THE UNOFFICIAL WHITE STRIPES FAQ Version 6
The FAQ that USA Today calls "exhaustive" and currently the only FAQ on the White Stripes. Actually I can't say 'only' anymore...theres a couple others out there...but they just steal the work that I rightfully stole from others.
Maintained and Updated By:
Ok, here is the sixth update to the White Stripes FAQ. Obviously this is the definitive source of information of the band, which rings even truer with all these fancy writers with research budgets and book contracts running around these days. I've just compiled info from a multitude of interviews, articles, and many people encountered along the way who could help out. Special thanks to Johan (Astro) for basically doing the entire release info section as well as the great members of the Little Room that send me info all the time. And please keep in mind,
this will always be a work in progress. Of course I am open to suggestions about additions / corrections to the FAQ. You can submit them to me at the following address:
CONTENTS: SECTION 1 - CURRENT INFO
SECTION 2 - BAND INFO AND HISTORY
SECTION 3 - THE LIVE EXPERIENCE
SECTION 4- SIDE PROJECTS & MISC.
SECTION 5 - INFLUENCES
SECTION 6 - SONG INFO
SECTION 7 - VIDEOS AND AWARDS
SECTION 8 - THE RELEASES
SECTION 9 - TECHNICAL INFO
SECTION 10 - RESOURCES
SECTION 1 - CURRENT INFO
1.1 When is the New Album coming out? [top]
No official word on a new album but quotes there have been some hints that recording may start sometime early next year. Jack has hinted that he's started writing - "I wrote a song yesterday, the last couple of weeks, i've just been endlessly thinking about this title: Let's Play the Victim. I definitely have a lot, a lot of songs together for another White Stripes album. I just don't know when we're gonna record it yet. I just have to take a break from the band for a second, because it's just been consuming -- all-consuming, you know? I need to take a step back, and get reinspired, and take a breath."
Meg: "We've been thinking a bit about what we might do on the next album, but we never plan too far ahead or work out a concept. We just go into the studio, play the best we can and let the songs shape the sound of the album."
JW: I've been writing a lot at home. I finally got a little hand-held recorder to start recording my ideas whenever I think of them. I kept thinking of melodies and then forgetting them. I finally got smart and bought a recorder. It's nice that way - you remind yourself. There was one song for this new record, there was a melody I'd been whistling, two years ago I whistled it for like a week. I kept trying to whistle it to remember it. That was how I used to do it. But I forgot it completely after that, suddenly I was at a friend's house, and it came back. I whistled it again. I couldn't believe I'd remembered it from two years ago! So I think that's turning into something really interesting now. It takes a while.
Don't worry…we got the DVD and Jolene single to hold us over until they go back into the studio. During the recent string of shows no new material was played, which was typical of past tours and how we first heard titles like Hypnotize and Ball & Biscuit.
1.2 When are they going to play in my town? ]
Check or for any new tour info.
SECTION 2 - BAND INFO AND HISTORY
2.1 Who is in the White Stripes? ]
The group consists of Jack (aka John Anthony Gillis) and Meg White. That's it.
2.2 What are their date of births? ]
Jack - July 9th 1975
Meg - December 10th 1974
2.3 Ok, the million dollar question, are they brother and sister or we're they married at some point? ]
Holly Golightly: “They’re brother and sister as far as I’m concerned and husband and wife.”
Jack: "Some people come up to us and say, "God, you guys really look like you're brother and sister." And we say, "That's because we are!"
Officially, the pair are the youngest two of 10 children. Alternatively, one John Anthony Gillis and Megan Martha White were married in 1996, then divorced four years later. Once this rumour seeped from the Detroit grapevine - fueled by a story in the Detroit Free Press that casually mentioned the "fact" of the pair's marital status, along with documents that appeared on the internet, purporting to be the Whites' marriage and divorce papers - it was all anyone wanted to ask them about.
Jack: "There was a lack of information coming from us, but a lot of need for copy. The one thing the fucking media hates is not being able to dissect someone, so that every little part of their existence can be written as a soundbite in a paragraph. What they want is, 'Jack White, 26 years old, likes race cars and soccer, grew up in the inner city of Detroit and is now top of the world. Can't stand chocolate ice cream.' Everyone wants the inside scoop. No, that's not what you need to know about, that's got nothing to do with the music we make. What we create, you can talk about. What the songs are, how we present them live, and what the aesthetic is, art-wise, to what we're creating. It's the same thing as asking Michelangelo, 'What kind of shoes do you wear?' It doesn't really have anything to do with his painting. In the end, it doesn't really matter, because I always think, in 20 years' time, the only thing that's going to be left is our records and photos. If we're doing something meaningful with those, that's what will live for ever, so that's what's really important."
Jack: "We will be brother and sister till the day we die,"
Jack: “Everything apart from the music is a trick.”
2.4 Jack and Meg's history up to now: ]
Jack grew up in a large catholic family with ten siblings in the southwest Detroit house of one of Detroit's worst neighborhoods. He attended a mostly black high school, but he didn't embrace the prevailing hip-hop music. "I had too much pride to say, 'OK, I'll just like what everybody else likes so I'll have more fun.' I wish I had, I would have had a happier childhood. People have been asking about my childhood a lot since! It was a pretty normal childhood. I was very, very shy. But back then, I was shy to the point where I didn't speak. [laughs] I guess I'm just not so good at socializing. Other than that, it was pretty normal." The house he grew up in is "a wooden house, three floors, I think it was built in 1911 - my whole life I grew up here."
While a music student at Cass Tech in 1992, John (Jack) Gillis landed brother and sister quotes tattoos an apprenticeship at Muldoon Studio, an upholstery shop run by family friend and hobbyist drummer Brian Muldoon. At no fault of his grades, he did not last long in college, “I thought people would have grown up some by the time they go to college, but it was just full of jerks. People had the same attitude they had it high school. Small-minded stuff. Nobody was serious about what they wanted.”Some of Jacks older brothers, casually performing as Catalyst kept the house full of music and instruments which is probably which led to an environment ripe for a young Jack to start learning drums and eventually guitar. "I was a drummer for a long time, from 11 on. About 15 or 16 I picked up the guitar - I used to play guitar with my friends after school. We'd record Bob Dylan songs on 4-tracks. I remember when I first started playing guitar, I was like, "I never want to be a guitar player," because everybody on the block plays guitar. Everyperson! You know, how are you gonna stand out? You're just gonna be one of a million people. I hink being a drummer is the best thing for a guitar player. People like Eddie Van Halen and Dick Dale started out as drummers, and look at them. It just puts you so in tune with rhythm and changes. And all those rhythms start coming out through your hands when you're playing. It's a great thing. When my parents moved out, they left a piano and I taught myself how to play it. I don't really know what it is I'm doing."
Meanwhile Meg grew up in the suburb of Grosse Pointe. Meg used to bartend at Memphis Smoke, a barbecue restaurant in the Detroit suburb of Royal Oak. "I could never do an office job. The only job I could think of was one of those Elvis impersonators that drops from a plane.”At this point Jack had started his own upholstery shop, Third Man Upholstery - which he once bedecked in just two colors. "Everything was yellow and black, all based off of my hand tools." Jack had also become close friends with Megan White, a Grosse Pointe native still living on the east side. They would marry in 1996 in South Lyon, and Jack would take his wife's surname.
The following timeline is a bit shady because Jack was with multiple bands during certain periods, so if I have any mistakes just contact me and let me know. Jack: "I was a drummer from the time I was five till I was 20’s. I started playing guitar when I was a teenager 'cause I got a hold of a four-track and I wanted to be able to play drums to something. I taught myself guitar just so I could record something to play drums to. And I just ended up learning it." The earliest band of major importance that Jack seems to have played for as a guitarist was Two Part Resin, "and we only played out one time" Jack says. Brain Muldoon: "He told me one day he was starting to play guitar. Within a year, he got really good. At the time we had another kid from Cass Tech -- Dominic Suchyta -- and we played together. Then Dominic went off to school in East Lansing, so Jack and I went on as a two-piece, from the fall of '93 through '96. It was just the two of us -- guitar and drums." They ended up releasing a 3 track album under the name The Upholsters in 2000, long after The White Stripes formed. Jack: "It was a 2-piece, too. We had to stop because the drummer couldn't play out anymore. He didn't have time. So one day my sis comes up when I'm practicing one time. I said, 'OK, sit behind the drums.'" Though she had next to no experience on the instrument, the two penned Screwdriver before the day was out, and they decided to keep at it. It sounded really nice. "We were just messing around, kind of as a joke, but it ended up being perfect. She played like such a child; it was something fresh. Coming from that Upholsters thing. That was like a full on drummer, to someone who played so childlike, like Meg does, that was nice." "The legendary story is, one day, Meg just sat down at the drums while Jack was playing guitar and they started playing `Moonage Daydream' by David Bowie or something like that," says Greg Baise of Detroit club the Magic Stick. "That's the thing -- the people making this kind of music, they ain't chops-oriented. It's all about the feeling. It's all about the feeling. So much of the stuff is self-taught; so much of the music they're creating can't be taught. It's people making the music they want to hear. It's raw and intuitive. It's not technical, and it shouldn't be."
So on Bastille Day, 1997, the White Stripes were formed. As for their first show, an opening gig with the Hentchmen - Jack:"It was at this place called the Gold Dollar [in Detroit]. They had an open-mike night, and there was only, like, ten or fifteen people there. We played three songs, one of which was "Love Potion Number Nine. We were shocked that people dug what we were doing. When me and Meg started playing in Detroit, we didn't have any friends. And we thought people were going to hate us. We started going to shows and met people into sort of garage rock. And they seemed like real obscurest, real record-collector-type people. When we first played we thought, 'aw, we're not doing any particular thing.' But people immediately loved us. The first show--I couldn't believe it. And all of a sudden we had friends and people to talk to." Meg: "We did our first show two months after I started playing drums."
During the same period Jack joined The Goober and Peas which was fronted by Mr. Dan Miller. The band went through about 11 different drummers, and at one point good ol' Jack "Doc" Gillis was banging away in the background. Dan Miller: "With Goober & the Peas, we knew we'd be touring a lot, so we wanted someone whose personality we liked, too. Jack was a lot younger than we were. He wasn't the most technical drummer, thankfully -- not a Neil Peart-ish drummer. Everybody in the band was like, "Wow!" It was great to see somebody with that kind of passion for music. His instincts were really great. I think it was a good thing for him just to see what it was like to be in a band that toured -- and probably see what kind of mistakes we made. I do remember the first show when he played drums: For an encore he came up and sang some Elvis song. People where just shocked by his passion for it." Jack: "At 18, I started playing these coffeehouses, and I remember there was a moment when I sang 'Blue Moon' the way Elvis Presley did it, and I suddenly saw people paying attention, there were girls in the back that were getting kinda dreamy about it. At that show, I thought that if I wrote my own songs and people still connected, that would be better." Dan Miller: "I know one of the things that was frustrating for him back with Goober & the Peas is he'd want to change songs night to night, even as the drummer. But that's hard when you have five people in the band. That's one of the great things about the White Stripes, because he can change keys in a song. He and Meg are locked in. From early on, they had that down. He was always passionate about keeping things fresh, keeping the inspiration. If we practiced a song a few times in a row, it would be played three different ways. And maybe one way would be horrible, but at least he took the risk of trying something that came into his head." With the disbandment of Goober and the Peas he continued on with Dan Miller in the Detroit country group called 2 Star Tabernacle, who released a single with R&B shouter Andre Williams, songwriter of such classics as Shake a Tail Feather and Jailbait. Jack plays piano, dobro and handles some of the back-up vocals on the Ramblin's Man 7 inch.
Almost simultaneously, White was spotted at a 2 Star Tabernacle show by members of the Detroit band The Go, who were looking to expand their ranks. "John and I (Harlow) saw Two Star Tabernacle one night. Jack was laying back playing great guitar, singing harmonies with Dan Miller. He just had a great stage presence -- he looked really cool, he looked comfortable. He wasn't a phony at all. I said to John, "Let's go up front and look at this guy." Dave Buick had already put out a White Stripes single at that point. Dave and Jack were buddies. Later, Jack was over at Dave's house, so John and I went over there: "Hey, Jack, we've got a question for you --" And Jack said "Yes, already, yes, absolutely, wanna join, count me in." We said, "All right!" Within months, the Go became the preeminent band on the downtown Detroit scene, attracting the attention of Seattle's Sub Pop Records, former home of Nirvana. Jack White performed on the Go's debut record before splitting from the band. Jack: "I was only there a few months, but I got to be on the first album. All I had to do was just play lead guitar solos and stuff. I didn't have to do anything. The songs were written and I just played along. The White Stripes were getting pretty popular, and people were coming to see the Go and saying, 'Oh, there's the guy from The White Stripes. It was taking away from the personality of the band. I wanted to do both. So I quit 2 Star Tabernacle, and The Go sort of kicked me out." "It was a matter of whether Jack was going to be on the [Sub Pop] contract. Basically, if Jack had signed, that would have meant Sub Pop would have rights to the White Stripes stuff as well. It seemed like a bad idea. Jack had established the White Stripes as something. He was teetering--'Should I sign, should I not?' He decided no... Jack is one of the most talented guitar players I've ever met, and I have nothing but respect for him. To have a focused vision like Jack does, there's no way he can compromise that. Nobody could step in and say, 'I think you oughta play like this, Jack.' It would be an insult, really." -Harlow
At this point the White Stripes was 100% of their focus and the rest is history. Jack: "We went out playing clubs in Detroit for a while, and ummm … a friend of ours was in a band. So he had given our CD to [Sympathy for the Record Industry guru] Long Gone John. Jack: (re: Long Gone John of SFTRI) "Steve told him, 'There's this two-piece band in Detroit, it's a boy and a girl, and they're brother and sister.' And John said, 'Who sings, and who plays drums…?' Steve told him, and John goes, 'Aw, it would've been better if it was the other way round!' When he heard my voice, he said, 'Fine!'" John liked it so we ended up making a couple of CDs and we were with him for a while. Then we were being pursued by bigger labels and we chose to sign with V2 Records because we had been having distribution problems, you know? I mean, when you go to towns and people say 'Hey, I can't get your record,' it's a bit of a problem. But it all just sort of happened. We never really sought out any major labels." Despite their divorce, the band remained intact and released its most immediately accessible album to date, De Stijl. It's unclear precisely when they began to call themselves brother and sister, but by the time Rolling Stone declared them one of 2001's "Next Big Things" the charade was on. Now with the release of Elephant Jack and Meg have achieved a wider audience as well as recognition for their unique sound.
For more concrete and concise information just go buy one of the books that have been released on the band. I would suggest Fell In Love With A Band by Chris Handyside.
2.5 Jack's Upholster Shop Days: ]
Jack: "I reupholstered furniture the whole time I was a teenager, so those were most of my jobs. I had my own shop - Third Man Upholstery - that was my most memorable, because it was my own business. It felt good that at the age of 21, I owned my own business. I had something to fall back on if I was ever to fail at anything else, which probably was going to happen. It was hard for me. I was an apprentice for years, but when I opened my own place, I just didn't have that love for money that's necessary to run a business. I was so into the cartooniness of it." He would end using a familiar color style for the shop - "Yellow, white, and black. All my tools and everything. I delivered in a yellow van. But I don't think people dug it. I had these cards-it was "Third Man Upholstery," and my slogan was "Your furniture's not dead," and it had a bloody upholstery tag on the card. I used real red paint, and I sprinkled it on each business card. The people getting their chairs upholstered are like old ladies, and they were like, "What the hell is this?" I was broke all the time. " Dave Buick (Founder, Italy Records. Released first White Stripes singles): One time me and Jack and Greg, my roommate, went to dinner; we came home and my dog Barkie had chewed my couch -- a big hole. Jack was like, "Hold on, I'll be right back." And he went to Brian Muldoon's house and came back and fixed the whole thing. This was like a year ago -- he'd already been on the cover of magazines. And he still reupholstered my furniture.
Jack: "I was an upholsterer. I worked at a bunch of upholstery shops the whole time I was a teenager. I ended up having my own upholstery shop, called "Third Man Upholstery. I apprenticed for this guy named Brian Muldoon in Detroit for three years or so. Then I went out to the suburbs, and I worked in a big shop called "Beaupre Studios." Then I worked in a couple of other little places, for a few days at a time. I finally got a little studio and opened up my own place. I was working on sculptures, too, in the same space. I wasn't really business-minded, though. I didn't really have a love for money, which kind of hurts the drive to keep working. I would get a check for something and I would just say "Oh," you know, "Big deal, I'm just going to use this to pay bills or something." I never really loved the money part. I guess it started to hurt my business attitude. I wanted to work on more mid-century modern things like Noel and Herman Miller furniture when I first started apprenticing, but it's the most difficult upholstery you can do-I wasn't experienced enough to get into that yet. Also, the person I apprenticed for in Detroit had the market locked down and I didn't want to compete with him, so I was mostly doing antique furniture, you know, people's settees and chaise lounges and stuff like that. The clientele is mostly older people who could actually afford it, because it's pretty expensive. I initially thought I could hook up my friends with cool furniture, stuff they got at Salvation Army, but I couldn't afford it. It's very much a dying trade. If you're an electrician or a plumber, you can get work on every house on the street. With upholstery, though, especially in Detroit, you have to get all your business from the suburbs. It becomes a specialty thing, because nobody really needs to get it done, like they used to. Back in the day, you needed to get it re-upholstered, but now it's like, "Why would I bother? I'll just buy something real cheap." I would go pick furniture up and take it back to the studio. My whole shop was only three colors: yellow, white and black. I had this yellow van, and I dressed in yellow and black when I picked up the furniture, and all my tools were yellow, white and black. It was pretty cool. I got so much into the cartooniness of the business, almost to the point of it being a joke to the people who would see me, and they wouldn't really trust me to do a good job."
Jack: "I starting trying to make an art form out of giving someone a bill for my services, like writing it with crayon on a piece of paper, or having a yellow piece of paper with black marker saying "You owe me $300." People would be like "What the hell is this?" and I'd be like "I don't know, I just want you to sign this and give it back to me and pay me, and that way I can have it as a... um..." People just didn't dig it. It was two different worlds colliding. When I'd re-upholster furniture I'd take off the old fabric and I started to write poems and things inside the furniture, so if it was ever re-upholstered again one day they'd get little messages from the last person who upholstered it. I thought it'd be cool if we all wrote each other messages."
Jack: "My business cards were yellow, black and white. Each one had an upholstery tack on it with red paint that looked like blood. My slogan was right below it: "Your Furniture's Not Dead." Most people didn't think it was funny. The guy I used to apprentice for, he saw the card and was like, "Do you want anybody's business?"
Jack: "I got this yellow Ford van at a used car place that was like 00 bucks, I had someone loan me the money. That van was the best thing: I already had the yellow and the black hand tools and power tools, so once I had that, I was set. I built a fabric table that I'd seen at an upholstery shop I worked at. It had Styrofoam underneath the cloth of the table and you could pin the fabric down right to the table so you could measure things perfectly. I built one of those with my older brother. It was yellow and black, just huge and really, really nice. I have it in my basement now. When I closed the shop down, all of that stuff ended up in my basement."
Jack: "At one point I thought, "Well, while I have my own shop I should really get into every mode of upholstery I can and learn what I can about everything," so I remember calling up a bunch of places that were upholstering coffins, three or four in the Detroit area. I called them all up and they just would not hire me. I was like, "I'm an experienced upholsterer and I've been working in the trade for years," and they were like "Why do you want to upholster coffins?" They thought I was some sicko or something, but I wanted to learn that part of the trade because there are certain techniques used in tufting and working with silk in coffins that you don't get to do in regular upholstery, but they just wouldn't hire me. They were like, "You know, a lot of this stuff is prefabricated and we just glue it together when it gets here and you don't want to work here."
Jack: "I think I learned a lot as an upholstery helper. It's such a perfectionist trade. Someone pays,000 for a patch and if there's a pucker in the fabric, that's all they're going to see."
Jack: I was an upholsterer, and I worked at upholstery shops for a long time. Once, while I was still an apprentice, there was a piece of fabric wrapped around a couch, and my master had put one staple here, one staple here, one staple there. And I was just sitting there looking at it, and I thought, Wow, that would be the most minimal way to upholster this piece, with one staple in the middle and one at both ends. That's, like, the least amount of upholstery work you could do and call it upholstery. And so I just started wrapping everything I did around three colors; when I started my own upholstery shop, everything was yellow, black and white, and all my tools were yellow, black and white. It ended up being just this great box to keep putting myself in.
Jack: “I didn’t have that thing for money like other upholsters did. I couldn’t stand that. Hey I charged some jerk 0 for a $300 job, attitude. I wanted it to be more than that. I didn’t know how to trick people.”
JW: Another thing I'm working on now is a really interesting project. I worked with this guy Brian Muldoon at his upholstery shop, and we made a record, a 45 we put together as The Upholsterers. We're gonna do another record on Ben Blackwell's label, Cass Records, and this record's gonna be a 45. Brian's had his shop for 25 years now, and Gordy Newton - Cass Recorder artist, CR was right here in the 70s it was a big deal, they had this great artist GN - he did my amplifiers, I don't know if you saw them in England. Oh no, you didn't see them, we never brought them over. In America we had these amplifiers he did. I lacquered them all up with resin and cut them up with sawblades, and he put chairs inside them and Brian upholstered them. He's going to do the covers for this 45. (To Meg) I don't think I told you about this did I? It's for Brian 25th anniversary, and it's gonna be only 100 copies, and they only can be found inside the next 100 pieces he does - the next 100 things he re-upholsters. Only in there - and there'll be no other copies for sale anywhere. Interesting, huh?
MW: How are you gonna get them in there so they don't break?
JW: Oh, there's plenty of places. Like the outside arm or the outside back, you can put it in between, it won't break. It'll be nice. Brian's excited that people will be breaking open the back of a couch so they can grab it or something.
2.6 Have they ever thought of adding another member? ]
Aside from the occasional guest spot on their albums the two seem to be pretty settled with the two-person setup. Jack finds it advantageous to be playing with just Meg, "it's really good - we have a good communication between us which helps us figure out what we want to do. Because there's just the two of us in the band it means the music is less structured and can be more 'on the moment' so to speak. We can be very honest, and even if we scream and yell at each other we'll still love each other. It's like some songs don't need to have bass and some don't need all that drumming. In art, knowing where to stop is so important. I'm still learning. I'll see some bands that'll start out with drums, then they'll add bass. Then they should probably stop (laughs) most times. But then they get another guitar and keyboard player, etc. Then you're like, 24, 36 tracks, and you can keep going and going and going. It's scary. [It] would break up the thing of vocals, guitar and drums. Somebody else there would bring this fourth component. If you're going to have four components, you might as well have 20, y'know?"
Jack: "The whole concept of the band from the beginning was all that we were all about what not to do. Why be repetitive? Why have two guitar players? Why have a bass player playing the same thing as the guitars are playing? Let's break this down as much as possible and still be rock and roll. Let's show what two people can do, yet revolving everything around the number three: Vocals, guitar, drums. Melody, storytelling, and rhythm. Red, white and black. Let's confine and constrict ourselves, and live inside of a box and have there be rules. A lot of time in modern music, there have been no rules. I think people just enjoy the opportunity of having no rules and can do whatever they want to do. Having a huge budget or unlimited time or tracks to make an album, all that opportunity robs you of a lot of creativity, because you're not focused or confined. We purposely confined ourselves to help us be more focused. I don't know why it works on the radio or on MTV or on a stage in front of 80,000 people. It seems like there should be more going on. We've always gotten along really well, and the important part of a two-piece band is that there isn't a third person to take sides and cause dissension." It seems live they have experimented with occasionally bringing out a guest during some live performances.
Jack: I've played White Stripes songs with other drummers at my house, and it just doesn't feel right.I think that there's definitely this communication with me and Meg that has always been there, where nothing needs to be said about what we're gonna do.
Jack: Meg's never had goals of being Neil Peart or anything, and that's what I love about her. What she does is just so simple and child-like. You couldn't take a male drummer and ask him to do that; he wouldn't be able to do it. And I've tried; it doesn't work. There's a band in Detroit called the Gories, and they have a gift drummer that uses just two toms and a tambourine duct-taped to the tom. That's it, and that's all it needs to be. And you know, people can't criticize that. You can't criticize Moe Tucker for not being Carl Palmer.
Jack: When Meg and I were starting out, we thought the best thing about our idea was that it would put off some people. They'd walk into a show and say, "Okay, it's a brother and sister, it's a two-piece band, everything is red, white and black, and there's peppermints, and okay, it's all just gimmicks." And we thought that's great, because it weeds out people who wouldn't care about the music anyway. If we were up there in street clothes like everybody else, we'd be making the same decision that a million other bands have made. Instead, we figured some people would really love what we're doing after the first song, and they wouldn't notice those artistic aspects of the band anymore. They'd be there just listening to the music and the storytelling. And that was our goal. We figured that if those people could get past the out- ward trappings and get to the music, then they were in there kind of for life.
In a couple rare instances of bass Steve Damstra of the Whirlwind Heat played bass during The Big Three Killed My Baby at the 11/30/03 show and members of the Flaming Lips helped out on a couple tracks on New Years Eve 2003/2004.
2.7 How did they come up with the name The White Stripes? ]
Jack: "Meg loves peppermints, and we were going to call ourselves The Peppermints. But since our last name was White, we decided to call it The White Stripes. It revolved around this childish idea, the ideas kids have - because they are so much better than adult ideas, right?"
Ben Blackwell: When I first heard about them naming the band the White Stripes, I thought people were going to think they were a skinhead band. Originally they were tossing back and forth the names Bazooka and Soda Powder, so after hearing the other names they had come up with, the White Stripes didn't seem so bad. Meg came up with it, and the story about them getting it from the candy might be true, but they also had some old bricks in front of the house in the garden that said "White" on them, and that might have had something to do with it. That whole first year, every single person misprinted the band name -- it was always "White Stripe" or "White Strike" or "White Strikes." It never got printed right, for a whole year." Ben Blackwell: "They were opening for Two Star Tabernacle and were misbilled that night as the White Lines. Of course, that wasn't as bad as when they played the Magic Bag one night and were billed as the Light Strikes."
"I put out the first two singles. That whole first year, every single person misprinted the band name--it was always 'White Stripe' or 'White Strike' or 'White Strikes'. It never got printed right-for a whole year." -Dave Buick, Founder, Italy Records; bassist the Go
2.8 So is that the only colors they wear? ]
Arthur: "You're not representing the band if you go out wearing a yellow t-shirt!"
When they play live they pretty much stick to the red, black, and white. But obviously this is not the case in more other environments. Jack: "And we thought it would be a good stage aesthetic to dress in the colors of the peppermint, so that people would think like kids when they saw us, or at least remember who we were. I think it's the best color combination of all time. It's just more powerful. For some reason, it just makes people think about stuff. Say someone says, 'Wow, I really like your red pants.' It just seems to me that if I was wearing green pants, people wouldn't come up and say, 'Wow, those are pants.' There's nothing special about them. They're just old senior citizen pants. There's just something about the color. It's very interesting for us to work on the appearance of the band, because it all comes off of this one theme derived from those two colors, with red standing for anger and white being innocence. It's a lot easier than a band where everyone wears jeans and T-shirt. Everyone can recognize a White Stripes record. Everyone knows there is something going on on-stage."
Jack: "When we played we decided we wanted to dress up in our Sunday best like a kid would. If you tell a kid that they are going to church, they'll always come down in a red outfit or something and be told 'No, you can't go to church in that'." You know I was really conscious of the fact that when a band goes up on stage, in like street clothes they're making a conscious decision to wear that on stage, but there is a visual aspect to a show. People are watching. You could compare that the way we wear white and red peppermint candy as a symbol of the band. It's the same if you choose to blast blue lighting on the band or anything, it all affects how you feel when you watch a band, like if you just turned up the lights at the bar and down at the stage that affects your perception of a band. You know, now there's bands dressing up as cowboys, bands dressing up as lounge acts (sighs). And if we had to make a choice, I wanted it to be something simple like that. Something where someone could see a cover and say, "oh, that's a White Stripes record" right away, I mean, I won't go dressing up as a chicken just to get people's attention."
Jack: "Yeah. Anything involved in presenting yourself onstage is all a big trick. You're doing your best to trick those people into experiencing something good, something they haven't thought about before or haven't thought about in a long time. I'm doing my best to be that vaudeville trickster, to help that happen. But the image stuff all stemmed from the music-just the childishness and how it relates to anger and innocence and these colors and what they mean to us, and us being children together. It all comes from that childishness, really."
JW: It's kind of funny. The last couple of weeks, how many things I've seen - Black Eyed Peas wearing completely red white and black outfits, Lil Jon the rapper was on MTV Awards the other day, I saw that when I was flippin' channels - wearing all red white and black. The new Green Day album, all the artwork is red white and black. The Lenny Kravitz album, the same. Go to a record store, it's all like that. There's two car commercials out right now, one for Honda where the car is made out of red white and black Lego (laughs) there's another ad where the car is spinning, a total rip-off of The Hardest Button to Button video. It's hilarious. People say like, well, you guys don't own those colours, but look at this thing with cars made out of red white and black lego. A friend said to me, Whatever, Jack! Then I was talking to Michel Gondry a week later and he said, Oh yes, zey asked me to direct this commercial! Hahaha, see? Told you! I knew they got their ideas from somewhere!
JW: If you can't get past the stage of, Oh, this is a gimmick. OK, if you think it's gimmick, you're not possibly gonna be able to come any deeper with us. So It's good. It weeds out people who wouldn't care anyway. Then, if you wanna know what the truth is, ask the little kids watching the band, and see what he thinks. I venture a guess he's gonna have fun.
Jack: “Someone will say, Hey why not cause a storm by wearing green one day? I mean why? Why would we do that? Wearing red and white has meaning. Wearing green for a day would just be so bourgeois.”
Jack: "they're the colours of anger and innocence."
2.9 Jack's fascination with the number three: ]
Jack: It's actually all based around the number three, even though there's two of us.It's vocals, guitar and drums, and then rhythm, melody and storytelling.
Jack: "The first time it hit me, I was working in an upholstery shop. There was a piece of fabric over part of a couch. The guy I was working for put in three staples. You couldn't have one or two, but three was the minimum way to upholster something. And it seemed things kept revolving around that. Like, you only need to have three legs on a table. After two, three meant many, and that was it, you don't have to go any further than that: the three components of songwriting, the three chords of rock'n'roll or the blues - that always seemed to be the number."
Jack: "Three can be translated in so many ways. There's the trinity in Christianity, and objects in the world: a traffic light. A table can have only three legs and stand up. Or a wheel on a car can have only three nuts to hold it on. There's a definition about that." The biggest occurrence is in The Big 3 Killed My Baby, "it's three chords and three verses, and we accent threes together all through that. It was a number I always thought of as perfect, or our attempt at being perfect. Like on a traffic light, you couldn't just have a red and a green. I work on sculptures too, and I always use three colors. I don't know. It has that feel to it, everything we do. It just seems like the perfect connection. There's vocals, drums and guitar."
A side-note to this, traditional blues songs have three lines per verse, which The White Stripes obviously exemplify in many songs.
Jack: "What's always been a question for us is: If we're breaking things down, how simple could they be? It seems to revolved around the number three -- songwriting is storytelling, melody, and rhythm, those three components. If you break it down but you keep the three components, then you have what songwriting really is, without excess and overthinking."
The Liner notes of Elephant also have every three highlighted in red instead of the normal white font.
Also - if you ever get the chance to get an autograph from him he will usually sign it "Jack White III"
2.10 What are Candy Cane Children? ]
This is just a term used to denote a White Stripes fan. You can also find the song, Candy Cane Children on the Flying Bomb presents Surprise Package Volume 2. This is a 7' vinyl release. It has also been released as another 7" ( "Merry Christmas From… The White Stripes") recently and can probably be found a your local record store.
2.11 What is the Third Man that I see in a lot of their liner notes? ]
The Third Man is Jack White & Twirlyred is Marcie of the Von Bondies (she is also one of the bacteria on the cover of the CD). This name seems to pop up frequently in the Stripes arena. His shop was called Third Man Upholstery and he refers to himself as Third Man in the beginning of Ball & Biscuit. There is also a movie titled The Third Man which stars Orson Welles and Joseph Cotten. This duo also star in Citizen Kane, which is Jack's favorite film - so that might be the origin of Jack's interest in the reference.
Also Jack has named his record label 'Third Man Records' so the theme seems to be prevalent in a lot that he does. And the Under The Blackpool Lights DVD is credited to Third Man Films.
2.12 Who are they dating? ]
A personal topic we would prefer not to touch.
Jack: No matter what goes on in your private life, people are gonna get interested in it in a gossipy manner. But 20 years from now, when you think about whatever is happening now, all you're gonna have is the music. People will say, "What about the Strokes?" and all you're gonna have is the Strokes' album. And you'll listen to the Strokes album, and that's their music and that's what they did, and that's all that you know about it.
2.13 Do The White Stripes smoke, do drugs or drink? ]
Well considering that they have appeared in a film based around people chatting while drinking coffee and smoking cigs it's not hard to determine that they smoke. Also most interviews refer to this often and they can be seen almost chain smoking in a little pre-tour documentary that's circulating around.
On the front of drinking…they're adults…they have some drinks from time to time. It's not a big deal…it's not like they're going on weekend long binges like Lennon ala the "Lost Weekend."
As for drugs - all reports seem to point to a clean bill in this department - a story has circulated about Jack throwing out an interviewer who casually broke out a joint - so that's a good hint at his stance.
And here's a funny story about Jack meeting Donald Sutherland on the set of Cold Mountain: Jack: "We were on this lot out in the country; he was about 30 feet away and I said hi to him. I'd heard that he was really anti-smoking, 'cause he has allergies. I said hi to him and he didn't say hi back. I turned around and walked away, thinking "That's weird he didn't say hi back. Oh, I'm smoking. He's mad that I'm smoking." He came around the corner and said "Jack! Are you still smoking?" I threw the cigarette away and said "nope." He says "C'mere." I thought he was going to yell at me for smoking but he gave me a hug."
More recently it seems Jack has given up smoking:
JW: My voice was getting really really bad. I was losing all the high end. I'd heard some old tapes of us play, and I was really disappointed in the way I couldn't hit these notes anymore. I didn't know what to do. I didn't wanna stop. I started to notice when I was playing with Loretta Lynn, I was playing her songs for the band in that range, which I would normally have been able to hit those notes, but I couldn't do it at that point. It was like this consistent bronchitis over and over again. It just would not go away. Sometimes it would go away for a week, we'd be on tour and I'd sing really great and then it would come back for six months. I couldn't do it anymore. It's too important to me to keep messing with the vocal chords like that. So that's really the only reason.
MW: Right before we were leaving for the festivals, he sang Jolene, and it was like, Wow! I hadn't been able to hear him hit the high notes in that song forever without having trouble, so it's good.
JW: Yeah, it's nice now, it feels good to be back where I used to be, because there was always a little hindrance going on. I was ashamed because, in front of Loretta, I couldn't hit these notes. I think that's what really pushed me to it. It was just that shame that Loretta really didn't think I was a good singer.
2.14 The Bands Political Stance: ]
There has been very little in the way of public statements regarding world issues, party affiliation or really politics in general. The band seems to think of itself as a musical force and not a pulpit to spread their own political ideals. Jack: "I was really political when I was a teenager, and I just stopped: stopped myself having an opinion about politics and opening my mouth about it."
