Jack White never intended to make a solo album. However, after Wu-Tang Clan abbot The RZA was forced to cancel a session he had scheduled at Third Man to record a 45 as part of the label’s acclaimed Blue Series, White decided to keep the musicians he hired on the clock to lay down something for himself.
Please welcome HT reader Max Eddy to break down the career of The White Stripes, a band who recently announced their break up…
On February 2nd, Groundhog’s Day, The White Stripes announced that they would no longer be recording. The surprisingly straightforward message posted on the band’s website explicitly ruled out “artistic differences” and “illness,” saying rather that the band wanted to keep the music as it was. In their final message, the blues-rock duo comprised of faux-brother and sister Jack and Meg White implored their fans not to be sad, saying that the music “belonged to you now and you can do with it whatever you want.”
Though no one has died and Jack will surely continue recording with any of his side projects like The Dead Weather, the White Stripes are dead.
The band hardly burst upon the scene with their debut self-titled release in 1999. Jack was already a veteran of the burgeoning Detroit garage-rock scene, though he’d seen mixed success up to that point. It’s easy to assume that he formed the two-piece duo simply to play the music he wanted without having to worry about anyone else. He took the lead with vocals and a hammering guitar line, with Meg backing him up on drums.
Over the next two albums, De Stijl (2000) and White Blood Cells (2001), the White Stripes perfected their sound and the image that helped to define their image as much as any album did. Always with an eye for artistry, Jack gave the band a red and white color scheme which was splashed over their albums and stage presence. Growing in their popularity as well as their musicianship, the band produced some of the best music of the then-young millennium and gathered a cult following.
READ ON for more of Max’s White Stripes Retrospective…