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Alive [Live]
by Pearl Jam
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White Stripes
March 2002

One of a new breed of back-to-basics rock acts to emerge from Detroit, Michigan, the White Stripes are in the radio.wazee spotlight this week with "Fell In Love With A Girl" off their third CD "White Blood Cells."

The White Stripes are duo Jack White (guitar, vocals) and Meg White (drums). The Whites, variously assumed to be brother and sister or ex-husband and ex-wife, but both denied, formed the band in 1997.

Jack has called the White Stripes’ sound ‘okie rock,’ equally informed by folk, blues, country, ‘60s Britpop and Broadway show tunes. The Whites are fond of dressing in just two colors: red and white, with promotional artwork and CD leaflets to match. Jack once painted his entire upholstery shop–-Third Man Upholstery--in just two colors, as well, but that time it was yellow and black. "Everything was yellow and black, all based off of my hand tools," Jack said. "I painted the entire shop yellow and black, all my cutting tables and sewing machines. Everything." He eventually abandoned the upholstery business – his own push for perfection in the craft became too stressful, he said – but not before he'd formed a two-man rock outfit with his mentor that they called the Upholsterers. Later, with piano and dobro skills under his belt, he signed on to a Detroit country group called 2 Star Tabernacle, who released a single with R&B shouter Andre Williams, songwriter of such classics as "Shake a Tail Feather." Then, one day a few years ago, Meg plopped herself down behind a drum kit in Jack's attic. Though she had next to no experience on the instrument, the two penned the song "Screwdriver" before the day was out, and they decided to keep at it.

The duo released 1997's debut 7-inch single, "Let's Shake Hands," on the Italy Records imprint. After one further single ("Lafayette Blues") for the label, they relocated to the leading independent Sympathy For The Record Industry. Their self-titled long-playing debut garnered immediate praise, and by the time the following year's "De Stijl" came around (named after the Dutch abstract art movement led by Gerrit Rietveld), the media buzz surrounding the White Stripes had reached new heights. Of particular note was the duo's incredible reception in the U.K., where their music was lauded by a wide range of media outlets including the Daily Telegraph, the Sun and even Radio 4's Today program, not normally known for its liberal music policy. The influential John Peel was even quoted as comparing their importance to that of Jimi Hendrix and the Sex Pistols.

The White Stripes will begin a small tour of the United States March 29th in Cleveland, Ohio, going on to play four nights at NYC’s Bowery Ballroom, and wrapping up April 10th in Morgantown, West Virginia.

 



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