Jack: “I have never thought that rock music can have a direct influence on anything in relation to questions about war and peace or famine. Perhaps it doesn’t any longer make a difference what other things they are concerned with. If the Beatles could not get us all to love one another, then how would the White Stripes be capable to do it?”
MW: Yeah, it's a rough time. I haven't seen people be so obsessed and upset in my lifetime, you know, about everything.
JW: I guess it's the same way in England too. When you belong to a political party, it doesn't matter if it's a monkey or Einstein who's the one running, you vote for him because he's a part of that party. It's dedication to your party not the person. It doesn't matter who it is, what the truth is. That's really sad, and it kind of goes across the board. I mean, don't people want the truth? Why wouldn't you want the truth? About anything?
MW: Because you can be lazy if you don't know the truth.
JW: I guess so. That's sad to me.
MW: That's what my Dad always told me, on the ballot, they should always have a third choice, like none of the above, then if enough people picked that, they'd have to get new candidates. I think there's a lot of problems with being a two-party system. But I'm not gonna get to do anything about that. It's pretty sad when you have to choose between the lesser of two evils.
Recently Jack has altered the lyrics to The Big Three Killed My Baby live to reflect the political scene going on right now: "and bush's hands are turning red…and I found out your baby is dead." That's about as far as a statement that the bands made…take that for what ya will.
2.15 How does the band feel about bootlegs and napster type sites? ]
Here's a few words from Jack regarding the file sharing sites: "I don't know a lot of time people come to our shows and say that's how we heard of you - which is nice that they wouldn't have heard of us if it wouldn't have been for that. But then also people say 'I got all your songs off of Napster' ya know, they didn't buy records. I would never do it cuz I like band artwork. I want the album and I want the artwork. But then bands like Metallica they've already gone platinum so they shouldn't scream about the money. Ya know how everybody says that? But those bands on our level with people getting it that way and not buying it - we could really use that money (laughs) I've never gone on there (to Napster)."
Here's a general rule one should always try to follow. Don't ever buy or sell concert cds, and don't just get online and burn their albums. If you can follow that then you should be fine. You don't be that guy that downloads all the songs and then burns it so you don't have to get the cd. If you truly support and love an artist then they are worth your money and could use a couple bumps up in the charts.
2.16 I Heard From Ben Blackwell that the band was breaking up! ]
For a week or two during the summer of 2004 a small little comment by Mr.Ben Blackwell caused quite a stir…the band was breaking up soon! Oh my god! What are we gonna do!?!?! Calm down…chalk all this up to bad journalism and out of context quotes. Ben Blackwell: "What I said in the Kerrang interview was that if you ask people in England they'll tell you the white stripes are about to be done. I was kinda making reference to all the gossip and like that coming from the UK music press. I know well that it's not the case and that's why I said jack mentioned nothing to me about it. So I got semi-misquoted and it ends up everywhere. Let that be a lesson to everyone." Jack: "There's a lot of that going on but I don't know why that keeps coming up. There was a time when… it was The Beatles. 'How long will The Beatles last?'. John (Lennon) said 'I could be big headed and say it'll last ten years'. Well, we'll know when it's over. I don't think we're going to last ten years, I don't think Stripes will last 20 years. It's not that kind of a band where we have 5 or 6 guys, kick the bass player out and get a new member. It's only going to be me and her (Meg) in the band. At some point we'll stop, but we've no plans to now at all. I've got a lot of ideas for records for us coming up and the time off has been really re-inspiring."
JW: We would get asked that so much - Oh, I thought Elephant was going to be your last record. But I always hated that so much my whole life, when people faked their retirement. Like, Oh, I'm retiring, then they come out of retirement, and then they retire again... I hate that! I didn't want to do that, and I didn't want people to think that. I wasn't trying to get attention that way. I just meant that I didn't want to do the band for 20 years. Maybe that was it. Also, people were paying attention to us on the third and fourth album. They feel like it's day one, like you're starting. For you, it's been years.
2.17 Jack's Car Accident: ]
The hearts of Stripes fans around the world skipped a beat on July 9th upon hearing the news of Jack White's car accident. Jack was making a left turn when another car ran a red light and struck the side of his car. Jack: "This 75 to 80 year old woman drove right out in the middle of the street, right in front of us. There was nothing I could do to get away from it. It was lucky that there was nobody seriously injured. The airbag hit my hands on the steering wheel. I didn't know about any injuries until I got out of the car and kind of looked around. It didn't hurt: it was more, 'That's not supposed to be bent like that.' It was bent in a really strange way. And it was shattered, from here to here [draws line along lower half of finger]. I immediately thought 'That's not going to be good, is it?'. It was a multiple fracture which means it didn't actually go through the skin but it shattered inside the finger. I can't write, I can't play piano, I can't play guitar, I can't do anything creative. I can't even tie my shoes. The airbag broke my finger when it deployed. Maybe I would have been better off without an airbag. But I wasn't too freaked out. I was OK with it. It was one of those things where your mind acclimates to whatever the situation is. It just sort of upset me that I had to stop touring and I couldn't write music or play guitar or piano."
A week after the crash Jack went to hospital for a progress report, which wasn't good. Instead of healing, the multiple breaks in Jack's hand meant the bones were pushing apart rather than together. Doctors inserted the three metal screws, which will stay inside his body for life. Jack: "They cut through the tendon to get to the bone, to work on it. We have three screws here [indicates triangle-ish shape on finger]: one going down and two going that way. These ligaments at the side are very sore. I can still feel the fluid and scar tissue. It's going to be a long time. And the screws are staying in there forever. They're very tiny. I got off with a warning." Because the crash took place on his 28th birthday he survived the "year of rock n' roll death", 27. At that age, stars including Kurt Cobain, Jimi Hendrix and Jim Morrison all passed away. He wrote: "Hello candy cane children. I broke my finger, three breaks, car wreck, horrible left turn in front of me, no chance of escape, air bag, the air near my fingers, devil in my left hand, doctors say no way, lot's of pain, typing with one finger, made it through year of rock n' roll death, got off with just a warning. Apologies to those wishing to see my hand live, soon enough I'm sure, now me and Meg can share war stories, I love when we share, like once there was a monkey, and we shared the experience as children do."
Meg: "Because he couldn't use that finger to make chords, he had to maneuver around it with barre chords, substitutions or new arrangements. It took some time to deal with that, but he's doing much better now."
Jack: "It may require more surgery, they're saying."
2.18 The Jack and Jason fight ]
I feel its been long enough to add this…since it's all blown over and no major damage was done. If you don't know what I am talking about- here's the basics of the story. While attending the album release party for Blanche at the Magic Stick on December 13th 2003 - Jack White and Jason Stollsteimer (singer of the Von Bondies) got into an altercation. This happened sometime during the Brendan Benson set and has had numerous stories, opinions and ideas thrown out from just about everyone. Whatever the specifics…Jack was brought up on charges of assault and was released on bail for 0. The case was didn't amount to much and both Jack and Jason have gone their separate ways…
JW: That's what I was talking about as well. In the end, what happens? He did all that to promote his new album. That's what it was all about. It was about promoting his band, and living off of our kindness, once again, the attention he can get from using us. He used us in a good way by being our friend. Then used us in a bad way by stabbing us in the back. So what happens to someone who uses people in the end? His album sells two thousand copies or whatever, and nobody's going to care next year. He's forever gonna be known by his own exploitation (laughing). How do you rise above that? You can't rise above that because it's all negative. There's nothing negative from me. All I can do is defend my own honor, I guess. There's nothing else I can do. The way I see it, the more I talk about it, the more he gets what he wants. That's the problem, the whole time. That's why I never said anything, because it was giving him what he wanted, which was attention for his band. Their old manager said something in an interview someone read to me, about him wanting to exploit the situation, and use it to his political advantage. The manager of his band said that! Someone told me the other day, a friend of his - an eye doctor looked at Jason and said, There's nothing wrong with you, and he then flew out to find some other eye doctor to say that he had permanent eye damage.
2.19 Jim Diamond Suing the Stripes ]
In more recent controversy...it seems Jim Diamond, formerly of the Dirtbombs and head of Ghetto Recorders studio has hit the Stripes with a little lawsuit. Jim claims he collaborated and co-produced with Jack and Meg on sessions which became the duo's debut album. Diamond is looking for royalties in relation to the sessions, "ownership interest" in relation to the master recordings, and an entitlement to future profits. White Stripes' self-titled debut album was recorded in Detroit in 1999. What is essentially a Copyright suit, Diamond "...seeks to establish his rights to co-ownership of copyrights in various sound recordings" due to his contribution in "additional artistic suggestions, supervision and contributions. During the sessions, (Jack White) requested Diamond's assistance with production by asking Diamond to help identify, define, and capture the band's sounds and asking him to critique the band's performances." In short, Diamond's seeking to be considered a 'joint author' of the first album masters along with Jack and Meg White. Which in turn, would make him a co-owner of the copyrights of the recordings - allowing him a share of the royalties of the album's sales since the licensing agreement in 2002.
From a anonymous but reliable sounding source on MotorCityRocks it is stated that:
- jim diamond did not write a single bit of music on the first white stripes record.
-jim diamond didn't produce anything on the first white stripes record either.
-he was credited as co-producer in the liner notes of the album as a favor from jack white(begrudgingly) after jim diamond requested production credit AFTER the album turned out nicely in jim's opinion, while the band was working on the artwork. -the record sold only a few hundred copies when first released.
-jim diamond was paid his fee of $35 dollars and hour, for 48 hours of work in full.
-he presented a bill and he was paid for his work as ENGINEER on the record.
-he did nothing more than ENGINEER.
-there is a difference between engineering and producing.
-the white stripes are jack and meg white, not just jack white. jim diamond is suing the white stripes.
-jim has also sued the electric six and is also suing the mooney suzuki.
-the white stripes first album has not sold over a million copies worldwide.
-all of the white stripes records have been produced by jack white and the liner notes of each album state this.
-jim diamond is in no way responsible for the distinctive sound of the white stripes.
-jim diamond performed his job as engineer, which means to direct the sound of the recordings as prescribed by the producer, jack white. -the white stripes never asked jim diamond to produce their record.
-the white stripes have never attempted to take advantage of their friends, they have only tried to help them.
I would like to know who that anonymous poster was because they sound quite legit and knowledgeable on the subject…if it turns out to be all BS then I'll take down their comments.
The official statement from Monotone Management released this statement "Jim Diamond's case is without merit and his behavior is rancorous. The White Stripes intend to vigorously and successfully defend this action." Ok now back to more fun stuff…
NEW DEVLOPMENT! (well not really new since this whole section is new for this version)
The suit has been extended to the De Stijl album as well… For the record Jim is credited as producer and engineer on the self titled album and for mixing and engineering on De Stijl. The first album was recorded at Jim's studio but De Stijl was made in Jacks living room…
Jack: Jim Diamond suing us saying that he produced 'De Stijl' - an album I recorded in our living room by myself! (laughs) Some people, you realize that they're looking at it differently than we're looking at it. Hahaha. Fame and money, that is.
Jack: The only bad thing I can think of is our friends stabbing us in the back, left and right. A lot of our friends. That felt really bad. That was personal, but not in the big picture, I don't think. That's exploitation, they make things look worse than they are for their own good, for their own benefit, you know? That can only fall on their own heads in the end, not us. Because we love everybody, we're never out to hurt anybody. And if you're not out to hurt anybody, then you won't get hurt in the end. The truth is the truth. That's the truth. Meg is true. Meg has never done anything to anybody. How can someone like Jim Diamond sue Meg? Like, what's going to happen in the end? It's gonna fall on his head. It's gonna be not good. You get what you put into it. If you put love and respect into what you do, then you get it back from other people, I guess. It still feels like the best year for me, because it's just so jam-packed with so many things. There's so many things that happened.
2.20 Jack and Meg's On Tour Survival Guide: ]
-Take as many CDs as you can because you'll get bored really fast.
-Whoever's driving gets to pick the music. We usually start out on the road listening to Beck's Midnite Vultures. But before we play, it has to be blues or AC/DC. On this one tour we must've listened to that song "Let There Be Rock" four times before each show.
-Bring a lot of pillows. Yout think you won't need them or that they're going to take up too much room, but then you always really want them the next day.
-Take games. We like to play this French card game from the '60s called Mille Bornes. It's about traveling more miles than the other player. You can also deal that person a car accident or a red light so they'll have to stop - it's kind of like Sorry.
-If you stay at other people's houses, you should always fold the blankets and leave them on the couch nice and neat when you are done. And in the morning, you have to go to breakfast with your hosts. Not like you have to, like it's a chore, but you should because it's a good thing.
2.21 Jack's Malt Recipe ]
Jack: "one thing that concerns me however is the dying art of making a chocolate malt. i have to admit it is one of my favorite vices. but it seems that the days of the soda jerk being able to make a proper one in his sleep are long gone. so i will now list all of the known techniques to making a proper malt for anyone who is in a post ion to make it for others. the proper chocolate malt is as follows: VANILLA ice cream that's right VANILLA, you do not use chocolate ice cream for a chocolate malt. now if you can get past that very important step you are fifty percent there my friend. next you add chocolate syrup, fresh milk, and finally malt powder, lots of it. because if you don't add lots of it, it tastes like a shake, and that is not what i ordered! you have to have enough to give the malt it's "malt personality" if you will. and most importantly you do not mix it up until it's as watery as milk ( something they don't seem to understand in australia where i purchased three different malts at three different places only to be served something along the lines of chocolate milk, and it seemed they never heard of malt powder) you only mix the malt enough to get it through a straw, there should be a thick muddy feel to the malt, and a second helping should be served in a tin mixing cup along with the original malt in the glass. whip cream doesn't bother me, i can take it or leave it, but it is the dying art form of the malt maker/soda jerk that does bother me, i think we should all be aware of this and help to continue this dying, beautiful, comforting aspect of life, for our children if not for us ourselves."
2.22 Meg's Grandma's Corn Souffle ]
INGREDIENTS: 1 16 oz. can of creamed corn
1 16 oz. can of corn niblets
1 box of Ritz crackers, chopped
Mix creamed corn and niblets together. Chop crackers into little bits. Mix some of the crackers into the corn with an egg. Take the rest of the crackers and spread on top. Bake like a casserole for 40 minutes at 350 degrees. Meg: "It's awesome; the egg makes it solid and the crackers make it crunchy. Really good comfort food."
2.23 Jack's interest in Taxidermy ]
Jack seems to also have a little fascination in taxidermy - which for those who've never heard that term, it means the preservation and stuffing of animals. If you've ever wondered why so many pictures of the duo have animals in them its probably just one of Jack's many creatures he's brought along for the photo session. Confirmed animals include a pig, a zebra head gazelles, a tiger, an eland, a kudu, and a giant white elk. Meg on the flip side does not seem to have this fascination which can be traced to Jack's upholstery days. After all, taxidermy is merely the refurbishing of animals….
2.24 How do I contact or meet the White Stripes? ]
For most fan mail type requests it is suggested that you send mail to their management company - Monotone Inc. As far as meeting them - they are pretty much a staple in Detroit so if you live in the area its only a matter of time before you cross paths. But the best method seems to be the after show attempt. It might take a while for them to exit the venue after the show but the majority of people who have met them did so waiting by the tour bus after a show. Good luck!
WS Management Monotone, Inc.
8932 Keith Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90069
2.25 A Little About Their Contract with V2 ]
Although I don't want to give any personal or financial details out…some of the points may interest some. Among the key points in the deal: It's actually a licensing arrangement via Jack White's cottage label, Third Man Records.
· It spans just the next two White Stripes albums. Standard major-label deals tie up acts for anywhere from three to seven albums.
· The band retains ownership of its master recordings--an arrangement almost impossible with major companies, and a major bone of contention between many artists and labels with an eye on growing digital distribution opportunities.
· The arrangement with Third Man gives Jack, in essence, an A&R and production role with V2, with opportunities for other Detroit acts he has been producing. (The first band signed was Whirlwind Heat)
"Initially, Jack and Meg didn't want to do any deal," says Ian Montone, the Stripes' Los Angeles lawyer, who has also been handling their managerial duties. "But presented with this, they were interested. And they really liked Andy. He understands where the band wants to go and wants to let them develop that." The attraction [to V2] goes beyond sales projections. "The [commercial potential] is a complete unknown, but you don't think about that with an act like this," Gershon says. "You sign them because of their knowledge of music, the fact that the three records they've done are amazing. They're proven. You want to put yourself in a position to succeed, and that overrode the money considerations. You don't want to put a band like this in a position where it needs to sell a million copies to recoup."
Jack: “A main factor in the discussion is that we have entered into a record contract which actually gives us total control over the music: I produce all the music, we totally do the complete album. The American and European record companies who represent us releases exactly what we have given to them. We are involved in all decisions regarding how we are presented. We even give them ready made covers.”
2.26 Is the band online? ]
If you've read enough interviews of the band you can probably gather Jack's general distaste and loathing of most of what society calls great technological breakthroughs...including the internet. While he does dislike them he does post messages for the fans on the official site and has even held an exclusive Q&A session with the Little Room message board. But after about 4 years into the band I've never seen him surfing around and I doubt very seriously that his email address is anything that would be accessible to anyone but very close friends and family.
SECTION 3 - THE LIVE EXPERIENCE
3.1 What are the current tour dates? ]
As stated earlier check for any new tour info.
3.2 Do the shows typically sell out? ]
With the worldwide popularity of the White Stripes some shows seem to sell out almost instantly. This is especially true if the band is playing in smaller venues. The best bet would be that if you know when the tickets go on sale - be in line to buy them immediately to ensure that you get the best tickets available and that you do not have to rely on scalpers to buy your tickets.
3.3 Are the opening bands scheduled typically worth it to see? ]
The Stripes have had a wide variety of bands open for them - The Soledad Brothers, Whirlwind Heat, Von Bondies, Loretta Lynn and countless others. It's a safe bet to place your money on the opening band being worth it. It basically comes down to straight economics - you've already paid for a ticket so you might as well get your money's worth by showing up early and checking them out. You never know - you might find your new favorite band this way. Plus arriving early might ensure you a great spot really close to the stage…so it's a win/win situation for everyone! For a good list of past opening bands, check out of whitestripes.net
3.4 A list of known opening/headlining bands for the Stripes: ]
68 Comeback, Anomoanon, Bantan Rooster, The Bellrays, Blanche, Billy Childish & The Buff Medways, Brendan Benson, The Cheetahs, The Clone Defects, The Clutters, The Datsuns, Dead Meadow, The Dexter Romweber Duo, The Dirtbombs, Dura-Delinquent, Easy Action, Fez,Freakwater, The Gloryholes, The Gossip, The Greenhornes, The Hentchmen, The Hiss, Holly Golightly, Hot Hot Heat, Ima Robot, The Insects, Loretta Lynn, The Mind Chicks, The Mistreaters, The Motor City Cobras, Mt. McKinleys, Paper Tiger, Pavement, The Paybacks, Queen Bee, The Regulators, Royal Trux, Rye Coalition, The Shams, Six Finger Steamboat, Sixteen Horsepower, The Soledad Brothers, Street Walkin', The Strokes, A Stoveboat, They Come In Threes, Tom Collins, The Von Bondies, The Waxwings, Wayne Kramer, The Whirlwind Heat, The Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Young Heart Attack
whew...and that's not even all of them!
For another resource on past opening bands, click.
3.5 How long is each show? ]
The opening band typically plays for around 45 minutes or so. Then you have a 30-60 minute pause where the stage setup is rearranged for the Stripes. Typically the White Stripes shows last anywhere from 70-95 minutes long. I have very few bootlegs that go over the 72 minutes allowed on 1 blank cd - but it sometimes does happen. Recently they've been playing for a bit longer though so its been shooting over the 75 minute mark…which is a good thing. Stop yawning…wake up!!!
3.6 Does the band stick to a set list? ]
It is very rare to find two shows that are exactly the same. You will find that the band seem to follow a certain basic framework of a setlist and then move from song to song at ease with no intention of following anyone else's wants. Keep in mind that they love to throw cover songs into wherever they deem fit and segue from song to song within a single beat, so there really is no telling where the Stripes are headed. If you have hopes for a particular song to be played, its all a matter of luck. But you might just get a song played that is hardly ever heard or hear a new cover song that has never been played.
Jack: We just try to play things different every time. I want it to be a "moment" every night. It's hard, but I don't want people coming to a show and saying, Oh, that's the same show I could've seen if I went and saw them in Cleveland or Florida or something. I mean, what's the point? You might as well be like the bands that just go up there every time and play their songs the same way as they do on the album, and have the same set every night. I would be so bored with that. At the Grammy's, it was just this thing between me and Meg: "Okay, this is going to be the mood at this moment in the song." Whenever we play, we never sit down and say, "Okay, we're going to do this and this." It always just happens right onstage. Meg and I don't ever get nervous, but at a show like that, you just kind of assume something's gonna go wrong--like your guitar's gonna come unplugged or something. And then while we were sitting there waiting to go on one of my amps started feeding back for no reason. I wasn't even plugged in! So we had to hurry up and turn that one off and switch over to another other one. It was funny.
Jack: “If you’re coming to see us play it just like the record, then you’ll be disappointed, and you’ll miss out on a different experience. To play songs live exactly the same as we recorded them – it would be like looking at the band’s poster.
3.7 Does the band allow taping at the shows? ]
There's no official word from the band on this. Although the fact that Ben Blackwell (Jack's nephew) collects Stripes bootlegs would lead one to believe that they are pretty much impartial to the distribution of their concerts. In this digital age it seems tough for any band to really eliminate this aspect of performance by their fans…a show has sometimes been online the following day after a show. Be weary though if you're going to a show with the intention of taping it. Some venues can be very strict in this department and will confiscate your equipment so please be careful. Just follow the simple rule of never buying or selling bootleg recordings. Its insane that people are making money off of simply recording a concert and charging people to get it from them. If there is a show you absolutely must have, wait a couple of weeks and it will find it's way into the trading circles. Many people on the Little Room are very nice about spreading the wealth - best of luck.
3.8 Is there any place to find setlists for particular shows? ]
The Little Room often has next day reviews and setlists of shows but ultimately the place I check and use as my main reference for past shows is the website. I use this site religiously and a lot of work has gone into it.
3.9 They played some song I've never heard before - what was it? ]
Again check out. Aside from a great list of setlists it also has compiled all known information on every song ever performed live and in the studio. There are still a number of cover songs still a mystery to us and any new information is welcome. But if you were at a show and are uncertain of that random song Jack and Meg played this is the place to go.
SECTION 4 - SIDE PROJECTS & MISC.
4.1 What other releases do Jack and Meg appear on? ]
1. is in The White Stripes.
2. was briefly in a band called the "Walker-White Trio" with Johnny Walker of the Soledads Brothers and possibly Ben Swank. They played a show at the Gold Dollar, Detroit on the 24th of July 1999. No other information or any recording exists at this time.
3. was, at least for a short time drummer for Goober & The Peas. He was listed as Jack "Doc" Gillis. Most likely on the tracks "One Last Kiss," "Neighbors" and "Moanin'"
4. appears on Rocket 88 on the self-released Master Supertone CS by Soledad Brothers.
5. Produced the Soledad Brothers first album - self titled
6. Appears on Shaky Puddin' by the Soledad Brothers on the Sympathetic Sounds Of Detroit album.
7 appears on the Some Other Guy 7" and the Hentch-Forth 12"MLP with The Hentchmen (Italy Records, IR-004 and IR-008).
8. appears on Johnny's Death Letter by the Soledad Brothers, this song's on the Sugar & Spice 7" (Italy Records, IR-007).
9. was in 2 Star Tabernacle.
10. was in The Go and recorded an album with them.
11. is in The Upholsterers.
12. appears with The Hentchmen again. This time it's on the Ham And Oil 7" (Gas Records, 1999, GRS-109).
13. produced the debut 7" by The Von Bondies (D · wreckEd · hiT, 2000, DET.001).
14. mixed The Gospel According To John 7" by Soledad Brothers (Estrus, 1999, ES 7142). 15. comixed the Greenhornes 7" on Italy Records (IR-009).
16. appears as "John S. O'Leary" with The Wildbunch on Danger (High Voltage) (Flying Bomb Records, 2001, FLB-117).
17. produced, recorded and co-mixed the Sympathetic Sounds Of Detroit LP/CD (Sympathy For The Record Industry, 2001, SFTRI 623).
18. appears on Shout Bama Lama by The Detroit Cobras.
19. produced the debut-album and the 2nd 7" by The Von Bondies.
20. appears as "John S. O'Leary" with Electric Six on Danger! High Voltage (various releases).
21. produced the debut album by Whirlwind Heat.
22. appears on Thee Jenerators' first single called "Mystery Man."
23. Produced The Fells single "Close Your Eyes" (1998)
24. Appears on Blanche's "Whos to Say" (2003)
25. Guest starring on New York DJ Mark Ronson's debut album on the track 'Here Comes the Fuzz."
26. Appears on the Cold Mountain Soundtrack
27. Producing and performing on Loretta Lynn's next album
28. Appearing on Beck's upcoming album.
29. Is in the yet untitled and unreleased band with Brendan Benson
1. is in The White Stripes.
2. appears on the debut album by the Soledad Brothers.
3. appears on the Soledad Brothers "Voice of Treason" album on the track "I'm so Glad."
4.2 Van Lear Rose: ]
Well the albums out…go buy it if you haven't yet. It's a great album and a wonderful introduction to people who are unfamiliar to Loretta Lynn or country music in general.
The two immediately hit it off when they first met. Loretta: "The first time I met him [Jack] in Manhattan I was telling him I was getting ready to go in and do an album myself, He said, 'Well, could I go in and produce it?' I said, 'Why not?'" Jack: "I'd play tambourine on this record, if that's it, I don't care. I just want to be in the same room with her and to be able to work on this."
Jack: "I have no idea why they let me do that, we just hit it off. We became friends, I guess. The idea of a new record came up and I said I'd like to produce it if at all possible and they said, 'OK, let's try it out' and it worked. She wanted to make one final album, and I put my name in, and they let me have a chance at it. It worked out really well. Me and Loretta have become pretty good friends since last year, and I think we work together really well. Her songwriting is just brilliant. She pulled out all these amazing songs, some that were 30 years old and some that she wrote a couple of months ago. The recent ones are classics! It's just insane. And she sings better than someone in their 20s. She's just amazing. I wanted to cry when I heard these (new) songs. She's still writing amazing songs." The album "will be getting away from this horrible production of modern country music that I can't stand and getting down to something raw like she really is. We really hit it off', there's some kind of connection with us. I feel really comfortable with her and I think she feels really comfortable with me, which I'm really glad for, because I could see someone like me-the way I look or whatever-not being appealing or her thinking that maybe I wasn't down with the kind of music she does. She could tell that we have the same love for the same things about music'
The album was recorded in 12 days..Loretta: "I thought, 'Is this old house gonna fall in on us before we get out of here? We walked in, and this long, tall guy [engineer Eric McConnell] was sittin' at the control table. I noticed that he didn't have many controls - not even as many as I've got on my little [sound] board. I thought, 'Oh gee, this is gonna be good.' I started singing and you know, we just took off with 'em. From the first song, it was great." JW: She didn't really understand it at first. We picked this guy's house to record it in, to do it in a home. At the end of the first day, she took me aside and said, (Southern matron voice), Jack, did you know we were gonna record here? I said yeah, I picked this place Loretta. 'Aw, ok, I just wanted to make sure that you knew we were coming here. Within a couple of days, she grabbed my hand and said, Jack, I can't wait for this record to come out, it's gonna be so great. It was really cool, to see her so excited about music again. she got so excited so fast, you could see her brain working all day long, coming up with ideas. It was really cool. We recorded on eight track, I refuse to record on digital computers or equipment. If this equipment was good enough for the people and music I really love -- for Cole Porter, Hank Williams, the Beatles -- there's no need to go and do digital. It gives you way too much opportunity to overproduce."He wanted to keep the music"as real as possible, because that's what Loretta Lynn is."
Lynn was backed on the sessions by four musicians -- Dave Feeny, Patrick Keeler, Jack Lawrence and White -- she dubbed them the Do Whaters "because they got in there and did whatever we needed them to." Greenhornes drummer Patrick Keeler: "I never really thought about how big it could be or about a Grammy when we were making the record. I was only thinking about how cool the whole thing was. We've known the White Stripes for about six years. Our bands started out around the same time, and we got to be friends from playing shows together in Detroit. He has recorded our band before, and he likes the way we play. It was really exciting... She's an icon. My mom's a big fan. I'm a fan, too. Not to the point where I have autographed collector's plates sitting around, but I have a few of her records. There was no direction at all. We would listen to her song, and we would go through and figure out how we wanted to play it. She would pretty much tell us to do whatever we wanted. That's why (in the album's liner notes) she called us the Do Whaters. She said we are gonna shake up (Nashville's) Music Row. It felt like you've known her a long time. She would work nine and 10 hours a day, and a lot of it was just sitting around and her telling great stories.
Jack: "I didn't want to overthink it, I didn't want to push it and try to perfect it. She sounds brilliant right off the bat. Her voice is gorgeous."Lynn: "I didn't know it was going to be this country, but it's country. It's as country as I am. I wanted to present each song the best way possible and bring out the character of each song. If it was subtle, it needed to be subtle. If she was belting it out, we needed to get intense with it."
Meg: "They did it down at Nashville. I didn't go down as I was busy at the time. But I've heard a lot of the stuff. It's really, really amazing. It's great! Loretta Lynn is a lovely person and an incredible musician. Jack put together the band for the Nashville session using the members of the Greenhorns as the rhythm section - my style of drumming wouldn't have been appropriate - but Loretta wrote all the songs herself. There are a few that date back to the 60s, but the ones she wrote two months ago are just as great. It's an amazing record."
And Loretta doesn't plan on retiring any time soon. She wants to record a religious album and a Christmas album - and she hopes Jack will once again be her producer. Even though their producing styles are different, she likens the young musician to her legendary first producer." You know, this kid is not very old, but he's older-acting. It's like he's been here many times. I see a little bit of Owen Bradley in him. He's great at the rock 'n' roll music, but I think he will probably be even greater at producing. I've got two more albums in mind, and Jack and I are going to do 'em together. When I'm on the road, I say to my fans: 'How many of you know The White Stripes?' And they applaud. Country people know him. Me and Jack are going to do a tour with the Do-Whaters, the boys that played on the album. I'll take my band out, too, so it won't be no big deal."
JW: She wants to do more, but I don't know if I can. She has run-ins with her health, and you know she's getting up there [age-wise]. But she bounces right back. She's so strong. She's a real fighter. She'll go into hospital, and come out two days later kicking and screaming. She cannot sit down, and cannot sit still. She constantly wants to go on tour and do things. She's never stopped since she started 40 years ago.
4.3 Beck and Jack ]
In further collaboration news, it seems Jack White has helped a bit on Beck's still untitled eighth album. The had met at this years Grammy Awards where Beck introduced the White Stripes and even later appeared in the Hardest Button To Button Video. 'I'd like to do something with Beck sometime. That would be really nice. We'd be good together and record if we can both get a month off.... or five minutes off would be nice.' A song has already been recorded…no title is known yet or really any other information. I did talk to someone who heard a bit of it though…and they said it was amazing. But I'm sure you don't need that confirmation to buy the album…I mean it's Beck for christ's sake!
JW: I was just working with Beck a couple of months back. It's this song where I played bass and he played Fender Rhodes on it. We just started working on it. He had the Dust Brothers producing on it, and the studio wasn't really for me - it was just like, a computer. They know what they're doing, they're really good at what they do. Beck sent me the song not too long ago, and he's done some really cool things with it after I left. So that was cool, and I've been working on some other secret weapons and projects at home.
4.4 The Brendan Benson project ]
Seems at some point Jack got to working with Brendan Benson on a project that turned quite serious and sounds like has the intention of being released at some point. The band is filled out with Patrick and Lil Jack of the Greenhornes so this is bound to be a badass album...
JW: We're probably gonna work with Brendan Benson, record at his house. He lives really near by me, I like recording with him. I don't really have any other predetermined things about the record at all. All I could really do is hum you some songs. But I don't know, we might be done in the next couple of months. We might go in, When I say, done, it's not like we're gonna go in and work on it forever. I'm sure we're gonna work on writing some more, and go in there for a week or something. I don't know when that'll be. Brendan's on tour for another month or so. I'm saying we might do it there. I don't know if we're gonna do it there. But I think it might be a good idea. I bought some ribbon microphones, I like the sound of them, and it might be easier to do it over there. So, I don't know when, I guess it'll probably be coming out next year. I feel like we've taken too much time off. But we really needed to. I wasn't inspired a year ago at all. I was inspired to stop playing live. It was getting really grueling to keep getting onstage like that. So now I'm really inspired, and anna play live again, and play these songs. They're really working out good. It's cool because last time me and Meg played the other day, it was cool, we were coming up with some interesting things. It felt different to me, and good, and moving forward. We were trucking along, you know?
Brendan Benson: I've been working with Jack White and Patrick and Lil' Jack from the Greenehorns on some songs. Maybe, schedules permitting, we'll put a record out. We work on it when we're in town at the same time. Jack and I both sing. And it's kind of like a Lennon/McCartney thing, if I may be so bold. We've got 11 or 12 songs recorded, but not completely finished. We still need to sing vocals on some of the songs. He lives two or three blocks away from me, and we've been friends for a really long time. So this just seemed like a good excuse to see what would happen when we worked together. It seems to be working out. It's weird, man. There's stuff on there that sounds like Cat Stevens, and there's some stuff on there that sounds like Led Zeppelin. I can say some of the stuff sounds like pure Jack White. You can hear it and say, 'Oh, that's a Jack White song.' I don't know if people are going to think it's crap or brilliant. I have no idea. It's really great, man. People have got to hear it. Jack and I both sing. And it's kind of like a Lennon/McCartney thing, if I may be so bold. And I'm not comparing the musicianship, just the fact that we're each kind of bringing in our own songs. And we both have different sounds and aesthetics, which adds a whole other aspect to it. It's kind of a little of everything. I've got songs that I've pretty much written and he added lyrics to it. And he brought some songs, or actually made a bunch of 'em up on the spot. It's cool, different stuff. Some of it sounds like Jack and some of it just sounds like Cat Stevens or something."
4.5 Is Jack in the movie Cold Mountain?! ]
Yes, Jack appears in the Civil War flick titled 'Cold Mountain' starring Nicole Kidman, Jude Law, Natalie Portman and Renee Zellweger. The plot is a love story based on the journey of a Confederate soldier from a hospital to his home in North Carolina. Jack: "I play Georgia, a deserter who escapes the civil war. He plays mandolin and sings. He is one of three guys who are a ragged band of musicians. But the role does not strictly follow the character in the book. It has actually been enlarged for the film: in case someone tries to find "me" in the book. I have a lot of lines. But, mainly, I do some songs – The three pieces, to be more precise. And better still, they will be on the forthcoming soundtrack, which is fantastic. I sing traditional songs, such as “Wayfaring Stranger” and “Sitting on Top of the World”, and those I could do before. “Sitting on Top of the World” was actually the first blues song I learnt to play, after I had heard Howlin’ Wolf’s version. I played “Wayfaring Stranger” with Two-Star Tabernacle, a band which I had before the White Stripes.”
