Jack White

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Jack White
Jack White performs "Mother Nature's Son" in the East Room as part of a concert honoring Paul McCartney with the Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song, Jun. 2, 2010.
Jack White in 2010.
Background information
Birth name John Anthony Gillis
Born (1975-07-09) July 9, 1975 (age 39)[1]
Detroit, Michigan, U.S.
Genres Rock, alternative rock, garage rock, blues rock, folk rock, blues, punk blues, country
Occupations Musician, singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, producer, actor
Instruments Vocals, guitar, drums, keyboards, mandolin, bass guitar, marimba
Years active 1990–present
Labels Warner Bros., V2, Third Man, Sub Pop, Sympathy for the Record Industry, XL, Italy, Columbia
Associated acts The White Stripes, The Raconteurs, The Dead Weather, The Upholsterers, The Go
Notable instruments
1965 JB Hutto Montgomery Airline
1970s-era Crestwood Astral II
Gretsch Penguin
1950s-era Kay Hollowbody
Custom Gretsch Triple Jet
Custom Gretsch Jupiter Thunderbird
Custom Gretsch Anniversary Jr. "Triple Green Machine"
Ludwig Drums
Fender Highway One Telecaster

Jack White (born John Anthony Gillis; July 9, 1975)[2] is an American singer-songwriter, musician and occasional actor. He is most well-known as the frontman of the band The White Stripes, though he has been in several bands and collaborated with various artists. On April 24, 2012, White released his debut solo album, Blunderbuss, which received wide critical acclaim. His second studio album, Lazaretto, was released on June 10, 2014.

After playing the drums for years and moonlighting in several bands, White founded the White Stripes with fellow Detroit native, Meg White, in 1996. After a 2001 gig in London, they rose to fame in the UK—a fame that soon spread internationally. This recognition provided White opportunities to collaborate with famous artists, including Loretta Lynn and—his idol—Bob Dylan. In 2006, White became a founding member of the rock band the Raconteurs, and in 2009 helped form and played drums for his third commercially successful group, the Dead Weather.[3]

White has enjoyed both critical and popular success. He has won eight Grammy Awards and both of his solo albums have reached number one on the Billboard charts. Rolling Stone ranked him number 70 on its 2010 list of "The 100 Greatest Guitarists Of All Time".[4] In 2011, David Fricke's 2011 list ranked him at #17.[4] He is a vocal advocate for analog technology and recording techniques, and is a board member of the Library of Congress' National Recording Preservation Foundation. His studio (which houses his label, Third Man Records) presses vinyl recordings of his own work, as well as that of other artists and school children that come for tours.[5]

White values his privacy and has been known to create misdirection about his personal life; he is sometimes called "eccentric." He has been married and divorced twice—once from his White Stripe bandmate, Meg White, and later to the model (and mother of his children) Karen Elson. He has a daughter (Scarlett) and son (Henry). After negative experiences with fellow Detroit musicians, he left Detroit in 2006. He currently resides in Nashville, Tennessee.

Early life[edit]

John "Jack" White[6] was born in Detroit, Michigan, the youngest of ten children—and the seventh son—of Teresa (née Bandyk) and Gorman M. Gillis.[7] His mother's family was Polish, while his father had Scottish-Canadian ancestry.[8] He grew up in a Catholic family,[9] and his father and mother worked for the Archdiocese of Detroit as the Building Maintenance Superintendent and secretary in the Cardinal's office, respectively. White eventually became an altar boy, which landed him an uncredited role in the 1987 movie The Rosary Murders, filmed mainly at Holy Redeemer parish in southwest Detroit.[10] He attended Cass Technical High School.[11]

White's early musical influences were inherited from his older brothers and he learned to play the instruments they abandoned.[12][13] He began playing the drums at the age of six from a kit he found in the attic.[13][14] As a child, he was a fan of classical music.,[15] and even in elementary school, he was listening to the Doors, Pink Floyd, and Led Zeppelin.[16] As a teenager "with short hair and braces,"[15] White was already listening to the blues and 1960s rock that would influence him in The White Stripes,[10] with Son House and Blind Willie McTell being among his favorite blues musicians.[17] He has said in many interviews that Son House's "Grinnin' In Your Face" is his favorite song of all time.[12][18]

