Way OT: Is Jack White the coolest?

Submitted by ppToilet on April 7th, 2012 at 11:25 PM

This thread is not about sports, recruiting, Trey Burke, Kate Upton or Brooke Burke (no, honey, I didn't look at either of those threads).

This thread is just a diversion about Jack White. A few months ago, jmblue posted a link to a nice story about how Seven Nation Army came to be played in so many stadiums.

I came across this article tonight from the New York Times which is a very good read and really gives the reader a sense of the man. I thought I was a decent enough fan of the White Stripes but learned a lot more about Jack and Meg White in the process. Here's one tidbit about the breakup of the White Stripes:

"...Having a conversation with Meg, you don’t really get any answers. I’m lucky that girl ever got onstage, so I’ll take what I can get.”

There was always something slightly condescending in the way White talked about Meg, praising her drumming the way you might encourage a promising 5-year-old. He may have had a point — The Onion once ran a headline that read, “Meg White Drum Solo Maintains Steady Beat for 23 Minutes” — but it also seemed somewhat passive-aggressive, especially after she’d been drumming for a decade.

But White insisted he was never controlling — if anything, it was the other way around. “It was more like groveling,” he said. “Even when we were touring 200 days a year, I would have said: Can we do this? Can we do that?” He added: “Meg completely controlled the White Stripes. She’s the most stubborn person I’ve ever met, and you don’t even get to know the reasons.”

If you've got some time to kill and are interested in music or people, I think you will enjoy the article. Oh and if you don't like Jack White, or think he is/isn't the coolest or best guitar player of his generation feel free to sound off.

Maybe later this year Magnus will reprise his "What should I be listening to?" thread, which was a pretty cool interlude during one of those quiet times on the board.


Bando Calrissian

April 7th, 2012 at 11:40 PM ^


Jack hates Detroit so much that he has spent the past several years releasing the music of several Detroit artists/bands that haven't so much as gotten a lick of notice from the rest of the music industry (the Thornbills, Duane the Teenage Weirdo, Black Milk, etc.), with several of the artists surprised he'd even heard of them.  And held the lucrative tri-color record releases for all of them in local Detroit record stores.  He has showcased them, and several others at shows at the TMR venue in Nashville, and has included them in tours and shows nationwide. He isn't doing that for Nashville groups.

Jack hates Detroit so much that when the split-color releases of the first three Stripes records came out last year, one of the three locations picked for the sale was a street corner in Southwest Detroit.  Then he gave the proceeds to a neighborhood Catholic parish's renovation fund.

Jack hates Detroit so much that he went so far as to clarify the comments he made, in frustration, after he moved to Nashville in 2004.  He has consistently said nothing but positive things about his time in Detroit since then, and in many quiet ways has done a lot of good things for the local music scene beyond what you see coming out of TMR.  It was tough for Jack to literally be the heart and soul of the Detroit music scene, for his every move to be hung on by an entire city, and he decided to go do something new.  People do that in life.  And he was unfairly villified for it.  

Jack did so much for this city and its music, and continues to do so, that it's hard to say with a straight face he hates this place.  Because it simply isn't true.  Can't wait for the show at the Masonic on the 24th.

Michigan J. Frog

April 7th, 2012 at 11:58 PM ^

Legitimate question from someone not from Michigan or even the Midwest. What is with people from Michigan (about Detroit)? I hear people all the time make comments like “I believe in Detroit,” and they seem to get legitimately offended when people speak negatively about the city. And this is behavior being exhibited by people from all over Michigan, not confined to the Metro area. I’m not trying to upset anyone, I am genuinely curious because I’ve never seen anything like this in other areas.  

Michigan J. Frog

April 8th, 2012 at 12:10 AM ^

I suppose it’s the notion of it being your city that I don’t understand. That kind of loyalty to a city isn’t something I’ve seen elsewhere (other than by the actual inhabitants of the city). I typically try to avoid speaking negatively about it because I’ve noticed it upsets people. I’m just interested by the dynamic.


April 8th, 2012 at 12:09 AM ^

Just my opinion and take it for what it's worth; people like to rip on Detroit all the time, sometimes justified, but the people that do it are the same people who have never visited Detroit, have never been near it, and have never faced hardship like some Detroit citizens have.

Detroit's an easy target people think, "Oh it's just a city that rioted and screwed itself over" when in fact that is not the case. Detroit has been lead by corrupt politicians for years and with the economic downswing in the automotive industry it only became worse. Many of us from the metro area enjoy downtown and don't think it's similar to Hiroshima (thanks Glenn Beck).  I love living near Detroit, and I'll defend it from people who denigrate the city and its citizens from unfair ridicule. It's still a ways away, but I believe in Detroit.

I understand your question MJF, hopefully this sheds a little light.

Michigan J. Frog

April 8th, 2012 at 12:23 AM ^

“the people that do it are the same people who have never visited Detroit, have never been near it, and have never faced hardship like some Detroit citizens have.”

This makes sense. I can appreciate this, I guess. Thank you for taking my question seriously. It was something I was surprised by when I first came here, and I just wanted to educate myself. For the most part, the in state students I’ve met here are very passionate about the subject, for whatever that’s worth.

