The best thing to do in this case is to say nothing. The Black Keys should not have stepped on the story of Steve Miller's rant against the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. They should realize that, while profane and impolite, Miller's remarks were remarkably honest and well informed. He was punching up, which is what you're supposed to do. The music industry has stolen money from Miller for decades. The music industry has treated artists as if they were mere afterthoughts. Many artists--Miller included--have been expected to show up at the Hall of Fame induction ceremony and shut up and play in order to generate a spike in sales that, ultimately, benefits the music industry and not so much the artist.
Well, the Black Keys are the self-licking ice cream cones of fake blues music. They are like two prison-issue masturbation toys who have to make everything about themselves. They didn't even have the good grace to refrain from speaking ill of another artist:
"Pat and I were both definitely disappointed, to say the least... It's almost like [Miller] doesn't have respect for the younger generations and how hard it is in the business today."
Auerbach continued to say that Miller later made "a very mild attempt" to talk to the band but "it was disingenuous". He added: "It almost made it feel worse... Honestly, the most unpleasant part was being around him... [Black Keys drummer] Pat [Carney] and I both regret it".
"I hope that when I'm in my twilight years, I can look back and be grateful to the people who have appreciated me and to be able to give back," Auerbach said. "Because music is about sharing and passing on inspiration and that was his opportunity to do that; not just lashing out in a way that was just completely unfocussed."
First of all, Miller was pretty focused. He said there was one person in particular that he wanted to strangle. I have no doubt that Carney and Auerbach have been ripped off while trying to make a living in the music industry. There's a pretty good chance that they could learn something from a guy who has been trying to make a living in an industry that systematically rips people off--maybe the guy who's been doing this for forty or fifty years knows something, okay? Instead, they decided to punch down at an artist who is simply trying to highlight the self-evident hypocrisy of giving him an honor that should have come with a lifetime of being able to make a decent living from music. Maybe there's a lesson that can be learned from one of these old Seventies dudes. How much do you think Miller made on royalties when Napster and iTunes and everyone else were ripping him off? How much do you think he gets right now from Spotify?
Second, it was about Steve Miller and, for a brief time, he was on the stage. This was his honor. He chose to use his moment to unleash hell on the scandal that is the music industry. He owned his moment and he made it his own because shaming the music industry means someone, somewhere will get a little savvier about what's happening and push back. He gave fire to people who need it and support to people who are going to need it when they're losing their livelihood because of a contract signed 26 and a half years ago. You were there because you said yes when someone asked you to speak before him. You should have said your piece and gone about your business. No one was there to see you.
Third, it's too easy to go after a guy who hasn't had a hit in a while. It's too easy to sit back and go after Miller because he's not a current draw on the concert scene. He's a guy who had a lot of success but ended up being abandoned by the industry. You don't piss over people like that. You don't punch down at an artist who's had hard times but has maintained some level of dignity and integrity. You reach down from whatever perch you're on and elevate someone like that because, hell, there's a word called karma.
Man, I hate these guys. I don't have a lot of love or sympathy for Jack White, but, damn. You can see what he was getting on about with regards to the Black Keys. You can come away with an appreciation for anyone who calls these guys out for what they really are.