THIS JUST IN...
Jack White gets an 11th reason for being one of top artists with real creative integrity after the recent statement he made on his website after both NME and Rolling Stone used a quote of his about Lady Gaga out of context - a quote that was part of his cover story article for Esquire UK
due out next month.
He had this to say about the pop stars image, “I don’t think she lives it because it’s all artifice. It’s all image with no meaning behind it. You can’t sink your teeth into it. It’s a sound bite. It’s very of this age, because that’s what people want.”
WOW he's actually hit the nail on the head (in my personal opinion).
The two publications, among others repackaged the quote to make it sound as if Jack White was criticising Lady Gaga's music (Something I also find hard to sink my teeth into - once again, my opinion).
This was his response...
I’d like to address the recent tabloidesque drama baiting by the press in regards to Lady Gaga. I never said anything about her music, or questioned the authenticity of her songs in any way. I was in a conversation about the drawbacks of image for the sake of image, and that it is popular nowadays to not question an image in front of you, but only to label it as “cool” or “weird” quickly and dispose of it. I don’t like my comments about lady gaga’s presentation being changed into some sort of negative critique of her music. If you’re going to try to cause drama, at least get the quotes right. I think journalists should also be held accountable for what they say. Especially publications like the NME who put whatever words they feel like between two quotation marks and play it off as a quote. Maybe somebody with more lawyers can take them to task, but i’ll just use the Internet and Twitter instead. I also think that kind of tabloid drama encourages artists to not express their opinions in the press, and instead give polite soundbites that don’t stimulate thought about creativity and the consumption of art in its many guises.
Peace to Lady Gaga and I fully congratulate and compliment her on her championing of gay rights issues and the momentum it’s given to help create change.
I have to say - the man has a point. I hate the way music journalism has skewed into a click-hungry, often times substance-less world, but at the same time, people are less driven to consume any kind of literature these days - online or no - and an embellished headline can often be your only option. In fact, his comment about Lady Gaga being what people 'want' these days: an 'artificial icon' with no depth, could almost trickle down into any level of media consumption. You only have to look at the dwindling amount of real features too see that. It would take the major players like NME & Rolling Stone to change their format for things to really change... and I can imagine their finance officer would not be too pleased about that.
10 Reasons Why Jack White Is THE Most Creative Contemporary Musician
He can play somewhere in the middle of the woods and people will come. Admittedly the performances below were part of the Outside Lands festival Music & Arts festival in San Francisco and the lineup was pretty hectic: Neil Young, Foo Fighters, The Kills, Beck, Metllica etc But how ingenious is it setting up camp in between the sticks and just going for it? Organisers touted Jack’s performance as a “surprise pop-up performance” which seemed doubtful, but apparently if you follow @thirdmanrecords on twitter they post locations to his “B shows” only an hour before they happen. Not enough time for me to jump a plane to get there... or sever off my right arm.
Jack’s a multi-instrumentalist (piano, drums, guitar, bass + more) with three different bands: The Raconteurs (The Saboteurs in Australia - jazz band The Raconteurs already Tm’d that one), The Dead Weather and obviously his solo project Jack White. The White Stripes would have made it four but as you would know, the duo split in 2011 (long after he and Meg split maritally in 2000). Does the man have any downtime?
He’s the founding member of his own record label Third Man Records. Why trust anyone else to control your work when you can do it yourself? Not only that, he has a hand in producing all of the material that’s recorded in the label's HQ in Nashville (also a live music venue he manages), as well as playing on most of them. Did you know Aussie lass Lanie Lane is an affiliate?
As most of you who’ve seen him live know – he has 2 completely different backing bands that accompany him: one all male he calls “The Buzzards” and one all female he calls “The Peacocks” – has anyone ever done that before? Before the tour, he told the Guardian, "I've been working for weeks, driving back and forth to two locations in Nashville, rehearsing with both bands, trying to remember what versions of the songs each one does. And it's very expensive. I mean, I don't know how long I can keep this up, because it's very expensive to keep that many people on the road."
In an effort to curb people constantly filming, tweeting or taking photos with their iphones at gigs (instead of focusing on the live performance) of which he has admitted he is not partial to (read about it here), he employs a photographer to shoot all of his gigs and make the photos available to everyone to download royalty free from his website.
No set lists – can you believe that! Jack White never uses set lists. As he explains to Triple M's Higgo in the interview below, “I want every night to be completely unique”. It’s about feeling the music and connecting with the crowd for him… and isn't that what seeing live music is all about? Sometimes I think we've lost sight of that value - like movies made these days with extreme special effects and no plot - how refreshing it is to hear someone find that notion intrinsically important?
As he explains in Triple M's interview above, Jack has the ability to acknowledge when other creatives working with him know what they’re doing (Hype Williams - he directed "Freedom at 21", Michel Gondry - he's directed 4 White Stripes videos, probably most famous for "The Hardest Button to Button"), enough to relinquish control in respect for their work. For me, that’s a sign of a true creative.
He’s consistently challenging himself in whatever way possible, "…I really don't like to take the easy way out, if I can help it, on anything I do, I like to really make it a challenge. I don't know how to create by taking the easy routes."
He let’s his music speak for itself and "relinquishes all control to it” during the creative process, which in turn doesn’t lend him specifically to any genre… That’s my favourite genre!
And finally... I think this is the best thing I’ve ever read about Jack White (thanks to the Guardian)…
“He began a career as an upholsterer. His company was colour coded – everything from his clothes to his van to his tools had to be either white or yellow or black, "as an aesthetic presentation". He wrote his bills in crayon, and hid poems addressed to other upholsterers inside the furniture he restored: "I thought, we're the only ones to see inside this furniture, we should be talking to each other, like the Egyptian masons might leave a message on the stone they were putting in the pyramid. On one occasion, he and another upholsterer formed a band – called the Upholsterers – pressed 100 copies of a single, and hid them inside furniture they were restoring. "Not one's been found yet," he chuckles. "They were on clear vinyl with transparency covers, so even if you x-rayed the furniture you wouldn't be able to find them. I know where a couple of them might be, but it's very funny in that sense."hid them inside furniture they were restoring. "Not one's been found yet," he chuckles.”
I was lucky enough to see the original of this photo at an Annie Leibovitz retrospective, which featured their cover issue of Rolling Stone. It's still my favourite feature photo of the former duo. Fun Fact: Meg White is now married to Patti Smith's son and guitarist, Jackson.