Jack: "It was great. If it was just straight-up an acting opportunity, I don't know if I would have done it. But they were looking for someone to bring folk music to the film, and this character was to sing three songs in the film. T-Bone Burnett did the soundtrack, and I was flattered that T-Bone recommended me for the part. I was amazed that they picked me, and I felt really honored and scared by it. I love American folk music so muc h. I'm so flattered that they recognized that in me, and that they asked me to be a part of that. I was there for six weeks, with a lot of downtime, freezing in the winter, and it was worth every minute of it. I have a lot of lines. But, mainly, I do some songs -- The three pieces, to be more precise. And better still, they will be on the forthcoming soundtrack, which is fantastic. I sing traditional songs, such as "Wayfaring Stranger" and "Sitting on Top of the World", and those I could do before." "I was there for six weeks… freezing cold in the snow. I was on top of a hill a mile away and Renee Zellweger's down at the bottom herding sheep or something and she's laughing at me, 'Look at you rock star! You're at the top of a hill and you've got to run down 20 times'. As soon as I'd run down I'd have to walk slowly right back up the hill and then as soon as I got there it was, 'ok, action'. That made me mad. Otherwise, the most bizarre thing to occur during the whole production was that someone had given our record to a Romanian folk dancing group, so when we came out and did some extra songs, they practiced their dance routine to "Fell in love with a girl" and "I think I smell a Rat" - performed in full, traditional costumes!!"
Jack: Anthony Minghella, the director of Cold Mountain, said that any performer who performs in any way on stage is in some way an actor, and it's easy to translate, because if you have the desire or creativity to perform, maybe you're not a good actor, but you're doing some sort of acting in some sense, because you're presenting something to people. Which in a way is unnatural, especially with all the electricity involved. It's different than sitting on your front porch playing acoustic guitar or something. Which could be, whatever. Quote end quote natural. That would be unnatural to be on stage in front of people and having lights shot out of you and giant amplifiers. And he's right, there is acting involved in that. So it's probably not too much of a stretch sometimes.
The DVD has something special if you're looking for more on Jacks work with the film. On the second disc you get 'Words & Music of Cold Mountain' with special live performances based on the film from UCLA's Royce Hall (including music from Alison Krauss, Sting and Jack White, and readings from Nicole Kidman and Jude Law). Also included are conversations with the musicians behind the film.
4.6 The Cold Mountain Soundtrack ]
Jack White performed new songs for the soundtrack. Jack has 5 tracks on the albums, Wayfaring Stranger, Sittin' on Top of the World, Never Far Away, Christmas Time Will Soon Be Over, and Great High Mountain.
Jack: 'Sittin' On Top Of The World' was the first blues song I learned how to play--from Howling Wold's version, when I was a teenager, actually--so I had known that. And I knew 'Wayfaring Stranger' from a band I was in called Two-Star Tabernacle--we had played that song. So when I went to audition for the director, I, already knew how to play that song."
The recordings for the soundtrack album were done in Nashville, with well-known bluegrass musicians such as Nancy and Norman Blake, Dick Powell and Mike Compton. “It was amazing fun and a little frightening. There were so many amazing string musicians there, people who built their own instruments. I did not once dare to touch my guitar - I only sang.”
Jack: "I went down to Nashville to record the soundtrack and it was all the best bluegrass musicians, and I didn't even want to touch an instrument around those guys. I just said, O.K., I will sing, humbly sing. Much as I love American folk music, I didn't think that alone entitled me to be in that world.
Sadly, Jack was not pushed for an Oscar nomination - the main contender most people feel deserves a nod, 'Never Far Away' is infact not in the film and therefore not eligible for nomination. Two other songs are getting the push in all the Oscar Consideration ads I've seen in Variety. One penned by Sting and the other by T-Bone Burnett and Elvis Costello.
4.7 Mutant Swinger From Mars ]
"You'll laugh, you'll cry, you'll burn stuff!"
Jack's had some previous experience in front of the camera in a little 16mm Sci-Fi spoof titled "Mutant Swinger from Mars." The films director Mike Kallio emailed me and confirmed that it was infact Jack White. Jack's role in the film is a small one...a friend of the lead character. He was only on set a day or two total. The estimated budget was around,000. Filming took place starting November of 1997 and ended sometime in January of 1998. There were only two locations for the film, a cigar/martini bar in Pontiac, Michigan and the studio, Illuminations, in Farmington Hills, Michigan. The sets in the studio were built "in the round", meaning, there was a set in any direction the camera was pointing. Principal Photography was only eight days long, with a day and a half of special effects and pick up shots. The sets, miniatures, models & spaceships were built using remaining and revamped pieces from commercials (Lincoln, Mercury, ABC Appliance) and motion pictures (Frostbiter: the Wrath of Wendigo, Flesh Gordon 2, Evil Dead 2). The script was written around things the producers knew they could get - all the miniatures and models, set pieces, the ape costume, a cigar/martini bar, etc. The opening and end credit "mockumentary" interview footage was all ad-libbed. Some lines are taken from Plan 9 from Outer Space (1959). The film is currently being looked at by the Sci-Fi channel so it just might see widespread release on cable in the future. Lets all wish Mike luck in getting a good distributor for his film. Mike is currently working on a film called "Ground Zero," a comedy drama revolving around the Detroit music scene.
4.8 Coffee and Cigarettes ]
Cult film director, Jim Jarmusch cast the brother and sister duo in one of his movie miniatures. The entire collection of vignettes has been released on DVD. It's a very interesting film and worth checking out if you get the chance.
The film debuted on September 8 at the Toronto International Film Festival and sees Jack and Meg smoking cigarettes and drinking coffee in a cafe. Jack shows Meg a strange machine that he has built, but it blows up. Armed with a handy tool, Meg fixes the machine and an overjoyed Jack leaves the cafe with the machine in tow in a little red wagon."
Jack: "He asked us to be in a short film called Coffee and Cigarettes. He's done one with Iggy Pop, Tom Waits and GZA and RZA of the Wu-Tang Clan. He wanted me and Meg to appear in a five minute film in which we talk to each other."
Jack White: We played a free live show in Union Square, and we saw him [director Jim Jarmusch] out in the audience. We met that day and became fast friends.We started talking with him, and he asked us if we wanted to do one of these little shorts of his. He was actually wearing little shorts at the time. The film was a different take on it[their personalities] for sure, because we sat down and said, "This is the script, this is what we're going to do, how do you say these words as good as possible?" You know, as we walk out to go on stage we're not contriving things, like 'We're going to do this and this and this." We never really rehearse; we just do it in the moment. We just do the first thing that comes into our heads. I think our characters were a funny take on any two people - the way that she's listening to me go on and on when she really knows about it anyway, she's just listening to me talk. I think anyone could relate to that. I think anything with Jim is probably pretty easy. He's good at the funniest things too. I remember he said, we need a lot of shooting like this, then we can move this over here and move that over there, and Jim said, "Well, I don't know how to do that." And he wasn't joking. It was so nice to hear someone say "I don't know how to do that" out loud. It was mostly Jim's script and there were a couple things we added in. We met and then we began talking about Tesla, and then he came up with the idea. At that point, he didn't really know what he was going to do with all these short films. He just said, "I'm doing these if you want to do one. I really like his use of silence and empty space. It's just as powerful as dialogue, at times. Orson Wilson said something interesting once about when you watch a film, you should be able to watch it with the sound turned completely off, and still recognize the relationships between people. I think his silence is really powerful. A lot of times in Hollywood films, it's really difficult for people to get away with all that dead air. You can't get away with that dead air in radio or in music and he's getting away with it. It shows people how important that is, just to see people sitting there. In the beginning of our segment, there are twenty seconds of nothing being said, and that's my favorite part.
Jack: It was nice. Meg was so good. She was really really really good. I didn't realize till that point, then I started seeing other things like the video for Dead Leaves And The Dirty Ground afterwards. I was looking at Meg and I realized how good she was in that video. I didn't really realize that before. Meg: Thank you Jack! Jack: I think you're a really really good actress. Meg: Thank you. Jack: I guess we learn these things as we go along. Meg: I had fun doing it, yeah. It was very laid back. Being with Jim I knew it would probably be laid back. You know he's not gonna be an ass behind the camera. He's a really good person. But it was easier than I thought it was gonna be, even though we were playing ourselves. We still had to memorize stuff.
Regarding the science theme of their part:
Jack: I really, really love science. I read a lot about it. It's one of those subjects I would actually like to go back and take classes about, because it's one of the few things in high school I liked. What's interesting is that eBay has become the new drugstore. There was this article that said that chemistry sets in the 1800s contained elements that could blow your house up. It's amazing that boys grew up to become scientists without killing themselves. And now you can't get a lot of elements, especially after 9/11. You can't buy aluminum shavings at the drugstore, but people are selling them online. The internet is the new chemistry set. He really likes space. He kept telling us to slow down and give things space. Oh, and he told me to shut up a lot and let Meg talk.
Meg: Yeah, that was part of it.
Meg: [musingly] The chemistry teacher in high school probably had to rework his whole plan after 9/11. They used to blow everything up in that class.
MORE ON THE TESLA COIL
Jack: I am a huge fan [of Tesla]. That's what motivated Jim to write that script; he had this Tesla book on his desk and we wanted him to direct this video for us for our next album where I played Tesla and I battled Thomas Edison with our inventions. In real life, Edison electrocuted an elephant through Tesla's alternating current theory. That was going to be part of the video, but it got too expensive, renting an elephant and everything. Jack: I wanted to build one since I was a little kid. When we first met Jim, he had a book about Tesla on his desk, and I started saying how much of an admirer of Tesla's I was. We started talking, and we were eventually going to make a video for our last album in which I was going to play Tesla. We were going to reenact Edison's electrocution of an elephant that he did to disprove Tesla's theory, and I was going to turn Edison's head into an incandescent light pulp at the end to pay him back for his murder of the elephant. It didn't work out because it got too expensive. The next thing, Jim came over and said he had a script for a short film about a Tesla coil. I was so excited about it, because we wanted to do something creative with Jim, and also, to bring people some more knowledge of someone who is really underrated and misunderstood.
Jack: He's [Tesla] extremely important because he was robbed of the fact that he invented radio, and Marconi gets all the credit for it. His ideas could be used today to provide everybody with wireless electricity that we wouldn't have to pay for. Those two alone are extremely important. Just to know him as the genius that he was. After that big power outage that we just had, no one talks about it, but the only power plant that didn't go down was the one in Niagara Falls that he designed and constructed. There's something interesting about that. You can go through a list of inventions that nobody knows that he invented, like the fluorescent light, radio remote control, and the alternating current motor. It just goes on and on. He's just so much more important than Edison, I think, he was a true genius, and Edison had a lot of really good inventors working for him and he was taking their ideas.
Jack: We've always respected Jim so much, we didn't know how much we wanted to come up with our own dialogue. Some of it was, but Jim wrote most of it, based on a conversation we had about Tesla. It was when we met him at his office. He had a book about Tesla sitting on his shelf. I asked if he liked Tesla, he said yeah. Meg: We were watching some of his other cuts for C&C, that's why we were in there. Jack: But we were going to do a video for 'There's No Home For You Here' with him, based on Tesla and Edison. I was gonna play Tesla, and maybe get Philip Seymour Hoffman to play Edison. Edison, in real life, electrocuted an elephant to try and show that Tesla's alternating current theories were dangerous - which they weren't. It's the alternating current that we use today. But Edison electrocuted an elephant to prove it, and there's footage of that, you can see that footage. We were gonna re-enact that, and pretend to electrocute an elephant, and Meg was gonna be dragged away for the elephant. I was gonna play Tesla, and in response to him killing an elephant, we were gonna have him write AC on the elephant in red paint. I was gonna have this big death ray that I'd invented, and have a big fight in the laboratory and kill Edison and turn his head into a light bulb with this invention, and paint DC on his body. Meg: The budget got a little high. Jacj: Jim came back and said, Jack, it's gonna cost about half a million dollars! And they couldn't get the budget down, so C&C was the thing we did afterwards, that's what our Tesla thing became.
4.9 Rosemary's Baby ]
A lot of people would think that Cold Mountain was the first film that Donald Sutherland and Jack have been in together. You couldn't be more wrong! Jack appeared in Rosemary's Baby starring Donald as well. Nobody has been able to find him in the movie though…so I can't find any pics for you. "I was in a film when I was ten years old. They filmed a movie in Detroit called The Rosary Murders with Donald Sutherland. I was an altar boy. Donald was actually in Cold Mountain, and I came up to him and said, "Hey, this is our second film together."
4.10 Nobody Knows How To Talk To Children ]
From Jack and Meg: The White Stripes want to relate to their fans the truth about the concert video "nobody knows how to talk to children" that was recently shown at the Seattle Film Festival.
The guy who shot this, George Roca, and the festival had ABSOLUTELY NO CLEARANCE TO SCREEN THIS FILM. The White Stripes own the rights to the footage and the music. We never authorized, released, or legally allowed in any way for the video to be shown. Here is the story from the beginning. We were called by george roca prior to the band's four night stand at the Bowery Ballroom in New York City. He wanted to videotape the entire event, stage performance and backstage goings on for his demo reel. We said yes to his request provided he and his crew agreed to the following conditions:
1) it had to be all shot in black and white
2) the cameramen had to wear uniforms (white lab coats in fact),
3) no camera people were allowed to talk to anyone (this was to present a sense of easiness around the building so that people would be more themselves instead of being intimidated with a camcorder taping them the whole time) and
4) The White Stripes own the footage 100%.
george roca agreed to all of these terms. He signed a contract along with his co-workers stating that The White Stripes completely own the footage, and nothing could be done with this without our permission. A few months later a videotape of an edited version of this was sent to the band. It was not as good as we hoped -- the sound was poor, the editing didn't feel right, etc. - just not up to the standards our fans have come to expect. After we saw it, we emailed roca about eventually coming out and editing it with him, and choosing what songs we wanted to be in it. He said o.k. With the last three years of intense touring and work schedule, this did not happen. And in fact The White Stripes pretty much saw this project - when done properly -- as something we would probably release ten years from now, not a month after it happened.
Recently (sometime in May of 2004), roca's attorney called The White Stripes' management, Monotone, to request permission to show it at various festivals in order to secure distribution. For many reasons, we said no. We told him no formally, had lawyers tell him no. We sent him a very nice email telling him no. The quality of it was poor and the timing was wrong (we have another DVD of live concert footage shot at 2 shows in Blackpool, England that's going to be released at the end of the year). So despite being told no, george roca decided to take it upon himself to simply release it to festivals WITH NO APPROVAL OR PERMISSION FROM THE WHITE STRIPES, NO RELEASES AND NO LICENSES, NOT IN KEEPING WITH THE CONTRACT THAT HE SIGNED.
George roca also called fox news and tried to get them to run a story about how the band, "the successful celebrities," are trying to block the "underdog" from releasing "HIS" concert video! they didn't run the story. This situation is obviously an example of the latest generation of people who think they are entitled to do whatever they want -- no matter how greedy or self-serving (and possibly illegal) their actions may be - with no repercussions for these actions.
jack & meg
So fast forwarding a couple of months now…nothings really changed. The film still isn't being shown anywhere and it seems it will go down as the long lost unofficial white stripes concert doc. Reports from those that have seen it have been surprisingly bipolar. Some have loved it, some have hated it. But all the accounts do seem to point to a serious issue with the audio quality in both backstage and performance scenes.
4.11 The White Stripes Movie ]
There was a interview in some random publication trying to misquote the band about them making a White Stripes movie. As much as we adore any release in any form by Jack and Meg…we'll chalk this up to just bad quoting and journalists taking a brief quote and blowing it up. Here's what the writer said: White Stripes' frontman Jack White is giving a thought about following in the footsteps of 'The Who' and 'The Beatles' by making a movie about the band. "If something interesting came along, I suppose we would give it a shot. Only if it made sense and not just to do it to do it," Rate The Music quoted White as saying. Musicians can make terrible actors. Were you worried this might become your Glitter? Meg: Well, the advantage was that we were playing ourselves, so if you can't do that properly -Jack: There is less contempt for musicians to act then there are for actors who want to make a record. Even if they've had that in them before they started acting, there's so much contempt for that. I always feel sorry for them. I think people believe music comes from some really natural expression and acting is fabricated, that that's the purpose of acting: you're pretending. Music is not pretending, so it's almost like someone who pretends is trying not to pretend and be real or something. Meg: Also because there's an element of acting in music, and there isn't an element of music in acting. People always try to separate the two."
That's it…that's a bit of journalistic reaching as far as I'm concerned…you might as well ask them if they would work with Paul McCartney -
fake Jack quote:"well we would work with Paul if the right project came round." And then you explode it to - "Jack Wants To Work With Paul McCartney now!!!" The same bad writing led to everyone thinking Meg was dying to be a voice on the Simpson's and that it was some lifelong dream.
4.12 Michael Gondry DVD: ]
The man responsible for The Stripes videos 'Fell In Love With a Girl,' 'Dead Leaves and the Dirty Ground' and 'Hardest Button to Button' has a DVD spotlighting his work coming out on DVD. More official information
The series by Palm Pictures is in an ongoing series highlighting the work of filmmakers who have helped re-define music videos and filmmaking over the last decade. Each volume features music videos, shorts and commercials hand-picked by the directors, exclusive audio and video commentaries from featured artists and collaborators, unreleased shorts and documentaries and much more.
A 52-page companion book including photographs, storyboards, treatments, drawings and interviews comes with each specially packaged DVD. There's a little preview on the website. In it, there's a short little interview with Jack and Meg and a shoot from behind the scenes at the filming of "Fell In Love With A Girl" with Meg in heavy "panda eyes" makeup hitting the drums. I don't think "The Hardest Button To Button" is included because that is so new. But "Dead Leaves On The Dirty Ground" is in there.
A couple random quote from Gondry on his relationship with Jack and Meg that I can't fit in in paragraph form:
Gondry: "The best thing that can happen to a director is if you get onboard with a band that's just taking off and you go to the summit with them."
And random quotes from Jack and Meg on the Great Gondry:
Meg: He's like a brilliant six-year-old. Jack: He's got his set of crayons, which for him is working with cameras and editing equipment.
Meg: Everything's very mathematical, and every tiniest little detail is worked out. And you would see him with his little papers that every second mapped out, but at the same time, he's got a total childlike fascination with color and shapes and sequences.
Jack: With Michel, you just stay out of his way. You can't make it any better, because he's brilliant right off the bat. There were going to be a couple White Stripes songs in his latest movie but they didn't end up working with the scene in the end.
4.13 Did the Gap offer them a million dollars to do a commercial? ]
Jack: "No. It wasn't a million dollars, but we did turn down a Gap ad. I think a couple of them. There were so many insane offers like that. There still are, as you can imagine. I'm sure that any band that gets that kind of attention, that kind of buzz, gets stupid offers from people trying to leech off them. The Gap wanted us to be in a commercial and we said 'no' and everyone said, 'why not'? It's almost as if, if people are willing to give you that much money, you are insulting everyone you know by turning it down. People's opinions about selling out seem to have changed over the years." "There's been tons of things: beer commercials, video-game scores and movie soundtracks-it just never stopped. It starts to get really weird when these money amounts, they start adding up in your brain, you're like, 'This is disgusting.' I mean, I can't believe these corporations are like, 'O.K., what's the hip new band? Yeah, White Stripes, let's get them on the commercial. Give 'em a million dollars.'"
Jack: "I starts to bother you when you get so many offers and so much money is thrown at you from these generic companies who don't care about spending half a million dollars on this or that. When it all starts piling up, you start thinking, "Man, I might really want that money 50 years from now." We were never against it, and a lot of popular opinion nowadays has changed about those kinds of things. We still haven't done anything like a commercial, but I'm not really against it."
Sidenote: The bands manager Arthur can be seen ripping into Jack and Meg for refusing to accept the money and go ahead with the commercial on the Dead Leaves single DVD. It is quite riveting and I think Arthur may just have a point. Arthur is a brilliant man, people really need to listen to his advice more often. There would be alot less dandruff and last minute packing in the world if we did.
4.14 Why did they let Nissan sponsor the Union Square gig if they are against car companies? ]
Jack: “Thank you for skipping school and quitting jobs to come here.”
The White Stripes' booking agent, the Agency's Dave Kaplan, says his band only agreed to the gig after it was assured it "wasn't going to be a high-profile ad thing. It was going to be very low key. The band is very sensitive to that. They aren't anti-corporate, but they don't want to do anything in their mind that is cheesy." Ironically they opened with the Big Three Killed My Baby which was a nice touch.
If working with Nissan means the Stripes can give a free concert in the middle of New York then I really don't have a problem with that. For musicians it's pretty much their job and living so I can't argue with them putting on a free show where they make nothing just to make some people happy.
4.15 And I also saw them promoting Virgin cell phones - that's pretty close to selling out huh? ]
Meg and i want to explain a recent horrible situation that got out of our hands and became an ignorant corporate monster of irritation to us.
A few months ago we were approached by our label with an idea of us playing a gig at 35,000 feet aboard a virgin jumbo jet. it was something that had never been done before, there was talk of christening the airplane the "meg white" and that the band would be put in the guinness book of world records. we thought up a lot of ideas to go along with it, flying to detroit from new york, jack black would host, clowns and jugglers would be aboard and it would be an event with cartoons playing on the screens and lots of insanity. that was the idea that we originally thought, that might be cool, no one's ever done that let's see what it's all about. and it would be something cool for fans of the band, and we would maybe broadcast it live on mtv for people in wyoming who've never seen us live. Then problems set in immediately.
The cost of hiring a plane would be 3 to 5 million dollars. the fuel alone was like half a million. so we needed to get someone to pay for this if we wanted to do it, since we are on virgin's label in the u.s. we thought virgin airlines would sponsor it. then virgin mobile was brought in to cosign the loan as it were. but they of course wanted to get something out of it. so they wanted to put on a sweepstakes to win tickets, so they began sending us storyboards for commercials with kids waving cell phones with peppermints on them and us playing on a plane. we hated those ideas. now it was looking like virgin mobile was getting a free commercial out of the white stripes. we were starting to feel pimped and tried to figure out another way of handling this. as time went on it got even more complicated. tech people started telling us that we couldn't play on the plane because we would have to rewire the electrical system and that would take nine months to be reapproved by the FAA and that we couldn' t play loud if we did plug in because it would interfere with the communications system of the pilots to the tower. and they said they couldn't pull any seats out so there was almost no room to set up instruments. and they thought no one will be able to hear you in the back of the plane and you won't be able to be heard over the noise of the engines etc. etc. etc. It was turning into an impossible task that was logistically, technically, and morally becoming an impossibility. so we talked to virgin and told them that we were canceling the gig, that it was too problematic and that we didn't want to sell phones for a company with our images.
you can imagine if virgin cell phones had just come to us outright and asked if we'd do a commercial we would have said no. but now they were getting a FREE commercial out of us because of this situation. when we said no, virgin said we've already made up point of purchase advertisements and sent a t.v. commercial out to stations, we can't pull out now then we said WHEN DID WE EVER SIGN A FUCKING CONTRACT WITH YOU PIGS? and WHEN DID WE EVER AGREE TO POINT OF PURCHASE ADVERTISEMENTS WITH OUR PICTURE ON IT AT STORES?
I was extremely angry. They had no right to do that legally. So now we had white stripes fans walking into best buy or whatever and seeing a picture of me and meg trying to sell people fucking cell phones. the ads were pulled, and the commercial on t.v. was pulled the second day. NONE OF THIS WAS EVER APPROVED OFFICIALLY, NO CONTRACT WAS EVER SIGNED IT WAS STILL IN THE IDEA STAGE So to any of our confused fans, don't think that we sold out, or trying to cash in, it was just an idea that started off cool, but turned into a corporate mess in which the stripes got pimped for a couple of days in nationwide chain stores. Maybe after reading this you'll understand that when you see things on t.v. or the radio or in magazines with your favorite band, how much horrible corporate crap is involved behind the scenes. all of which i could care less about, i write songs, and i want to perform them for people, and that's pretty much it, i didn't get into music to be a corporate puppet, or to be a damn salesman so some CEO can buy another summer house.
Thank you for letting me explain this mess to you. jack white III
4.16 Tampon Company Lawsuit ]
Wow…a lot of lawsuits going on. I'm having trouble writing about all of them because all my knowledge of law is limited to Judge Judy and Night Court reruns. This one is a bit smaller and not really that big of a deal…but there's was a bit of trouble in the land down under regarding tampon manufacturer Kimberly-Clark. The ad in question features a woman walking through a room which changes around her in time to a heavy beat. "We thought it sounded awfully like The Hardest Button To Button, and we thought that the visual style was awfully similar - and so did the band's publishers and the band's lawyers," says Steve Cross, from the White Stripes' local record company Remote Control. The ad Mushroom Music's Adrian Murray says that there was no license for the use of the Stripes' music in the ad, and Mushroom hadn't had a request for one. "We became aware of the ad within 24 hours of screening, and obtained copies of the ad immediately because it was, in our view, infringing," he says. Copies were sent off to the band's overseas lawyer and publisher, and Mushroom and the band's lawyer sent joint correspondence to Kimberly- Clark. "Kimberly-Clark and it's advertising agent believe that they haven't infringed any copyrights," says Kimberly-Clark's Peter Crowfoot. Nonetheless, as of last Thursday the ad incorporates a different tune. "It wasn't a major thing for us," Crowfoot says. I don't live in Australia and this wasn't any high profile thing…so it seems to have blown over since this happened early this year.
4.17 What's the deal with this "Stripeout" game? ]
At one time this was a little contest on the Official site. The contest began on February 11th, 2002 and lasted three weeks. The theme of the game was decided on the band. Jack and Meg requested that if they were to have an online game to shamelessly promote their new single, Fell In Love With A Girl, then it should be based on the retro classic, Breakout.
The winner ended up winning a lot of different stuff, like drumsticks, "Nine Stories" by J.D. Salinger, "Deep Blues" by Robert Palmer (I suggest you stop what you're doing and read this book right now, it's excellent), early 7" singles, peppermints, some drink coasters and a slew of other items. You can still download the game from the Official site or from this site but the contest is long gone. I still haven't found out who won so if you did shoot me an email and let me know what your score was and let me know everything you received.
On related note - others seem to also find a glitch on the 16th board - the ball gets frozen on the top of the screen and locks up. I've had this same problem and have been unable to hear if there is a 17th board or even an end. But oh well….its just a game. I tried playing it again and got to the same stupid point I did last time and it locked up…I have contacted my lawyers to sue the band and award me the prize due to improper gaming procedures under international gaming laws that I made up. All phone calls we're met with "who are you?" and "don't you have anything better to do!" by their management.
You can download a copy of the game.
4.18 Have they been on any talk shows or television shows? ]
These days their faces can be seen on pretty much any channel…with all the hoopla surround the Stripes now, Mtv and VH1 can be seen showing a small clip or segment on the band. Even 60 Minutes had a brief glimpse of ol' John Gillis during a Cold Mountain segment. As far as more traditional appearances; they have had one appearance of the David Letterman show and the Craig Kilborn show here in America. On Kilborn, they performed "Screwdriver" with "Your Southern Can is Mine" thrown in the middle. On Letterman, they performed "Fell in Love with a Girl". A great video from the David Letterman show can be found at www.whitestripes.net. Also, our favorite duo also appeared on the 2002 MTV Movie Awards, hosted by Mr.White's arch-nemesis Jack Black (Mr.White's arch-nemesis) from Tenacious D. They performed a medley of "Fell In Love With A Girl", "Dead Leaves and the Dirty Ground", and a snippet of "I Think I Smell a Rat." There have been other spottings on local Detroit stations and an independent Detroit Rock Movie as well. As well as the UK, where people actually pay attention to good music - here's some of the highlights: Later with Jools Holland had our duo playing Hotel Yorba, FILWAG and Let's Hake Hands, The Jo Whiley Show featured Death Letter and I Think I Smell A Rat and finally the two appearances on the Top of The Pops had Jack ang Meg playing Hotel Yorba and Dead Leaves and the Dirty Ground. They've appeared on Saturday Night live and performed Dead Leaves and the Dirty Ground and We're Going To Be Friends. A more interesting appearance had to be on Pop Up Video where they had Fell In Love With A Girl on. I haven't seen this so I can't really provide any info but I'm sure it was interesting. And another late addition (sorry to jump around a lot) - but they did a week long stint on the Conan O'Brien show (04/22 through 04/25) - performing: Seven Nation Army, Jolene, Hardest Button to Button, and a medley of Let's Build a Home w/ Goin' Back To Memphis and John the Revelator.
On The Grammy's:
Jack: "The Grammy's were strange, because it's in front of so many people. It's not our crowd, and so you wonder just how you're going to be viewed and the reception you're going to get. But it was pretty amazing. I mean; I just think it's amazing that a band like ours could get to the point where people even know about us. It's like a nice pat on the back from every-body. But the whole thing was kind of shocking. You think, Wow, I assumed no even knew who we "
WHITE...because we don't want to sell ourselves in that sense. It's not about celebrity, not for us. It's not like[adopting snooty voice], "We went to the Grammy's the other day." But we got nominated for awards, and it's polite to present yourself. And when we were walking down the red carpet, I felt like, We don't belong. We just don't belong, and I don't feel right there. I mean, I don't know what to do right now. We're just being who we are. And then, you know, I come home from the Grammy's and someone says, "So-and-so said you were the worst-dressed one there," and "So-and-so said you're ugly." And it's like...I'm ugly! In the last three days I've heard a bunch of people saying I'm ugly and horribly dressed. It's like, wow, I was just there to play guitar. [laughs]
WHITE Exactly. Most people are looking in on us and not liking it. It's like people saying when we performed, "The amp was just too much or too loud. I don't know what was going on with that' And I think, Well, you're looking in on us now, you know? We're not doing this for your pleasure to try to make
everyone in the living room feel good right now It's just a couple of minutes of this band.
On their appearance at the MTV Music Awards
J: I don't know everyone thought that was really the most oddest thing, I thought it was funny at the time, it seemed sort of like they had gone to all this trouble and spent so much money on this elaborate set up, for this little band that we had, that was funny to me and I didn't, people seem to think it was such a weird mixed reaction from everybody, I just thought it was funny, when I watched it when we, well I don't know it took along time for me to see it I thought there was really a good guitar tone but everything around it was just insane.
This by all means is not a completed list of appearances. I have almost given up on keeping a completely updated list of these. I've tried to concentrate on the big ones but if you know of any others...just drop us a line. I did hear that they were mentioned on a pay for the live feed thing for Big Brother 4 but I cannot confirm this.
Jack: "I mean, it's like if you're on television now, people go, 'Oh, they're selling out.' But the Rolling Stones and the Beatles were on TV all the time, on The Ed Sullivan Show, no less, and it was cool."
4.19 Are they going to be on television anytime soon? ]
The best website to check for upcoming appearances is It's really informative if you are looking for any band appearances on television.
4.20 Songs Used In Movies ]
They've had two occasions that songs we're used in film…one was the painful film the Hot Chick where you can hear You're Pretty Good Looking (for a girl). The song was not included on the soundtrack…and the other instance was the very funny film Napoleon Dynamite. We're Going To Be Friends is in the opening credits so you cant get all excitement out early and then concentrate on this fantastic movie.
Aside from that they have a mention in the Jamie Lee Curtis movie Freaky Friday in a scene where one girl says something about not liking them because they don't have a bassist…and also in one of my favorite films, School of Rock, starring Jack's name sake arch-enemy...Jack Black. A conversation is going on between to students regarding great female drummers and Meg White is brought up...and the suggestion is quickly shot down. The director does try to make amends in the audio commentary though…I'm still waiting for a formal apology.
4.21 Newbie concert collecting guide: ]
These are shows I would suggest trying to obtain first if you are looking to start collecting bootlegs. They are by no means the 'best shows' but are some of the more unique and interesting shows that are circulating.
7/11/98 - 4th Street Fair - The first recorded show that we know of. The sound quality is actually really good for an audience recording. There are some early incarnations of some songs on here as well as Little Red Book and Red Bowling Ball Ruth which hasn't been found on any other recording. This is a very popular recording due to the year and Jack talks a good bit to the crowd.
9/16/99 - Gold Dollar - This really isn't a White Stripes show. It's Jack White and the Bricks which is: Jack White, Brendan Benson, Ben Blackwell (The Dirtbombs), and Kevin Peyok (Waxwings). This show is a real gem. Jack plays alot of stuff from WBC (which isn't released for 2 more years) and its a 4 piece band. A must have in any collection.
7/25/01 and 11/08/01 - The Peel Sessions - These are some of the best out there because they are live studio takes and you couldn't ask for better quality recordings. A lot of unreleased songs can be found from these two shows so go for these first if all you have is the four albums. These are relatively easy to find due to their popularity.
6/3/01 - Garden Bowl Bar - A rare Jack White solo show. This show has loads of songs that are unavailable anywhere else so this is a great grab for anyone looking for some rare songs.
10/01/02 - Union Square - This gig was the free concert sponsored by Nissan in New York City. It's a short set but the sound quality is really good and some of the songs that haven't been performed too often so you get some nice goodies with this one - including a excellent medley of rare songs.
11/16/04 - Electric Ladyland Studios - this was broadcast over KROQ and is of fantastic sound quality. The only issue I have with this show is that no complete recording exists and there's an interview between every song.
Aside from those shows any concerts from the 2003, 2004 or 2005 tour are probably you're best bet. These sets ran longer and usually had a lot of nice surprises unique to each show. Some bootlegs are fantastic quality…and some sound like they've been recorded outside the venue with a cone up to the wall.
As for where to obtain some of these shows, try the trading media forum in the Little Room message board. If you do not have any bootlegs yourself, many people will do what's called a B&P (blanks and postage) trade, where you just send blank discs and enough postage for them to send the shows back to you. Before I had a CD burner I got 90% of my shows this way due to the kindness of some of the members. Good luck!
4.22 Why does the Japanese version have bonus tracks on the albums? ]
The reasoning behind this is that CD prices are higher over seas. As I understand it, it is because of some weird tax that makes CDs manufactured in Japan more expensive in their market as opposed to imports. The Japanese market has to find some way to entice people to buy domestically instead of just hoping online and buying our versions. So they throw on a couple of bonus tracks to make up for the extra costs. There has not been any Japanese release that contains tracks exclusive to the Japanese version so don't feel that you have to buy the Jap import to complete your collection. It's a waste of money that could be better spent elsewhere.
The Japanese version of White Blood Cells contains the extra studio tracks: Jolene and Handsprings and the video for Hotel Yorba
The Japanese version of Elephant contains the extra studio tracks: Who's To Say and Good To Me
4.23 Unauthorized Releases: ]
There seems to be a variety of people posting on the Little Room with a variety of inquiries into different products they've seen online being sold under the name, The White Stripes. Please be weary of anything you haven't heard of, and check the variety of discography's that are available on the net to make sure it is official or not. Among some of the culprits are the 'Maximum White Stripes' cd, which is nothing more than an interview with a shitty poster included, The Candy Colored Blues DVD - which I've heard is horribly produced and really has no redeeming information and a slew of vinyl's that I have seen under a whole range of names including: 'The New Carpenters' and 'I Think I Smell a Hype'. Just double check anything you're about to buy on ebay on a legitimate site to confirm if the title is official or not…don't support people selling bootlegs!!!
4.24 Books: ]
A lot of authors have decided to cash in on the Stripes success by rushing out some books on the White Stripes. Some of them by some well trusted writers that have been present in Detroit for a long time…some by people that make a career out of ripping hundreds of quotes from other sources that are available and forming a book out of them. Sorta like me…except I don't get paid for this. And I get to complain and make bad jokes.
