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10 Things We Learned From the Times’ Giant Jack White Story

Jack White

Perhaps not surprisingly for a guy who predicated his former band’s entire existence on the presumption that his ex-wife was actually his sister, Jack White doesn’t give a lot away in conventional interviews. Which is why Josh Eells’ excellent, thorough cross-examination in the current New York Times Magazine is as revelatory as any story on the freewheeling White Stripe/Raconteur/Dead Weather man-turned-label boss and aspiring haberdasher could hope to be. You are encouraged to read the whole thing, of course, but here are some key takeaways:

  • White owns his own masters and keeps them locked in a vault that he gains entry to via a biometric scan of his thumbprint.
  • In case that Willy Wonka analogy wasn’t quite hitting home, Third Man may or may not be a converted candy factory, although really probably not, which also applies to pretty much everything else he claims is true.
  • If you’ve painted your bedroom tan, you may as well kill yourself or something. And Third Man’s black-and-yellow motif dates back to his Detroit upholstery company of the same name.
  • Despite Jack’s well-deserved image as a control freak and his admission that he considered the White Stripes to be “the two of us covering my songs,” Meg, and her genuine ambivalence about all things band-related, really called the shots, right down to the breakup.
  • He digs redheads, but he can’t just dig one redhead, if you follow.
  • Yes, he’s bringing an all-male and an all-female backing band on the road, but just one of them will play each night, and he won’t say which until the last minute. Also Carla Azar of Autolux plays drums for the girls’ team.
  • Nashville needs a good hat store, and he’s on it.
  • The White Stripes would have signed with a Chicago label called Bobsled had it not been for that company’s pesky insistence on disrupting their CD art’s careful red-white-and-black color scheme with a green (green!) logo.
  • His pal Bob Dylan is a welder and could totally fix that gate.
  • If Jack White is ever found dead in a car parked in front of a hardware store, make damn sure there isn’t a KFC across the street, because you have reason to be suspicious.