Saturday, July 09, 2011

Happy Birthday to Jack White

Jack White (John Anthony Gillis) was born July 9, 1975. Often credited as Jack White III, he is an American musician, record producer, and occasional actor. He is best known as being the guitarist, pianist, and lead vocalist of The White Stripes. White began playing an instrument, a drum, at the age of six, and grew up in a lower middle-class neighborhood in southwest Detroit. As a teenager, he was already listening to the blues and 1960s rock that would influence him in The White Stripes, Son House and Blind Willie McTell being among his favorite blues musicians.

To be honest, The White Stripes weren't on my radar at all when their first album came out in 1999. Several years later, a good friend had enthusiastically recommended that I give the band a listen and gave me a few albums to hear. I wasn't expecting much. I was bored with most of the music being fed to the masses at the time, barely paying attention to any of it.

If you haven't already guessed from reading my previous blog posts, or my Twitter feed, my true loves are blues and rock from the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s. It was, for a long time, unusual for me to get excited about an unknown artist or group. Everything new that I did manage to hear seemed over-produced and had no raw edges; it was dead. So, I had nearly lost all faith that any artist under the age of 40 would produce an authentic rock sound I could love.

Jack White (with Meg, at the time) returned my faith. Rock wasn't dead after all. I began seeking and finding again, beneath and outside of the mainstream. I realized that there was, and is, a vibrant, younger generation that gets it. I owe that realization entirely to Jack White. (And, of course, to that very good friend who turned me on to the music. You know who you are!)

There is much more to Jack than The White Stripes, but White's popular and critical success with the band enabled him to collaborate as a solo artist with other renowned musicians, such as Beck, The Rolling Stones, Jeff Beck, Alicia Keys, Bob Dylan, Electric Six, and Loretta Lynn, whose 2004 album Van Lear Rose he produced and performed on. In 2005, White became a founding member of the rock band The Raconteurs. In 2009, he became a founding member and drummer of his third commercially successful group, The Dead Weather.

Also in 2009, Jack was featured in It Might Get Loud, a film in which he, Jimmy Page, and The Edge come together to discuss the electric guitar and each artist's different playing methods. White's first solo single, "Fly Farm Blues", was written and recorded in 10 minutes during the filming of the movie, in August of that year.

(This is far from being a complete list of Jack's accomplishments and projects. My intent is to share with you some of the highlights that stand out for me.)

According to Joe Chiccarelli, engineer for Icky Thump, White is not very technical when it comes to capturing his sound on record: "Usually he wouldn’t talk in terms of compression or EQ or any of those things, it was always about what can we do to give something more aggression or hit you in the face more. Jack’s brilliance is his understanding of great emotional performances, and of what it takes to make something come alive through the speakers and have an impact."

Happy 36th birthday to Jack White, this generation's torch carrier of rock and roll and a massive Bit of Groovy!

For further information on Jack White: (independent record label founded by Jack White)

Search for Jack White

Information Source: Wikipedia
All opinions are my own.

No comments: