Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 20 April 2014

Jack White shocked by success

Jack White

Jack White was astounded when The White Stripes became popular as he never thought it would happen.

The musician formed the band with his now ex-wife Meg White in 1997 but they didn't hit the big time until 2002. They had already recorded several albums before releasing 2001's White Blood Cells, which included the single Fell in Love with a Girl.

Jack is inspired by blues music and had begun to think no one would be interested in The White Stripes when they finally made it big.

"It was always shocking that people started caring after three albums," he told British newspaper The Guardian. "'What, now people are getting it?!' We'd assumed it was a style of music that nobody would be into and had resigned ourselves to always playing to 50 people. It was good for us, because we'd made up our minds to never care about that, and that's when success happened. It was sorta weird like that, but I think if we'd have watered it down it wouldn't have worked."

Jack believes part of the problem was that the music the band made was so different to what else was around at the time. Its message was also far removed from other music on offer.

"There are a lot of people around you who can be negative, and not understand what you're trying to accomplish," he explained. "Especially in folk and blues. It's not a popular art form, or easy money. You don't determine whether you want to work with someone based on what they can do for you or how much they can namedrop. It's on how much you can tell that they love what they're involved with."

His love of blues and other classic sounds is the reason Jack has set up his record label Third Man Records. He uses it to promote artists who aren't well known, which he hopes will open young musicians' eyes to new things.

"It's important to go back and cleanse your palate," he said. "If you like punk rock now, there were people who did this with way more things against them than a suburban kid who goes to a guitar shop or someone buys him one and he starts singing punk songs. There's beauty in that, too, but to be black and Southern in 1920 and have no rights… that exemplifies struggle."

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