In 2005 on 60 Minutes, White told Mike Wallace that his life could have turned out differently. "I'd got accepted to a seminary in Wisconsin, and I was gonna become a priest, but at the last second I thought, 'I'll just go to public school.' I had just gotten a new amplifier in my bedroom, and I didn't think I was allowed to take it with me."[19] At 15, White began a three-year upholstery apprenticeship with a family friend, Brian Muldoon. White credits Muldoon with exposing him to punk music and pushing him to play music with Muldoon as a band: "He played drums, well I guess I'll play guitar then."[20] The two recorded an album, Makers of High Grade Suites, as the Upholsterers. White later started a one-man business of his own, Third Man Upholstery.[21] The slogan of his business was "Your Furniture's Not Dead" and the color scheme was yellow and black—including a yellow van, a yellow-and-black uniform, and a yellow clipboard.[21] Although Third Man Upholstery never lacked business, White claims that it was unprofitable, because of his complacency about money and his business practices that were perceived as unprofessional, including making bills out in crayon and writing poetry inside the furniture.[21] Shortly thereafter, White landed his first professional gig, as the drummer for the Detroit band Goober & the Peas.[12] He also played in other local bands and did solo shows.[12]

Recording career[edit]

The White Stripes[edit]

Main article: The White Stripes
At the O2 Wireless Festival in 2007

White formed The White Stripes with his wife at the time, Meg White.[22] Though a bartender by trade, Meg began to learn to play the drums in 1997 and, according to Jack, "When she started to play drums with me, just on a lark, it felt liberating and refreshing."[23] While publicly presenting themselves as siblings,[24][25] the couple became a band, calling themselves The White Stripes.

Keeping to a chromatic theme, Jack and Meg dressed only in red, white, and black,[26][27] and begin their career as part of the Michigan garage rock underground music scene.[26] They played with local bands such as Bantam Rooster, the Dirtbombs, Two Star Tabernacle, Rocket 455, and the Hentchmen, among others.[12] In 1998, the White Stripes were signed to Italy Records, a small and independent Detroit-based garage punk label, by Dave Buick.[28] The band released its self-titled debut album in 1999, and a year later the album was followed up by the cult classic,[29] De Stijl. The album eventually peaked at number 38 in Billboard's Independent Albums chart.

In 2001 the band released White Blood Cells. The album's stripped-down garage rock sound drew critical acclaim in the UK and soon afterward in the US,[according to whom?] making The White Stripes one of the more acclaimed bands of 2002.[30][31] The New York Times said of White, "beneath the arty facade lies one of the most cagey, darkly original rockers to come along since Kurt Cobain."[32] The album was followed up in 2003 by the commercially and critically successful Elephant.[33][34][35][36] Allmusic wrote that the album "sounds even more pissed-off, paranoid and stunning than its predecessor ... darker and more difficult than White Blood Cells. "[37] The album's first single, "Seven Nation Army", was the band's most successful.[according to whom?] The band's fifth album, Get Behind Me Satan, was recorded in White's own home and marked a change in the band's musical direction, with piano-driven melodies and experimentation with marimba and a more rhythm-based guitar playing by White.[citation needed]

The band's sixth album, Icky Thump, was released in 2007 and, unlike their previous lo-fi albums, it was recorded in Nashville at Blackbird Studio.[26] It entered the UK Albums Chart at number one and debuted at number two on the US Billboard 200 chart.[38] The album's sound included more punk, garage and blues influences than its predecessor.[according to whom?] In support of the album, they launched a Canadian tour, in which they played a gig in every one of the country's provinces and territories. However, later that year, the band announced the cancellation of 18 tour dates due to Meg White's acute anxiety problems.[39]

Though White worked with other artists in the meantime, he revealed the band's plan to release a seventh album in the summer of 2009.[40][41] Also, on February 20, 2009—and on the final episode of Late Night with Conan O'Brien—the band made their first live appearance after the cancellation of their tour .[42] A documentary about their earlier Candian tour, titled The White Stripes: Under Great White Northern Lights, debuted later that year at the Toronto International Film Festival.[43] However, on February 2, 2011, the band reported on their official website that they were disbanding. White emphasized that it was not due to health issues or artistic differences, "but mostly to preserve what is beautiful and special about the band."[44]

The Raconteurs[edit]

Main article: The Raconteurs
Brendan Benson and Jack White

White formed The Raconteurs in 2005 along with Brendan Benson, Jack Lawrence and Patrick Keeler. The origin of the band was the song 'Steady, As She Goes' which White wrote along with Benson. This inspired them to create a full band with the addition of Lawrence and Keeler. The band came together in Detroit during 2005 and, for the remainder of the year, recorded when time allowed. The band's debut album Broken Boy Soldiers was recorded at Benson's home in Detroit. The band set out on tour to support the album, including eight dates as the opening act for Bob Dylan. The group's second album, Consolers of the Lonely, and its first single, "Salute Your Solution", were released simultaneously in 2008. The album received a Grammy nomination.