Picktown GoBlue

April 8th, 2012 at 1:50 AM ^

but my impression was that they'd claim Green Bay before they'd claim Detroit.  Was my sample size too small?  Or does the long distance tend to make the bond more tenuous?

You bring up an interesting point, though.  It's tough to think of any other state that sticks up for one city like so many Michiganders do for Detroit (even if not all of them do).  It's likely due in some part that Detroit has meaning beyond just the city - Motor City, Motown.  I wonder if New Orleans has a similar position in Louisiana?


April 8th, 2012 at 8:18 AM ^

The affinity to Green Bay is, imo, mostly Packers based but a lot of Yoopers look to Wisconsin generally rather than "down state." What's interesting is the percentage that does look to Detroit. They're more vehement than most Michiganders on the subject, and they generally hold a hatred for Wisconsin (and especially the Packers) that warms my heart.

In my experience, Yoopers will often cite the distance. They grow up taking weekend shopping trips or whatever to Green Bay, Appleton, Milwaukee or even Chicago rather than going to Detroit. They almost always cite distance to explain their Packer fandom, but many of those will also be a non-alumnus fan of UM or be big fans of the Tigers and Red Wings. Lotta traitors round these parts if you ask me.


April 8th, 2012 at 1:02 AM ^

Sports is the glue holding the city together. Without the professional sports teams, Detroit wouldn't be any different than Flint right now. Detroit would still have some cool little places to eat and see. I'm sure Flint does too, but I don't hear people saying "I believe in Flint". Detroit will be back. I agree that it's going to take a while.  

Stike A Pose

April 8th, 2012 at 1:49 AM ^

EXACTLY this.  We get upset and defend our city because the majority of people ripping on it haven't even been to Detroit, or stepped foot in the state of Michigan. 

We know that Detroit isn't the greatest city in the world, and it does have more problems then pretty much every big city in the US, but it definitely doesn't deserve the rep it gets.  St. Louis and Atlanta had higher crime rates last year, yet you don't hear anything bad about those cities.  Philly had the highest murder rate per capita last year, yet you don't hear anything bad about that city. 

People come here and just see a lot of run down buildings and think it's an industrial wasteland.  The city has a ton of heart, and entrepreneurs are starting to migrate to Detroit because they see it's potential.  I honestly think that if/when Detroit gets cleaned up, it would/will be one of the best cities to live in.  The downtown area is gorgeous and has a ton of potential.

I highly reccomend you watch this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=joMysMDHdb4  Johnny Knoxville came to Detroit and did a mini documentary of sorts. 


April 7th, 2012 at 11:38 PM ^

If he is not the coolest, he's definitely in the conversation. One of my friends recently said that John Mayer was a better guitar player than Jack White. I just about wrecked my truck when I heard it. 

Edit - I thought we were talking music. Truly, I do not know his feelings on all things Michigan. I do know that he is an exceptionally talented musician.


April 9th, 2012 at 7:42 AM ^

Mayer maybe the most frustrating musician around today. He has all the talent in the world. Look up some of his performances at the Crossroads guitar festival or his appearances at other people's shows or when he's playing blues. He does some ridiculous things with a guitar...unfortunately his records end up being 'easy rockin romantic pop songs' and it makes him look like a giant vagina. 


April 8th, 2012 at 12:14 AM ^

Jack White also done a TON of complete money grabs. His song with the Insane Clown Posse, for instance.  I can't consider him one of the best because of this crap.  I've got a lot more respect for Jeff Tweedy, Dave Grohl, and Thom Yorke.

Bando Calrissian

April 8th, 2012 at 12:29 AM ^

OK, name another one.

Yeah, the ICP thing was lame, but I think with the TMR Blue Series releases (and especially the Green Series), it's clear Jack likes to have fun with it.  He picks artists he likes, songs and projects he thinks are fun or interesting, and doesn't really seem to adhere to a lot of conventions or rules about it.  I'll admit, I hate ICP, and it's one of the few TMR releases I've flat-out refused to buy.  But I get it.  It fits with the bigger picture.  

The whole vision of TMR is so cool because it has such a wide spectrum of things, and I think that's what makes Jack so unique in the music industry right now.  It's clear he's just having fun with it, hence the whole phenomenon of the Jack-as-Willy-Wonka deal over at TMR.  It's an aesthetic, a line of products, with a complexity and energy behind all of it that just continues to boggle the mind.  You don't release a record full of liquid, or release 1000 flexi-discs on biodegradable balloons, or encase a record inside another record unless you have a certain sense of humor or daring about what you're doing.

And, really, I don't know how much he makes off the non-JW/White Stripes/Dead Weather/Racs releases in the long run.  The bigger-name products, like Stripes reissues, solo singles, etc. are what funds the rest of the madness.


April 8th, 2012 at 12:46 AM ^

What you see as edgy and humorous I see as cheap propoganda.  How is the TMR aesthetic approach any different then ICP lunch boxes and action figures?  To me it's just a way for White to squeeze every nickel out of his fan base while producing as little quality music as possible.  Honestly, I've got way more respect for Ryan Adams then I do Jack White anymore. Sure Adams is boring, but at least he keeps churning out work and putting himself out there.