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Alive [Live]
by Pearl Jam
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White Stripes
Mar 2003

First they rode the wave of back-to-basics rock to the top with their third CD, "White Blood Cells," and now the White Stripes are back and smack dab in the radio.wazee Spotlight with "Seven Nation Army," the first single from their fourth disc, "Elephant."

One half of the duo, Jack White, says the new song grew out of a phrase he used to say as a child. "I used to call the Salvation Army 'Seven Nation Army' because I thought that's what the name was," he says. "So I was working around that and it just became a song about gossip."

The White Stripes are Jack (guitar, vocals) and Meg White (drums). The Whites, reported to be both brother and sister and ex-husband and ex-wife, formed the band in 1997. For those wondering what the truth is, the Detroit Free Press uncovered Meg and Jack’s 1996 marriage certificate (citing real names John Anthony Gillis and Megan Martha White), and both it and their divorce paperwork is posted online by the rock enthusiast web site gloriousnoise.com.

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 to match. A former upholsterer, once Jack painted his entire upholstery shop –Third Man Upholstery – in just two colors, as well, but that time it was yellow and black, based on the color scheme of his hand tools. He eventually abandoned the upholstery business, but not before he'd formed a two-man rock outfit with his mentor that they called the Upholsterers.

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, especially in the U.K. The influential John Peel was even quoted as comparing their importance to that of Jimi Hendrix and the Sex Pistols. The Whites say they named their latest album after an animal representing both of their respective personalities. "Elephants are powerful and majestic, but also subtle and innocent, angry and clumsy," says Jack. "It just seemed like all these different characteristics were either one of us." The album comes out April 1st on V2, a week earlier than previously planned.

Check out radio.wazee's spotlight article on White Stripes from March 2002!




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