Rock star says he forgives the student journalists who published his tour requests
Jack White has posted an open letter to journalists on the Third Man website addressing the many stories that have been written about a tour rider that was published in early February ahead of a show at The University Of Oklahoma’s McCasland Field House.
The rider – a list of requests for a venue to supply to a touring artist and their crew – attracted some ridicule. Specific demands included the presence of a guacamole recipe which venues must follow, and the presence of lines such as “This is a NO BANANA TOUR. (Seriously.) We don’t want to see bananas anywhere in the building.”
In the letter, White asserts that he actually asks for nothing on the rider, and that all items are for his band and crew. He also claims that the infamous guacamole recipe is not his, but is his tour manager’s joke, and that the banana ban may be due to a member of the party being allergic to the fruit.
He wrote: “I know I could ask for lots of things but I actually don’t ask for ANYTHING. I take with me what I need, and that ain’t much. Anything on the rider is for the band and the crew. This “guacamole recipe” is my hilarious tour manager’s inside joke with the local promoters, it’s his recipe, not mine. It’s just something to break up the boredom, seeing who can make it best. Though I wouldn’t know because I’ve never had it. I can’t even make Kool Aid let alone cook any real food enough to have a “recipe.” Sorry, I don’t have that talent.”
The rider appeared online before White and his band appeared at the institution, and was leaked by the university newspaper The Oklahoma Daily. In his letter, White said he’s a staunch believer in freedom of speech and free information, but he expressed surprise that the contract was published, saying “…never in my 20 years of playing shows has my contract and tour rider been published in the paper that I recall.”
White had addressed the newspaper during the show, saying “Just because you can type it on your computer doesn’t make it right.” In his letter, however, he said that he forgives the student journalists who published the piece. He wrote: “Am I pissed at the students at Oklahoma university? Absolutely not. Am I disappointed in young journalists at their school paper? Absolutely. But I forgive them, they’re young and have learned their lesson about truth and ethics hopefully. All they have to do is Google this to know that it’s not worth it. Look for real problems instead next time. Look for the truth, not fake drama.”
White concluded by saying, “I know it’s a fun thing for people to try to turn me into a jerk and a diva, but in this case it’s pretty ridiculous and has almost nothing to do with me,” before asking “Can i go back to making music now?”
Sign up for the newsletter
White’s message follows a similar clarification from his management, Monotone Inc., in which they clarified that the rider was not solely for their client’s consumption and explained that the tour crew all need to be fed on the night of the performance. “Contrary to what some believe, Jack doesn’t write the rider nor make demands about his favourite snacks that must be in his dressing room,” a section of the statement reads. “We’re not even sure he likes guacamole but we do know that the folks who work hard to put on the show do enjoy it.”
Read Jack White’s full letter below:
“dear journalists and other people looking for drama or a diva,
even in the age of the short attention span internet article, it’s still hard to believe you are STILL writing about this:
seems like there’s a new rule number one for up and coming journalists: don’t let the facts get in the way of click bait. at the risk of incurring even more of this hoo haa (and i’ve definitely turned my cheek more than once lately) and even though our management sent out a letter to clarify this, and since this seems to be all anyone can ask me about lately, here’s the real deal, and hopefully it’ll explain this nonsensical scenario and we can move on with our lives. (or what have you).
first off, this is none of your business, but i have no specific demands in my dressing room. i know i could ask for lots of things but i actually don’t ask for ANYTHING. i take with me what i need, and that ain’t much. anything on the rider is for the band and the crew. this “guacamole recipe” is my hilarious tour managers inside joke with the local promoters, it’s his recipe, not mine. it’s just something to break up the boredom, seeing who can make it best. though i wouldn’t know because i’ve never had it. i can’t even make kool aid let alone cook any real food enough to have a “recipe.” sorry, i don’t have that talent.
bananas: did it occur to anyone someone on the tour might have an allergy to them? no? hmmm. one day some fantasy journalist out there will call someone in the biz and actually have a rider explained to them, maybe none of them have ever been on tour. oh well, let’s move on, first amendment issues: i fully believe in the freedom of the press (though the supposed search for truth from the press requires microscopes and a some morton salt), and i also defend anyone’s right to free speech (just look at my lack of respect for grammar in this letter and tell me i’m not for communicating freely) and i defend the right to free information in regards to public funds, but never in my 20 years of playing shows has my contract and tour rider been published in the paper that i recall.
do you know why we don’t do that or want that? a hundred articles about bananas, free speech, and guacamole is why; it’s because people don’t understand what a rider is or what the terms of a contract are. they’re out of their element, and you can’t blame them for it. and people who write about that know this. people WANT a rider to be a list of demands that a diva insists occur lest he or she refuse to play a note of music.
but in reality, it’s just some food and drinks backstage for the hundred workers and guests who have to live in a concrete bunker for 15 hours. some people bring their own living rooms on tour, some people ask for a huge spread. who cares? what you’re looking for is someone throwing a tantrum because they didn’t get their brown m and m’s, sorry to disappoint.
someone printed that i’m never going to oklahoma again? not true. i love oklahoma, that’s why i booked this show instead of playing chicago or atlanta for four times as much money. ask around in tulsa. i’ve been there at least three times on these last two albums. i love it there. our booking agent warned the college that other artists might not book shows there? of course they did, it’s bad business what that school paper did and really rude. of course they are going to tell them to wise up.
am i pissed at the students at oklahoma university? absolutely not. am i disappointed in young journalists at their school paper? absolutely. but i forgive them, they’re young and have learned their lesson about truth and ethics hopefully. all they have to do is google this to know that it’s not worth it. look for real problems instead next time. look for the truth, not fake drama. i got pissed during my show and berated the crowd? no. sorry, didn’t happen. i made jokes about the paper publishing that info, so which of us is thin skinned? they have freedom of speech but i don’t? at my show? ok. i guess the rules change for different people. the crowd were amazing and we played for 2 and a half hours that night. people were told to delete photos on their camera? i dont know much about that but it must be a miscommunication about what was public property at the college and the contract we had with the university to let us do our work in peace; but i’ll give you an example, if someone working at a theater we played at started taking pictures of all of our workers and our gear they’d probably get fired by their theater or promoter. sorry to the student paper budding press papparazzi on that one, but is this a tmz assignment or can you give us some peace while we try to put on a show for the students? give us a break man.
i know it’s a fun thing for people to try to turn me into a jerk and a diva, but in this case it’s pretty ridiculous and has almost nothing to do with me. my relationship with the fans at that show and how we got to a new place together through music remains intact and i’d love to do it again with them.
i think that’s everything, can i go back to making music now? no? ok. crochet it is.
Jack White is currently touring his 2014 album ‘Lazaretto’ around America. He recently shared an audio recording of his Madison Square Garden concert in New York, the singer’s first at the venue since he performed there with The White Stripes in 2007. It saw White perform a 23-song set that included work from his two solo records, as well as songs from The White Stripes and The Raconteurs.