Do you think the word “survivors”—our theme for this portfolio—accurately applies to you and Pat?
Dan Auerbach: Um, do we feel like survivors? Well, I don’t know. It’s a little over-the-top, you know what I mean? I wouldn’t use the term survivor. Like, my uncle was a survivor. He survived the Holocaust. Me? I’m a fucking musician. I play music. I got lucky.
GQ: Maybe persistence is more like it.
Dan Auerbach: Yeah. Persistence. There you go. Hard-headedness.
GQ: Why have you guys managed to stick together for so long?
Dan Auerbach: I don’t want to be a dickhead, but honestly, it’s because we’re good and because we’ve worked harder than any band I’ve ever met, without a question. We’ve toured harder and done more dates and played for less money. Not mixing a record over and over again, trying to change and grow. But I’ve got to say: it’s probably easier to change and grow when there’s just two of us. Everybody is always like, “Beck is such a chameleon.” And I’m always like, “Of course he’s a fucking chameleon. Nobody tells him what to do. He has to answer to no one—he can do whatever he wants, whenever.” And I think that when you’re in a group, it’s harder to change, because you’ve got to pull everybody with you. Pat and I—you’ve just got to convince one person to try something.