Here's a break down on most of them:
The White Stripes: Sweethearts of the Blues By Denise Sullivan
The White Stripes are Jack and Meg White, a minimalist rock duo from Detroit at the forefront of the early 21st century's "new garage" movement. Grounded in punk and blues, they combine vivid storytelling with a primitive, garage-based rock sound. Committed to a two-person line-up, old-fashioned gear, and analog recording techniques - as well as a red-and-white color scheme - they have been embraced by critics, fans, and fellow artists such as Loretta Lynn, Bob Dylan, Beck, and Ryan Adams. This engrossing biography of the White Stripes explores all aspects of the band's career, utilizing first-hand interviews to tell their story from inception to present. Tracing the duo's evolution from DIY innovators to major label stars, the book examines how they navigate commercial success and critical acceptance without compromising their sound or street credibility. With color and black and white photos throughout, this informative and absorbing account will satisfy fans new and old.
Ben Blackwell's Review of Sweethearts of the Blues:
On page 150 of Sweethearts of the Blues, author Denise Sullivan clearly states there is very much that remains unknown about the White Stripes.
This may be the only fact she got correct. There is so much unknown about the band that Sullivan should've told her wonderful publishers at Backbeat Books that she didn't want to be responsible for a poorly researched, rushed-to-print, chronologically skewed book about a band that she's not only never met or talked to, but also failed to talk about with anyone with any interesting input. Instead, she has interviews with nine people. Nine people? You're writing a book about a band that's been around for close to seven years and you only talk to nine people?! Three of those nine were already interviewed in Brian McCollum's far-superior oral history of the White Stripes from the Detroit Free Press, an article that Sullivan quotes from heavily. McCollum, by the way, talked to 16 people for his piece.
While Sullivan touches on the complexity of the band, she fails to realize it's a complexity beyond the grasp of her writing capability. I'll admit, Sullivan contacted me in hopes that I would talk to her for the book, but I declined. I was already embarrassed that I had talked to Martin Roach for his poor excuse for toilet paper, Morphing the Blues.
To let you know how clueless Roach was on the whole subject, he only talked to me on matters concerning Italy Records, the label I worked for that released the first two White Stripes singles. He apparently had no knowledge about my blood relation (Editor's note: Blackwell is Jack White's nephew) to the band and the fact that I was their unofficial historian/archivist. I really wished I had told him that Jack had seven toes, if only to see it in print. See, Roach failed to employ any fact-checkers, or even worse, a reliable transcription service. On page 64 of Roach's book, I am quoted talking about bands on Italy Records. While a quick trip to www.italyrecords.com would tell you every record they've released, Roach cuts corners and has Italy bands the Fells and the Soledad Brothers listed as the Cells and the Soda Devils, respectively.
If Sullivan's book is rushed, consider Roach's a work in progress. He leaves the band at their ever-crucial summer 2003 hiatus (due to injuries Jack sustained in a car accident), and fails to resolve the situation, instead using sensationalistic lines like "(Jack's) last gig of the summer, probably of the year, and possibly … ever." I hate to leave you hanging on, so I'll fill you in … Jack gets better, the band keeps gigging.
Both books dedicate unusually large dollops to what amounts to cut and paste encyclopedia entries about the MC5, Delta Blues, the Stooges, Motown and the 1967 race riots. This Britannica cannibalizing ultimately gives the feeling that neither Sullivan nor Roach have ever set foot in Detroit, let alone understand any of its musical or cultural heritage. Sullivan's book is valuable for two things: 1) the rare Doug Coombe (misnamed, of course, as Coombes) photo of Jack playing a yellow Gibson SG in concert and 2) the quote from Jason Stollsteimer where he says that he and Jack agreed on the production of the Von Bondies debut album. Roach's book is worth its weight in kindling. In the end, it's too early for anyone, much less these two-bit hacks, to be writing a book about the White Stripes.
Morphing the Blues: The White Stripes and the Strange Relevance of Detroit By Martin Roach
The history of the White Stripes and how Detroit's music scene fostered their development is explored for the first time in this intriguing band historiography. Full-length biographies of both band members track their success from their early days in Detroit to worldwide fame and recognition. Key interviews with people close to the band describe their critical and commercial rise to the top. A close look at the Detroit music scene that also spawned music giants Eminent, Iggy Pop, and Kid Rock links the success of the White Stripes to their hometown's unique musical legacy.
The White Stripes: Twenty First Century Blues By Dick Porter
The White Stripes - guitarist Jack White and drummer Meg White - have managed to combine high album sales with high praise from the critics, moving quickly from cult to commercial success, generating media mania, and ensuring their status as global superstars. In The White Stripes: Twenty First Century Blues, Dick Porter reveals the truth behind a myth in the making, tracing the band's trajectory from the burgeoning Detroit underground rock scene to stadiums and festivals worldwide. He explores the rock and blues roots of their sound, setting it in historical context and showing how it has shaped their development into one of the most distinctive forces on the contemporary scene. Focusing on the people behind the music, he also provides an account of Jack and Meg's childhoods, offers insights into their personalities, and examines their relationship, which has been the source of so much interest and gossip. The book also includes over 40 black and white photos.
Fell in Love with a Band : The Story of The White Stripes By Chris Handyside
The White Stripes-with their bold red and white peppermint aesthetic and milkfed pale good looks-don't look like just another garage band. And with only two members and no bass player, they certainly seemed like the ultimate makeshift band. But instead this dynamic duo have come embody the DIY spirit of indie rock. How is it that this enigmatic couple-they refer to one another as brother and sister yet official documents say they're ex-husband-and-wife-became a multi-platinum musical sensation? From their early days as the darlings of the fertile Detroit rock scene to their current status as crush-worthy MTV-era celebrities, they've defied expectations every step of the way. How did it happen that the simple idea of staying true to a lo-fi, blues-based sound become a revolutionary notion in the age digital conformity and complex studio production? Maybe it's their unique style-wearing only red and white where ever they appear. Maybe they were just a breath of fresh-air, injecting pop music with the dose of rock it needed at exactly the right time. Whatever it is, there is no doubt that the White Stripes are a bonafide music sensation. Fell In Love With a Band: The Story of the White Stripes is the first biography by a Detroit journalist who has followed the career of the Detroit based group since their inception in 1997. From Meg White's first novice attempts at banging the drums to their current incarnation as the face of indie rock. With never before seen photos and exclusive interviews with members of Detroit bands like Blanche, The Von Bondies and others people close to the Whites, Fell In Love With a Band gets to the heart of this enigmatic rock band and for the first time tells the real story of their rise to fame and the power behind their sound. Brother and sister, ex-man and wife? The next revolution in indie rock, mindless parodies? Who are the White Stripes? Fell in Love with a Band is the first biography of the musical sensation the White Stripes. A new breed of back-to-basics rock, Jack and Meg White have been a smash hit with critics and fans since their first debut album in 2001. Their use of lo-fi sound has single handedly changed the face of rock and garnered them a spot in music history. While there have been a few biographies written on the White Stripes, this is the first story told from Detroit journalist who has followed the band since their inception. Featuring previously unpublished photos and interviews with people associated with the band (including Jack White's nephew Ben Blackwell who up until 2001 served as the band's manager) who have never spoken to the press about the Whites before.
The White Stripes: and The Sound of Mutant Blues By Everett True
In the past few years, Detroit siblings Jack and Meg White have in conjunction with a stream of similar minded bands, revitalized rock music. Their sound is raw, stripped right back - back to the primal fury and alienation of bluesman like Son House and protopunks The Stooges and the MC5. In the Stripes' hard knocks hometown of Detroit, an entire scene has emerged - rudimentary, primordial garage rock championed by legendary names such as Mick 'Dirtbombs' Collins, Jack White's own Third Man Records, Electric Six and producer Jim Diamond. Over in Brooklyn meanwhile, loft parties are all the rage - illegal happenings put on in abandoned buildings, fueled by vodka stills and loud music, featuring names such as Yeah Yeah Years, Liars and Oneida. Writer Everett True has already covered much of this music in his own underground rock magazine Careless Talk Costs Lives. Now he goes public with his passion, delving deep into the lives of the personalities who make up the scenes - the countless hours touring, the celebrity girlfriends, the parties, the power and the people.
SECTION 5 - INFLUENCES:
[mostly transcribed from Mojo]
5.1 Who have influenced the White Stripes? ]
Jack White: "Here is a list of who Meg and I feel influenced us the most. It's not a list of what we think are the most important bands in rock's history, or the most important or influential records of our time. It's just our influences, which we worked hard to nail down. It's almost as if the white stripes, the band, has different influences than either of us individually"
"Probably the epitome of '60s punk. Psycho Cinderella, The Witch - animalistic screams signifying the base thoughts of mid-60s bored teens. Harder than the Kinks, and punk long before punk, now finally getting the recognition they deserve. Life becomes better after buying a Sonics record, or at least more tolerable."
Essential Purchase: Psycho-sonic
Jack: "Of all the blues artists that we love, our favorites would probably be Son House, Blind Willie McTell and Skip James. But it's Robert Johnson that inspired and influenced us most. A full ranged, truly beautiful singer. Good and evil are equally presented in his songs. A tag along to Charlie Patton, Son House and Willie Brown, Johnson in most way surpassed them all. He out-sung, out-played, and out-performed all of the greats of his time in that area of Mississippi, even if he wasn't as popular as them at the time. If the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame made any sense at all (which it doesn't) the building would be names after him."
Essential purchase "the complete recordings" 1996
Jack: "Yea, a lot of blues purists say, "oh, Robert Johnson - whatever." But there's a reason he's so popular - he was the best. His technique was so subtle you barely noticed the intricacies of his playing. My favorite thing of his is how he ended his tunes. They almost sound like throw-away endings that he didn't take seriously, but they were so perfect."
Jack: Everybody nowadays, every rock and roll band is directly linked to Robert Johnson whether they know or not. If a band is influenced by Nirvana and Nirvana is influenced by the Pixies and the Pixies are influenced by some 70's punk band, and the punk band is influenced by..er..you know, some band from the 60's, which goes back to Little Richard, it's going....if you keep walking down that line you're going right back to Robert Johnson and if you keep walking through Robert Johnson you go right back to Son House, and Willie Brown, back to Charley Patton.
Jack: Son House, you know was traveling around and playing different jukejoints and places like that and bbq's.And Robert Johnson kept coming around and tagging along and trying to play with him and saying, you know.."Let me play...guitar with you." and they kept saying, "No, get out of here kid" you know...."You don't know how to play. They didn't see him for like 6 months...or something...like that. All of a sudden he came back and he was brilliant, you know, he was an amazing guitar player, and he just blew their minds and they couldn't believe he had learned to play guitar so quickly and so great.”
WHITE: I want to join that family of songwriters and story- tellers, just as Robert Johnson did: all of Robert Johnson's songs were coming from Son House and Charlie Patton and Willie Brown. it's the same thing with us. I just didn't want to reference the bands that came out two years ago before we started, you know, because you're referencing a reference of a reference of a reference. When you're interested in folk music in America--the reality of it--you're forced to go back, way back, in the past to get down to the nitty- gritty of what it's all about and what expression through song is about.
Captain Beefheart and his magic band
"He brought the feeling of Howlin' Wolf into white rock n' roll. Their first single, Diddy Wah Diddy, has a foot-breaking bass line. Safe as Milk, their first album, showed Beefheart's deep interest in the blues, and its track Electricity proves his genius. The album Trout Mask Replica is his masterpiece and is probably one of the most unique records in music history. Great artists to play at a get-together and tell who your friends really are."
Essential purchase "trout mask replica" 1969
"The greatest female singer-songwriter of the 20th century. She broke down numerous barriers for women, wrote he own songs in a time when nobody did, let alone women, and tackled subject matter that everyone else was afraid to touch. She was not a fake product of the Nashville system, but made it by herself, along with the help of her husband Doo Little. If you see the movie Coal Miner's Daughter and don't feel anything, or listen to her records and don't hear anything, put down your guitar and take up jigsaw puzzles."
Essential purchase "Honky Tonk Girl" 1994
A couple years ago, after finishing up White Blood Cells in Memphis, Jack and Meg were driving back home when they spotted a road sign for "Loretta Lynn's Dude Ranch." They wound up in Hurricane Mills, parked in front of the same mansion depicted in the film. Recalls White with an embarrassed laugh, "It was closed at the time, so we were sitting there in the rental car, and Meg had a cigarette - and she threw it out the window! 'No! No! Don't throw a cigarette out at Loretta's house!'" Reckoning their unexpected detour to be a good omen, they dedicated the album to Lynn and the rest is history. Lynn wrote a letter of thanks, ultimately inviting them back down to Hurricane Mills for a tour of the museum and a spot of down-home cooking. (Lynn wasn't joking onstage in New York; she really did fix Jack and Meg a biscuits-and-gravy dinner.) Dan Miller: Loretta Lynn invited them to her ranch, and I went with them. It was funny -- her manager was asking, "So, what's Detroit like? Don't you ever want to move anyplace else?" We talked a little bit about the city's shortcomings. It's not the most cosmopolitan place in the world. But as Jack pointed out, we're not leaving -- "Detroit's home."
Loretta: "When we met, I noticed her [Meg's] eyes were red and I said "What's wrong with Meg?" and Jack says 'She's so happy to be on the same stage as you." She'd been crying. Isn't that somethin'? I love Meg. But when me and Jack was recording, she was visiting a boyfriend right in Nashville and didn't come by the studio--so I'm gonna whup her!"
Meg: "She has written so many songs, saying it like it is, and saying things that people didn't dare to say at the time she did it."
"American soldiers stationed in Germany who became "anti-Beatles" : a banjo with a microphone in it to make it electric, a fuzz bass in '66, and an amazing singer, not to mention the drummer and organist, both out of this galaxy with what they were doing. I Hate You is probably their masterpiece - "I hate you with a passion baby…but call me!" True grit. Their melodies were pop destructive and must be played to your younger brother."
Essential purchase "black monk time" 1997
"They only released one 45. The B-side, Rat's Revenge Part 2 (Black Cat), is my favorite garage rock record. No other record is a better example of being in a group of teenage boys working on something together. It's completely hilarious! And most of it sounds ad-lib. They aren't trying to act cool, or tough, they're just having a blast making a record."
Essential purchase "Back from the grave Vol.1"
"Impossible for us not to call him an influence. And we imagine the same for any musician who truly loves music. Probably no need to tell you why. Our favorite albums are Nashville Skyline, Blood on the Tracks and Desire. Important: do not trust people who call themselves musicians or record collectors who say that they don't like Bob Dylan or the Beatles. They do not love music if those words come out of their mouths. They love record sleeves and getting attention for their hobby, but they don't love music.
Essential purchase "Nashville Skyline/Blood on the Tracks/Desire"
Regarding Jacks performance of Ball & Biscuit with Bob Dylan on March 17th, 2004 at the State Theatre in Detroit:
Jack: "There's no topping that, can go on for an hour-and-a-half talking about it, or I can just say: It was splendid."
JW: I really can't talk about it. I probably shouldn't talk about it.
MW: I was reading his autobiography just recently. I really thought it was a good book, I liked it a lot. I liked the way he writes the book, very stream-of-consciousness, like the last word in the paragraph will be what the next paragraph's about. It just changes all the time. He manages to maintain his personal life, and not talk about what he doesn't want to, but at the same time you get a lot of insight into where he was coming from, and how he was thinking about things. It made me like him even more.
JW: I was gonns read it but it doesn't have any pictures in it.
But what did it feel like walking onto his stage?
JW: I'd rather not say. I'm sorry. Maybe some other day.
MW: Yeah, because people are prying into his stuff all of the time, people were trying to make him into something he didn't think he was. He just wanted to do his thing, not to be considered the voice of a generation - like they owned him, you know? They wouldn't leave him alone, he got no privacy.
JW: I guess I like that about him. It seems like everybody today is so available - ready, willing and available for anything, and will go on and be part of a reality show at the drop of a hat. It seems like nobody has any sort of dignity any more. Dylan was trying to maintain his dignity, and a lot of people from an era earlier than maybe 40 or 50 years, it was easier to maintain that dignity. But I think something's really been lost world-wide. They don't want you to have dignity, they just don't want you to. It pisses them off. They wanna tear you down if you have dignity. It scares them. They're not jealous. They're just scared I think. It's like what I weas saying before about rules. They don't wanna be told that there's rules. Like, there's no possible way that you could be so dignified, we have to find out something about you that makes you dignified. I mean, you tell me, who's got dignity nowadays that's a celebrity? It's rare, it's very rare!
"The best garage band in America since the '60s. Very primitive, very good, and not very good. Like many garage bands, The Gories songs were mostly ripped off, but they definitely laid down the low in Detroit and made people with Les Pauls and Marshall amps look like idiots. From the early to late '90s they made three albums and a handful of 45s. Our favorite songs are Feral, View From Here, Trick Bag and Nitro-glycerine."
Essential purchase "I know you're Fine, but how you doin"
BEN BLACKWELL: Jack really looks up to the Gories. He bought "Broad Appeal" and Mick Collins was behind him in line. And Jack was all excited -- "Mick Collins was just behind me in line!"
"Their second album, Fun House, is the greatest rock'n'roll record ever made."
Essential purchase "Fun House" 1970
For more information on Jack's love of the Stooges try to pick up a issue 119 of Mojo magazine where Jack White interviews Iggy Pop. It is the October 2003 edition with Jack and Iggy on the cover.
The Gun Club
"Their first album, Fire Of Love (Ruby 1981), is a big influence on us. The songwriting of Kid Congo Powers and Jeffrey Lee Pierce has the freshest white take on the blues of it's time. Sex Beat, She's Like Heroin To Me, and For The Love of Ivy…why are these songs not taught in schools?
Essential purchase "Fire of Love" 2001
The Troggs, The Flatduo Jets, Cole Porter, The Yardbirds, Gene Vincent and His Blue Caps, Blind Willie Johnson, Tampa Red, Irvingberlin, The Velvet Underground, Hank Williams.
5.2 Son House ]
Jack: "He played me 'Death Letter', and then this a cappella song, 'Grinnin' In Your Face'. I heard the song I'd been waiting to hear my whole life. It said, 'Don't care what people think. Your mother will talk about you, your sister and your brothers too. No matter how you try to live, they're gonna talk about you still.' We had a big family, I didn't have that many friends, and I was paranoid. I thought everybody was talking about me all the time. It released my life." "I just thought for the first time that I had heard something real. I don't know it just seemed like there was nothing glamorous about it - it was just pure sound - pure emotion there was nothing fancy about it - that just really appealed to me - it was so good and it didn't need anything else attached to it - it didn't need five other guys playing the exact same thing behind it. Just a guy and a guitar."
Dan Miller: When he heard "Grinning in Your Face" by (bluesman) Son House, he was like, "That song changed my life." Hearing something that raw and emotional, and the fact that they're still doing Son House songs now -- I think it's really great to see people keeping that music alive in a modern context.
Jack: "I guess sometimes it feels a little like that. If we play (Son House's) Death Letter and for example there's a 14 year old girl singing along you think yourself, well, hopefully she's going to be like looking at Funhouse too and she's going to go buy that album. That would be a good thing."
Jack "When I was 18 or 19, whenever I discovered Sun House, I just flipped out. I couldn't believe what I'd been missing. Something just snapped, and I said, 'forget all this other stuff I've been listening to. I don't want to even think about it anymore. This is exactly what's perfect and what's beautiful about music and I want to get as close to it as possible, if I can get away with it.' And the White Stripes became that."
Jack: "I'm not black, I'm not form the South, and it's not 1930," he states earnestly. "I'm not interested in copying - at all. I'm interested in re-telling the story. I just believe in singing [Delta bluesman Son House's] "John the Revelator" one more time. It seems like every other kind of music is fooling itself about being original or being the future. Well, it's not. These electronic instruments, these toys… Music has been storytelling and melody for thousands of years, and it's not going to change."
Jack: We're at times, ignoring our own music, just because we've gotta keep these songs alive, by all means. If we have the stage, we've gotta play Son House's music, because there's nobody to keep it alive.
Here's a release that Mr.Jack White has written some liner notes on…buy it….stop reading my BS and get some Son House damnit!
5.3 Blind Willie McTell ]
Jack: "I think people have heard the name, but he seems to be really overlooked. He knew a lot about melody, and how melody is so important to a song structure. I don't understand why his songs aren't famous, like "God Bless America.""
White: Blind Willie McTell, for one. I like the sense he wasn't just a blues singer. He was a street-corner entertainer who would play in front of Piggly Wiggly markets and stuff. He's from Atlanta. He was a 12-string [guitar] player who had a bunch of great songs. There's on that goes, "I got three women's, yellow, brown and black. Take the governor of Georgia to judge which one I like. One woman's Atlanta yellow, the other Macon brown But the Statesboro blackskin will turn your damper down."
5.4 Blues Music ]
Jack: Older people started playing it for me. I always had older friends, people who were twice my age when I was a teenager. I was looking for something more mature and away from childish kind of... When I got out of high school, I went to college for one semester, and I was so upset that those kids acted exactly the same way that they did in high school. I thought there was going to be a new thing, where all of a sudden you wouldn't have to deal with that crap anymore, with peer pressure and people judging everyone. I was so upset that it was the same thing all over again. My way to deal with it was to try to relate to older people and get away from that. Their turning me on to the blues made me so happy. It happened when I was about 18, right when I was getting out of high school, and I just felt like I'd left so much behind after getting involved with that.
Jack: "Oh, it's the pinnacle of all music. I think everything from the 20th Century goes right back to that [the blues]. It's like the correlation we made with our second album, De Stijl [and the Dutch art movement of the same name]. It was about breaking down visuals into next-to-basic components. The bluesmen have always been doing that, stripping songwriting down to those three components I was talking about earlier: storytelling, melody, and rhythm. I hate the fact that the bluesman has been parodied -- "Oh, I woke up this morning and my baby's gone," Blues Brothers kind of thing -- when those guys are the gods of music. I mean, there should be statues of them everywhere."
Jack: "It's never been topped, and I don't think it ever will be. It sort of accidentally broke songwriting down to its three basic components: storytelling, melody, and rhythm. And that's the way I see it. It's so truthful, it can't be glamorized. If people really love music, they're going to start being drawn toward honesty, and if they're drawn to that, it's a direct line right back to Charley Patton and Son House. I'm very skeptical of musicians who say they love music and don't love the blues. It's like someone saying they don't like The Beatles: It makes you think they're in it for the wrong ideas."
Jack: "when I heard Son House and Robert Johnson, it blew my mind. It was something I'd been missing my whole life. That music made me discard everything else and just get down to the soul and honesty of the blues. At that point I was like, what have I been doing? Why have I not been paying attention to this music? It was that honesty, bare bones, to the minimum, truth. The more I thought about it, it was the pinnacle of songwriting. Easily accessible because of the repeating lines you could sing along to, very easy to play for the performer, extremely emotional at the same time. You could go to see a glam rock band and say, 'This is really exciting', but that's far from honesty. If a musician listens to Charley Patton and doesn't hear anything at all, I don't think they should call themselves musicians, because they're obviously just looking for fun and kicks and a good time out of it."
Jack: "The blues is from such a different time period and culture than where I'm from. Being a white kid from Detroit who was born in the '70s is a long way from being born black in Mississippi in the 20's. I'm always worried that playing the blues is going to be misconstrued as me trying to cultivate an image, or that it's going to come across fake. Jack: "The music in my head and on the radio would be missing a limb, a heart and a soul if the pinnacle of songwriting and storytelling had not come forth from the South," writes Jack White in the liner notes to the just-out "Heroes of the Blues." "I'm sorry I wasn't here to carry their guitars for them."
Jack: "If I was only playing music for myself, then I would be playing the blues." Music based on the delta-blues' tough, miserly uncompromising attitude. And maybe it is his love of the straightforwardness in the blues which makes irony non-existent in the duo's music; it is mostly straight, fairly clear-cut, without an underlying message.
Jack: "I was obsessed with blues music and trying to really find a way a white boy like me from Detroit who was born in the '70s could play it, because it felt so right to me in my bedroom. "The blues is the most important musical idea of the last century," he tells me one afternoon. We've been discussing resonance and blues chords and the arc of his life-and he seems genuinely excited by it all. "They should teach it in school. Country, and rock and roll, and punk, and everything else--it's all the blues. But the blues is the purest form of it. It's the pinnacle of a mountain that slopes down into other types of music."
Jack: "The moment when that progression (12 bar) was accomplished in the early part of the twentieth century was the most perfect moment in songwriting of all time. There's something about that that's so easily understandable, that repeating line. It translates to the next person so easily. Which is what song-writing is supposed to do: translating an idea, communicating an idea--through melody and storytelling and rhythm."
Jack: "Yeah. When I was a teenager I had a cassette tape of some Howlin' Wolf songs and Willie Dixon. But [the blues] really didn't snap with me until later on - somehow Robert Johnson really snapped something in my brain. I really felt like I had to find a way that I could play this music that felt so real and so cathartic for me, and figure out how I could attack that and share it with other people without getting this "white-boy blues" thing labeled on me. Once [Meg and I] started playing rock and roll together, we sort of figured out this way of boxing ourselves in, so tight and so limited that you weren't really thinking about the notions behind it, it just felt more emotional. The whole goal was to get down to wearing the uniform, as in school, where you're just forced to concentrate because you're not distracted by anything else."
Jack: “The Blues is holy, a perfect creation; it is everything that music should be. It contains so much that I almost don’t dare to mess with it. But I must. I heard Son House singing “Grinning in your face” and it was as if someone, with a single blow of the axe, had opened up the world to me. After that, my life received meaning. I can lie in bed in the middle of the night and feel an ice-cold wind flowing through my body, which makes me start to shake uncontrollably. Then I have to get up and hear Charley Patton or Robert Johnson. The American South should be regarded as holy land by everyone. Everything which is worth anything comes from there.”
Jack: “I want more of a challenge. I want to play non-typical blues within the rules of the blues and its codes. I am highly influenced by blues, as for me blues is synonymous with the truth, and a lot of my heroes are bluesman. But I don’t want to copy or imitate them, but I can sympathize with their attitude.”
5.5 Jeff Beck ]
Jack: "We did the whole Yardbirds part of the show with him -- "You're a Better Man than I", "Heart Full of Soul", "Lost Woman", an instrumental "Train kept a-rollin'", "I Ain't Got You". Can you imagine? It was unbelievable. It was the most fantastic thing I have done. I really love that he is still that guy who just doesn't care about anything, who wants only to play guitar and nothing else. We would take cues from him and I stood and watched when he first plugged in his guitar. He played a chord and slashed his way with several overtones, and it was so awesome -- no effects pedal, just from the fingers, straight through the amplifier -- that effortless. I cannot quite grasp how it was done. I am a guitarist, but I don't get it."
The dates of the two Jeff Beck tribute shows are September 13th 2002 and September 14th 2003 and are available on bootlegs. There are some great performances on these from a slew of artists so if you get the opportunity grab these shows.
5.6 The Rolling Stones ]
Jack: "Meeting the Stones was one of the year's absolute highlights. And to be suddenly standing in a room, chatting with the Stones, was another bizarre moment. We were invited to support them for two of their World Tour concerts -- in Toronto and Columbus, Ohio. Bearing in mind that it was not our usual public, especially not when a seat in the 50th row cost almost 0. The only people sitting there were rich people who wanted to be friends with Mick Jagger. They were probably wondering how two idiots dared to stand on their own on a stage in front of 20,000 people. But we ignored that crap and wouldn't even have mind getting booed at, the only thing that meant something to us was that we got to be support act for the Stones!" All the members of the Stones also stood at the stage and watched the White Stripes while they played. The thought that Keith Richards tapped his foot to the beat of "Dead Leaves and the Dirty Ground" seems only to make Jack White even more like a happy little kid. "They even thanked us for supporting during their own shows. And we later understood from their roadies that they never watch the support band and that they never thank anyone for anything, especially not from the stage. So we must have done something to impress."
The dates of the two Rolling Stones concerts that the Stripes opened for were: October 16th, 2002 at the Air Canada Centre, Toronto, ON October 20th, 2002 at the Columbus Nationwide Arena Neither have surfaced on bootleg recordings at this point - seems security is tight at Stones shows.
SECTION 6 - SONG INFO
6.1 The ever growing list of cover songs: ]
Obviously this is not a definite list, but this is what I have uncovered. If you have heard any other cover songs performed at any concerts or have any correction on who wrote what please let me know so I can update this. This latest version includes covers that Jack performed with Beck as well as when The Stripes were guests during the Jeff Beck shows. Songs Jack has produced that are covers are not included. This list is getting out of hand and some of the origins still cannot be found but I'm determined to keep some semblance of definitive list going. I have tried to label which songs have not surfaced on any bootleg as well. For detailed information on lyrics, and dates played please check the insanely helpful site at:. I use this site religiously and a lot of work has gone into it.
300 Pounds of Joy - Performed Live - Written by Willie Dixon and once performed by Howlin' Wolf
After Hours - Performed Live (unsurfaced) - Written By: The Velvet Underground
Ashtray Heart - Party Of Special Things single - Written By: Captain Beefheart
Baby Blue - Performed Live - Written By: Gene Vincent
Ballad of Hollis Brown - Performed Live - Written By: Bob Dylan
Blackjack Davey - Performed Live -Traditional Arrangement
Blind Willie McTell - Performed Live - Written By: Bob Dylan
Boll Weevil - Performed Live - Written By: Leadbelly
Boogie Chillen' - Performed Live - Written By: John Lee Hooker
Boys - Performed Live - Written By: The Beatles
China Pig - Party Of Special Things single - Written By: Captain Beefheart
Clarabella - Performed Live - Written By: the Jodimars.
Cold Brains - Performed Live with Beck - Written By: Beck
Death Letter - De Stijl - Written By: Son House
Diddy Wah Diddy - Performed Live - Written By: Blind Blake
Dirt - Performed Live - Written By: The Stooges
Do You Know The Way To San Jose - Performed Live - Written by Burt Bacharach / Hal David
Don't Blame Me - Performed Live - Written By: Ethel Walters
Everyday - Performed Live - Written By: Buddy Holly
Evil Hearted You - Performed Live with Jeff Beck - Written By: The Yardbirds
Farmer John, I'm In Love With Your Daughter- Performed Live - Traditional Arrangement
Fist City - Performed Live with Loretta Lynn- Written By: Loretta Lynn
Five String Serenade - Performed Live - Written by: Arthur Lee
Fly Me To The Moon - Performed Live - Written By: Frank Sinatra
Folk Singer - Performed Live - Written By: Brendan Benson
For The Love of Ivy - Performed Live - Written By: The Gun Club
Fragile Girl - Performed Live with Beck - Written By: The Waxings
Froggy Went A-Courtin' - Performed Live - Written By: Traditional Arrangement
Girl From The North Country - Performed Live - Written By: Bob Dylan
God Makes No Mistakes - Performed Live - Written By: Loretta Lynn
Goin' Back To Memphis - Performed Live - Written By: Henry & June
Good To Me - Performed Live - Written By: Brendan Benson
Grinning In Your Face - Performed Live - Written By: Son House
Hear My Train A Coming - Performed Live - Written By: Jimi Hendrix
Heart Full of Soul - Performed Live with Jeff Beck - Written By: The Yardbirds
Hi-Ho Silver Lining - Performed Live with Jeff Beck - Written by: The Yardbirds
House of the Rising Sun - Performed Live - Traditional Arrangement
Human Fly - Performed Live - Written By: The Cramps
I Ain't Done Wrong - Performed Live with Jeff Beck - Written By: The Yardbirds
I Ain't Got You - Performed Live with Jeff Beck - Written By: The Yardbirds
I Got Stripes - Performed Live (spoken word) - Written By: Johnny Cash
I Just Don't Know What To Do With Myself - Fell In Love With A Girl Single - Written By: Burt Bacharach & Hal David
I Walk Like Jayne Mansfield - Performed Live - Written By: 5,6,7,8's
I Wanna Be Your Dog - Performed Live - Written by: The Stooges
I'm Bored - Performed Live - Written By: Iggy Pop
In The Hills of Shiloh - Performed Live - Written by: Shel Silverstein and Jim Friedman
Isis - Performed Live - Written By: Bob Dylan
It's Alright Ma (I'm Only Bleeding) - Performed Live - Written By: Bob Dylan
Jack The Ripper - Performed Live - Originally performed by: Screaming Lord Sutch / The One Way Streets
-Contains guitar riff from Peter Gunn - Written By: Henry Marcini
Jesus, Make Up My Dying Bed - Performed Live - Written By: Blind Willie Johnson
John The Revelator - Middle section during Canon - Written By: Son House
Jolene - Hello Operator Single - Written By: Dolly Parton
Jump On Me Baby - Performed Live - Written By:????
Last Fair Deal Going Down - Performed Live with Beck - Written By: Robert Johnson
Let's Do It (Let's Fall In Love) - Performed Live - Written By: Cole Porter
Look Me Over Closely - Let's Shake Hands Single - Performed By: Marlene Dietrich ; Written By: T. Gilkyson
Looking At You- Performed Live - Written By: MC5
Lord Send Me An Angel - Lord Send Me An Angel 7" - Written By: Blind Willie McTell
- Contains versus from Blind Willie McTell's Searching the Desert for Blues as well.
Lost Women - Performed Live with Jeff Beck - Written By: The Yardbirds
Louie Louie - Performed Live - Written By: The Kingsmen
Louisiana Woman, Mississippi Man- Performed Live with Loretta Lynn - Written By: Loretta Lynn
Love In Vain - Part of Lord Send Me An Angel - Written By: Robert Johnson
Love Me - Performed Live - Written By: Elvis Presley
Love Potion Number 9 - Performed Live - Written by: The Searchers
Love Sick - Fell In Love With A Girl single CD2 - Written By: Bob Dylan
Main Offender - Performed Live - Written By: The Hives
Man - Performed Live - Written By: The Yeah Yeah Yeahs
Mary Had A Little Lamb - Performed Live - Written By: Traditional Arrangement
Matchbox - Performed Live - Written By: Carl Perkins
Mr. You're a Better Man Than I - Performed Live with Jeff Beck - Written By: The Yardbirds
Moonage Daydream - Never performed live- Written By: David Bowie
Motherless Child Have A Hard Time- Performed Live - Written by: Blind Willie Johnson
Mr. Cellophane - Performed Live - Written By:???? (from the musical Chicago)
My Black Mama - Performed Live - Written By: Son House
My Funny Valentine - Performed Live - Written By: Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart
My Little Red Book: Performed Live - Written By: Burt Bacharach
New York City Cops - Performed Live with the Strokes - Written By: The Strokes
Ninety-Nine - Performed Live with Beck - Written By: Barbara Feldon
Not Fade Away - Performed Live - Written By: The Rolling Stones
Object of My Affection - Performed Live - Written By: Jimmie Greer
Oh Carol - Performed briefly at the BBC - Written By: Chuck Berry
One More Cup Of Coffee - Self Titled - Written By: Bob Dylan
One Night With You - Performed live with Ben Swank on Drums - Written By: Elvis
Ooh! My Soul - Performed Live - Written By: Little Richard
Outlaw Blues - Performed Live - Written By: Bob Dylan
Pain (Gimmie Sympathy) - Performed with The Upholster - Written By: Jack Starr
Party Of Special Things - Party Of Special Things single - Written By: Captain Beefheart
Peggy Sue - Performed Live - Written By: Buddy Holly
Peter Gunn - Performed Live (see Jack The Ripper) - Written By: Henry Mancini
Pick a Bail of Cotton - Performed Live - Written By: Ledbelly
Ramblin' Man - Performed by 2 Star Tabernacle - Written By: Hank Williams Sr.
