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Highlights From Jack White’s Awkward Chat With Astronaut Buzz Aldrin

It took the second man on the moon to get the Third Man to open up about space

Stephen Colbert isn’t the only non-musician interrogator who can get Jack White out of his comfort zone. Recently Interview magazine facilitated a conversation between the chart-topping Blunderbusser and one of his idols, second-man-on-the-moon Buzz Aldrin. The exchange that ensued between the two recently divorced celebrities harbored its fair share of awkwardness, brought about mainly by Aldrin having little to no interest in music beyond the Karen Carpenter era (he is, however, very interested in “gorgeous gals”). But it was also enlightening in unexpected ways. Here are five things we learned about White that probably couldn’t’ve been learned any other way.

Jack White’s preoccupation with Carl Sagan is far from over.
White seems determined to match his interviewer’s interest in outer space throughout the conversation and references Sagan, whose voice is sampled (along with Stephen Hawking’s) on a Cosmos-themed seven-inch Third Man Records released back in 2009. He also shares a “secret” project the label is attempting, “where we want to have the first vinyl record played in outer space. We want to launch a balloon that carries a vinyl record player, and possibly that Carl Sagan record, and figure out a way to drop the needle with all that turbulence up there and ensure that it will still play.”

White’s got a bone to pick with the Guinness Book of World Records.
When Aldrin brings up the one-note 2007 show the White Stripes played in Canada, it becomes clear that White is still surprisingly sore about the Guinness Book of World Records not accepting the performance into its ranks. “The Guinness book is a very elitist organization,” he says. “There’s nothing scientific about what they do. They just have an office full of people who decide what is a record and what isn’t. I mean, there is some stuff like Olympic records where they have a committee. But most of the records in there — who has the biggest collection of salt-and-pepper shakers or whatever — are just whatever they want them to be. So with something like the shortest concert of all time, they didn’t think whatever we did was interesting enough to make it a record. I don’t know why they get to decide that.”

Don’t call the Dead Weather, or the Raconteurs, or any other group project White does a “collaboration.” Except his work with Danger Mouse. That was a collaboration.
Turns out, the word is an icky one for him. “It makes me think of some silly compilation tribute album for sale at a bookstore. When I produce someone’s recordings, that’s all it is: I’m producing… Sometimes I turn down working with people I’ve loved since childhood because I can’t find my place in the production.”

He still asks himself why the White Stripes had to die.
Though he does repeat the “I wouldn’t feel right going solo with the band still alive” answer.

He was No. 17 on Rolling Stone’s 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time, but jokingly “thought for sure he was going to be No. 15.”
Errr, we’re gonna just hope he hasn’t seen where he fell on ours yet.

He isn’t opposed to breaking and entering if there’s a nice car at stake.
When Aldrin admits his red Mercedes is “in the condominium that [his] ex-wife is in now,” White offers: “If you want me to help you sneak in there and repossess it, I’d be in for that.” But only because it fits into one of his color schemes, we have to bet.

White is more obsessed with the moon than we thought.
Buzz Aldrin admits he’d never even heard of Jack White before Interview called him about chatting with the musician. (He will have you know, however, that he knows a whole bunch of other people almost named Jack White, which is almost as good, right?) But White himself certainly knows all about Aldrin and the 1969 moon landing, asking (quite unscientific) questions about the mission and the moon’s surface (“What did the moon feel like to you? Did it feel like it was alive?”) and confessing that one of the songs on Blunderbuss is about the moon. We still aren’t sure which one that moon song actually is, so if you have an idea, let us know!