The Dead Weather[edit]

Main article: The Dead Weather
Jack White and Alison Mosshart performing live with the Dead Weather at the Glastonbury Festival, June 26, 2009.

In early 2009, Jack White formed a new group called the Dead Weather with the Kills' frontwoman Alison Mosshart. White takes drum and vocal duties, while the Raconteurs bassist Jack Lawrence and Queens of the Stone Age keyboardist and guitarist Dean Fertita round the four piece out.

The group debuted a handful of new tracks on March 11, 2009 in Nashville from their debut album Horehound, which came out July 13, 2009 in Europe and July 14, 2009 in North America, on White's Third Man Records label. On October 16, 2009, Mosshart confirmed that the second album was "halfway done". The first single "Die by the Drop" was released on March 30, 2010. The new album, Sea of Cowards was released on May 7 in Ireland, then on May 11, 2010, in the U.S. and May 10 in the United Kingdom, and again, on White's Third Man Records.

Solo career[edit]

White's popular and critical success with The White Stripes enabled him to collaborate as a solo artist with other musicians, such as Beck, the Rolling Stones, Jeff Beck,[45] Alicia Keys, Bob Dylan, and Loretta Lynn,[46] whose 2004 album Van Lear Rose he produced and performed on. Rumors began to circulate in 2003 that White had collaborated with Electric Six for their song "Danger! High Voltage."[47] He and the Electric Six both denied this, and the vocal work was credited officially to John S O'Leary.[48] However, in a 2009 radio interview with Tim Shaw on Kerrang! 105.2 in the UK, Electric Six lead singer Dick Valentine talked openly about White singing on the track and speculated he'd been paid $60,000 for doing so.[citation needed] Additionally, a Q magazine article stated that Jack White did in fact work with Electric Six on the song "Gay Bar".[citation needed] In 2008, White collaborated with Alicia Keys on the song "Another Way to Die", the theme song for the James Bond film Quantum of Solace. In November 2010, producer Danger Mouse announced that White— along with Norah Jones—had been recruited for his collaboration with Daniele Luppi entitled Rome.[49] White provided vocals to three songs on the album: "The Rose with the Broken Neck," "Two Against One," and "The World."[50] The song "You Know That I Know" was finished and performed by White, and was featured on The Lost Notebooks of Hank Williams, released on October 4, 2011. In that same year, he produced and played on Wanda Jackson's album Let's Have a Party.[46][51] To her delight, his studio also released the album on a 7-inch vinyl.[51]

On January 30, 2012 White released "Love Interruption" as the first single off his debut, self-produced solo album, Blunderbuss, which was released on April 24, 2012.[52] On March 3, 2012, he appeared on Saturday Night Live as the musical guest, with Lindsay Lohan hosting. In support of the album, he played selected dates in the summer of 2012 at festivals, including the Firefly Music Festival, Radio 1's Hackney Weekend, Sasquatch! Music Festival, Fuji Rock Festival in Japan (one of the biggest festivals in the world), and Rock Werchter in Belgium. Later in the year, he headlined Austin City Limits Music Festival. He was backed at separate dates by two bands. The first, called The Peacocks, is all female and consists of Ruby Amanfu, Carla Azar, Lillie Mae Rische, Maggie Bjorklund, Brooke Waggoner, and alternating bassists Bryn Davies and Catherine Popper. The other, The Buzzards, is all-male and consists of Daru Jones, Dominic Davis, Fats Kaplin, Ikey Owens, and Cory Younts.[53]

On April 1, 2014 Jack White announced his second solo album, Lazaretto; it was released on June 10, 2014 simultaneously with the first single off the album, "High Ball Stepper."[citation needed] The album debuted at number one on the Billboard 200 chart and,[54] in a personal triumph for White,[54] broke the record for the largest sales week for a vinyl album since SoundScan began tracking sales in 1991.[54] During the supporting tour, he performed the longest show of his career on July 30, 2014 at the Detroit Masonic Temple.[55]