Rated X - Hotel Yorba Single - Written By: Loretta Lynn
Razzle Dazzle - Performed Live - Written By:???? (from the musical Chicago)
Red Bird - Performed Live - Written By: Ledbelly
Setting Wood On Fire - Performed Live - Written by: Hank Williams
Seventh Son – Performed Live – Written by: Willie Dixon
Shakin' All Over - Performed Live - Johnny Kidd and the Pirates
Shine On Harvest Moon - Performed Live - Written By: Nora Bayes and Jack Norworth
Shoo-Fly - Performed Live - Written By:???? This may be an original song by them
Silent Night - Merry Christmas From…. 7" - Traditional Arrangement
Sittin' On Top Of The World - Performed Live - Written By: Howlin' Wolf
Skinny Jim - Performed Live - Written By: Eddie Cochran
Small Faces - Performed Live - Written By: Public Nuisance
St. Ides of March - Hardest Button to Button single - Written By: The Soledad Brothers
St. James Infirmary Blues - Self Titled - Written By: J. Primrose
- Contains lyrics from Unfortunate Rake - Traditional Arrangement
Stones In My Passway - Performed Live - Written By: Robert Johnson
Story Of The Magi, The - Merry Christmas From…. 7" - Traditional Arrangement
Stop Breaking Down - Self Titled - Written By: Robert Johnson
Take a Whiff on Me - Performed Live - Written by: Leadbelly
Tallahassee Lassie - Performed Live - Written By: Freddy Canon
Teenage Head - Performed Live - Written By: The Flamin' Groovies
Tiny Spark - Performed Live - Written By: Brendan Benson
Train Kept A Rollin' - Performed Live with Jeff Beck - Written By: The Yardbirds
Trick Bag - Seen in the Detroit Rock Movie - Written By: Earl King
TV Eye - Performed Live - Written By: The Stooges
Wayfaring Stranger - Performed Live - Traditional Arrangement
Wichita Lineman - Performed Live - Written By: Jimmy Webb
Who's To Say - Performed Live - Written By: Dan Miller
You Belong To Me - Performed Live - Written By: Bob Dylan
Your Southern Can Is Mine - De Stijl - Written By: Blind Willie McTell
6.2 What does ________ song mean? ]
A Boy's Best Friends: ]
Jack: "There are songs on our albums that I really like that don't go over well live. They're slow...people don't respond to them. It's a shame that I can't play "A Boy's Best Friend" or "Sister, Do You Know My Name?" often because they stop the show in a bad way or something. I try to sneak them in once in awhile."
After Hours (live Velvet Underground cover) ]
Jack: "Oh she's kind of shy about it - on New Years Eve when we played she sang for the first time we did 'after hours' by the Velvet Underground - that's the song that Mo Tucker sings - and she sang that and it was just great - the crowd really liked it and she was real nervous - it was great though"
The Air Near My Fingers ]
Jack: "I almost took it off. The lyrics don't really mean anything. The only thing I liked about it was where I talk about mothers, 'cos mothers come up a lot in the album. And there's a bridge in there I like. Everything else I hated."
Jack: "That was where the title came at the end of the song actually, the opposite really. It just seemed to be whoever the character was in the song that was what was happening around him at the time."
Jack: "It was just a hammer of a song, coming like just a hammer on steel from the first moment in, you know loud and powerful, with this old Hammond organ they had there at Toe-Rag so, it was cool. It's kind of my favorite song - lyrically, it's my least favorite. Lyrically, it kind of rambles into whateverness. It doesn't have as much meaning to me as a lot of other things, but I kind of got into this thing within the middle part. There's this sort of loose or soulful one with the 'I get nervous when she comes around, when she comes around'. It was just something that happened on stage one time. We were playing, I just was playing the Fender Rhodes and was doing that 'I get nervous when she comes around,' you know. So we mixed those two things together and put it into the same box and this is what happened."
Jack: "Aluminum is about the formation of aluminum in a factory. That is what the voices are trying to"imitate."
Apple Blossom ]
In May 2001, a video was made by 1st and 2nd grade schoolchildren, singing [Apple Blossom].
Jack: "I started crying. This teacher, she played songs for her kids and she taught them this song. It's really great, I though. You can't top that. If it's gotten to that, how can you top that?"
Ashtray Heart: ]
Jack: "I've heard the song [Party of Special Things to Do] from [the movie Blue Collar], yeah. For the single we did China Pig from Trout Mask Replica as an acoustic blues song, and on Ashtray Heart and Party of Special Things To Do we used different recording techniques, going straight into the board, with fuzz guitar and bass. That was the first time we've ever done that. When a song feels like it needs something, I just wanna have it there."
Jack: "The Astro is whatever you do in secret that nobody knows about. Everybody does the Astro. Jimmy does the Astro."
Jack: "Actually for awhile there, right before we recorded the album, that song Astro was just an instrumental-I was just mouthing syllables, I didn't say anything, I didn't write lyrics to that until just a few minutes before we recorded it. And that ended up becoming about something I had been thinking about. It's about the things that people do in secret-I called that the Astro cause it just had a ring to it, but the things people do, like I guess the clue to that was 'Thomas Edison is AC/DC.' He was only into direct current, he didn't believe in alternating current, and that was supposedly his downfall of delivering electrical power to people. But maybe he secretly knew that was the right way to do things. That was my only attempt at trying to do a meaningless one. I had another dog I said that Astro - Astro's something people do in secret - things people maybe do in secret - I said maybe jasper does the Astro - that was my other dog - but uh I never wrote a song about Elroy though."
Ball & Biscuit ]
Jack: "I love this imagery. A biscuit is such a cheap treat. I really hate that people in America are gonna think it means buttermilk biscuit and not cookie. I would never talk up a girl like that. My whole vision of the song was girl passing by and me thinking these things."
Jack: “I think that one is going to be popular on tour. I’m experimenting with that cocky asshole persona and that was an adventure for me. But it should be seen as like a scene in a movie. It’s not me. I don’t consider myself cocky.”
Jack: "It was completely written at the studio. Liam [Watson, producer] had a microphone hanging from the ceiling - it looked really cool - I said, 'What's that?' He said, 'Aaaah, that's a ball and biscuit mike.' I said, 'Oh that's a cool name'. So I was running lyrics for that song, and that kinda popped back into my head - sort of a metaphor for different things. Let's take our sweet little time about it my cookies." So the ball is the what?
Jack: "Just having a ball, just having a good time. Nothing else. Nothing else. You'll get none of that from me!" Jack: "It's the longest song I've ever recorded - it's seven-and-a-half minutes."
Jack: "Yeah, it really just happened to be that long. We did all the music first, and then I wrote the lyrics to go along with that. I had a couple in my head, but didn't really write a whole song worth. We just recorded the music part. It kept it really loose that way, very explosive. I think it's my favorite song on the album."
Jack: "I do not really know what happened", he explained. "We were about to record "Ball and Biscuit", which was written in the studio. All was peaceful and calm when, suddenly, it was as if the devil got into me and I could not hear anything except guitars. Fat, dirty, ear-destroying guitar sounds. It was as if some higher power said to me that now, Jack White, is the time to start playing guitar solos."
Jack: "Meg was just playing drums one day and I started thinking about the name, and how biscuit means cookie in Britain. So I got the image of sugar, and suddenly the term took on this sexual overtone."
Jack: “I do not really know what happened, we were about to record “Ball and Biscuit”, which was written in the studio. All was peaceful and calm when, suddenly, it was as if the devil got into me and I could not hear anything except guitars. Fat, dirty, ear-destroying guitar sounds. It was as if some higher power said to me that now, Jack White, is the time to start playing guitar solos.”
Liam Watson: “for the guitar on that track we split the signal into the two amps and placed them either side of the room panned out in stereo. I panned them half left and half right, and looked at the phase meter. Then it was necessary to bring them in until the meter stopped going crazy.”
The Big Three Killed My Baby ]
Jack: "I'm pretty fed up with cars…I don't know what you call it when Buddhist monks whip themselves, but I have that on my hand, I have three hose clamps on my hand, for the Big Three. And somebody just made me a necklace with a piece off a piece of machinery that says 'Property of Ford Motor Company.' I have a big hatred for that, for having spent so much money and time on something that hasn't changed in over a hundred years, same design of the engine in a car, it's not progressing at all. That's why I say, 'Don't let them tell you the future's electric/Because gasoline's not measured in metric.' The idea that they won't make any money if they make a good car. Kind of a shame. That's where we're from, that's what this whole town is about. Everybody works for the car company, and that's what I do, I work on commercials filming for the car companies. And it's a tremendous waste of money."
Jack: "I just can't stand cars. I think they are the worst money pits and killing machines of all time. Every car I've ever had has broken down, like, every week (points to 2 rings and bracelet). These are hose clamps from a car engine. I wear them as a symbol. I wanted to organize an anti-automotive festival in Detroit, but it never came together. It's such a farce. The companies are so tied in with the oil companies. For God's sake, we have wars over the oil to put gas in our cars."
jack: "Everybody, all they do is spend all their money on the car companies," he said. "It seems to be this thing that everybody just accepts, like that's the way it's gonna be, and nobody complains about it. I don't understand it." Jack: "The funny thing about that song is that we played that on a local public television channel here in Detroit a few months ago and they asked us to play two other ones. In the end, they wouldn't air 'The Big Three Killed My Baby.' They were sponsored by Chrysler."
Jack: "Most of the time I don't care at all about [politics]. I never voted for president because I don't care for it. "The Big 3 Killed My Baby" [a song from an earlier album] hits home because of where we're from and how much I think the big three [auto companies] rip off everyone. It seems really funny to me that nobody cares. The car has been ruining my life at all times Interesting Fact: Michael Moore (Roger & Me, Bowling For Columbine) uses this song as the intro for many of his speaking engagements. Sidenote on this theme: The cover of The Big Three Killer My Baby single has Jack and Meg standing next to a picture of a car engine, with sign "Insert Money Here" taped to the engine.
Black Math ]
Jack: "I was thinking about a time in high school when I turned my books in to the maths teacher and said, I refuse to learn from you anymore. The songs about asking questions. A lot of people are taught just to regurgitate information. People don't care if you learn anymore. Opinion gets trampled on."
jack: "When I wrote this song I was in this band called The Go in Detroit for a short time. It's not like it was a great song for that band The Go, but I guess those days are gone for me. The best I could do was try to fit them into The White Stripes!"
Jack: "I used the first guitar I had ever used in the White Stripes - a completely wrecked, no-name Japanese guitar from the 60's. I installed a cut-off switch on it that shorts the signal, and I cut it in and out as I was playing." Boll Weevil Meg: "It's more of a "goodbye, it's been a good show" number, with the audience singing along at the end of it. Sometimes we don't (play it)anyway, but sometimes it doesn't mean that. [laughs] If we don't really feel any energy coming from the crowd, we don't usually play it, because it's kinda like a "crowd pushes the patience" kinda of song."
Candy Cane Children ]
jack: "We wanted to give a little gift to our fans. It was sort of in the tradition of The Beatles Christmas greetings, the 45s from the 60s that they used to put out. Only 3,000 copies were printed and they immediately sold out." Candy Cane Children was re-released for Christmas 2002 by the White Stripes' new record companies: XL pressed 1000 copies on black vinyl for the UK, while V2 pressed 3000(?) on white vinyl for the US. This time round it was backed with Jack reading the story of the Magi and Meg singing Silent Night.
China Pig: ]
jack: "I've heard the song [Party of Special Things to Do] from [the movie Blue Collar], yeah. For the single we did China Pig from Trout Mask Replica as an acoustic blues song, and on Ashtray Heart and Party of Special Things To Do we used different recording techniques, going straight into the board, with fuzz guitar and bass. That was the first time we've ever done that. When a song feels like it needs something, I just wanna have it there."
Danger! High Voltage (Electric 6 song) ]
jack: "I keep getting asked if it's me and if I wrote it. I talked to those guys in Paris recently and I've been joking, 'where's my royalty check?' It really wasn't me on there. It's great. I wish it was me."
Dead Leaves And The Dirty Ground ]
jack:"'Dead Leaves and the Dirty Ground,' [was] written before we did our first album...sometimes there's songs that get put aside until it feels right to do them."
jack: "Well, Toledo has been that sought after destination point. People don't exactly go on vacation there. The girl in the song was sending me to do things for her, like run an errand to Toledo, which probably wouldn't be fun." Family Tree Loretta: "There's never a song I write that Doo's not a part of. 'Family Tree' and all these fighting songs, you've gotta live 'em like you're still fightin' for 'em. I still do in my heart. I know exactly what he'd think about a song and what he'd say, to this day. When I'm writing a song, I can still see him sittin' in the back of the room, watching and listening."
Family Tree (from Van Lear Rose) ]
Jack: One lyric in Family Tree, she says about the girl that's cheating with her husband. She says, The job you're working, Lord, we need money too. She brought the bills and the kids down to the bar, to show her, See, this guy, my husband has a family, and we need money too. We're poor. I thought she was saying, ok, this family's poor, and that she's taking away this man who provides the money for the family. But she says, 'You know what I'm saying, don't you Jack? I'm saying she's a whore. She does this for money.' I thought, 'The job you're workin" - I thought that she meant the job she was working was trying to steal this man away, but she meant she's a prostitute. She's saying 'Give me the money that my husband just gave you back, for his kids. I just didn't assume... I assumed she was just a clever songwriter, but she's really brilliant, you know? Country music tends to be, think of the title first then write the song around it.
Fell In Love With A Girl ]
The video has been awarded 3 MTV Music Awards for Best Editing, Best Special Effects and Breakthrough Video.
Girl, You Have No Faith In Medicine ]
jack: "It came from a discussion between me and other guys about when girlfriends have headaches and won't take certain medicines 'cos it has "something in it." Guys will swallow anything. It's because [women] don't have faith. It was supposed to go on White Blood Cells. It was no fun at all to sing. Meg had a lot of problems with it. I actually took a lyric out because I thought it was too harsh - 'I don't have the patience to watch you battle every miniscule disease.'"
Liam Watson: “For slapstick echoes like the vocal effect on Girl You Have No Faith In Medicine I use my Studer A80 or a Revox with varispeed.”
jack: "It's about the irritation I was constantly getting with females arguing about headache medicine. Like, 'Oh, I can't take Tylenol, it doesn't work.' Whereas a guy would just take anything, he doesn't even think about it. It seemed like this tiny thing was a big, telling sign of feminine behavior. In my eyes. A guy can just put his coat on and run out the door, but a girl has to take 25 minutes waddling around looking for her purse or whatever. Not that one's better than the other, but they're different." Jack White: "I suppose it is just about this tongue in cheek take on male and female relationships when things are bothering girls about headache medicine. Aspirin, Tylenol and things like that. Its like men can take anything like a sugar pill and it will make their headache go away but there is always some sort of special care for women. It is sort of a metaphor for taking the time to care for someone I guess." Meg: "It was left over from the last album."
jack: "Yeah, never finished writing lyrics for it, it was around 'White Blood Cells'. She's right about that one. I remember us, actually I remember doing that in Memphis and quickly abandoning it - I don't know why. I love the way this came out. It didn't… I'm trying to think what didn't come out until we mixed it down. I felt something was wrong - it was too slow or something was going wrong with it. When we mixed it down it came out alright. And the breaks really are nice, Meg's high hat and everything, I like that a lot."
Jack: “It is about really knowing what you want to say, what message you want to convey. To have control over your words. At the very last moment I changed the words “I don’t have the patience to watch you battle every miniscule disease” in the song “Girl, You have no Faith in Medicine” on the new record. I did it because it was written about headaches, but I realized it may be interpreted as if I was putting down people who struggle with other serious illnesses. At the same time, it was important for me to inject a certain measure of mystery in what I was doing, for it not to be too obvious. Therefore, I am sometimes reluctant to discuss individual lyrics. An artist does not write down in the edge (of the painting) what he wanted to say with it, what it should mean.”
Grinnin' In Your Face (live cover) ]
jack: "I heard Son House singing [Grinning In Your Face] and it was as if someone, with a single blow of the axe, had opened up the world to me. After that, my life received meaning. I can lie in bed in the middle of the night and feel an ice-cold wind flowing through my body, which makes me start to shake uncontrollably. Then I have to get up and hear Charley Patton or Robert Johnson. The American South should be regarded as holy land by everyone. Everything which is worth anything comes from there."
The Hardest Button To Button ]
jack: "There's a button at the top of my navy peacoat, and it's the hardest button to button. I thought that was a great metaphor for the off man out in the family. It also comes from sayings of my father, like 'My uncle Harold had a 10 button vest but he could only fasten eight.'"
jack: "Yeah, that's true about that song. Sometimes that is how it happens. I will sit down at a piano and sometimes the first thing that comes out of my mouth is the title and the story at the same time. It is an interesting way to write a song. I don't do it that way all the time."
jack: "This is sort of a child trying to figure out where his place is in a sort of dysfunctional family. He wants to get more attention, he's losing attention, there's a new baby in the family and a lot of different things. He's just trying to find his place in the family, I think. This is almost like a modern song for us in a sense. I don't know why, but it feels that. This was one of the most interesting ones to be recorded. When we were working on it, I liked working on this one."
jack: "It was really difficult and intricate you know, sort of complicated in the structure, like, all the different accents were hitting - we really weren't nailing them because we were sort of writing it on the spot. We didn't sit back at home and rehearse like, 'We're going to hit this four times - 'Da-na-na-na', or anything like that. We were kind of looking at each other in the studio and winging it, you know, going in and out of choruses and verses or whatever and trying to do that thing. So it's going to be funny when we go back and try to learn how to play that song again 'cause we haven't played it since we recorded it! So, we'll have to try to figure that out."
Hello Operator: ]
jack: "That's the kind of thing I care about, like [Hello Operator] from our second album--that's a phone company finger-pointing song. I hate the rip-off company. I know everyone has to have a job, everyone has to work and get a paycheck to keep everything going, but it's pathetic that the better mouse trap doesn't win out."
Hotel Yorba: ]
jack: "The Hotel Yorba is a really disgusting hotel, and there was a great rumor when I was a kid that the Beatles had stayed there. They never did, but I loved that rumor. It was funny."
There is a video for Hotel Yorba, which can be found on the Hotel Yorba single. It's directed by Dan Miller and was shot in and around the Hotel Yorba in Detroit, MI. And here is the address of the actual hotel:
4020 Lafayette Blvd
Detroit, MI 48209
Jack: "all they got inside is vacancies"
Arthur: "you know what? I don't even like that lyric"
jack: "I wrote that song for Detroit r'n'r purists The Hentchman and they never used it. It doesn't need to be any longer. That's the rock and roll length.
jack: "That's funny you mention that, because 'Hypnotize' I wrote for a Detroit band called The Henchmen. I wrote that for them to play and ah, they never used it, so Meg said, 'Let's take it back!'" Meg: "He wrote it for them a few years ago. I thought it was a great song, although I even thought it suited them really well, but they decided not to use it, so I'm like (whispers) 'Hey, let's just, you know, take it back'." I Can Learn
jack:"'I Can Learn,' [was] written before we did our first album...sometimes there's songs that get put aside until it feels right to do them."
I Can't Wait ]
JW: I Can't Wait from WBC, I wished I didn't put that song on there. We recorded it too fast, and it didn't mean anything after that point where we were done recording it. Some of those, they start off as songs on the piano and they mean something and they feel really good, then you try to put them into the orchestration of the band playing it live and electric.
MW: I remember rehearsing it, and it was the one that we were really excited about and thought would sound the best, and once it was down on tape, it was like, This doesn't actually sound that good.
I Fought Piranhas ]
Johnny Walker of The Soledad Brothers plays 2nd slide guitar on I Fought Piranhas.
Jack has talked about 1 song on the first album being inspired by Moby Dick - and while I have no confirmation on this - it seems this track would make the best candidate for that theme.
I Just Don't Know What to Do With Myself ]
Meg: "I decided to do to do that one. Maybe like, maybe two years ago I listened to the Dusty Springfield version of it, and I could just kind of hear us doing that song in my head. It was a really emotional song that I just felt very close to, so we started doing it at that point, and we were doing it live for a couple of years."
jack: "The was Meg's baby. Definitely Dusty's version. I think one of the best recordings we've made. I like me singing on this. It's mellowed. When the first album was done I got a lot of people saying 'Robert Plant!' That just hurt my feelings. The one member of Led Zeppelin I didn't really care about!"
jack: "The recording we did of that is the best recording of a cover song we've ever done, it's really just a blues song in its purest form."
jack: I really love him [Burt Bacharach]. I love his songwriting. With this particular song, Meg was fond of it and wanted us to do it, and we started to do it live. I love it because I started recognizing that it was really a blues song in its purest form, when you strip down the Bacharach production. The essence of the song was blues, so I really adapted to that.
jack: "No, we haven't heard from Burt Bacharach and Hal David. I am not sure they know about that yet. Possibly when the album comes out we will get a note or something. Meg wanted to do that one. It was one of her favorites of Bacharach. We were coming off the back of the Dusty Springfield version. We started to play it live and started to make it our own. I like the idea of keeping someone's songs alive for the next generation if we can."
jack: "I thought it was a blues song, really, in its purest form. It was the same notion and the same kinda chord structure. But I definitely look up to Burt Bacharach, I think he's a really great writer.
jack: "I love the Tin Pan Alley songwriters, the ones that were given a job to write a hit song for a play or a musical. It was such an intricate thing, where they're given a task and they have to figure it out and make it happen. I wish I had that talent, but I don't know if I really do."
To explain the origin of the single artwork a little, Adam Royal has also done a tidy research and found this article titled Detroit's famed Lindell AC gives its last last call published by The Detroit Free Press on December 9, 2002.
Another classic that people often reminisce about is the time in the early 1970s when a thick-skinned, four-legged visitor dropped by for a few drinks. "The telephone company across the street was using an elephant for a promotion they were doing, and I went over and jokingly told the trainer: 'When you're done, bring the elephant to the bar so he can have a few beers,' " said John Butsicaris. "About an hour later the trainer and the elephant come through the door. We brought it to the bar and gave it Coca-Colas to drink. It was great. Then the elephant crapped all over the place." On Sunday, John Butsicaris proudly showed visitors black-and-white photos of the elephant drinking at the bar with its trunk raised to the ceiling. Another photo showed the bar's staff wearing wide smiles, posing for the camera, and scooping up the elephant's sizable droppings. He said the pictures have become so popular that the White Stripes, a band with metro Detroit ties that recently performed on "Saturday Night Live," plans to use the elephant photos on its next CD cover.
I Think I Smell A Rat: ]
jack: "There's these punk kids who break windows and stuff like that - you know, make fun of me when I walk into the gas station. It's like, I've lived here my whole life, and he's 8 years old and talking to me like that. They'll bust your window, and then you go take them to their parents and their parents take their side. They get away with murder."
jack: "I love that song,
Jack: We wrote that the day before we left for Memphis. The phrase 'I think I smell a rat'--there was one day when I was home by myself and I played one chord on the piano, and I just kept saying that over and over, 'I think I smell a rat.' And I could never think of anything else to go with it. I loved it because I had this whole thing imagined--that it would go into this swinging finger-snapping thing after that--but I never finished writing it. We had this [other] song called "That's Where It's At" that we didn't put on the first album. The lyric was, "All you people know/Just where it's at now/walking down the street with a baseball bat now." It's about the kids in the neighborhood. We weren't going to use that song anymore, and I played that chord, and 'I smell a rat' popped out again. Meg played it with me and I started singing the lyrics from that other song about the kids in the neighborhood again, and we said, 'This is perfect.'
I Want To Be The Boy ]
jack: "I want to Be The Boy is the ultimate sweetheart part of the record. When we went to Toe Rag the first time we recorded [final track] It's True That We Love One Another with [Thee Headcoats singer] Holly Golightly. Afterwards I played Pocket and put everybody in a bad mood. It's Meg's favorite.
jack: "Yeah, yeah. I like this song a lot. It's good, it's very good; I love the slide guitar on it. It feels really smooth… and creamy. So I think it turned out nice. It's a nice gesture of a song, anyway."
Liam Watson “The slide solo on I Want To Be The Boy was a bit of a weird one because there was a mic on the actual instrument as well as the amplifier. It’s the semi acoustic one that is covered in paper but besides that there was only one electric guitar on the whole album, the red one he has always used.
jack: "I would describe it revolving around this 'sweetheart' notion - on a lot of lyrics on this album. 'I Want To Be The Boy To Warm Your Mother's Heart', I mean the title kind of says it all. You know, just sort of trying to deny parental approval when you're dating somebody and things like that, just sort of bringing things back to what it's like when you're younger, and actually even cared what someone's parents thought… Would I let my daughter date me? That was another question in my head! Oh no, that doesn't really sound right but you know what I mean - someone like me."
jack: "That's another case of just having a line, about a guy wanting to warm a mother's heart, and then figuring out a way to tell the story," White says. "It's something every kid goes through. It's like, 'How do I get your parents to like me - because they don't seem to like me much.' Again, it's reacting to questions or ideas that come up, not something you sit down and think, 'Now what can I write a song about today.'
In The Cold Cold Night ]
JW: People have adopted that song. People come up all the time talking about that song. It really has connected with people. And they've tried to option it in 50 different movies. And we've said no to all of them, hahaha...
jack: "I wrote that specifically for Meg. I wanted it to be half Mazzy Star and half Peggy Lee. I played it for her in my attic. Meg laughed, she liked it. That organ sound was from me lying down on the studio floor pressing the organ pedals. If you listen close you hear wood popping on the piano pedal. Toe Rag's scary to a lot of people. They don't want to be confined. But the limitations make you work.
jack: "I'm on my hands and knees on the floor playing the bass pedals of a Hammond organ. If you listen closer - maybe on headphones or something - you can hear the wood popping, like the pedals popping up and hitting the wood at times in the song. It sounds like someone knocking on a door or something." Meg: "I'm completely taking over from now on" she joked, hinting that Jack would make the most of his time out during their live sets to "climb up amplifier stacks and stage dive into the crowd."
jack: "she doesn't like her own voice at all. I wrote that song for her to sing specifically. And she adapted to it, I guess. She likes it all right now, but she wouldn't tell you that. Meg: "Jack wrote it for me to sing, so there'd be a way for me to sing on this album…I told him I couldn't sing it, but he refused to believe me, so we tried it out." Meg: "I was really self-conscious at first about doing it, but I think I'm getting more used to being up at the front."
Liam Watson: “The deep bass tones on the intro of Cold Cold Night were done with the foot pedals on a Hammond organ using the internal speaker.”
I'm Finding It Harder To Be Gentleman ]
Ben Blackwell: Are you finding it harder to be a gentleman?
jack: (laughs) Yeah. Ben: That song nails it, a feeling, the Jonathan Richman-type point of view. The guy standing in the corner with his hands in his pockets, but...
It's True That We Love One Another ]
jack: "It's supposed to be about ourselves, like the Mamas and the Papas' Creeque Alley. It was the first song I ever wrote, recorded and mixed in the same day. It forced me to work. On the next album I'll have a lot of people I respect write down a song topic and write a song about it. I'll be confined with having to come up with something."
Holly Golightly is an English musician in a band called Holly Golightly and Thee Headcoatees, the female counterparts to Billy Childish and the Headcoats if you've ever heard of them.
jack: "We were fans and we were… I can't remember… do you remember the first time we met her? I don't remember."
Meg: "We knew Bruce [Brand] - who was the drummer from Thee Headcoatees - and I think we met her through him."
jack: "I can't remember the first instances really, but we've been friends with them for a while now. And every time we were in England we were always hanging out together or staying at Bruce's house or Holly's place or whatever. Just been really good friends. We went on tour together and we started playing bigger shows, and she warmed up for us and we love her albums. We probably met her through Sympathy For The Record Industry, their US label because her albums were on Sympathy. We wanted to do a recording together - we were thinking about doing a 45 together or something a while ago. We were in town in London, and we were going to go check out Toe-Rag and I called her and said, 'Do you wanna go work on a song 'cause we're gonna check Toe-Rag out, 'cause we've never been there before'. And she's like, 'Yeah'. So I wrote that song for us to sing, in the hotel room, and finished it in about a half an hour. And we went over to Holly's house and we rehearsed it with her, then we went to Toe-Rag and recorded it in a couple of takes and then we mixed it down. So it was the first time we did the whole process in one day like that, and it was like the first day at Toe-Rag too, to check the place out. It was so good because it was sort of like this folk song that used all three of our real names in the iconic sense. But just then making up this fake situation that Holly and I, we're in love, and that we were having a fight and Meg was breaking up the fight to get us all to be friends again. It was great because especially what Holly says at the end, was what she really actually said when we recorded. It was just on the take and it just seemed it was a great ending to the album, so I love this one."
Jimmy The Exploder ]
"She was playing so childishly, everyone I'd ever played with was, like, male drummers. I'd been writing all these childish songs, like 'Jimmy the Exploder' from our first album - this story I made up about this monkey who exploded things that weren't the colour red. So when Meg started playing that way, I was like, Man, don't even practice! This is perfect."
Johnny's Death Letter (Soledad Brothers song) ]
Johnny Walker: "I was playing at a lounge in Detroit when Jack struck up a conversation about slide guitar. He was really pumping me for information. I could see that he was really enthusiastic about playing blues, and he had good taste. For many years after we would talk smack and play guitar on his front porch. We recorded a lot of good stuff on his front porch. Jack White is worth his weight in brilliance. He played snow shovel on the Italy single. He had to stand 20 feet from the mic, on the sidewalk, because the shovel was so loud. You are still able to hear his hollerin, 'In My Time of Dying' on the record. We also recorded a version of Little Red Rooser' on his porch complete with distant Southwest Detroit gunfire. Very tasteful."
jack: "With Jolene by Dolly Parton, we've always loved country music. We wanted to do a country single with Dolly on one side and Loretta [Lynn] on the other. I first heard Dolly Parton a couple years ago, and couldn't believe what a good thing she had going at one point. Then I found out later that other bands had already covered that song."
jack: "When I heard it - I heard that it was Dolly Pardons first single and I thought that was ah - big - ah - I don't want to say ballsy - just a courageous song for her to release as her first song - its in a minor key it kind of has this evil overtone - it comes back to me liking Loretta Lynn so much with that finger pointing at men kinda song - just layin it down the line for someone like that your really hurting my feelings - pretty interesting " "Both me and Meg always loved that song. It's in a minor key and almost has an evil tone to it."
Lafayette Blues: ]
This track is about all the French street names in Detroit. You can see a list of them on the back cover of the single;
"Marantette, Leverette, Lannette, Lafayette, Livernois, Labrosse, Louis, Rochelle, Marcelle, Riopelle, Manistique, Armour, Mercier, Le May, Tournier, Salliote, Le Roy, Montlieu, Cadieux, Neveaux, Ave. En Detroit, Lamphere, Belle Terre, Marcelle, Metetal, Rouge and Le Blanc."
jack: "This one is about streets your parents might used to live in, because I know most of ya are north of 8 mile now. And your parents might used to live in a street that they have no idea what the name of it was, and what it meant, and what is the history behind it. So welcome to it. Welcome to your family history and welcome to Mr. George Washington helping you out. Starting this country for ya, and now you have roads and potholes to complain about."
Let's Build A Home: ]
Who are the people talking before the song starts?
The kid is Jack and that is his mom talking to him. There is a brother in there prompting him to sing the little ditty.
Jack: "That's me when I was six or seven, my older brother and mother were taping that. It was some sort of religious song. I didn't sing it right. It should have been, 'I wish I I had a little red box to put the devil in, I'd take him out and punch-punch-punch and put him back again.'"
Little Acorns ]
jack: "My brother, who works at a radio commercial distribution place, had been bringing around tapes for me to record on. I was recording a piano melody and when I played it back it had this guy speaking on the other track. Totally accidental. I based a song around his story. He's actually a famous news anchorman in Detroit, Mort Crim. I thought he'd hate it. He loved it" Jack White: "For those of you not in the Detroit area, Mort Crim is the local newscaster on our NBC affiliate. He's about 170 years old and sits across from Carmen Harlan saying Detroit ain't so bad then tells us about the 5 year old girl that got caught in the middle of a gang related shoot out."
jack: "His name is Mort Crim. He's an anchorman on the news in Detroit, the local news. And that was a complete accident that somebody had given me a bunch of reel-to-reel tapes to record demos over on a two track, and they're filled with radio ads and commercials and things. And I was recording on one track the piano part that you hear in the background at the beginning, and when I played it back on the other track, there was that story. It was perfectly in time. How you're hearing it on the album is just how I heard it when it first happened, this accident. I wrote the rest of the song based around that story because I love that story. These sort of morality tales - he has some radio show, he has these morality tales or whatever and it was great. So I recorded that, we recorded the song, I took it back to Detroit and I found him and went to his office, Mort Crim's office. I played it for him to get permission, to see if we could put it on the record, thinking he was gonna hate it. But he really liked it, so we were glad." Was he aware of the band?
jack: "No, but I think he knew somebody that told him about us, so yeah. We let him know where we were and that we were from Detroit and that we were just, that we were not doing anything to insult him. It wasn't a joke or anything - not trying to make light of the story because I think it was really, really great, really beautiful… I loved the context where it accidentally happened and we turned it into a new song. I've never written a song like that before, based on something like that. He found it quite interesting too so luckily he said, 'Okay'."
Little Room: ]
jack: "It's about how... if you're a great painter and you're just painting in your room and all of a sudden someone sees it, then they're all, 'This is great! You're genius! Let's have a show.' So they have a show and everyone goes nuts," Jack said. "Then they're like, 'OK, let's have another show,' and now your inspiration isn't from where it used to be when no one knew about you. How do you keep your inspiration? If you actually are doing something good, how do you handle it?"
Lord Send Me An Angel ]
Jack:"Yeah, it's hard for me to sing like that, about how great I am. One line goes, 'All these Georgia women won't let Willie McTell rest', and I change it to, 'All these Detroit women won't let Mr. Jack White rest.' To me, it's a joke, 'cos everybody who knows me knows that women don't like me that much!" He laughs. "But I was toying with the idea that girls are attracted to cockiness, and bad, bad qualities in men. So I feel comfortable with that song, because it's true. Lying is the artistic way of telling the truth. I'm lying, saying, Look ate me, look at this (puts his arm around imaginary babe)… I'm just telling you the truth - in reverse.
JW - Well I listened to a lot of Blind Willie McTell while making this record. We do that McTell song at the end of the record that Meg also sang on. It was the first time Meg sang on any of our records, so that was fun.
Look Me Over Closely: ]
jack: "Even on our 1st EP we did our Marlene Dietrich song Look Me Over Closely on the B-side of "Let's Shake Hands." I had just bought the LP on a lark and loved that song. A cool '30s Broadway type thing. After that came out, I realized someone on Sympathy had already covered it. Lord Send Me An Angel:
jack: "Yeah, it's hard for me to sing like that, about how great I am. One line goes, 'All these Georgia women won't let Willie McTell rest', and I change it to, 'All these Detroit women won't let Mr. Jack White rest.' To me, it's a joke, 'cos everybody who knows me knows that women don't like me that much! But I was toying with the idea that girls are attracted to cockiness, and bad, bad qualities in men. So I feel comfortable with that song, because it's true. Lying is the artistic way of telling the truth. I'm lying, saying, Look ate me, look at this (puts his arm around imaginary babe)… I'm just telling you the truth - in reverse."
jack: "He's [Bob Dylan] still got it. He's still got it. He still tells it like it is."
