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."
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,