear to create diverse and captivating beats. 

Drummer for the Black Keys

Personal Life 

Patrick Carney, the dynamic drummer of The Black Keys, has navigated through a series of relationships and relocations, marking significant chapters of his life. Initially married to Denise Grollmus in Akron, Ohio, the union concluded with a well-publicized breakup in 2009. 

A subsequent move to Nashville with bandmate Dan Auerbach in 2010 opened a new creative chapter, birthing the acclaimed “El Camino” album.

Finding love again, Carney married Emily Ward in 2012, only to part ways in 2016. A serendipitous meeting with musician Michelle Branch at a 2015 Grammy party blossomed into collaboration, cohabitation in Nashville, and marriage in 2019, expanding their family with two children. 

However, the harmony faced discord, leading to their separation in August 2022 amidst allegations and challenges.

Through the ebbs and flows of relationships and the evolution of his musical journey, Carney’s personal life remains a testament to resilience and continual self-reflection, contributing to the richness of his character and artistic expression.


How many Grammys do The Black Keys have?

The Black Keys have won a total of four Grammy Awards as of my knowledge cut-off in January 2022.

Who is Patrick Carney’s wife?

As of the most recent information available to me, Patrick Carney was married to Michelle Branch. However, the information provided earlier indicates that they announced their separation in August 2022.

Why are The Black Keys called The Black Keys?

The Black Keys are named after a phrase used by Alfred McMoore, an artist diagnosed with schizophrenia. McMoore used to leave incoherent, angry messages on their answering machines, referring to their fathers as “black keys” such as “D flat” when he was dissatisfied with them. 

The band members found these messages amusing and named their band “The Black Keys” as a nod to McMoore’s idiosyncratic phrase.

Denis Loncaric
Denis Loncaric

My name is Denis. I am a drummer, percussionist, music enthusiast, and blogger. Drums have been my passion for 15 years now. My idea is to write about the things I like and I am interested in. I want to share my drum passion with fellow musicians who walk, talk, and breathe drums.

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