Moonage Daydream: ]
jack: "Yeah it just seemed oh this is a really great song. I have early tapes of us just messing around doing that and Bowies Moon Age Daydream - which Meg is a big fan of that song so we tried playing that - we thought it sounded really good and we thought why don't we work on this."
Never Far Away ]
JW: They didn't wanna put that song on the record. They didn't wanna put it in the movie, then not on the record either! I said, Well, you might as well, I wrote that about the characters in the book. There's nothing else I can do with it. You either take it or I'm throwing it away. So they put it on there. They didn't like it. Nobody involved in that movie or with the soundtrack likes that song. I heard not one person compliment me on it. I think they just did it as a favour - ok, we'll put it on the record. The whole record was really cool, working with those musicians. It's so great that T-Bone [Burnett, producer] has given those people a voice, given them an arena to be heard. There's a whole set of people now that love that music. Thank God! It's really cool.
Party Of Special Things To do ]
Originally from the Schrader brothers' 1978 film Blue Collar, starring Richard Pryor, Yaphet Kotto and Harvey Keitel as beat-down workers at one of Blake's "dark Satanic mills" - a Detroit auto plant.
jack: "I've heard the song from that movie, yeah. For the single we did China Pig from Trout Mask Replica as an acoustic blues song, and on Ashtray Heart and Party of Special Things To Do we used different recording techniques, going straight into the board, with fuzz guitar and bass. That was the first time we've ever done that. When a song feels like it needs something, I just wanna have it there."
Portland Oregon (from Van Lear Rose): ]
Loretta: "I've a funny feeling that I've got a couple he might even want to do himself. I run across one called 'Portland, Oregon, And A Sloe Gin Fizz, It's a little up-tempo thing, and I think he'll like that one!"
jack: "She insisted we do a duet, I said, 'All right, let's do 'Portland Oregon' together, and we'll talk to each other at the bar.'" Loretta: "I went back in the studio the next day after I recorded that, they were playing it back and I heard my voice change in the second verse. I said, 'Well who is that?' and Jack said, 'That's me.'
Rated X ]
Loretta Lynn: "My management called me and told me,'Did you not know that they have "Rated X" out also?'" So somebody brought me the CD, and you know what? Jack done that song just like me. I was shocked! I said, 'He must be some Loretta Lynn fan to have recorded "Rated X."' He did a great job, just a great job."
Red Death at 6:14 ]
Meg: "Red Death"... for some reason, we never really started doing it (live). We kinda did that for the Sympathetic Sounds Of Detroit compilation, and we may have played it once or twice. [pauses] I'm not really sure why we never did that one. I really like that one.
jack: "I'd got threatened that week, just walking up the street and [Screwdriver] was retaliation. This feeling that I owe somebody I don't even know something, and at the same time my life is threatened. Like the line, 'I love people like a brother now/But I'm not going to be their mother now.' I don't need to owe anybody, I need to protect myself."
jack: "We were just kinda goofing around and then I started writing that song screwdriver from our first album - we just started doing that riff and there was this screwdriver laying there ion the room so I started singing about it - what I'd do with it - ya know being angry???? cuz when I was a kid I saw somebody - I think it was a comic strip or something - some kids on a subway and they had - they were gonna rob somebody but they had screwdrivers in their hand not knives."
Seven Nation Army ]
jack: "I played the riff again and it sounded interesting, so the next thing I usually do in a case like that is try to think of the first thing that comes into my head - how it makes me feel. "I think I said something like 'I'm gonna back it up,' which suggested I was up against something. OK, now what's going on? Why do you feel that way. I thought of this character whose friends are all gossiping about him and he feels so bad he has to leave town, but you get so lonely you come back."
Jack: "I wrote that riff in a soundcheck in Australia at a show that we played down there. I was working on this phrase that I used to say when I was a kid. I used to call the Salvation Army 'Seven Nation Army' because I thought that's what the name was. So I was working around that and it just became a song about gossip. When I wrote that, I thought if I ever got asked to write the next James Bond theme, that would be the riff for it." Jack White: "that's not a bass at the start but my guitar with an octave pedal. The song's about gossip. It's about me, Meg and the people we're dating. The world constantly tries to dissect people, chew them up and spit them out. We get that all the time, people wanting our songs for commercials, wanting to know what the inside of Meg's bathroom looks like."
Jack: "It felt strong when we mixed the album down. It felt like it should be the first track on the album. It just felt like an opening, explosive thing. I thought it would be interesting to release that at first."
Jack: "Yeah. I've always tried to stay away from [writing songs about anger] for the most part, but it came out a couple of times on this record. I don't know why. "Seven Nation Army" is about this character who is involved in the realm of gossip with his friends and family and is so enraged by it that he wants to leave town." Jack White: "That was a phrase that I said. When I was younger, there was thrift store around called Salvation Army. I thought it was called Seven Nation Army when I was a kid, that's what I called it. That's where the phrase came from and I was building off from that for a second when I was writing lyrics. The riff I wrote when I was sound checking in Australia, a year or a year-and-a-half ago. I thought if I got offered to write the next James Bond soundtrack that would be the riff for it. I don't think I'm going to get the chance though."
jack: "I think it's the only time I used two of my voice - I doubled it. It said in the NME I used a vocoder, which is a complete insult to me. I would never use such a horrible, evil tool."
Meg: "Jack basically wrote (Seven Nation Army) around the idea of this guy who comes into town and all his friends are gossiping about him. It gets so bad, he wants to leave town and then he decides not to."
Jack: With Elephant, we had a lot of songs when we went in to record, but quite a few of them were unfinished. Like "Seven Nation Army": that was a tiff that I played at soundcheck in Australia. I think I wrote the lyrics the night before we went to record it."Ball and Biscuit" was just written on the spot. And "The Hardest Button to Button" was half-written at home, but all the rhythmic interplay--the dub-dub-dub-dub breaks-- that was all figured our in the studio.
JW: No, it did not feel that way at all. Nobody wanted to put that out as the single. Everyone wanted to put 'There's No Home For You Here'. I kept saying (reasonable) I really think it should be 'Seven Nation Army'.
That is funny though. You don't really notice it until way later. I didn't notice it then - when we were mixing it down and recording it. I saw some footage. Dave Swanson actually came down and filmed us while we were recording that record. He filmed a ton of things, and 20 seconds of us recording that song, and then stopped, and the next thing he filmed was hours later - like, it wasn't like it was important. It wasn't like we all thought, This riff is really catchy or anything. Hahaha. It felt like no big deal at all.
JW: And Ben Blackwell said, That's the only time I ever heard a crowd chant a riff! Da da-da da-da durr. It's true, you don't ever hear anyone chanting a riff. It feels good. I'm happy that something connects with other people. That's what we're trying to do - connect with other people. If it connects with them, then we're succeeding, I guess.
Sister Do You Know My Name: ]
jack: "There are songs on our albums that I really like that don't go over well live. They're slow...people don't respond to them. It's a shame that I can't play "A Boy's Best Friend" or "Sister, Do You Know My Name?" often because they stop the show in a bad way or something. I try to sneak them in once in awhile."
Sittin' On Top of The World: ]
jack: "'Sittin' On Top Of The World' was the first blues song I learned how to play--from Howlin' Wolf's version, when I was a
teenager, actually--so I had known that."
Small Faces ]
Jack: “That’s relatively new... from 1968 or so! It’s a band called Public Nuisance, from Los Angeles. They dressed completely in black and on record they sound like a mix between the Pretty Things and early Kinks. Excellent songs. One of the songs we must do a cover of is called “Small Faces”.”
Stop Breaking Down: ]
jack: "With Stop Breaking Down. You know, I'd heard "Exile on Main Street" before but didn't own it and so had actually never heard the Rolling Stones version of Stop (laughs) until after our LP came out.
jack: "The reason we originally recorded that was because we were going to put it on the B-side of a single with The Big Three Killed My Baby, make it a whole anti-automotive 45. Then when we recorded it, it came out so good we figured we'd better put it on the album. Suzy Lee Johnny Walker of The Soledad Brothers plays 2nd slide guitar.
That's Where It's At ]
jack: "We had this [other] song called 'That's Where It's At' that we didn't put on the first album. [The lyric] was, "All you people know/Just where it's at now/walking down the street with a baseball bat now." It's about the kids in the neighborhood. We weren't going to use that song anymore, and I played that chord, and 'I smell a rat' popped out again. Meg played it with me and I started singing the lyrics from that other song about the kids in the neighborhood again, and we said, 'This is perfect.'"
There's No Home For You Here ]
Jack: "I think we went too far with that song, our idea was to see how far we could go with an eight-track recorder, and I think how far we went is too far."
Jack: "I just said, Let's just open this song up. I layered vocals over vocals, like 12 different voices of myself all up the scale, all done with splicing tapes. It's anti-everything we've ever done."
jack: "Yeah, we still recorded it in one day, we still recorded it on an 8-track. We were restricting ourselves in that sense. But I don't know if it's something we could do live. I mean I love the idea that live and records are two separate things. I just don't know what I think about that song anymore. I mean, at the moment we did it and finished it, it was so explosive. It seemed like a gigantic explosion of a song. You know, I don't know!"
jack: "That's a Digitech Whammy pedal that I think may have been accidentally set for two octaves - the 45th fret! IT was so ear piercing, I thought I'd leave it in there because it blew my mind [laughs].
Liam Watson: “the keyboard sound is a Fender Rhodes. We distorted it through a guitar amplifier.”
The Union Forever: ]
jack: "I was thinking about different things people said in the film [Citizen Kane]. I wrote them down and some of them started to rhyme, so it worked out."
jack: "There's a song in the movie, called 'It Can't Be Love, Because There Is No True Love,' that plays at this party they have in the Everglades during the film. I could never find what this song was about, if it was a '40s song, some jazz standard--I could never find it. I was trying to play it on guitar, and I said a line from the movie while I was playing the chords. And it was like, 'I wonder if I can rhyme that with something else from the movie?' I had a lot of the lines memorized already, and then I went through the film and started writing down things that might rhyme together, that might make sense together."
The Citizen Cane Lawsuit
Yes it seems our gruesome twosome (sorry I'm running out of ways to refer to them) has been hit with a little plagiarism lawsuit by Warner Brothers. This could mean a good bit of money coming out of their pockets considering White Blood Cells has sold a significant amount of albums. Copyright attorney Sam Ibrahim states: "I believe that Warner Bros. has a reasonable case against The White Stripes. In the event that a court found infringement, Warner Bros. could get an injunction to stop future sales. The band could be found liable for millions of dollars in damages, and to keep selling (the album) they would have to pay a royalty. It could be in excess of three or four million dollars." The band don't mention the film in the album's credits, but frontman Jack White has been open about 'The Union Forever's debt to 'Citizen Kane'. He told Rolling Stone before the LP's release, "There's a song in the film 'It Can't Be Love, Because There Is No True Love' at a party they have in the Everglades. I was trying to play it on guitar, and I went through the film and started writing down things that might rhyme and make sense together." Copyright attorney Laurence Pulgram explained that White's patchwork writing method could actually be the band's primary defense. He commented: "The White Stripes would argue that its use is transformative, in that it does not merely copy the film in a film, but takes bits and pieces of the film and transforms them into a song; and that this will not reduce sales or otherwise affect the 'market' for the film." Hopefully this doesn't get too ugly - I don't see Jack's use of the movie dialogue as affecting the sales or image of Citizen Cane in any negative fashion. If anything some people have probably viewed this movie on the sole basis that Jack patched together the song from it. I suggest writing a letter to Warner Bros letting them know where you as a fan and movie goer feel. But that usually doesn't help that much. At this point nothing major has surfaced in the new department so I think everything has passed over safely.
Authors note: It seems all of this has blown over with little overt consequence so rest assured it's all behind us (and by us I mean them).
Van Lear Rose (from Van Lear Rose obviously): ]
Lynn: "Mommy was the most beautiful woman. I remember how she looked. And I would sit and look at her and wished one day that I would be as pretty as she was. 'Cause she had real high cheekbones. She was dark complicated. Great big ol' round blue eyes. Hair way down to her waist. She was mostly Indian you know. And she had Irish in her, but that Cherokee come out on her. Daddy called her 'Squaw.' 'Squaw's on the warpath kids! Don't go in the kitchen!" "I said to my daughter, Patsy, 'you'd know, the only thing I hate about this (song) is Mommy's not gonna be here to hear it. And I wish she could hear it because it would've tickled her to death. 'Cause she liked to play that role, you know? You'd see her coming walking down the street, here she'd come just swinging that little butt, smoking her cigarette. And she was a swinger, I tell you. She was a character. Right up 'till she died she was like that"
Wayfaring Stranger: ]
jack: "And I knew Wayfaring Stranger from a band I was in called Two-Star Tabernacle--we had played that song. So when I went to audition for the director, I, I already knew how to play that song."
We're Going to Be Friends: ]
The sentimental We're Going to Be Friends tells the story of walking to school with a girl named Suzy Lee and quickly becoming pals.
jack: "I didn't really have much of a great time in grade school, so I like writing about that. I write about it a lot - actually having friends in grade school and having a girlfriend or something back then when you really wanted it. Kids are just so cruel sometimes. It's nice to fantasize that they're not."
Women's Prison (from Van Lear Rose) ]
Loretta: "I've been to a lot of men's prisons and done shows for 'em, but no one has ever asked me to go to a woman's prison. I think it's a shame that no one even thinks about a woman's prison - don't you? Nobody cares, and that's just the way I felt. That was one reason why I wrote it. I'm trying to let 'em know I do love 'em, no matter what."
You're Pretty Good Looking ]
jack: "I think the catchiest things of the stuff we've written, like [You're Pretty Good Looking] on our second album... is just the most natural thing. I didn't sit down and figure it all out. I don't think it can be faked."
You've Got Her In Your Pocket ]
jack: "I want to Be The Boy is the ultimate sweetheart part of the record. When we went to Toe Rag the first time we recorded [final track] It's True That We Love One Another with [Thee Headcoats singer] Holly Golightly. Afterwards I played Pocket and put everybody in a bad mood. It's Meg's favorite.
Liam Watson: “It was performed live, the vocals and the guitar, using two mics. Jack quite fancied doing it in stereo and because I’m not too keen on stereo acoustic guitars I thought I would try and omni/figure-eight (ie: mid and side) stereo thing I learned from an old BBC book. It wasn’t too wide and it turned out okay. The side mic was a Coles 4038 and the mic was a condenser, but I can’t remember which one.”
jack: "It's the first White Stripes song that only has one of us on it - ever."
jack: "Yeah, this is a very old song. I wrote this about five years ago. I never just had a chance to record it really, and I just felt like the time was right. I hope I've nailed it, but I don't know. Maybe it needed to wait longer, I don't know."
6.3 Unrecorded Songs: ]
Ben Blackwell: "Eyes of White, Blue and Silver - song played while Jack was in the Upholsters with Brian Muldoon
"3" - jack: That may have been the first song I ever wrote. It was definitely one of the first. It was an instrumental, though. I never felt it was ready for The White Stripes. We'll have to try it out sometime.
"Nine Foot Two By Four"
"It's Nine, Let's Go"
Ben Blackwell: "Spitting Tacks" is the other one that comes to mind, that you played constantly. I heard it all the time and now it's like "What did happen to that?"
6.4 Other bands covering White Stripes songs ]
Josh Chambers - Apple Blossom Nostalgia 77 - Seven Nation Army - 12" inch release???
Fell In Love With A Girl (Angry White Boy Polka) - Weird Al Yankovic
Fell In Love With A Girl - Perfect Flaw - Performed Live
You've Got Her In Your Pocket - Brendan Benson - Performed Live
Seven Nation Army - Audioslave - Performed Live
Seven Nation Army - A Perfect Circle - Performed Live
Seven Nation Army - Metallica - Performed Live
Seven Nation Army - Ryan Adams - Performed Live
Hardest Button to Button - Black Rebel Motorcycle - Performed Live
I Fought Piranhas - Whirlwind Heat - Performed Live
We're Going To Be Friends - Jack Johnson - Performed Live
Dead Leaves And The Dirty Ground - Ryan Adams - Performed Live (with different lyrics)
Dead Leaves and the Dirty Ground - Cat Power - Performed Live
Seven Nation Army - Cat Power - Performed Live
Fell In Love With A Girl - Richard Cheese - Performed Live
The Big 3 Killed My Baby - Whirlwind Heat - Performed Live
Let's Shake Hands - The Mistreaters - Performed Live
Fell In Love With A Boy - Joss Stone - Performed Live
Meg: "I liked what she did with that song. It was cool. For some reason it always felt a bit odd to play that one live, so we started fooling around with it. We've slowed it down so the song has more of a groove to it."
Seven Nation Army - Flaming Lips - Performed Live
Wayne Coyne, "We picked a song we think that's one of the great tracks that's come out from the recent past. And it's our version of The White Stripes' 'Seven Nation Army.' But we have changed the lyrics to be kinda The Wizard of Oz meets George Bush...Meets The Butthole Surfers' 'Moving to Florida'," continued Steven Drozd, the musical brains and multi-instrumentalist of the band. Confused? Don't be. According to the Lips' official website www.flaminglips.com, this version of "Seven Nation Army" is actually a bizarre hybrid of the tune from "Seven Nation Army" and lyrics from the Butthole Surfers' "Moving To Florida" with a political twist.
Sidenote: Jack makes a brief appearance on the upcoming Flaming Lips film: 'My Life With The Fearless Freaks."
You're Pretty Good Looking (for a girl) - This song can be heard in it's original form in the film, The Hot Chick. The soundtrack includes a version performed by Whirlwind Heat as well..
Also Although these aren't really "cover" versions, they're pretty funny to watch.
At the 7th Annual Air Guitar World Championships in Oulu, Finland, Zac "Mr Magnet" Monro won with his performance of "Fell In Love With A Girl." A video of this can be seen
And if you are REALLY bored you can see a flash video of some punk rock kittens performing the tune.
6.5 Other Cover Bands and Releases ]
The Different Stripes
If anyone has heard the Diff'rent Strokes CD you have a basic idea of what this is. The Diff'rent Stripes are basically a tribute band to the White Stripes covering songs on a Casio keyboard. It is unknown who actually the Diff'rent Stripes is, but I've heard that Blur/Gorillaz vocalist Damon Albarn and Pulp's Jarvis Cocker are possibilities. The single has versions of Hotel Yorba, I Think I Smell A Rat and Fell In Love With A Girl.
NME reports that Jack White was played the mock band's version of Hotel Yorba during an interview with a German radio station. A spokesperson for the station said: "It made him laugh. He asked where it'll be released and I asked, if he knows, who's behind it but he didn't. I burned the song onto a CD and gave it to him after the show. He was really pleased."
The Black Stripes:
This was a sort of tribute band that appeared on the Mtv Latin American awards one time. It consisted of Charley Alberty, Juanes (guitarist), and the singer is from Latin American Rock band. Supposedly other people were involved in the Black Stripes as well but I did not see this so I cannot confirm nor deny any additional information. The songs they played have not been confirmed but I heard that Seven Nation Army was part of the set. Any additional info on this would be appreciated.
SECTION 7 - VIDEOS AND AWARDS
7.1 Death Letter Video: ]
This really isn't an official video - there's really no other information on this. It's just some concert footage with the studio version dubbed over the video. I don't know who made it or anything else. But it's pretty cool.
7.2 Hotel Yorba ]
To start off, now the video was not shot at the actual Hotel Yorba - but it should have been. It was originally going to be shot at the actual hotel but apparently not everyone is a big White Stripes fan. "They wouldn't let us in. They thought we were from the IRS or something," Jack White said. "It's a really seedy hotel, so I guess we just looked a little too respectable to get a room there. The funniest thing was we were sitting out in the van saying, 'Man, we can't get in, I can't believe this,' and just then NPR did a review of our new album, saying, 'Here's the new song Hotel Yorba.' They started playing it, and we were just laughing."
Meg: "When we made "Hotel Yorba" we didn't think that it would get played or anything like that. I love that video as well. What we were doing at that time, it was like really low budget. The director did a good job for that."
Side note: the video was directed by former Goober and the Peas / 2 Star Tabernacle member Dan Miller. And stars Dan Millers's wife Tracee Miller both of Blanche.
Side note #2: There are versions of Rated X and Hotel Yorba on the Hotel Yorba single that were recorded at the hotel in room 286 by Brendan Benson.
7.3 We're Going To Be Friends: ]
This video was shot directly after the Hotel Yorba video because they had some remaining film left. I have heard, not sure if it's actually factual, that Meg was sleeping during the shoot. Kids were riding their bikes across the street and laughing at Jack and Meg while they were shooting. Jack is laughing at the end but trying to pretend he's not.
7.4 Fell In Love With A Girl: ]
Director Michel Gondry used a combination of computer animation and a sort of claymation type method for this one. The duo were shot on the streets of London with extremely heavy makeup. There were also blue screen scenes shot then picked the scenes that could be rendered in Lego. The process took 15 animators more than six weeks to complete. So basically you have a really heavy pixilated effect applied to live footage of the band combined with a more primitive animation with legos. An interesting side note is the first meeting between the director and the band. "One day he came to a restaurant and he had Jack's head in Lego," explained Meg White. 'This is what I want to do for the video; it's perfect, really," Jack said Gondry told them. "You couldn't argue with that. When someone brings a Lego sculpture of your head to dinner and says this is what the video's going to be, you pretty much say, 'That's it, go ahead.' "
This video has been nominated for a number of awards, please see the awards section for specifics.
7.5 Any interpretations on the Dead Leaves and Dirty Ground Video? ]
Another great video from director Michel Gondry (who also directed "Fell In Love With A Girl"). The video takes a few viewing's to fully comprehend: the first viewing is spent solely on the story and how-the-heck-did-they-do-that speculation. In fact they used film projection, one of Gondry's trademark techniques. Jack White returns home to find a mess of his possessions in front of it. Inside, he finds the home scoured and obliterated, and absent of Meg. He walks through the home in shock, anger, and despondency. His mind races, thinking of how this devastation occurred: what happened to his relationship with Meg? who did this? We know what's going on in Jack's head because it is projected onto the very rooms as he thinks them. It is as if his mind is taunting him, forcing him to witness the destruction of his house and relationship like a helpless bystander. On the walls we get to see the story unfold as well: Jack leaves the house and waves goodbye to Meg. The coast clear, partygoers chaotically enter the house through doors and windows and have at it. At first Meg tries to push the punks out the door, but to no avail. Once the destruction is over she packs her bag, grabs one of their favorite paintings off the wall, and walks out. Interspersed with these projections are the ghosts of Jack and Meg's life in the house: singing at the piano, cute moments in the kitchen, tales of a once-fruitful relationship. But these are simply ghosts, and Jack sags down on the bed, defeated.
Meg: "We had such a great time working with Michel Gondry again on the Dead Leaves video but Jack had it much easier than I did during the shoot. All of his scenes were alone or with me. One funny and slightly dangerous moment was when I was steamrolled by the bunch of partygoers who were trying to bust into our house. In one take, I was knocked to the ground, pop was dumped all over me, and I landed on the camera."
7.6 Seven Nation Army: ]
Not too much info on this one - it was directed by the team of Alex & Martin.
Interesting fact: The red Airline guitar seen in this video is not actually the one used to perform the song. It's typically the hollow body Kay guitar tuned to an Open A which Jack will use. Ok so it's not that interesting.
Interesting fact2: Look for Megs brace from when she injured her arm ice skating in the video.
7.7 I Just Don't Know What To Do With Myself Video: ]
In addition to forcing the cancellation of the band's appearances at the Reading and Leeds festivals, Jack's injuries had one other consequence: the video for their splenetic cover of Burt Bacharach's I Just Don't Know What To Do With Myself could not feature the band. The commission was thus opened to tender, and awarded to Sofia Coppola, who had the novel idea of filming - oh yes - Kate Moss pole-dancing.
Jack: "Sofia Coppola just wrote a two-sentence thing: 'I would like to film this video, and have Kate Moss in it, in black and white, dancing on a pole'," he says. "Everybody else had these super-long descriptions of videos that they wanted to make for us, and none of them really hit me as something interesting. I thought that one was so simple and powerful, that it was a great idea. So we let her do it. But I'm not really that happy with it. I wanted the dancer to be the ultimate metaphor for someone who doesn't know what to do with themselves, so they're selling themselves; exploiting themselves," says Jack. "And in the end, I don't think that metaphor comes across. It becomes about selling sexuality. Just one look on her face - one shot - would have brought it out for me. You'd say, 'Oh, that's exactly what this song's about.' But when it came out like it did, my first reaction was, 'We've insulted Burt Bacharach. I hope he knows we weren't just trying to use an underwear ad to sell our album'."
Meg: "I thought it would be more sad; more emotional,"
Sofia Coppola (director): ''I said, 'I don't know -- how about Kate Moss doing a pole dance?' '' Coppola recalled. ''I said that because I would like to see it. That's the way I work: I try to imagine what I would like to see.''
On the set of the video that day, Kate Moss was watching Robin Conrad, a professional choreographer who specializes in pole dancing, and a friend of a friend of Sofia's, as she slid up and down the metal pole ending in a modified back bend. ''Oh, I can do that,'' Moss joked, as she tried the same maneuver. Conrad, who studied dance at Cal Arts and has choreographed pole dances to Tom Waits songs, is a typical Sofia find. Conrad flew to New York a few days earlier and had been rehearsing with Moss since, downstairs at the Mercer Hotel in SoHo. (''There's a pole in the basement,'' Sofia explained.) Coppola was conferring now with Moss, telling her to snake up the pole a little more slowly. Moss, who turned down a short white robe offered by an assistant, was remarkably comfortable in her underwear and sat with her feet up in front of a fan. ''My body has not had this much exercise in its whole life,'' she said. While she rested, Sofia planned the next shot. ''I think the camera is too close to her behind,'' Sofia almost whispered to Acord, the cinematographer. She perched next to him. It was one of those moments when being a female director probably makes a difference. What male director wouldn't have had his camera relish close-ups of Moss's near-naked body? ''I'm self-conscious about that shot,'' Sofia said quietly. ''I know we're making a sexy video, but it's sort of brave not to show too much. We want it to be a little Fosse, but I also want it to have that weird Factory feel.'' During the 4 p.m. lunch break for the White Stripes video (they'd started at 1), a long table was set up in the empty garage of the studio. It was a beautiful afternoon, and an assistant opened the garage door onto West 12th Street. ''This is why I didn't want to shoot in Queens,'' Sofia said, as she surveyed the street in all its Greenwich Village charm. As it often does in Sofia's life, the scene outside fit perfectly with the video scene inside. The real-world mood -- a kind of polished bohemianism, full of interest -- and the movie mood matched, which is Sofia's way.
Jack: "I don't have much to say about it, It was completely Sofia Coppola's idea and I don't really have a comment on it."
7.8 Black Math Video ]
Not too much to say about this one either - it's hasn't been widely released yet but the video is a straight concert video - directed by Anthony Garth. The footage is from the Masonic Temple show on 4/8/03.
What makes this different from the usual live performance video, Garth says, is that he bled all the color out of the film except the reds, in keeping with the red-and-white color scheme that has become the band's visual trademark.
7.9 Hardest Button To Button Video: ]
When making the White Stripes' Hardest Button video, director Michel Gondry found the hardest button to button wasn't the stop-motion animation, securing a New York subway car or finding 32 identical amps - it was convincing frontman Jack White of his vision.
Gondry: "Jack wanted to do something else, and I generally compromise a bit with artists, but this time I was so sure it would work that I said we have to do it this way, and I didn't know for a bit if it was going to happen," he said. For "The Hardest Button to Button," Gondry - who previously lensed groundbreaking clips for the Stripes' "Fell in Love With a Girl" and "Dead Leaves and the Dirty Ground" - imagined the duo strutting their way down the streets and through the subways of New York playing the grimy blues number on rapidly multiplying and receding sets of drum kits and guitar amplifiers. Jack White was not really feeling Gondry's jamming in the streets concept. It didn't help that the band's singer/guitarist had recently broken his hand in a car accident and would have to wear a cumbersome cast on his left hand while pretending to play.
Gondry: "When I heard the song, it was so incredible, I knew I had to do the video," Gondry said. "It's the shape of the song that gave me the idea. The pattern, how it goes 'doot-doot-doot, doot, doot, doot, doot, doot.' This makes me think of 1, 2, 3, 4... 4, 8, 12, 16... 2, 4, 8, 16, 32." Gondry, whose videos typically involve creative camera tricks, pictured Meg White playing on a single drum kit, which would spawn a new set each time she hit a beat. At the same time, Jack White's stack of amplifiers would keep up with the doubling drum sets. This idea required that Gondry track down 32 identical Ludwig drum kits, as well as 32 amplifiers and 16 microphone stands. The crew would erect all the kits at once and Meg White would scoot from set to set as Jack walked in front of a new set of amplifiers for each shot. Each time the pair moved forward, the last set of instruments in line would be peeled off and brought to the front. The amps were rented, but the drum kits had to be purchased. (The band donated them to a music school after the shoot, fearing they'd end up on eBay if they got back into circulation.)
The laborious process made for three 16-hour days of shooting, all of which had to be completed during daylight hours, per Gondry's specifications. "We didn't hire any lights, so we had to do it all with natural light. I had it very carefully planned out, though I realized Jack was doing different expressions for each take and I didn't correct him. I initially told him to watch it, but I realized the result would be very electric because each frame would jump around with different expressions." In the finished video, White's facial contortions heighten the feel of a stop-motion nature documentary, even though the film was shot continuously. Gondry said the stop-motion effect was created in the editing room after the fact. The pair seem to make rapid progress in the video bouncing from a tunnel to the street, a field and a subway station - but in reality the shoot was confined to a small area in Harlem and Riverside Park near Grant's Tomb. The three main locations were within 200 yards of each other because of the amount of gear that had to dragged from setup to setup. And, luckily for Gondry, the folks who run New York's PATH subway trains were nice enough to give him eight hours of access to a train, which was taken out of service for a day to accommodate the shoot. If you look closely, you can see commuters stopping to stare at Jack and Meg as they weave in and out of the train's doors and up and down the platforms. And if you blink, you might miss a cameo from another artist who has benefited from Gondry's mad genius. The video's only literal reference to the song's lyrics comes during a line about a box with nothing in it, when Beck walks on to show Jack White a small red box. And Beck, of course, is wearing a white suit and with a red flower in his lapel in homage to the band's signature color scheme.
Jack: "Its the greatest video we've ever made, I think it's one of the greatest videos ever made. Michael Gondry is so brilliant and such a child at the same time. He's so perfect and I love the way he works and no body gets in his way. I can't stop watching it". Meg: "The Hardest Button" is actually my favorite video, and yeah, it was pretty tiring but it was more work for the crew! The art department was setting up drum sets all throughout the three days!
7.10 Portland Oregon Video ]
Another fantastic video…with a lot of cameos to boot. We get some tasty appearances from Loretta, Jack, Dan and Tracee Miller and the great Bernice Turner.
Bernice was a member of Hank Williams Drifting Cowboy band in the 1940's and was impressed by Loretta's performance at the location of the shoot, Earnestine & Hazel's, a nightspot on South Main in Portland. "She looked great,I told her, 'You're as beautiful as you've ever been.' And that dress they had her in was so pretty. It was pink and it was real tight and it had sequins on it. She's still got her figure. I knew her back before she had her first hit song in 1948."
Bernice, a friend of Earnestine & Hazel's owner Russell George, sat in the back of the bar on a sofa until Dan Miller, took her over to say hello to Loretta. "I went over and hugged her." After Loretta left, Bernice stayed and talked to Jack and others on the set. She owns the building that houses Easley McCain Recording, where The White Stripes recorded its third album, White Blood Cells. "They had a fit when they found out I was the owner, they had heard about me from Doug (Easley, studio co-owner). And then there's a picture on the wall - right behind where they were filming - of us (her old band) and Hank Williams."
Bernice became one of the extras in the video - a bar patron drinking "whiskey" (Diet Coke). "They took about as long filming me as they did Loretta." She stayed from about 1 to 11 p.m. "They all hugged me when I left down there." Through her publicist, Loretta said, "It was so special for me to have Bernice in the video and to get a chance to visit and share memories with her." Loretta described Earnestine & Hazel's as "this great old downtown club," and said, "It reminded me of so many of the little bars I used to play in when I first started out."
Jack told Dan, "It was a pretty cool coincidence that we ended up shooting at Earnestine & Hazel's because that's where The White Stripes played the last time we were in town, which was Sept. 10, the day before the 9/11 attacks."
7.11 Miss Being Mrs Video ]
The second video from Loretta's Van Lear Rose album Van Lear Rose features performance foortage and was filmed on location in Hurricane Mills, Tennessee, the same location of where Lynne's 1980 movie biography, Coal Miners Daughter was filmed. It's a video somewhat similar to Mark Romanek's touching video for Johnny Cash's Hurt that received so much praise. But it is a bit depressing…
7.12 Jack's Finger Surgery Video: ]
Soon after Jack's finger surgery we were greeted with a great clip of Jack getting his finger operated on. You can hear tracks off of Elephant
Jack: "I've always been interested in those things. I always watch surgery documentaries on TV, and I just thought it was an interesting little film on its own because they were playing White Stripes music in the operating room. You see their face, then them opening the finger up, drilling screws in it, then the X-ray, and at the end he said it was beautiful. I just thought it was cool."
Jack: "My main reason for that was, when I saw it.the first thing that hit me was immediately, people were saying, 'Oh, you're canceling all these shows in England, and people don't believe that this is really true.' It needed something to show them that it was just that we didn't feel like touring. Actually, we don't feel like touring. I don't right now [More grim laughter]. "But the second thing in my mind was, I thought it was an interesting statement about.this sort of invasion of celebrity and reality television something like MTV Cribs, where celebrities bring you into their home and show you their bathrooms and bedrooms and all that. I thought, 'Well, this'll be an interesting satire on all that: I'm going to bring you inside my body.' I think it's good to go to the extreme to show how foolish small things are. People were confused about whether it was a step in the direction of letting people into our lives, which we don't usually do. But that was the statement: letting you inside my body [laughs]."
And here's a link to the video - hopefully it still works:
7.13 Nomination and Awards ]
Here's a list of their nominations and wins.
(I know I'm missing a bunch so if you know of any please send me an blah blah blah…. You get the idea by now.)