White has also had a minor acting career. He appeared in the 2003 film Cold Mountain as a character named Georgia and performed five songs for the Cold Mountain soundtrack: "Sittin' on Top of the World", "Wayfaring Stranger", "Never Far Away", "Christmas Time Soon Will Be Over" and "Great High Mountain." The 2003 Jim Jarmusch film "Coffee and Cigarettes" featured both Jack and Meg in the segment "Jack Shows Meg His Tesla Coil". Many other musicians appear in other segments. In 2009, Jack White was featured in It Might Get Loud, a film in which he, Jimmy Page, and The Edge come together to discuss the electric guitar and each artist's different playing methods. White's first solo single, "Fly Farm Blues," was written and recorded in 10 minutes during the filming of the movie in August. The single went on sale as a 7-inch vinyl record from Third Man Records and as a digital single available through iTunes on August 11.

Musical equipment and sound[edit]

Instruments and equipment[edit]

When playing with The White Stripes, White plays a Montgomery Ward red Airline guitar, a three pickup Airline Town & Country (used on tour with the Raconteurs and in the "Steady As She Goes" music video), a Harmony Rocket, a 1970s-era Crestwood Astral II, 1950s-era Kay Hollowbody (given to him by his brother in return for a favor), a Gretsch White Penguin (as seen in the music video for Icky Thump), and a custom Gretsch Rancher Falcon acoustic guitar. When playing with the Raconteurs, White usually plays two custom Gretsch-styled copies of the Duo Jet double-cutaway guitar, which were made in collaboration with his Seattle luthier, Randy Parsons. His main guitar is dubbed the Triple Jet, which is made of copper and features a Gretsch logo from 1912. For their first tour, White also played Gretsch Anniversary Jr. with a Bigsby vibrato tailpiece and three Filtertron pickups. He also uses a Gretsch Rancher acoustic guitar and he now uses a custom Gretsch Anniversary Jr. with two cutaways, a built-in retractable microphone, and a theremin next to the Bigsby. White has dubbed this one the "Triple Green Machine". Also, he plays occasionally with his Gretsch Rancher, a Gibson J-160E. Also, he plays a Gretsch Duo Jet in Cadillac Green. Recently, he has featured his latest Gretsch, a custom white Billy Gibbons/Bo Diddley signature Gretsch Jupiter Thunderbird in the music video for "Another Way to Die", this guitar is also used on his concerts with the Dead Weather, but he also uses a black left-handed one since Sea of Cowards came out. He has also been known to play Fender Telecasters, featuring one in the music video for Loretta Lynn's "Portland, Oregon."

White uses numerous effects to create his live sound, most notably a DigiTech Whammy WH-4 to create the rapid modulations in pitch he uses in his solos.[56] In concert with an MXR Micro Amp and custom Electro-Harmonix Big Muff Distortion/Sustainer, White can produce a very distinctive sound. In 2005, for the single "Blue Orchid," White employed a new Electro-Harmonix creation, the Polyphonic Octave Generator (POG). Similar to (but more versatile than) the Whammy IV, the POG lets the user mix in several octave effects into one along with the dry signal. All of the pedals that he uses live have been professionally painted red to match his red/black/white color scheme (with the exception of his Whammy and the other pedals that are already red). He plugs this setup into a 1970s Fender Twin Reverb and two 100-Watt Sears Silvertone 1485 6×10 amplifiers.[57] With the Raconteurs, he has many more unusual pedals. And also, for the Raconteurs' 2008 tour, he had all of his pedals copper plated by Analog Man.

White also produces a "fake" bass tone by playing the Kay Hollowbody and JB Hutto Montgomery Airline guitars through a Whammy IV set to one octave down for a very thick, low, rumbling sound, which he uses most notably on the songs "Seven Nation Army" and "The Hardest Button to Button" during live performances.[56][58]

On occasion, White also plays other instruments, such as a Black Gibson F-4 mandolin ("Little Ghost"), piano (on most tracks from Get Behind Me Satan, and various others), and an electric piano on such tracks as "The Air Near My Fingers" and "I'm Finding it Harder to be a Gentleman". White also plays percussion instruments such as the marimba (as on "The Nurse"), drums and tambourine. For the White Stripes' 2007 tour, he played a custom-finish Hammond A-100 organ with a Leslie 3300 speaker, which was subsequently loaned to Bob Dylan, and currently resides at Third Man Studios.[59] On Broken Boy Soldiers, he is credited as playing the album's synths and organ; however, bandmate Brendan Benson also received credit for these instruments and it is unclear who played on which song.

