February 27, 2013

Jack White's Rolling Stone Interview

Rolling Stone published an absolutely engrossing interview with Jack White, and you should probably stop whatever you're doing and go read the entire thing now. 

It seems that he's struck the perfect balance between art and commerce, and has managed to get himself into a position where he's literally built himself a personal empire that affords him the opportunity to do pretty much anything he can think of...including pressing records for high-school marching bands, re-issuing long out-of-print archival blues records, and owning a three-building complex where he can store all his instruments and have musicians hang out, play live, and watch their music being recorded directly to acetate. It's mind-blowing what a creative genius can do when they have enough money, drive, and a network of amazing friends to help them pull it off. 

Excerpt is below...head to RollingStone.com for the full interview. 

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I loved listening to the reissues. It's fascinating what these guys did with such primitive equipment during tough times. Why did you want to team up with Document and reissue these records?

The first blues records that I bought myself were Document reissues. I was 17 or something. A record collector had died in Detroit, and they had brought their whole collection to this record store called Desirable Discs in Dearborn, Michigan. They had brought them all in, and each one had a number in the corner. There were a lot of interesting records in there – I was buying Roosevelt Sykes and Tommy Johnson and a lot of people I had never heard before. I was able to get maybe 20, 30 records. And when Third Man Records opened, the first thought I had was it would be so nice to put those records out on vinyl again, because they haven't been available in 20 or 30 years now.

I don't remember when the last ones had been done, because Document and Yazoo and all the archival labels stopped pressing vinyl records, so we could definitely do the vinyl part. That format is missing from this whole world. So we talked to Document and, luckily, Gary Atkinson was up for it. So we thought, "I want to present this in a whole new way. Let's make this something that always stays in print." And it has brand-new artwork by Rob Jones, so it's very enticing, because all those blues records just had the most boring, librarian-type artwork, which made it even more disinteresting to people who were just passers-by in that realm.

How did these records hit you compared to the people who reinterpreted the blues later on in the Sixties and Seventies?

Well, you started to see where it was all coming from. It didn't occur to me until even a couple years ago that this is the first moment in history where a single person with a guitar spoke about himself to the entire world. This is a gigantic leap forward in music, and that moment means a lot. I think they didn't even notice they were doing it, those record labels. They were just trying to sell records and record players to people down South, and they didn't realize this moment in history – what a leap forward they were making. That's pretty amazing. The first time something happens, it's usually the best, you know? The very first moment a new invention is created, usually the first stab at it ends up being the best. So this is sort of the first time we're hearing modern music is at this moment, if you trace it back.

Read more: http://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/q-a-jack-white-on-new-dead-weather-and-solo-tracks-radio-city-walkoff-20130226#ixzz2M7WVcZ4o