Nominee - Alternative/Indie Artist (Rock/Pop) - Detroit Music Awards (2001)
Won - Best Local Band to Make It Big Next (Media Blitz) - Metro Times Best of Detroit Reader's Poll (2001)
Nominee - Outstanding Rock / Pop Songwriter (Jack White) (Rock / Pop) - Detroit Music Awards (2002)
Won - Outstanding National Album (White Blood Cells) - Detroit Music Awards (4/19/2002)
Nominee - Outstanding National Single ("Hotel Yorba") - Detroit Music Awards (4/19/2002)
Won - Outstanding National Single ("Hotel Yorba") - Detroit Music Awards (4/19/2002)
Nominated - Visionary Video - VH1/Vogue Fashion Awards - Fell In Love With A Girl
Nominated - Best Video of The Year - 2002 MTV Video Music Awards - Fell In Love With A Girl
Won - Breakthrough Video - 2002 MTV Video Music Awards - Fell In Love With A Girl
Won - Best Special Effects - 2002 MTV Video Music Awards - Fell In Love With A Girl
Won - Best Editing - 2002 MTV Video Music Awards - Fell In Love With A Girl
Won - Best Conversational Overkill - The White Stripes - The Metro Times
Won - Best Bartender-turned-rock-star - Meg White - The Metro Times
Nominated - Best Internation Group - Annual Brit Awards
Nominated - Best International Breakthrough Artist - Annual Brit Awards
Won - Best International Video - Seven Nation Army - Much Music Awards
Nominated - People's Choice: Favorite International Group - Dead Leave and the Dirty Ground - Much Music Awards
Won - Best Editing - 7 Nation Army - 2003 Mtv Video Music Awards
Nominated - Album of the Year - Elephant - 49th Annual Grammy's
Nominated - Best Rock Performance - 7 Nation Army - 49th Annual Grammy's
Won - Best Rock Song - 7 Nation Army - 49th Annual Grammy's
Won - Best Alternative Music Album - Elephant - 49th Annual Grammy's
Nominated - Best International Album - Elephant - The Brit Awards
Nominated - Best International Group - The Brit Awards
Rolling Stones "Rock's Wildest Myths" - Number Six
Winner - Detroit Music Awards - Outstanding National Major Label Album - The White Stripes' Elephant
Winner - De trout Music Awards - Outstanding National Single - Seven Nation Army
Nominated Europe Music Awards - "The Hardest Button To Button." - Best Video
Rolling Stones #100 Greatest Guitarist
Nominated - The 2004 Grammy's - Best Country Song - Loretta Lynn - Miss Being Mrs.
Nominated - The 2004 Grammy's - Best Country Song - Loretta Lynn - Portland Oregon
Nominated - The 2004 Grammy's - Best Country Album- Loretta Lynn - Van Lear Rose
Nominated - The 2004 Grammy's - Best Country Collaboration with Vocals - Loretta Lynn & Jack White for Portland Oregon
Nominated - The 2004 Grammy's - Best Female Country Performance - Loretta Lynn - Miss Being Mrs.
Jack: I've never had much faith in lists. I found the lists in Mojo Magazine to be a little more interesting and realistic, but a lot of them are just popularity contests. If it's about important guitar players, then Robert Johnson and Blind Willie Johnson should be on there. I'm not a technically proficient guitar player. I'm about what it means at the moment, the attack of it and the attitude. I don't sit at home trying to learn how to play scales and try to be as fast as I can. I just care about the emotion that comes out of it, I suppose. They can take it anyway they want to.
SECTION 8 - THE RELEASES
(in mostly chronological order)
8.1 Let's Shake Hands ]
Label: Italy Records
Catalogue #: IR-003
Released: February 1998 (2nd press Mid 2001).
A. Let's Shake Hands
B. Look Me Over Closely - Written By: T. Gilkyson (for Marlene Dietrich)
1st press: 1000 copies, clear red vinyl, picture sleeve with small photocopied insert.
2nd press: Mid 2001 (w/o pic sleeve), Early 2002 (w pic sleeve) 2000 copies on black vinyl, 1000 copies without picture sleeve (due to sleeves not done before UK tour), remaining 1000 copies with new, slightly redesigned picture sleeve (darker front pic, text with different font on back).
5 copies, test press on black vinyl, yellow label, picture sleeve plus insert, February 1998.
The insert features a quote by George Washington: "We take the stars and blue union from heaven, the red from our mother country, separating it by white stripes, thus showing we have separated from her, and the white stripes shall go down to posterity representing liberty".
All records of the 2nd press have a false start on Let's Shake Hands, this is because of an error on the CD used as master and because they didn't have time to make a test press in order to have the records ready for the UK tour). The L/R channels are also swapped on the B-side.
8.2 Lafayette Blues/Sugar Never Tasted So Good (double B-side single) ]
Label: Italy Records
Catalogue #: IR-006
Released: November 1998 (2nd press Mid 2001)
B. Lafayette Blues
B. Sugar Never Tasted So Good
1st press: 900 copies on white vinyl, fold out picture sleeve (white front with peppermints, pics of Jack and Meg on inside plus two small photocopied inserts).
2nd press, 1000 copies black black vinyl w/ redesigned fold out sleeve (red front with peppermints, pictures on inside related to cars and driving with words in French and English).
Other known versions:
5 copies, first test press which revealed bad mastering. These have the inscription "LAFAYETTE WE HAVE RETURNED" on runout groove that didn't make it to the final record. 5 copies, remastered test press.
100 copies, red and white swirled vinyl - 15 of which have hand painted sleeves.
All copies of the hand painted versions that Ben Blackwell sold at the show were numbered and on reddish/white vinyl. In the runout groove is 'lafayette we have returned.' Each hand-painted sleeve has a unique design. Dave painted numbers 1-7, denoted by his "HW" over "B" signature, while Jack painted numbers 8-14, denoted by his "III" signature. They collaborated on number 15.The hand-painted singles sold for at the record release party,and Dave and Jack split the money evenly (hey! What about Meg's cut?!). These were sold at a triple record release party (the other two were Hentchmen records) held at the Gold Dollar 23rd of October 1998. 20 of the remaining swirled copies included a French franc note and were given to friends and family.
The inserts features a drawing of Lafayette meeting George Washington and a quote by Marquis de Chastellux (after attending an American Party with Marquis de Lafayette): "This was the first time I had heard Music in America and been presented at any sort of social gathering. If the inhabitants of this New World awake to a sense of the fine arts and learn to be gay and social without formal invitations and stiff introductory ceremony, they will not need to envy us anything."
Jack: Those records me and Dave Buick did when we hand-painted them [first two White Stripes singles]. Dave said one of them went for 2700 dollars. And somebody tried to fake one and got caught and he's not allowed to sell on there anymore. Those are some good ones. You remember that show when we painted those singles for Lafayette Blues? We pitched up six dollars for them. I remember me and Ben were talking, Aw that's too much! No-one's gonna buy it at the Gold Dollar for six dollars. Hahaha! Then we went in to sell them and you can't pick! You had to buy the first one, and there was a ton of people standing around waiting for someone to buy the first one, because they didn't want the first one. They wanted the tenth one. There was one with a giant picture of Meg sticking her tongue out on one of them, which Dave made. It's funny stuff - thinking no-one's gonna buy them for 6 dollars, now they're going for 2700!
Meg: No-one's gonna buy this, they haven't even got sleeves. They had to make up the sleeves!
8.3 Flying Bomb X-mas Surprise Package Vol.2 ]
L abel: Flying Bomb Records
Catalogue #: FLB-110
Released: November 1998 (2nd press 2001)
A. Rocket 455 - Santa Ain't Coming For Christmas
B1. The Blowtops - Sidewalk Santa
B2. The White Stripes - Candy Cane Children
1st press 250 copies on clear red vinyl and 250 copies on black vinyl.
2nd press 100 copies on marbled gray "mud colored" vinyl
The re-release was because they found they had 100 unused sleeves from the first pressing.
8.4 The Big Three Killed My Baby ]
Label: Sympathy for the Record Industry
Catalogue #: SFTRI-578
Released: April 1999
A. The Big Three Killed My Baby
B. Red Bowling Ball Ruth
Clear red vinyl (100 copies) or black vinyl, w/ pic sleeve.
According to label owner "Long-gone-John" in an e-mail.
8.5 The White Stripes ]
Released: Sympathy for The Record Industry - June 8th, 1999
Recorded: January 1999 at Ghetto Recorders, Cass Corridor, Detroit and Ferdinand Street, Southwest Detroit
1. Jimmy the Exploder
2. Stop Breaking Down
3. The Big Three Killed my Baby (CD only)
4. Suzy Lee
5. Sugar Never Tasted So Good (CD only)
6. Wasting My Time
9. Broken Bricks
10. When I Hear My Name
13. One More Cup of Coffee (CD only)
14. Little People
15. Slicker Drips
16. St. James Infirmary Blues
17. I Fought Piranhas
Jim Diamond: Producer and Engineer
Johnny Walker: Slide Guitar on Suzy Lee and I Fought Piranhas
The attic where Jack ended up recording a lot of the first White Stripes stuff -- that was all set up in his parents' house.
WHITE: Our first album is still my favorite because it sounds like Detroit to me.
Jack: "The first LP's really angry, you know. This LP we tried to get a little cleaner. Maybe we changed from anger to bitterness."
Jack: "I still feel we've never topped our first album. It's the most raw, the most powerful, and the most Detroit-sounding record we've made. I went overboard with the rawness and the reverb though. That was the first time I produced a full album for us, and I definitely learned from the experience."
Jack: I don't think we'll top it. "Elephant" is a close second. I love "Elephant," but we're never gonna capture that Detroit rock n' roll like we did with the first one. It was good we got that out of the way. If we hadn't, I'd probably still be searching for that. Same with "Let's Shake Hands," the first 45, we'll never top that, but as long as it's there, I can move on.
Jim Diamond from Detroit's The Dirtbombs. "It was pretty rough, we were certainly going for a stinky kind of sound."
Long Gone John: "The whole thing cost less than two grand to make. It's a fantastic record, and it's still probably my favorite, but it wasn't until I finally saw them around the time of De Stijl that I thought, Jesus Christ, what have I got here…"
The house pictured on the sleeve if Jack's home - according to Bobby Harlow (of the Go) - "the whole damned thing is red and white. He's full-blown, border-line psychotic."
8.6 Multiball Magazine #19 single ]
label: Extra Ball Records
Catalogue #: XTR-005
Released: Spring 2000
A. The Dirtbombs - Cedar Point '76
B. The White Stripes - Handsprings
Black vinyl with picture sleeve, circa 2000 copies, included free with Issue #19 of Multiball - a Portland fanzine devoted to both pinball and rock n' roll. An insert with the lyrics for Handsprings was included with the single. Inside the mag was a 2 page article on the featured bands.
8.7 Hello Operator ]
label: Sympathy For the Record Industry
Catalogue #: SFTRI-619 (black vinyl, pic sleeve); SFTRI-619P (picture disc)
Released: May 2000
A. Hello Operator
B. Jolene - Written By: Dolly Parton
Picture disc: Pic of Jack and Meg similar to De Stijl album cover, peppermint swirl on back.
Black vinyl with picture sleeve featuring Meg and her peppermint bass drum.
Some copies of the picture disc have the tracks flipped.
8.8 De Stijl ]
Released: Sympathy For The Record Industry - June 20th 2000
Recorded: Third Man Studios, Detroit, Michigan (Jack's living Room)
1.You're Pretty Good Looking
2. Hello Operator
3. Little Bird
4. Apple Blossom
5. I'm Bound To Pack It Up
6. Death Letter
7. Sister, Do You Know My Name?
8. Truth Doesn't Make A Noise
9. A Boy's Best Friend
10. Let's Build A Home
11. Jumble Jumble
12. Why Can't You Be Nicer to Me?
13. Your Southern Can Is Mine
Jim Diamond: Mixing and engineering
Paul Henry Ossy: violin on I'm Bound To Pack It Up and Why Can't You Be Nicer To Me
John Szymanski (aka Johnny Volare of the Hentchmen): harmonica on Hello Operator
Dedicated To: Blind Willie McTell and Gerrit Rietveld
Blind Willie McTell is one of the greatest of the pre-World War II solo country blues artists. The White Stripes perform a cover version Your Southern Can Is Mine on this album as well as Lord Send Me An Angel on a separate single.
Gerrit Rietveld was a architect who's ideas became acquainted with several founders of De Stijl.
De Stijl was Recorded on 8-track in the living room of the house Jack owns - he bought it from his parents when they moved out (the house, not the 8-track).
Jack: "We made a mistake with our second album, recording it in my living room. It's too distracting to be at home and do that kind of thing. You're better off when you're away from town, and you've got no choice but to get down to brass tacks."
JW: With De Stijl - everyone seems to come up lately and say that was their favorite album. Now, it's hard for me to listen to that record because we've toured those songs so much, that a big chunk of those were getting played every night, and we've sped them up so much over time, that now when we listen back to the record, everything sounds like it's being played so slow.. It's hard to listen to, because we're expecting it to kick in. But yeah, you finish it, and call it done and you stick to your guns. That's the hard part. People don't want to do that, they just keep re-recording, remixing, remastering. Some people remaster their records six, seven times, remix it three, four times, spend a million hours, then they always go back and hear a demo of it and they'll say, Aw that sounds so much better than the final mix...
What is De Stijl?
De Stijl is a Dutch nonfigurative art movement, also called neoplasticism. In 1917 a group of artists, architects, and poets was organized under the name De Stijl, and a journal of the same name was initiated. The leaders of the movement were the artists Theo van Doesburg and Piet Mondrian. They advocated a purification of art, eliminating subject matter in favor of vertical and horizontal elements, and the use of primary colors and noncolors. Their austerity of expression influenced architects, principally J.J.P.Oud and Gerrit Rietveld. The movement lasted until 1931; in architecture a few de Stijl principles are still applied.
Fun Fact: It should be noted in any discussion of rock and roll and architecture that Bauhaus was among the first, if not thee first, band named after an artistic movement. The Bauhaus School was formed in 1919 in Weimar, East Germany, with the purpose of combining "all the arts in ideal unity."
Why did they name the album after an art movement?
Jack: Well, when we made our second album we named it De Stiff because, after the de Stijl movement broke things down to the absolute minimum, it had to abandon the movement there was nowhere else it could go it was as simple as it could get. And so I wondered, We1ll is the same thing gunna happen to us? Then I started to think about people like Blind Willie McTell and Leadbelly. You know, I could listen to 300 of Leadbelly's songs, and they're all just acoustic guitar and him singing. And it doesn't bore me. I'm fine with that. I'm not expecting Leadbelly to make Sgt.Pepper's or something. So I sing the blues because they were wondering why we were wearing black, white and red. And while some people might look at that and say we were a gimmick, other people would look at what we were doing and say, "No, this is really centered and focused on something."
Jack: I like things like the de Stijl movement [an early 20th century Dutch school of art], where it was, "Let's just break this down to primary colors and primary shapes, and we'll deal with it from there." That becomes beauty, because there's no excess at all I mean, I hate excess in production: recording on 300 tracks and all that--I hate it. So I wanted to get everything down to three, because as far as I could see, there didn't need to be more than that.
Jack: "I thought we'd call the album De Stijl because it broke the art form down to the simplest parts, and they had to abandon it because they couldn't get it any simpler than it was. It was a question of how simple should the White Stripes be, what's out of bounds for us, and what are we supposed to be doing with this band? I'd read a lot about the movement at one point and it was just my favorite art movement because it was such a simple concept. I thought it was almost the equivalent to what we try to do with our music. The most interesting thing to me though, the reason I thought De Stijl would be a good name for the album, was the idea that when the De Stijl movement had been taken so far it got so simplistic that they decided to abandon the movement in order to build it back up again from nothing. That's kind of how I felt about this album. We had wondered how simple we could get things before we would have to build it back up again. How simple we could get with people still liking what we do. And on this record we added some piano and violin and stuff, so I though it fit kind of perfectly - that structure, that building it up."
Jack: When I was a teenager and started apprenticing and working on furniture, I started really loving all these furniture designers, and I got into Gerrit Rietveld-he did "Red And Blue Chair," which is a super-important piece. That got me into the de stijl movement. I thought that was great, how they broke things down to their simplest components. Why the guest appearances, I thought it was just the two of them?
Jack White: "I wanted to use that [De Stijl] as a chance to flush out the sound. The first record I wanted just a two-piece with a rawer sound. This is going to be a little more orchestrated-more vocal harmonies with myself, more multitrack-but not going crazy with string sections and stuff like that. Now listening, it's too much. I guess I was testing the water, seeing how much we could build this up. If that's the sort of growth of the band, if it can get to that point (laughs). I guess not, thought. I don't know if we'll stay the course or what."
JW - Well, sort of I guess. I'd read a lot about the (De Stijl) movement at one point and it was just my favorite art movement because it was such a simple concept. I thought it was almost the equivalent to what we try to do with our music. The most interesting thing to me though, the reason I thought De Stijl would be a good name for the album, was the idea that when the De Stijl movement had been taken so far it got so simplistic that they decided to abandon the movement in order to build it back up again from nothing. That's kind of how I felt about this album. We had wondered how simple we could get things before we would have to build it back up again. How simple we could get with people still liking what we do. And on this record we added some piano and violin and stuff, so I though it fit kind of perfectly - that structure, that building it up.
8.9 Lord. Send Me an Angel ]
label: Sympathy For The Record Industry
Catalogue #: SFTRI-645
Released: October 2000
A. Lord Send Me An Angel - Written By: Blind Willie McTell
B. You're Pretty Good Looking (Trendy American Remix)
Pacific Rim tour single (<500 copies): clear red vinyl or black vinyl, sleeve featuring a pic of Jack & Meg dressed in red, standing in snow. Tour dates on back.
Regular version: clear red vinyl or black vinyl w/ front pic similar to De Stijl album cover.
8.10 Party of Special Things to Do]
label: Sup Pop Records - December 2000
Catalogue #: SP-527
Released: December 2000
A. Party of Special Things to Do - Written By: Don Van Vliet (aka Captain Beefheart)
B1. China Pig - Written By: Don Van Vliet (aka Captain Beefheart)
B2. Ashtray Heart - Written By: Don Van Vliet (aka Captain Beefheart)
1300 copies in half disc red/half white vinyl
This record was released as part of the Sub Pop singles club series and only available to members of the club.
8.11 White Blood Cells Bonus Tracks CD-PROMO ]
label: V2 Records
Catalogue #: V2DJ-27739-2
Released: Mid 2002
1. Jolene - Written By: Dolly Parton
2. Hand Springs
3. Hotel Yorba (Live at Hotel Yorba)
4. Love Sick (Live at The Forum) - Written By: Bob Dylan
Disc w/ peppermint design in special plastic case
8.12 White Blood Cells ]
Released: Sympathy for the Recording Industry - July 2001
Recorded: Easley-McCain Recording Studios, Memphis, Tennessee in February 2001.
1. Dead Leaves and The Dirty Ground
2. Hotel Yorba
3. I'm Finding It Harder to Be a Gentleman
4. Fell In Love With A Girl
6. Little Room
7. The Union Forever
8. The Same Boy You've Always Known
9. We're Going To Be Friends
10. Offend in Every Way
11. I Think I Smell A Rat
13. I Can't Wait
14. Now Mary
15. I Can Learn
16. This Protector
Stewart Sikes: Additional Mixing and Engineering
Loretta Lynn - a country singer from Washington State. She was really big in the 60's and 70's with hits like Don't Come Home A-Drinkin (With Lovin' on Your Mind), Woman of the World (Leave My World Alone), You Ain't Woman Enough, Rated X, The Pill and her trademark autobiographical ballad, Coal Miner's Daughter.
The Stripes perform Rated X on the Hotel Yorba single.
Recently they also invited her to open for them in New York where they performed two songs with her. More recently Jack has produced Loretta's latest album, Van Lear Rose.
Jack: "We went all over the place and saw the mansion and everything," he says. "The whole place was amazing. That's when we decided to dedicate the album to Loretta. We both loved her music so much, and there were some country aspects to the album. I think people thought we were trying to be ironic or something when they saw the dedication, but it was absolutely from the heart."
Mojo (1/02, p.69) - Ranked #15 in Mojo's "Best  Albums of 2001".
Magnet (12-1/02, p.57) - Included in Magnet's "20 Best Albums of 2001".
NME (12/29/01, p.59) - Ranked #3 in NME's 50 "Albums Of the Year 2001".
Rolling Stone (7/19/01, p.50) - 3.5 stars out of 5 - "...Gothic garage punk strictly by the all the best and baddest rules....fusing inescapable, eerily eternal melodies with dirty-ass, brain-scrambling riffs recalling both the Kinks and the Melvins..."
Q Magazine (9/01, p.122) - 4 stars out of 5 - "...Their sonic ingenuity...enhances even the most basic garage-rock templates....curiously innocent..."
Mojo (9/01, p.93) - "...Irresistible.."
NME (7/7/01, p.34) - 8 out of 10 - "...Great songs, a great look and self-discipline, too..."
CMJ (7/2/01, p.4) - "...Irresitible....It's as if they take Beatlesque hooks and a snotty Stones rock 'tude, mashes them with the eardrum-bursting chugs of Sabbath, and then washes it all in a decidedly millennial indie-rock mood..."
About the Album Cover:
There are many interpretation on what the cover means. The most obvious being that it shows the band getting almost attacked by a group of black-clad figures representing the paparazzi. Flip the cd open and we see their true colors. Sort of a you don't know the truth of people till they get close to you and remove the mask...ok...so it's not that complex a theme.
Jack: "Is the attention good or bad? When you open the CD, it's a picture of us with these cameras. Wondering if it's good or bad." Another view from Jack himself is that "the shadow-people might be bacteria coming at us and Meg and I are the white blood cells. Or maybe it means white blood "sells" and the bacteria are media and music lovers...or maybe it means nothing at all."
I have also heard that the cover picture resembles a Star Trek episode - but I'm pretty sure this is some weird theory I read on the internet while doing research and almost feel ashamed about ever including on here.
Jack: "The name, White Blood Cells, for the album, is this idea of bacteria coming at us, or just foreign things coming at us, or media, or attention on the band."
Marcie Bolen of the Von Bondies is third from the left and Ben Swank of the Soledad Brothers is second from the right (those are the only ones you really can see the face of). But does anybody here know who the others are? I don't…so don't ask.
The cover photo was taken by none other than Pat Pantano of the Dirtbombs.
About the Back Cover:
Jack White: "Perhaps on the back cover Meg and I are blood cells...or perhaps she is on the dirty ground and I am in happiness...or perhaps I'm dragging her into a place she doesn't want to be or maybe she's pulling me out of it."
This Album Sounds different that the previous releases, any reason?
Jack: (on WBC) "We said, NO blues, no slide, no guitar solos, no covers… We figured out all the no's, and everything else was fine."
Jack: “It was done really quickly. Although it was well produced it’s still pretty loud and basic.”
Jack: "We tried to keep it as unorganized as possible, we rehearsed for a week and then went to a Memphis studio we'd heard about and recorded for three days. We tried to rush this as much as possible to make [the sound] really tense. And it seemed to work. There's no blues on the new record. We're taking a break from that. There's no slide work, bass, guitar solos, or cover songs. It's just me and Meg, guitar, drums and piano."
Jack: "There were probably only three real days of recording, we really rushed the whole album, to get that feel to it, a real tense thing coming out of it. Then we got back, did one more day of recording and remixed it. By that time, the engineer was really on our side and everything. It came out a lot better. This is our first album we ever got mastered. It's really loud."
Jack: "It was cool because a lot of things had been sitting around for a long time, stuff I had written on piano that had been just sitting around not doing anything. And it was good to put them all together at once, put them all in the same box and see what happened. We keep getting put with this bringing-back-the-blues kind of statement as a label for the band, and I just wanted to break away from that because it's really hard to do that, being … where we're from, even though that's the music that we really love and that I'm really inspired by. Most of the songs that had been sitting around were these piano-written songs that were more 'songwriting' type songs. I wanted to make a whole album of that."
Jack: "We completely avoided the blues on White Blood Cells on purpose. The thinking was, "What can we do if we completely ignore what we love the most?" On White Blood Cells we were strict about other things as well. We decided to record the album in three days, take no guitar solos, avoid slide guitar, and banish covers.
Stuart Sikes (Recording professional. Engineered the "White Blood Cells" album) : We just set up and they started going. Jack knew what he wanted. Meg didn't really think they should be recording -- she thought the songs were too new. Jack pretty much knows what he wants, has a really good idea what he's going for. Meg is pretty quiet. She sort of drank her bourbon and smoked a lot of cigarettes. I think Meg was a little nervous being in a big studio, bigger than what they were used to. The main thing I tried to do was make them comfortable so they could play well -- with Meg, making sure her part didn't totally suck. She was pretty self-conscious about it. They came for three days and did most of the songs, then came back for two days and then we mixed the thing the next day. Jack told me more than once not to make it sound too good. I knew what he was talking about from recording at their house to a 24-track studio. We didn't come close to using all those tracks. Basically he wanted it as raw as possible, but better than if it was recorded in somebody's living room. He steered me that way, and I ran with it. Are all of these songs new?
"We just set up and they started going. Jack knew what he wanted. Meg didn't think they should be recording-she thought the songs were too new. Jack knows what he wants, has a really good idea what he's going for. Meg is pretty quiet. She drank her bourbon and smoked a lot of cigarettes. I think Meg was a little nervous being in a big studio, bigger than what they were used to. The main thing I tried to do was make them comfortable so they could play well--with Meg, making sure her part didn't totally suck. She was pretty self-concious about it." -Stuart Sikes, Recording engineer
"They came for three days and did most of the songs, then came back for two days, and we mixed the thing the next day. Jack told me more than once not to make it sound too good. I knew what he was talking about--from recording at their house to a 24-track studio. Basically, he wanted it as raw as possible, but better than if it was recorded in somebody's living room." -Stuart Sikes
Many of these songs were written years before the release of White Blood Cells. A show featuring Jack White, Brendan Benson, Ben Blackwell (of the Dirtbombs), and Kevin Peyok (of the Waxwings) (Gold Dollar - 9/16/99) features many songs from White Blood Cells. Many of the tracks like The Union Forever, Now Mary and Hotel Yorba were performed live when Jack was a member of 2 Star Tabernacle with the great Dan Miller.
8.13 It Takes Two, Baby PROMO ]
A1. Mr Airplane Man - Hangin' Round Your Door
A2. The White Stripes - Fell in Love With a Girl
B1. Rizzo - Cathy
B2. Bantam Rooster - Shitlist Plus 1
Black vinyl with picture sleeve.
8.14 "3" CD-PROMO ]
label: Sympathy for the Record Industry
Catalogue #: SFTRI-662P
Released: Mid 2001
1. Dead Leaves And The Dirty Ground
2. Fell In Love With A Girl
3. Hotel Yorba
8.15 Hotel Yorba CD-PROMO ]
label: XL Recordings
Released: Fall 2001
8.16 Hotel Yorba ]
label: XL Recordings
Catalogue #: XLS-138
Released: November 2001
A. Hotel Yorba (Live at the Hotel Yorba)
B. Rated X (Live at the Hotel Yorba) - Written by: Loretta Lynn
Black vinyl w/ pic sleeve, 4000 copies.
Brendan Benson - recording / mixing
8.17 Hotel Yorba CD ]
label: XL Recordings
Released: November 2001
Catalogue #: XLS-138CD
1. Hotel Yorba (Album version)
2. Rated X (Live at the Hotel Yorba) - Written by: Loretta Lynn
3. Hotel Yorba (Live at the Hotel Yorba)
4. Hotel Yorba Video (QuickTime movie)
Brendan Benson - recording / mixing of live tracks
8.18 Fell In Love With A Girl CD-PROMO ]
label: XL Recordings
Released: Early 2002
1. Fell In Love With A Girl
2. Lovesick (Live At The Forum) - Written By: Bob Dylan.
3. I Just Don't Know What To Do With Myself (BBC Radio-1 Evening Session) - Written By: Burt Bacharach/Hal David
4. Lets Shake Hands
5. Lafayette Blues
8.19 Fell In Love With A Girl ]
label: XL Recordings
Catalogue #: XLS-142
Released: February 2002
1. Fell In Love With A Girl
2. I Just Don't Know What To Do With Myself (BBC Radio-1 Evening Session) - Written By: Burt Bacharach/Hal David
Black vinyl with pic sleeve, 5000 copies.
8.20 Fell In Love With A Girl CD1 (White cover) ]
label: XL Recordings
Catalogue #: XLS-142CD1
Released: February 2002
1. Fell In Love With A Girl
2. Lovesick (Live At The Forum) - Written By: Bob Dylan
3. I Just Don't Know What To Do With Myself (BBC Radio-1 Evening Session) - Written By: Burt Bacharach/Hal David
4. Fell In Love With A Girl (Video)
8.21 Fell In Love With A Girl CD2 (Red cover) ]
label: XL Recordings
Catalogue #: XLS-142CD2
Released: February 2002
1. Fell In Love With A Girl
2. Let's Shake Hands
3. Lafayette Blues
8.22 Dead Leaves And The Dirty Ground CD-PROMO ]
label: XL Recordings
Released: August 2002
1. Dead Leaves And The Dirty Ground
2. Suzy Lee (BBC Radio-1 Evening Session)
3. Stop Breaking Down (BBC Radio-1 Evening Session) - Written By: Robert Johnson Additional info: In soft plastic sleeve.
8.23 Dead Leaves and the Dirty Ground US-Radio CD-PROMO ]
label: V2 Records
Catalogue #: V2DJ-27750-2
Released: Mid 2002
1. Dead Leaves And The Dirty Ground
In jewel case w/ pic sleeve
8.24 Dead Leaves And The Dirty Ground ]
label: XL Recordings
Catalogue #: XLS-148
Released: August 2002
A. Dead Leaves And The Dirty Ground
B. Stop Breaking Down (BBC Radio-1 Evening Session) - Written By: Robert Johnson
Black vinyl w/ pic sleeve, 5000 copies.
8.25 Dead Leaves And The Dirty Ground CD ]
label: XL Recordings
Catalogue #: XLS-148CD
Released: August 2002
1. Dead Leaves And The Dirty Ground
2. Suzy Lee (BBC Radio-1 Evening Session)
3. Stop Breaking Down (BBC Radio-1 Evening Session) - Written By: Robert Johnson
8.26 Dead Leaves And The Dirty Ground DVD ]
label: XL Recordings
Catalogue #: XLS-148DVD
Released: August 2002
1. Dead Leaves And The Dirty Ground
2. Arthur P. Dottweiler
8.27 We're Going To Be Friends US-Radio CD-PROMO ]
label: V2 Records
Catalogue #: V2DJ-27750-2
Released: Late 2002
1. We're Going To Be Friends
In jewel case w/ pic sleeve
8.28 Red Death at 6:14 ]
label: XL Recordings
Catalogue #: XL-MOJO
Released: September 2002
A. Red Death At 6:14
Clear red vinyl, 3000 numbered copies
1-track single, released as a special offer with the September 2002 issue of MOJO magazine. Each copy included a letter from MOJO. The offer was only for readers in the UK.
8.29 Merry Christmas from the White Stripes ]
Labels: V2 Records; XL Recordings
Catalogue #s: V2 63881-27769-7; XL-WSXMAS1
Released: Late November 2002
A. Candy Cane Children
B1. The Reading Of The Story Of The Magi
B2. The Singing Of Silent Night
V2 version on white vinyl, 3000 copies, w/ paper sleeve that opens on top.
XL version on black vinyl, 1000 copies (?) w/ paper sleeve that opens on side.
The message Meg is writing on the back "20 K + M + B 02" most likely seems to be a reference to the 3 wise men, Kasper, Melkon and Balthazar. This is the only White Stripes vinyl single that has been released on two different labels.
8.30 Elephant Sampler PROMO ]
label: XL Recordings
Catalogue #: XLLP-162DJ
Released: March 2003
A. Seven Nation Army
B. In The Cold, Cold Night
1000 copies on black vinyl w/ pic sleeve
8.31 Elephant ]
1. Seven Nation Army
2. Black Math
3. There's No Home For You Here
4. I Just Don't Know What to Do With Myself
5. In The Cold, Cold Night
6. I Want to Be The Boy To Warm Your Mothers Heart
7. You've Got Her In Your Pocket
8. Ball & Biscuit
9. The Hardest Button to Button
10. Little Acorns
12. The Air Near My Fingers
13. Girl, You Have No Faith In Medicine
14. Well It's True That We Love One Another
Released: April 1st, 2003
Recorded: Recorded at Toe Rag studios in Hackney, East London
Holly Golightly - vocals
I Heard John Peel played the album early and was told to stop:
John Peel: When "Elephant" came along, I listened to it and I thought they have taken that necessary next step, when people might have thought, "Well, they're played out, they've done as much as they can do." It's an LP that hangs together as an LP, and there's not a bad moment on it. I got the album a couple of months early, so I played a few tracks on it, and... some lawyers from New York with the record label let it be known that legal action would be taken if I continued to play tracks from the record. I used to get this sort of thing in the days of Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd and all that kind of stuff, but I'd thought, really, we'd grown out of that. I wanted to play it not out of any sense of scooping anybody, but because, "Hey, this is a great record -- listen to it." Not to be able to play it really upset me.
Don't worry…this didn't bring some divide between the Stripes and John Peel…Jack came back once in early 2004 for a radio show that also featured Jack performing some solo acoustic songs.
In more saddening news, John Peel has since left us. After a long and fruitful career of spreading the gospel of great music he passed away of a heart attack. Needless to say the world is just not right without the great soul of Mr.Peel coming over the airways. The White's attended the funeral along with a wide array of musicians, artists and friends in what was described as a solemn eulogy.
Why did they only give out Promotional copies on Vinyl?
Jack: "We didn't want any journalists who didn't own a record player writing about us. We wanted to make the first listen more of an event. We wanted people to take part in it and that was a nice way to do it. It sort of became a nice artifact you can hold in your hands. I think we are approaching a dangerous age of invisible music with MP3s. I am going to be very sad if that actually happens where you don't hold a real album in your hand anymore."
Jack: "because if a journalist or a critic doesn't own a record player, I don't really trust them. They're obviously not looking back, they don't know enough about music history."
Why is the CD a single disc and the Vinyl a double?
Jack "It was a way to keep it stronger. Once you go past 18 minutes on a side of vinyl you start to lose volume and bass. If someone goes to the trouble of buying vinyl we wanted them to get something nice. So we made it a double so the song quality was really good. Actually, the vinyl is better to get than the CD because the vinyl was cut directly from the two track master recordings. It is actually closer to the real recording than a CD would be because a CD has to go through digital equipment in order to burn it which is another extra step. Actually the vinyl is closer."
The different versions:
Jack: "i designed the artwork myself and with the help of headcoats drummer bruce brand was able to bring it to printing block. i've separated the earth into three pa rts vertically ( lattitude or longitude?) there will be six covers, one for vinyl, and one for compact disc in each of the three sections of the globe, that way meg and i know where you got it from, such as the vinyl in australia will be the same as the vinyl in japan, but different from the cd in south america, which will be the same as the cd in north america. don't you understand?"
Also, if you arrange them in a proper pattern, they tell you where to find the third sword in "Zelda". Too bad I don't have a Game Cube to play the game or else that might help me out.
Jack: Oh, and something else I forgot to tell you so long ago. We released different versions of elephant on cd's and vinyl remember? Well, the vinyl version that you buy in europe is really special. And you don't know why? I was looking at different kinds of paper to use for that one. This girl, I forgot her name but she worked so hard.... I'll remember it soon I suppose, well she said look at this paper jack. I said "ooh this feels right" it was very cardboardy and smooth, I don't like gloss you know? The photo for that vinyl was velvety. I wanted paper that helped It be more velvety. Well guess what this paper was made of? You don't know? It was made of elephant dung. It was made by a company that makes paper out of elephant dung to help save the trees for the birds right? What a coincidence right? So if you buy the vinyl version of elephant in europe the cover of the record is made from elephant dung. Eeeew a little girl in france just said! and someone in norway just threw it in the trash!! maybe that;s where it belongs anyways right!!!????? What a world....what a world!