With the Dead Weather, White plays a custom Ludwig Classic Maple kit in Black Oyster Pearl. The sizes consist of the following: 16×26 kick, 5×16 snare (primary) 12×14 marching snare (secondary), 7×16 rack tom 14×16 floor tom, two 16×16 floor toms, Paiste 2002 24" crash, 24" ride and two 16" crashes as hi-hats. For the 2009 Full Flash Blank tour, White used a drum head with the Three Brides of Dracula on the front, but in 2010, White employed a new drum head, upon the release of Sea of Cowards, which has an image of The Third Man himself: Harry Lime attempting to escape certain capture in the sewers of Vienna. During the American leg of the 2010 tour, White switched his drum head again featuring a picture of himself in the guise he wore on the cover of Sea of Cowards. This drum head is called Sam Kay by some fans, referring to the insert inside of the 12" LP.

In 2010, White added an acoustic guitar to his collection named Veronica Lake. It is a custom white Gretsch Rancher with a gold double pickguard and a picture of Veronica Lake on the back. He is currently playing it with his band The Dead Weather. It is the newest addition to "Jack's Girlfriends" which already include Claudette Colbert that he plays In the Raconteurs, and Rita Hayworth that he plays in the White Stripes.

Minimalist style[edit]

"I love analogue because of what it makes you do. Digital recording gives you all this freedom, all these options to change the sounds that you are putting down, and those are for the most part not good choices to have for an artist," and "Mechanics are always going to provide inherent little flaws and tiny little specks and hisses that will add to the idea of something beautiful, something romantic. Perfection, making things perfectly in time and perfectly free of extraneous noise, is not something to aspire to! Why would anyone to aspire to such a thing?"[60]

—Jack White

White has long been a proponent of analog equipment and the associated working methods.[26][46] Beginning in the fifth grade, he and his childhood friend, Dominic Suchyta, would listen to records in White's attic on weekends and began to record cover songs on an old four-track reel to reel tape machine.[12] The White Stripes' first album was largely recorded in the attic of his parents' home.[12]

As their fame grew beyond Detroit, the Stripes became known for their affected innocence and stripped-down playing style. In an early New York Times concert review from 2001, Ann Powers said that, while White's playing was "ingenious," he "created more challenges by playing an acoustic guitar with paper taped over the hole and a less-than-high-quality solid body electric."[25]

In his introduction in the documentary film, It Might Get Loud, White showcases his minimalist style and ingenuity by constructing a rudimentary guitar built out of a plank of wood, three nails, a glass Coke bottle, a guitar string, and a pickup. He ends the demonstration by saying, "Who says you need to buy a guitar?"

Third Man Records[edit]

Main article: Third Man Records

White founded Third Man Records in 2003.[citation needed] However, it was not until he moved to Nashville that White purchased a space to house his label in 2009.[5] He explained, "For the longest time I did not want to have my own studio gear, mostly because with the White Stripes I wanted to have the constriction of going into a studio and having a set time of 10 days or two weeks to finish an album, and using whatever gear they happen to have there. After 10 to 15 years of recording like that I felt that it was finally time for me to have my own place to produce music, and have exactly what I want in there: the exact tape machines, the exact microphones, the exact amplifiers that I like, and so on."[60] Using the slogan “Your Turntable’s Not Dead,"[13] Third Man also presses vinyl records,[61] for the artists on its label, for White's own musical ventures, as well as for third parties for hire. The label released and pressed a 7-inch vinyl of Conan O'Brien's 2010 comedy album "And They Call Me Mad?", which featured an interview of O'Brien by Jack White on its reverse.[62] The White Stripes sold over 300,000 vinyl copies of Icky Thump in England.[61] Of his excitement for vinyl, White explained, "We can't afford to lose the feeling of cracking open a new record and looking at large artwork and having something you can hold in your hands."[61]

His home studio contains two rooms ("I want everyone close, focused, feeling like we're in it together.")[5] with two pieces of equipment: a Neve mixing console,[5] and two Studer A800 2-inch 8-track tape recorders.[citation needed] His solo albums and the material he releases on his Third Man label are recorded at his own studio.[citation needed]

Personal life[edit]

White is protective of his privacy and gives few details of his family life, even going as far as to disseminate false information.[63] He states that he does not consider his personal life relevant to his art, saying "It's the same thing as asking Michelangelo, 'What kind of shoes do you wear?'...In the end, it doesn't really matter ... the only thing that's going to be left is our records and photos."[64]


Drummer Meg White, Jack's former bandmate and ex-wife.

