The Black Keys have set up a mental health charity in their native Akron, Ohio to honour the man who inspired their name.

Bandmates Dan Auerbach and Patrick Carney's fathers cared for artist Alfred MCMoore up to his death in 2009 and both guys grew up with the eccentric in their lives.

In a new web chat, drummer Carney writes, "He was schizophrenic, and lived in a halfway house, and really liked to draw with crayons and pencil on 5 foot by 50 foot scrolls of paper, and he was constantly calling both of our houses when we were kids, asking our dads to bring him pipe tobacco, Diet Coke and crayons.

"He would always end the message with, 'Don't be a black key. Don't be a B-flat'. It was his way of saying that the Black Keys sounded dissonant, or insulting someone. He was totally nuts, but a really sweet guy. He used to cry constantly.

"He passed away in 2009, and Dan and I set up a non profit in his name in Akron that helped take care of him in that halfway house. The service that they provide takes people who have mental disabilities and it helps them pay their bills, makes sure they're insured."