And don't be surprised if it there is a skull appearing behind Meg's head on the cover of Elephant. It is Jack's way of showing that he thinks the latest Internet rumor about the band: that Meg is dead and replaced by a robot is quite funny. Although I've never found a quote of him stating that stance so sorry if I'm putting words in yer mouth Jack.
What does "Death of the Sweetheart" mean and why is the album dedicated to it?
Jack: I guess it's a notion... It wasn't a political statement so much as a social idea about the attitude, you know-teenage girls with tattoos and body piercing's, and the white boy from the suburbs who adopts a ghetto accent. There's this whole attitude that you have to be hard, like, right out of the gate. And the sweetness and gentlemanly ideas are really going away. I'm sort of scared to bring up this notion, because I don't want it to sound like I'm some sort of conservative, old-fashioned person. But I've gotten the feeling that parenting and the way people are brought up now is getting away from these natural ideas and natural instincts in the male or female personalities. They're being sacrificed for the idea of equality or good parenting, or relaxed parenting: "I don't want to be like my dad was. He was always on my case about getting a job, or whatever. So that means I'm parenting like, 'Oh, whatever, let 'em figure it out for themselves.'" Do you know what I mean? There's this relaxing of natural ideals. I'm just bringing up the question, really. What is natural about being feminine? What is natural about being masculine? And what's fake about it?
Jack: "The sweetheart, the gentleman -- it's the same thing. These ideas seem to be in decline, and I hate it. You look at your average teenager with the body piercing's and the tattoos. You have white kids going around talking in ghetto accents because they think that makes them hard. It's so cool to be hard. We're against that. "
Jack: I wanted to get people to think about how they relate to one another - how the males and females relate, how the parents and sons and daughters relate, and bring up some ideas to see if they still mean something. What does the word "sweetheart" or "gentleman" mean nowadays? Has it changed in the last 50 years? Should we reevaluate these words?
Jack: Some people have said [about the liner notes], "I totally agree, I just wish you wouldn't have said that." It's funny to shock people with normality. I mean, it's becoming an age of punk for the sake of punk, angst for the sake of angst. What are we rebelling against?
Jack: Yeah, there was a time where it was really necessary that these things were coming out and now it's just like everybody's got spiky hair and 50 piercing's in their face. Is there any meaning behind it? A beef I have is image for the sake of image, cool for the sake of cool. If things don't have meaning behind it with you then all art falls apart at that point.
Why is the album called Elephant?
Jack: "There are approximately 3,103 reasons why we named it Elephant," "I'd rather let people make up their own ideas about it."
Jack: "There's a lot of reasons, the main one being that it was one creature that represented both me and Meg, our personalities on stage and in real life-ourselves, the myth, and the ideas people have about elephants. It's anger and innocence and majesty and clumsiness, and things like that. It seemed to represent both of our characteristics as one creature." Jack: "The main reason we named the album Elephant is the idea of one creature representing both Meg's and my own personalities, whether on-stage or in real life: power, subtlety, anger, innocence, clumsiness, stability. Another reason was the way elephants relate to death. When a group of elephants come upon the dead remains of another elephant they both become very emotional and start trying the bury the bones, which directly relates to 'the death of the sweetheart.' It's no longer the quiet version of Elephant we planned, it's heavy duty. The elephant is a creature that represents both me and Meg's personalities. It was the two of us in one creature. Elephants are powerful and majestic, but also subtle and innocent, angry and clumsy. It just seemed like all these different characteristics were either one of us."
Jack: it’s “how we’ve seen our personalities through all this. We’re powerful and majestic, but also subtle and innocent.” Clumsy yet brilliant. Also, silent. And the way elephants relate to death is interesting. They get real emotional about it. Elephants bury each other. Other animals would either eat another’s remains or just…not care. Elephants care.
Jack: "There are a lot of myths about elephants, like they go to just one place to die. I'd seen a documentary and they become very emotional if they come across the dead bones of another elephant and try to start burying them. It seemed really amazing that another creature would care that much about its own species."
Why the weird costumes and dark imagery on the cover?
Jack: "We're kind of dying country stars on the cover and that's one little aspect of this whole death of a sweetheart idea, modern country music has obliterated all honesty from country."
Jack: "It's just a couple of rooms in an old warehouse that the owner and engineer, Liam Wilson, rented out to set up his whole studio. It's very much like an English Beat studio from the '60s. Liam wears a white lab coat. It's not like an L.A. studio, where it's nicely carpeted and warm, with a cappuccino machine and video games between takes. It was freezing. I liked that, because it forced us to concentrate on what we were doing."
Jack: "We like to be uncomfortable,I don't like those kind of places where the studio is nicely heated and you've got a cappuccino machine and video games to use in between takes. It should be uncomfortable and you should feel forced to be working on something. It feels like school to me, and I like that."
Jack: "It's so hard to find a studio nowadays that's devoid of that evil digital and computer technology, You can find studios that have all the same equipment that he does, but they also have all this other modern stuff.... To give you too much opportunity really destroys creativity. If you took an artist you respect and put them in a room with a broken guitar and a two-track recorder, something more interesting would come out of them than if you put them in some fancy L.A. studio with a million dollars to spend."
Jack: "If we can't produce something that sounds good under those conditions, then it's not real to begin with. Getting involved with computers is getting involved with excess, especially when you start changing drumbeats to make them perfect or make the vocal melody completely in tune with some programme - it's so far away from honesty. How can you be proud of it if it's not even you doing it?"
Jack: "I mean it seems that you've helped bring so many people to the fore again, and get people interested in artists that were influences on you. And since you recorded this album in London, half of Detroit seems to have decamped to London at various points. It's great that that's happened, and in a way recording at Toe-Rag as well has kind of given Toe-Rag another dimension."
Jack: "I don't like to go [into the studio] and have everything completely figured out. I like to have it really rushed and figure out everything on the spot. [Toe Rag] has got excellent equipment and a good engineer. It's not computerized or modern in any sense. Just an 8-track studio with all of the things that are good about recording and none of the things that are bad."
Jack: "We have always tried to record as quickly and as cheaply as possible. The most it has taken us in a studio is one or two takes. I would hate to do the finishing touches over a month or so. I really believe that nothing is made better by doing that and I hate the thought of it (the studio) being "nice" to play in. I want to make it unpleasant to play in. I am comfortable with being under pressure as that is when things happen- that is the power which forces me to do my best.
Jack: "And by the way, Toe Tag is the absolute opposite of paradise. It is cramped, almost claustrophobically small and it is uncomfortable, it is cold and it is damp. And it does not help to go to that evil wicked little radiator which stands in the comer and glows threateningly without warming up more than just that little corner..."
Did they really have a 4-track recorder that the Beatles used?
Jack: "Yeah, they did have a four-track there that might have been used on 'Tomorrow Never Knows,' for backwards loops and things like that."
JW: It was a real long time(between recording and releasing Elephant), but the only thing I can remember is that I didn't want to change anything about the record. Still a year later, I didn't want to go back and remix anything. It still felt just as good as when we finished it. That was really good, because we'd never done that before. We'd always put it out immediately. I was reading letters that the engineer Stuart Sykes did. He engineered White Blood Cells, and he said something about that we sent the record out the next week. That WBC came out a month and a half after we left the studio. Like it was that fast, that we sent it out immediately we came home.
JW: I was really proud to tell people that Elephant was recorded in ten days, because it's unheard of. The whole point is not for us to brag about it, but to say, Look, you can still do that. No-one ever said you couldn't do that. No-one ever said you couldn't do a good record, with that equipment and doing it really fast. Think of all the great records. Every time there's a list of the hundred greatest records of all time, all those albums were recorded in two days. Hardly any of them took a year, I'll tell you. But it's important to say, that people know.
The Recording Process:
Two tracks were allocated just for drums, one for guitar and one for vocal. “Then I change the guitar into stereo, used some ambient mic…I think that’s about it."
Jack: “we recorded drum and guitar at the same time on all the songs. Then put piano on later, if needed, and the vocals were always the last. We don’t really plan things out but we do set a time limit on how long we’re going to spend in the studio. We ended up mixing 18 songs on the last day.”
Jack: “I think the point is how enthusiastic you can be. For instance if you want to stress the presence of the bass drum sound, all you do is simply turn it up, bit some people are scared of pursuing it to that extent and mixing it. And they may think the guitar level is too loud as well.”
Jack: “Not once did anyone say, which one’s going to be the single? Or, Do you think people will like this? We just did it. A third of it was written right there.”
Liam Watson: “All the reverb on that album come from the AKG spring reverb because when I did the album, the EMT plate was’t working.”
Liam Watson: “There were quite a bit of overdubs, but the drums and main guitar parts were recorded live with maybe a guide vocal. Most of the tracks were recorded with both of them in the same room – sometimes we only kept the drums, sometimes the guitar. The guitar amp was always in the room with the drums. I never put amps in separate rooms because if you need to do that, you are playing too loud. Spill doesn’t really bother me, the acoustics in ToeRag’s live room are pretty good so I don’t have to worry about it too much.”
Liam Watson: “the bass drum sounds really clean because there is no bass guitar to cloud things up.” Although he likes Shure SM54 and SM59 mics on bass drums he plumped down for a AKG D12 on Elephant.
Liam Watson: “a real mix of stuff was used [for vocals], including a Neumann Gefell UM57, as well as a Shure III dynamic. They’re more expensive than an SM57, but they have a different transformer. They’re better made and someone told me that they have hand picked capsules. These roll off quicker on the bass end too at 50hz.
All Megs drums are in mono, recorded onto a one-inch eight track tape machine. All the drums sounds, except the bass drum (which has a track of its own) were pre-mixed down on to one track as the take was recorded.
Liam Watson: “I did [use compression] on Elephant but not if I can help it; sometimes on vocals but nothing else. I try not to push the levels to tape. I can understand that if you use higher levels you get less tape hiss but I like my tape machine up to plus three so by the time the meter shows “0 Vu” you are already at plus three.”
Liam Watson “We used two amps for the album, Jack’s amp which was a Fender Twin and the other was my Selmer Zodiac, which we used for the dirtier sounds – but eventually Jack blew it up. He used a Big Muff to.”
8.32 Seven Nation Army US-Radio CD-PROMO ]
label: V2 Records
Catalogue #: V2DJ27780-2
Released: April 2003
1. Seven Nation Army
In jewel case w/ pic sleeve
8.33 7 Nation Army ]
label: XL Recordings
Catalogue #: XLS-162
Released: April 2003
A. 7 Nation Army
B. Good To Me - Written By: Brendan Benson
Black vinyl w/ pic sleeve.
8.34 7 Nation Army CD ]
label: XL Recordings
Catalogue #: XLS-162CD
Released: April 2003
1. 7 Nation Army
2. Good To Me - Written By: Brendan Benson
3. Black Jack Davey - Written By: Traditional song
8.35 I Just Don't Know What To Do with Myself CD-PROMO ]
label: XL Recordings
Released: September 2003
1. I Just Don't Know What to Do With Myself (BBC Radio-1 Evening Session) - Written By: Burt Bacharach/Hal David
2. Who's to Say… - Written By: Dan Miller
3. Lafayette Blues (BBC Radio-1 Evening Session)
4. I'm Finding It Harder to Be A Gentleman (Live on the John Peel Show)
In soft plastic sleeve w/ inlay.
8.36 I Just Don't Know What To Do with Myself ]
label: XL Recordings
Catalogue #: XLS-166
Released: September 2003
A. I Just Don't Know What to Do With Myself (BBC Radio-1 Evening Session) - Written By: Burt Bacharach/Hal David
B. Who's to Say… - Written By: Dan Miller
Versions: Black vinyl w/ wrap around pic sleeve.
8.37 I Just Don't Know What To Do with Myself CD ]
label: XL Recordings
Catalogue #: XLS-166CD
Released: September 2003
1. I Just Don't Know What to Do With Myself (BBC Radio-1 Evening Session) - Written By: Burt Bacharach/Hal David
2. Who's to Say… - Written By: Dan Miller
3. I'm Finding It Harder to Be A Gentleman (Live on the John Peel Show)
8.38 I Just Don't Know What To Do with Myself DVD ]
label: XL Recordings
Catalogue #: XLS-166DVD
Released: September 2003
1. I Just Don't Know What to Do With Myself - Written By: Burt Bacharach (audio only)
2. Lafayette Blues (BBC Radio-1 Evening Session) (audio only)
3. Black Math Video (filmed at the Masonic Temple Theatre, April 16th 2003)
8.39 The Hardest Button To Button US-Radio CD-PROMO ]
label: V2 Records
Catalogue #: V2DJ27785-2
Released: September 2003
1. The Hardest Button To Button
In jewel case w/ pic sleeve
8.40 The Hardest Button To Button DVD-PROMO ]
label: V2 Records
Catalogue #: V2DJ27795-9
Released: October 2003
1. The Hardest Button To Button Video
In slim jewel case no pic inlay.
8.41 The Hardest Button To Button CD-PROMO ]
label: XL Recordings
Released: November 2003
1. The Hardest Button To Button
2. St. Ides of March - Written By: Johnny Walker/Ben Swank
3. The Hardest Button To Button Videko (QuickTime movie) <-?
In soft plastic sleeve w/ inlay. `
8.42 The Hardest Button To Button ]
label: XL Recordings
Catalogue #: XLS-173
Released: November 2003
1. The Hardest Button To Button
2. St. Ides of March - Written By: Johnny Walker/Ben Swank
Black vinyl w/ pic sleeve
8.43 The Hardest Button To Button CD ]
label: XL Recordings
Catalogue #: XLS-173CD
Released: November 2003
1. The Hardest Button To Button
2. St. Ides of March - Written By: Johnny Walker/Ben Swank
3. The Hardest Button To Button Videko (QuickTime movie) Other Releases
8.44 Jolene Under The Blackpool Lights CD ]
label: V2 Records
Released: November 15th 2004
1. Jolene (Live Under Blackpool Lights)
2. Black Math (Live Under Blackpool Lights)
8.45 Jolene Under The Blackpool Lights 7" ]
label: V2 Records
Catalogue #: Released: November 15th 2004
1. Jolene (Live Under Blackpool Lights)
2. Do (Live Under Blackpool Lights)
Jack: Oh, I just remembered also we released jolene on 45 for you if you want one. I was giving them out for halloween. One kid said it was a good treat but asked if he could have a seven nation army 45 instead. I told him it was sold out. Then he kind of sneered and walked away, but not before spitting on my lawn. What a world.....what a world.
8.46 Under The Blackpool Lights DVD ]
label: Catalogue #:
Released: November 23rd 2004
1. When I Hear My Name
2. Black Math
3. Dead Leaves And The Dirty Ground
4. I Think I Smell A Rat
5. Take A Whiff On Me
7. Outlaw Blues
8. Jack The Ripper
10. Hotel Yorba
11. Death Letter
13. Truth Doesn't Make A Noise
14. Big 3 Killed My Baby
15. Wasting My Time
16. You're Pretty Good Looking
17. Hello Operator
18. Apple Blossom
19. Ball And Biscuit
21. The Hardest Button To Button
22. I Fought Piranhas
23. Let's Build A Home
24. Going Back To Memphis
25. Seven Nation Army
The film was directed by Dick Carruthers, who has chronicled the live performances of the Rolling Stones, Oasis and Led Zeppelin.
Carruthers: "They're quite unique, I can safely say. The way that they play, the sounds that they make and the relationship between them, which is both strong and ambiguous at the same time -- it's quite a powerful combination."
Meg :" I don't mind doing it. I got more used to my own voice, but still it's hard for me to listen to my own voice, or hear the recordings. And from the Blackpool shows - urgh! I'm claiming I was sick then. I saw those and I was like, Noo! I think it came across good, and sometimes not. I'm just not used to singing that much. It's hard listening to myself.
Jack: That was a lot of work for them. I was wondering how they were gonna do it. They had six different cameras, and the cartridges only lasted for three minutes, they had to keep changing them over and over again. He had no idea who was filming what. He had everyone on walkie-talkies but there's no fade back monitor for the director to sit in, so he can only kind of guess what they're filming. So I think he was kind of barking out orders in general. Like film Jack's face, or, film Meg's face, or, film Meg's hand. But they were just guessing where they were. And I think there was some kind of light thing too. I could see from the balcony whether the Super 8 camera was on or not from the red light on top. (laughs) It was really funny. He had to line them all up on a computer, and work out where it landed in the show. Sometimes there were big spaces, depending on how long it took someone to load a new cartridge. Then they could only use another angle. Really interesting. Not convenient, no. But a really really warm feeling to the whole thing. I went through the whole process with them, the editing, and mixing the movie. I never met this person before, but there's a person that I think has the greatest job on earth. I would just love this guy's job. (To Meg) I don't know if I told you about this... There's a colourist. All he does, he just sits at this space-age desk and he has three red balls in front of him, and he plays with them. He just looks at things and changes colours, and darkens things when he wants to. They have lights underneath them, and they glow. Sometimes they'll turn yellow, the balls. He's just playing with them. There's no numbers, or any chart on there. It's just a table with three red spheres on it. Really cool! Just colours and shades and contrasts. Such a great job! I'd love to do that all day long! And just pick and make the right colour. Really cool. I never knew there was a guy who just did that - a colourist. I forgot the guy's name - I was too busy looking at his table! It would've been great to maybe even have a section of the film where it might be silent. I just think old old movies, they make you concentrate and pay attention so much more. They feel so warm. A lot of modern digital videotape, it's just too bright. Don't know why, it's not warm. The way they film it, it has a warm feeling to it. It was an incident rather than an MTV Special. Those were hot shows. Alexandra Palace was hot. I thought the second one, was it, was better. That was the best tour we ever had, for sure. There was not one bad show. I loved every night. Surprisingly, the first night in Blackpool, I thought we didn't click, the first part of it something didn't click. We went into like nine songs in a row without stopping. After that show, it felt like something was wrong, but it was way better than the second night (laughs) It was great! The first nine songs in the movie are straight through from the beginning from that show.
The writing of 'noxious' and obnoxious' on Jacks arm:
JW: Meg did that. Wrote it on my arm, just to play with the director. Hahaha. He had to make sure that we wear the same thing every night.
Jack: Lil' meg and I have this new film coming out and what not, I was supposed to tell you about that. Its called the blackpool show and you can watch it in the theater or at home too. I worked on it a long time, and this man rob jones drew some beautiful pictures of mastadons and meg. And this man dick caruthers did a lot of work editing the film. It took us a long time. There are so many secret things in it! I cant wait for you all to find the secrets. Sometimes you have to pay attention you know? Like listen really closely, or maybe something's are upside down? Always look at things from more than one angle you know? But after you've done that listen to your gut and shoot from the hip. If you follow your heart you won't be sad with yourself.
- Go to the third page of song selections, and highlight "Let's Shake Hands", don't press enter, and every 4 seconds or so, if you press the > button on your DVD remote (that is, the navigation right button, not the chapter forward button) it cuts to backstage with...
Other than that there really hasn't been any other traditional "easter eggs" found. But we'll keep looking. There are quite a few funny moments during the performance that require a keen eye to catch. But I won't give away everything.
SECTION 9 - TECHNICAL INFO
9.1 Jack's Instruments: ]
1964 JB Hutto Model Montgomery Airline - this is the main guitar Jack uses.
Jack: “You could buy them in the 60’s in a department store Montgomery Wards, but they stopped selling them in the 70’s.
Jack: I got my first one from Jack Oblivian. Jack Yarber is his name, and he's in a band called the Oblivians, from Memphis. He was playing in Detroit, and I went backstage. He said, "Hey, look at this guitar that I got." And he opened the case, and I was like, "Oh, man! That's amazing! That's......my color!" And it's plastic. I love it so much!" And he said, "It's for sale. I wanna get an Airline with three pickups." I had, like, 200 bucks or something. [laughs] Can't get 'em for 200 bucks anymore
Jack: [on his 64 Airline] "Playing that guitar makes me feel like I have to take something that's broken and make it work. It's hollow, it's made of plastic, and it feels like it's going to fall apart. The front pickup is broken, but the treble pickup has an amazing bite. I've never had it refretted or anything. It's pretty much the way I found it, except for new tuners."
WHITE No, it's not. It's work to play it, but I like that. I had a Silvertone guitar that never stayed in tune, but when: it went out of tune I would just work with it. If I wanted to play it safe I'd go out and get a brand-new Stratocaster or something like that. But I don't like to play it safe; I like it when things are get messed up. It's like when things get messed up onstage: it forces me to figure something out now, because no one else can save me. With a guitar like the Airline, my mind is always working. I'm not just "phoning it in."
Jack "As for guitars, you just have to go to junk shops. You won't be able to find something like the Airline at a pawn shop very often. I don't think you should buy brand new instruments because they haven't proven themselves. You can buy an old guitar and it's already got soul inside of it; it's gone through a battle. A new guitar - yeah, it stays in tune, it's perfect and it will never crap out on you or anything. But it doesn't have any soul to it; it's just another piece of plastic coming out of a factory. I've never been able to relate to that."
About Airline Guitars:
As for some of the history on the Airline brand, here's a snippet from Mojo. "During its heyday, Montgomery Ward was mail-order giant Sears' biggest competitor, and sold thousand of guitars through the Chicago-based Valco factory. An offshoot of National-Dobro, during the 1960s, Valco cranked out Airlines and Silvertones by the truckload. But department store guitars weren't set up properly, so most kids vainly banged away with the strings an inch and a half off the fretboard."
Jack's Airling looks different now…
Here's the story which I don't mind ripping off from Rolling Stone:
"Jack White has a favorite guitar: a 1965 Airline model, made out of fiberglass called Res-O-Glas. In the Sixties, you could buy one in a Montgomery-Ward catalog for.95. But finding it today is difficult--unless you're the biggest White Stripes fan in the world. In late August, New York native Frank Anselmo discovered White's preferred ax on eBay. Without hesitating, he snapped it up for a whopping $3,000. But Anselmo also knew that White's '65 Airline had been looking pretty bad at recent gigs. 'It was missing parts,' he recalls. So he tracked White down and offered to give him the guitar. After viewing e-mailed photos of the Airline, the Whtie Stripes frontman agreed to meet up. Backstage at a Stripes show in New York's Roseland Ballroom, Anselmo presented his gift. 'Jack was speechless,' Anselmo says. 'Then he whispered in my ear, 'Frank, when I was a little boy and I did something good, my dad would say, 'Jackie, you're a gentleman and a scholar.''"
WHITE That's a very expensive thing he bought. It's mint; no one ever even touched that guitar. It was very nice of him, very generous. I don't know--a lot of people have given me guitars in the last year or two, and I don't know what to say. I hate to take them. I feel bad taking presents like that.
Where can I buy an Airline guitar like Jack's?
The Airline was discontinued in the 60's and is no longer being produced. However, you can still occasionally find one on eBay or at private dealers' websites. The Airline was sold in the Montgomery Wards catalog in the 60's for.50, which is funny, because since the White Stripes became famous, the guitar has greatly risen in value and consumer demand. If you are lucky enough to find one, be prepared to spend at least two thousand dollars on it.
Luckily, a small company called Eastwood Guitars has been making a replica of the Airline that Jack uses. You can find more information The guitars will run you almost the same price as buying an original model though…to get a model like Jacks with the Airline logo will run you just shy of 00 dollars. The company that makes them, Eastwood has made a number of great replica guitars that have since been discontinued by the original manufacturers.
Late 1950s Kay Hollowbody covered in paper (tuned to an Open A) - this one is typically used live for open tuning songs like Death Letter, Stop Breaking Down and 7 Nation Army.
Jack: That was a Kay arch-top I got a few years back. My brother's wife owned a St.Vincent de Paul thrift store. I moved a refrigerator for them and they said, "Here, take this guitar for gas money or whatever."
WHITE Yeah, I always have used a slide in the White Stripes. But when I started, I was trying to play slide in standard tuning. I had no idea that you could tune a guitar in an open tuning. When I started to do that, it really opened things up for me. Now I work in standard tuning and open E and open A.
Jack: "I got that for free when I helped somebody move their refrigerator. If I had a brand new Les Paul that stayed perfectly in tune, and some solid state amp and all this digital equipment - that's just too much opportunity. I wanna go in with one beat-up amplifier, one drum set, a guitar that doesn't stay in tune and just work with that. I love putting myself in a box, putting restrictions down, and taking it from there."
Why does he cover his Kay in paper?
Jack has stated very briefly that he does it for personal reasons and wishes not to speak about it.
1960s Crestwood Astral - primarily used for songs like Lets Build A Home, I Fought Piranhas and Goin' Back To Memphis. Most site will list this guitar as a 1960's Domino Dawson but it has since been debunked. The headstock for the Domino Dawson is nothing like the one Jack plays.
Unknown acoustic - this can be seen in the Hotel Yorba video and the Pre-tour video. I've never seen him use it live and no other information is available at this time
Unknown hollowbody electric - seen in the 'We're Going To Be Friends' video and live for I Fought Piranhas/Let's Build A Home/Going Back To Memphis in Silverlake, CA 03.01.2001.
Harmony Rocket - used as a backup guitar for either the Airline or the Kay for slide
Doubleneck Guitar - only seen once in a live bootleg video. I can't find the date now but it was only used for the song Astro. This has been confirmed to be Danelectro.
Pianos / keyboards
Fender Rhodes piano - this may be incorrect and he does have a variety of keyboards that have been seen over the years that we can't identify...so a little help would be nice.
JW: I just got this pump organ that I got shipped up here from Memphis. I found it in a thrift store down there. I've been playing on that a lot. I had to fix it. One of the pedals was broke, so I had to get in there and do some upholstery again!
100-watt Silvertone 6x10 combo
WHITE Yeah. I have two 100-watt Silvertones that I use onstage--those have six speakers each in them--and then a Twin Reverb. I like to use the Twin because the reverb on Silvertone amps is not very good. But the crunch of the Silvertone amp is so great. It's just the best. They made 'em all with Jensen speakers, and I think that's the real key to them. They're just punchy and crunchy.
Jack: [on the Silvertone Amp] "The Silvertone is really rare. It took me five years to find it, and now I have two. The Silvertone gives me the crunch - and the crunch that comes from those six Jensen speakers is amazing - and the Twin gives me reverb. I run both amps all the way up. I sed to get upset because of that theory you get from sound guys - you know, 'Turn it down onstage and we'll pump you through the monitors.' I don't trust that. I need my amps pointed at me full blast. That's a weakness of mine, but I have to have it. I mean, it's just me and Meg up there, so the guitar has to be strong.
Jack: "Actually, I was playing a 50-watt Silvertone amp and I always wanted a 100-watt Silvertone amp, my dream was to have three of them on stage and I've got two of them now. It took me about five years to find 'em. They're not expensive but they're kinda rare."
Jack: "The 100 watt Sears Silvertone is the greatest amp ever built. It has this cardboard crunch - it sounds like it's made of cardboard. I can't believe that they sold such good amps at Sears, that you could just walk in and buy one. "
1970s Fender Twin Reverb
Jack: "The only other amp I've ever used is a Fender Twin Reverb.
Jack: “In my small pedal chain it’s the whammy first, then the Big Muff. What I like about the Whammy pedal is that it can raise my guitar an octave and what I like about the Big Muff is that it’s just distortion. I have them in that order because it’s not high-pitched distortion, but high pitch with distortion.”
BOSS TU-2 Chromatic Tuner
Vintage MXR Micro Amp (To boost the guitar's signal and send his clean effect into a slight overdrive.)
DigiTech Whammy (For octave shifting.)
WHITE It's the only pedal I've ever liked (the Digitech), besides the Big Muff, because you can do octaves with it. I just like that you can go up to a high octave when you're playing down low. I mean, someone like Tom Morello [an avid user of the Whammy Pedal] is a brilliant guitar player, but I never liked using the pedal for fourths and fifths. Actually, I wanted to get them to build me one that had just "high octave" and "low octave" settings, 'cause sometimes I bump it with my foot and end up somewhere in thirds.
Jack: "I use that pedal because when I was in the Go, I'd watch other bands, and Id get upset when a solo didn't jump above the band. Going to a higher octave is a great way to stand out. I've had the Whammy since the beginning of the band, and I used to on our very first 45. The stuff that sounds like bass on Elephant is also the Whammy - just down an octave."
Jack: “In fact I asked Digitech to make a Whammy without any selections – just to make the pitch higher – but they said no.”
Electro-Harmonix Big Muff Pi (For his main distortion.)
All of those effects (In that order.) go simultaneously into either two vintage Fender Twin Reverb amps or into two Sears Silvertone 1485 6x10 amps with one Fender Twin Reverb.
Strings: GHS strings because they were made in Detroit.
WHITE I guess maybe to just get focused on something that's simple and means something to them. I think kids nowadays get excited about guitar, which is really great, but then they go to Guitar Center and buy as many pedals as they can. They get focused on, “Look at what cool sounds I can make with this pedal," and I think, Well, you know, you can make a really interesting sound with an acoustic guitar, too, just by, yourself, even if it only has two strings on it.
WHITE I think people go in to make a record these days and they over think it and overproduce it, because Pro Tools and all that digital technology affords people so much opportunity to do that. People need to put limits on themselves. If you're a drummer who's just starting out, it's not gonna make you a better drummer to go out and buy a gigantic double-bass drum with 40 drums and 40 cymbals. Sit down in your room with a snare drum and some brushes and learn rhythms. Or use a cardboard box with a couple of sticks--that's what music is.
Jack: "I would never buy a brand new guitar off the rack. I always want something that has some soul to it.
Jack: I don't want people to think that the gear is all it takes to get my sound. I also didn't want people to think I'm precious or retro simply because I don't use brand-new equipment."
Jack: “In my teens when I first started. I didn’t use plectrums at all and played with fingers all the time. I think it was an accident that I started to play with both plectrum and fingers, but now I switch from plectrum to fingers in the middle of songs. I play with my thumb, index finger and ring finger, while holding the plectrum with my middle finger.”
Jack: Going to guitar shops makes me want to vomit! I've never had an easy time there-I always feel like I'm with a car salesman or something. People get really excited about the newest gadgets or the newest effects pedals or this amazing guitar that costs 0. They don't realize that all the opportunity and all the technology and gadgetry is the last thing that you want. All that opportunity is going to destroy any creativity! If you're got a young kid learning guitar, you could go out and buy him a Les Paul, and the thing would stay perfectly in tune and it would have great sustain, but he's not going to have any knowledge of what his instrument is doing. If you give him a Diddley Bow or a Japanese guitar from a pawn shop that only has four strings on it, he's going to come up with something because that's all he has. If you don't have a lot to work with, you're forced to do something with what you have. I love when my guitar is out of tune; of course, I don't have other musicians that I have to stay in tune with, so it's easy for me to say that! I don't really use effects pedals, so I really try to get as much tone as possible out of the amplifier and the guitar itself, and figure out what's the most powerful tone for that particular song. The thing that bothered me about other bands in Detroit when I'd go out and see shows was that nobody was very particular about their guitar tone. If the guitar player did a solo, you couldn't hear it in the set. It didn't have anything to project it above the song for 30 seconds, and I think that's what needed to happen. I joined a band called the Go and I played lead guitar and I wanted to do that, and I was kicked out about six months later.
9.2 Meg's Instruments ]
Pearl Drums Paiste symbols Zildjian Dipsticks
Other than that - we really can't seem to find anything so any help would be appreciated.
9.3 Various other equipment ]
Nuemann KM184 for overheads and hi-hat Sennheiser
604s for toms and snare
Ne602 for kick
Stennheiser Evolution 8651
Presenter: "You have three mikes, Jack."
Presenter: "In sort of a triangle."
JW: "Yes. I need.erm.one available at all times."
P: "That's great"
JW: " Yeah."
UREI 1178 compressor - guitar
Empirical Labs Distressor - vocals
IZ Technologies Radar 24 - to archive all live shows
Monitor engineer Erick Baecht:
"Jack likes a really loud and powerful mix. He has three different vocal mics, so he likes to hear everything all over the stage. There's four mixes onstage, plus sidefills. People just see two people onstage and they tend to think it's easier than it actually is. His guitar is pretty bass-heavy, so you don't feel you're missing the bass guitar. It's interesting; lets say if he doesn't feel the song, he'll just start playing keyboards. It's totally up to his whim." "[Jack] will work out how the mic works so he can get weird off-axis and distance EQ effects. He's very creative with all of his gear, and he'll take the idiosyncrasies of something and take advantage of it. He uses an effected mic that he likes to control onstage. He likes it to have this giant kind of vintage plate sound on it for a cavernous effect."
"I compress almost everything going on, because he can go from screaming into his mic to singing really quietly," says Kettle. All of the shows are also archived with an iZ Technologies RADAR 24."
9.4 The Triple Tremelo ]
This is found in the De Stijl album artwork. It isn't used much but it can be seen in the David Letterman performance. It has three speakers, and the front one revolves with a peppermint swirl design. Its believed to by assembled from various parts Jack found while Garbage Picking in detroit. The Soledad Brothers' Johnny Walker did all the wiring for it.
SECTION 10 - RESOURCES
10.1 Where can I find more info on the White Stripes? ]
- Always informative and first with any new developments
- all your official merchandise needs
- home of the Little Room the best forum to discuss Stripes related happenings
- A fantastic site focusing on set lists, cover songs and lyrics
- updated very frequently with news, articles and pics
- Entirely devoted to White Stripes guitar tabs
- your one and only place for bootleg cover art
10.2 Where can I buy White Stripes t-shirts and merchandise? ]
For a long time t-shirts were only available by concert merchandise tables - those days seem to be long gone now with the addition to the official web site. Now LP's, stickers, shirts, hand bags and anything else you may need are widely available. Be weary of Ebay…you can probably find the same items straight from the official site for a bit cheaper, and a lot of ebay stuff can be bootleg and made from crappy materials by the same underpaid workers that Kathy Lee gets to make her clothes.
10.3 Where can I find tabs of their songs? ]
Since the removed their tab section you gotta look elsewhere - but there is one great new resource. Check out for all the tabs your little heart desires.
10.4 Where can I find the lyrics? ]
The Official Site has almost all of them. Also check out whitestripes.net's Lyric page. And has a lot of the lyrics for songs that are only played live.
Acknowledgments and Credits:
(in no particular order…so don't bitch if you're not at the top of the list)
The White Stripes: for pumping out some of the best music we've heard in a long time.
Mary Beth: love of my life and supporter in all that i do.
KingSnake: for maintaining whitestripes.net and putting up with me being slack with FAQ and my general antics in the Little Room.
Placid Minds: great site design, everything looks awesome.
Rob at www.gooberandthepeas.com: filling some gaps in the timeline, and keeping the flame alive - which recently went out.
Max: the person I generally attribute with forcing my to look at music a bit differently. I learned not to just settle with any old band…there's always something else better out there. You just gotta go find it. Check out his site at - you wont regret it.
Eddie: For confirming and providing various information…I'm still waiting for the Catalyst world tour man!!!
Evert: for having a bad-ass Go check out his site, it has a lot of good information on some great bands. He also has a fantastic radio show which you can listen to online that is just incredible. Check it out!
Astro: this guy has an insane knowledge on the specifics of the Stripes releases…he basically corrected my mistakes in the singles/albums info.
Steve: The very center of evil-profit-motive in mass-media exploitation. (But is that so wrong?!)
David: partner in crime during work hours. Also another great music aficionado.
Brian Vogel: For loaning me his guitar and "setting the artist free."
Other writers: I realize i probably stole some of you're hard earned work in this. I do this for the fans, that's it. So don't get on my case. Your words might live longer in this FAQ than it will in it's original form.
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