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Meg White Wasn’t the Only Anxious White Stripe

Jack White / Photo by Getty Images

It’s been five years since the White Stripes ended their final tour early, citing drummer Meg White’s “acute anxiety.” Now, in an admirably candid half-hour video interview with MSN (via NME), Jack White has revealed he felt some inner turmoil of his own during his days with his previous band. According to White, the pressure also led to his other band the Dead Weather’s cover of Van Morrison’s 1965 Them song “You Just Can’t Win.”

Asked about Bob Dylan’s mid-’60s burn-out from the weight placed on his every word, White indicated he knew the feeling. “The judgment that’s thrown on you is just unbearable,” White can be seen saying. “I went through that a few years ago … I just kind of sat in a corner, pondering, and letting it torture me. It’s no fun when you have no alternatives. That can really seriously make you wonder if you even want to be alive, because when you feel that feeling of you just can’t win… I don’t know.”

Those dark days are behind White, though, explained the singer and songwriter, most recently seen in the Hype Williams-directed video extravaganza for solo album Blunderbuss‘ balloon-premiered “Freedom at 21.” “The will to survive makes you break out of it,” White explained. “People, also, their memories are short. They drift away. And you realize that the people who are hating on whatever it was are doing it for ulterior reasons, not for the art itself or the music itself.”

White’s breakthrough moment with his anxiety, he recalled, came when he realized he’d never done anything that he personally would change. “I started to think, ‘You know, I’ve never regretted any music I put out,'” he said. “When I came to that realization, it was just like, ‘I’m fine. As long as I’m not unhappy with myself.'”

The comments came about 16-and-a-half minutes into a wide-ranging interview in which White also discussed the ’80s TV show Hart to Hart, the influence of Son House’s “Grinnin’ in Your Face,” why he doesn’t like to write about himself, the story behind his separate all-male and all-female bands, and, of course, how Blunderbuss came about. In other Stripes-related news, White’s Third Man Records is set to release the band’s first-ever shows from 1997 on 12″ vinyl. White also has a busy touring schedule this summer, including a set at Lollapalooza.