How the Details of Dan Auerbach’s Divorce Settlement Reflect the Rise of The Black Keys

Dan Auerbach — lead singer / guitarist of the popular rock duo The Black Keys — is getting a divorce.

On Thursday, TMZ reported that Auerbach and his soon-to-be ex-wife have divided up their assets and agreed to part ways.

Among the items Auerbach has agreed to give up:

(1) $5 million

(2) A Toyota Highlander

(3) One of the couples’ homes

(4) Something described as ‘Bob Dylan hair’

That’s right, Dan Auerbach owned a piece of Bob Dylan’s hair and has agreed to give it to his wife as part of the divorce settlement. (I have to assume it’s actually a piece of Bob Dylan’s hair, because what kind of fucked up nickname is that for, like, ANYTHING?)

To be honest, however, that’s not the craziest thing about this divorce settlement for me.

Five million dollars? A Toyota Highlander? Multiple homes? This sounds like a narrative of an MTV Cribs episode, not a listing of assets held by one half of the band that once refused upwards of $200,000 for the use of a song in a commercial due to the fear of ‘selling out’.

Five years ago, the ‘Bob Dylan hair’ would have been the least surprising item on the list above. In fact, it very well may have been the ONLY thing on that list.

As a legitimate Black Keys fan since 2008, I first saw them live at the SoCo Music Experience in Madison, WI. For FREE.

Back then, they weren’t yet the rock superstars they are today. Not even close. In fact, I’m not sure anyone could have guessed they would make the meteoric rise that ensued in the five years following that show. Just look at how the band stacks up on some key metrics now compared to where they were at in or around 2008.


From 2008 to 2013, a lot has changed with regards to the physical appearance of the Black Key’s frontman.

Dan Auerbach – Then

dan auerbach beard 1

Notice a couple of things here. First, Auerbach rocking the vintage flannel. This ‘homeless in flannel‘ look used to be a staple of his wardrobe. Classic Auerbach!

Second, check out THAT BEARD! Man, that thing was strong. Auerbach was rocking the James Harden beard before James Harden!

When the Keys were first coming up, it’s safe to say that Auerbach definitely looked the part of a struggling, up-and-coming musician.

Dan Auerbach – Now


Well, well, well. Look at Mr. GQ right here. Some highlights include:

– Finely trimmed beard

– Intentionally messy hair

– Toned forearms

– Fashionably ripped jeans

This look screams effortless. Well played, Dan. You can’t coach that.

Live Performance

As noted, the first time I saw the Black Keys was at the 2008 SoCo Music Experience in Madison, Wisconsin. They played on a makeshift outdoor stage located right outside the Alliant Energy Center. At that point in my life, that show was one of the greatest things I had ever seen.

Note the trademark flannel + long, greasy hair + awesome beard. Bonus points for the ‘Flying V’ guitar, as well. Auerbach rocked the crowd that night like he had nothing to lose.

Flash forward to 2011. The setting is the Lands End stage at the Outside Lands Music and Arts Festival in San Francisco.

think that’s Dan Auerbach, although all I can really see are a flood of people and a stage.

Now that it’s 2013, the Black Keys play primarily in venues that end in the words ‘arena’, ‘pavilion’, or ‘stadium’.


Back in 2008, the Black Keys weren’t exactly nobodies. I mean, people knew of them, but they weren’t exactly lighting up the tabloids like they have in the past year. A few of the most notable recent highlights include:

– The Black Keys are sponsoring a little league team. If they tried to do this in 2008, parents would wonder why these creepy dudes in a band wanted anything to do with their children. Now, it’s just cool.

– White Stripes brainchild / frontman / genius / crazy person Jack White’s complete disdain for Auerbach and the band for apparently ‘copying’ him, thus leading to White trying to remove his children from the same school as Auerbach’s daughter (both men live in Nashville).

– Drummer Patrick Carney’s Twitter feud with teen pop icon / target of 13-year-old girl infatuation Justin Bieber. That fact that this is a real thing blows my mind and makes me so happy.


Upon seeing the Black Keys for the first time, I became borderline obsessed with their music catalog. Shortly thereafter, I declared them my favorite band. Aside from this very important distinction, their music wasn’t garnering many ‘official’ accolades at the time.

A search of the band’s Wikipedia page shows the first official award they won was ‘Breakthrough Music Video’ at the 2010 MTV Video Music Awards for their hit song ‘Tighten Up’.

Since then, you could say they’ve won a few additional awards.


It’s obvious the Black Keys have ascended to superstar status over the past few years, evidenced most notably by the fact that news of Auerbach’s split with his wife is such big, well, news.

Either way, that’s great for them. They’re now so successful that $5 million, a house, and a vehicle are just some of the things given up by Auerbach as part of the separation. Even if all of his assets were split down the middle, it’s safe to say Auerbach still has at least $5 million, a house, a vehicle, and some other famous musician’s hair still in his possession. In other words, he’s still doing alright. (After all, he still has those toned forearms, although he may have had to give up his destroyed jeans as part of the settlement.)

As for me, I still really like the Black Keys. They haven’t made any bad albums (yet) and aside from all the weird rock superstar shit (read: owning legendary musicians’ hair) they have going on, they’re just the same two average Joe’s making a living playing music.


In that regard, I hope they never change.

RIP free music festivals, greasy hair, and filthy beards.


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