White (then going by his birth name of John Gillis) married Megan Martha White, a Detroit bartender, on September 21, 1996.[65][66][67] In unorthodox fashion, Jack took his wife's surname.[63][68] They officially divorced, however, on March 24, 2000—before their band reached mainstream stardom.[69] In early interviews, they presented themselves as two of ten siblings.[24][70] However, in 2002, the Detroit Free Press produced copies of both a marriage license and divorce certificate for the duo, confirming their history as a married couple.[71] Neither addresses the truth officially, and Jack continues to refer to Meg as his sister in interviews,[13] including in the documentary Under Great White Northern Lights, filmed in 2007.

In 2003, had a brief but highly publicized romantic relationship with actress Renée Zellweger, whom he met during the filming of Cold Mountain. That summer, the couple were in a car accident in which White broke his left index finger and was forced to reschedule much of the summer tour.[72] He posted the footage of his finger surgery on the web for fans.[73] White and Zellweger's breakup became public in December 2004.[74]

White met British model Karen Elson when she appeared in The White Stripes music video for "Blue Orchid". The video's director, Floria Sigismondi, noted "you sensed an energy between them".[75][76] They married on June 1, 2005, in Manaus, Brazil.[76] The wedding took place in a canoe on the Amazon River and was officiated by a shaman. A Roman Catholic priest later convalidated their marriage.[77] Manager Ian Montone was the best man and Meg White was the maid of honor.[77] Official wedding announcements stated that "it was the first marriage" for both.[77] On May 2, 2006, the couple had a daughter, Scarlett Teresa White.[78] Their second child, Henry Lee White, was born on August 7, 2007.[79] The White family resided in Brentwood, Tennessee, a suburb south of Nashville,[80] where Elson managed a vintage clothing store called Venus & Mars.[81][82][83] Elson provided vocals on White's first solo record.[83] However, the couple announced their intention to divorce in June 2011,[citation needed] famously throwing a "a positive swing bang humdinger" party to commemorate the split.[5][63] On July 22, 2013, a Nashville judge barred White from having "any contact with Karen Elson whatsoever except as it relates to parenting time with the parties' minor children."[84] A counter-motion by White's attorney Cathy Speers Johnson was filed on August 2, 2013, stating that "The reason for filing this response is that Mr. White does not want to be portrayed as something he is not, violent toward his wife and children."[85] Their divorce was made final on November 26, 2013.[86] Elson later recanted on the charges, attributing the "aggressive" proceedings to her divorce attorneys, and saying "those who gain of a marriage ending helped to create a downward spiral at my most vulnerable."[5] White agreed, saying "When shitty lawyers are in a situation like divorce, their goal is to villainize."[5] They have since remained on good terms.[63]


On December 13, 2003, White was involved in an altercation with Jason Stollsteimer, lead singer of the Von Bondies, at the Magic Stick, a Detroit club.[5][87] White was charged with misdemeanor aggravated assault. He pleaded guilty to the lesser charge of assault and battery, and was fined $750 (including court costs), and was sentenced to take anger management classes.[5][87]

"I so love your heart that burns
That in your people's body yearns
To perpetuate, and permeate, the lonely dream that does encapsulate,
Your spirit, that God insulates,
With courageous dream's concern"[16]

—Excerpt from "Courageous Dream's Concern," as published in the Detroit Free Press

White has repeatedly referenced conflicts that erupted between him and fellow artists in Detroit's underground music scene after the White Stripes gained international success.[26] In a 2006 interview with the Associate Press, he said that he eventually left Detroit because, "he could not take the negativity anymore."[88] However, in an effort to clarify his feelings towards the city of Detroit itself, he wrote and released a poem called "Courageous Dream's Concern."[88] In it, he expresses his affection for his hometown.[16][88]

During their 2013 divorce proceedings, Elson released an e-mail that White had sent her that, incidentally, included disparaging remarks about The Black Keys.[63][89] When asked about the incident in a 2014 Rolling Stone magazine interview, White stood by the remarks saying, "I'll hear TV commercials where the music's ripping off sounds of mine, to the point I think it's me. Half the time, it's the Black Keys."[5] He later apologized for the comments.[90]


