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Jack White: 2019

Eric Holland with Jack White (photo by Matt Pollack)

Eric Holland with Jack White (photo by Matt Pollack)

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Early in Jack White's career, when he partnered with Meg White in The White Stripes, it would be reasonable to say that he was a disciple of Leonardo da Vinci, who is credited with the quote, "Art lives from constraints and dies from freedom." White consistently put limitations on the duo, in terms of instruments and recording techniques, and the resulting music remains among the most singular and enduring of the early 21st century.

Recently, White has revised his long-standing policy against using Pro Tools and playing only inexpensive guitars, but when we spoke recently,  he played down the significance of these developments. He characterized the changes as simply to "mess with [his] environment" or "rearrange the furniture" to help push him forward.

The Raconteurs' new album, Help Us Stranger, makes a strong case that White's creative instincts, to say nothing of his chops, remain razor-sharp. Following Broken Boy Soldiers in 2006 and Consolers Of The Lonely in 2008, this third album with Brendan Benson, "Little" Jack Lawrence, and Patrick Keeler was worth the eleven-year wait.

In this chat, we discussed some of the new songs, and that led to fascinating asides about Son House, MC5, and the Stooges among other things. White also confessed to having a fear of New York (and all huge cities), but the Raconteurs' recent appearances here, as well as his mention of an early gig at CBGB, suggest a growing love affair between White and FUV's home town.

[Recorded 6/24/19 at the NoMad Hotel; Producer: Sarah Wardrop]