When the Black Keys come to TD Garden on Friday, just know that that’s not the fun part of the job. OK, maybe the concert itself, but as for the rest, well . . . “We enjoy going into the studio and making music. We enjoy putting together records. The hard part, the part that sometimes isn’t fun, is the touring,” says drummer Patrick Carney. “I think it’s really strange; music is so universal that you end up with this interesting problem where you are able to have a career on multiple continents. But it’s almost impossible to maintain that in a healthy way.”
The June release of “Let’s Rock” and the new tour mark the end of a four-year hiatus for the band, and according to Carney, it was the prospect of hitting the road that ironically made going back into the studio with bandmate Dan Auerbach so daunting. “It almost felt like we didn’t want to make a record because we didn’t want to have to be gone from our families for a year,” he says. “So when we came back to do this record, we spent almost as much time talking about how we could do it in a way that was healthy versus making the music.”
Q. “Let’s Rock” is the first Black Keys album since 2006’s “Magic Potion” that you and Dan have produced entirely on your own. What made you want to go back to that?
A. Well, we really produced “Brothers” on our own, except for one song. But we went back to it just because it had been so long since we were in a studio that we needed to spend some time basically alone together and not have a third party. It wasn’t something we were interested in. I mean, I love working with Brian [Burton], Danger Mouse. [Burton produced or co-produced four Black Keys albums.] He’s basically like the third Black Key. But this time around, we needed to talk directly to each other and figure out what we were both ready to do. I think we both knew that.
Q. The title “Let’s Rock” and the electric chair album art are both nods to a convicted murderer’s last words. Did that give you any pause, when deciding whether or not to go ahead with that?
A. No. I mean, it’s the absurdity in the statement, of someone being put in that situation of being executed by the government and then being asked if he had any last words and then saying something like that. Dan couldn’t let it go. He was like, “This is just so ridiculous.” He was obsessing over it. It is very absurd, that is sure. It’s very dark, obviously, but it was like, “Yeah, this is something that Spinal Tap would definitely have done.” But also it’s something the Black Keys would do, because we’ve also called a record “El Camino” and put a minivan on the cover.
Q. I first encountered the Black Keys playing with Sleater-Kinney in Providence, probably around 2003. And you were one of many, many bands opening for them over the years that were rock bands without a bassist. And, of course, they also didn’t have a bassist. Was there any kinship there, that you all were figuring out ways to be a full band without what would seem to be a foundational instrument?
A. Yeah, the not-having-a-bass thing . . . I know that for me, I was obsessed with Jon Spencer Blues Explosion right when I was 15, when that record “Orange” came out. I had a band in high school with my two friends, and it was two guitars and drums. And for a long time, to be honest, I guess I didn’t understand the importance of bass until I was probably in my mid 20s. It was the indie rock thing, I don’t know, just to have an unusual lineup. I don’t really know why. But I think part of the reason why I gravitated towards Jon Spencer Blues Explosion was because the drums sounded so cool. And there was no bass probably masking some of that.
Q. You’ve got a raft of gold and platinum records and Grammys and you tour arenas. Do you feel like rock stars?
A. I do not, no. And Dan doesn’t either. I mean, when I’m at home, no, I don’t get recognized very often, and I’m out buying groceries and taking my stepdaughter to get supplies for school or whatever, just running errands. I do not feel like a rock star. I’ve been around a lot of people who definitely feel like rock stars. I’ve been around people who are in very small indie bands, I guess, that act like big [expletive] rock stars. I know people who aren’t even bands that act like that. It has less to do with your agency in the world and more to do with just your ego.
Q. In the last decade, you’ve taken legal action against Pizza Hut and the Home Depot, among others, for using Black Keys sound-alike music in their commercials. With that in mind, what was your take on the “Blurred Lines”/Marvin Gaye court decision? [A controversial 2015 ruling claimed that “Blurred Lines” violated the copyright for Gaye’s “Got to Give It Up.”] Did you follow it at all?
A. Yeah, I followed it. I think it’s [expletive], to be honest, personally. I think that there’s definitely some stylistic borrowing there. I don’t hear melodic similarities, personally. So that’s my take on it. What do I know, though? I think the unspoken rule is that you don’t ever sue another musician. The only people that do that are families of deceased musicians. You gotta understand, I don’t know anything about Marvin Gaye’s family, but I do know his [expletive] dad killed him. So there’s obviously some problems going on in that family. [Laughs] OK. Does that answer your question?
THE BLACK KEYS
With Modest Mouse and Jessy Wilson
At TD Garden, Oct. 11 at 7 p.m. Tickets from $39.50, www.livenation.com