White is often referred to as eccentric.[91][92][93] For instance, he has an attachment to the number three.[26][94] His business ventures frequently feature three in the title and he typically appends "III" to the end of his name (despite not having inherited his name).[63] On November 7, 2005, it was widely reported that White had changed his name to "Three Quid" (quid is British slang for pound sterling). However, most reports indicated that this would only last until the end of the tour.[95][96][97]

He maintains an aesthetic that he says challenges whether people will believe his is "real."[63] He frequently color-codes his endeavors, such as the aforementioned Third Man Upholstery and The White Stripes, as well as Third Man Records, which is completely outfitted in yellow, black, red, and blue (including staff uniforms).[5] As a taxidermy enthusiast—that correlates to his work as an upholsterer—he outfits his studio in preserved animals, including a peacock, giraffe, and Himalayan goat.[63] His entourage is expected to "dress up" in a way that corresponds to his current project, being able to express themselves individually through which hat they choose to wear.[citation needed] Since the beginning, critics alluded to the "riddle" of White's self-awareness against his claims of simplicity.[25][32] Joe Hagan of The New York Times asked in 2001, "Is Mr. White, a 25-year-old former upholsterer from southwest Detroit, concocting this stuff with a wink? Or are the White Stripes simply naïve?"[32]

The Oakland Press called it "eccentric" that during a Detroit concert in July 2014, White yelled "God bless you! Thank you!" and the curtain closed, only for him to return five minutes later and continue performing for another two hours.[98] A self-professed curmudgeon, White concedes, "I'm a very provocative person and very intimidating...I don't blame anyone who doesn't want to be around me – it's expected."[63]


In 2009, White donated almost $170,000 towards the renovation of the baseball diamond in southwest Detroit's Clark Park.[99]

The Detroit Masonic Temple was nearly foreclosed on in 2013 after it was revealed that owners owed $142,000 in back taxes. In June 2013, it was revealed that the entire bill was footed by White. To thank him for the donation, the temple has decided to rename its second largest theater the Jack White Theater.[100][101]

Awards & nominations[edit]

For his various collaborations and solo work, White has won regional, national and international awards, including eight Grammy Awards. nominated for many more. Nashville mayor Karl Dean awarded White the title of "Nashville Music City Ambassador" in 2011.[102]


Current line-up
  • Dominic Davis – bass
  • Daru Jones – drums
  • Fats Kaplin – pedal steel guitar, fiddle, mandolin, theremin
  • Ikey Owens – B3 organ, piano, keyboards
  • Lillie Mae Rische – fiddle, mandolin, background vocals
  • Cory Younts – mandolin, harmonica, piano, keyboards, percussion, background vocals

White previously toured with two, single-gender bands that he alternated at random:

Male backing band
  • Dominic Davis – bass
  • Daru Jones – drums
  • Fats Kaplin – pedal steel guitar, fiddle, mandolin, theremin
  • Ikey Owens – B3 organ, piano, keyboards
  • Cory Younts – mandolin, harmonica, piano, keyboards, percussion, background vocals
Female backing band
  • Ruby Amanfu – vocals
  • Carla Azar – drums
  • Maggie Bjorklund – pedal steel guitar, acoustic guitar
  • Catherine Popper – bass
  • Lillie Mae Rische – fiddle, mandolin, background vocals
  • Brooke Waggoner – piano, B3 organ, keyboards


Solo studio albums[edit]

Title Album details Peak chart positions Certifications
Blunderbuss 1 2 1 1 5 4 2 20 1 1
Lazaretto 1 3 2 1 9 5 2 21 2 4
"—" denotes a release that did not chart.

Solo singles[edit]

Title Year Peak chart positions Album





"Another Way to Die"
(with Alicia Keys)
2008 81 29 10 15 98 4 9 Quantum of Solace soundtrack
"Love Interruption" 2012 106 13 27 70 72 6 11 126 Blunderbuss
"Sixteen Saltines" 12 30 66 93 6 16 171 129
"Freedom at 21" 22 35 77 16 32
"I'm Shakin'" 33 26
"Lazaretto" 2014 108 9 31 16 68 98 10 20 173 116 Lazaretto

Other charted songs[edit]

Title Year Peak chart positions Album





"High Ball Stepper" 2014 107 199 Lazaretto

As producer[edit]

Soundtrack appearances[edit]

Album appearances[edit]



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  118. ^ a b Peak positions for Jack White's singles on Canadian Active rock Chart:
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External links[edit]