Are you a fan of The White Stripes? The Raconteurs? The Dead Weather? Third Man Records? We’ve got it all covered in the brand new special issue of NME, dedicated entirely to Jack White. In honour of this special issue, we’re taking a small look back on his musical career.
Before becoming a 21st century musical icon, Jack White (who grew up in a Catholic family) was an altar boy. During that time, he appeared in an uncredited role in the 1987 movie ‘The Rosary Murders’, which was filmed in his hometown of Detroit.
If he hadn’t fallen for music, Jack White might have been a priest today. In 2005, he told Mike Wallace of 60 Minutes: “I’d got accepted to a seminary in Wisconsin, and I was gonna become a priest, but at the last second I thought, ‘I’ll just go to public school… I had just gotten a new amplifier in my bedroom, and I didn’t think I was allowed to take it with me.”
But before he dedicated his life to music, Jack White spent three years as an upholstery apprentice for a family friend, Brian Muldoon. To this day, White credits Muldoon with showing him the world of punk music. Muldoon also encouraged him to play his own music. The two of them recorded an album together as The Upholsterers, with Muldoon on drums and Jack White on guitar.
White later started his own business, calling it Third Man Upholstery (we’re seeing a trend here – he later named his record label Third Man Records). However, it didn’t last very long, as he didn’t take it too seriously. Apparently he wrote bills out with crayons and wrote poetry inside the furniture.
Soon after that, Jack White arranged his very first professional gig, playing drums for Goober And The Peas. At least his choice of band names has improved since then.
On 21 September, 1996, Jack Gillis married a local bartender, Meg White, taking on her surname. Meg started playing drums a year later. Jack has said that when the two of them began playing music together, it was both “liberating and refreshing”. The two eventually formed The White Stripes, making their first public appearance on 14 July, 1997 at Detroit’s Gold Dollar.
Here’s an unusual record The White Stripes set. In July 2007, they performed the shortest gig ever in St John’s, Newfoundland, only playing one note. They did, however, play a full-length show later that evening.
In 2005, Jack White formed The Raconteurs. Despite the band being called a supergroup, the members insisted they weren’t. Instead, they said they were “a new band made up of old friends.”
In addition to being a sports fan (Jack’s a huge supporter of the Detroit Lions and the Detroit Tigers), the musician also apparently enjoys fishing in his spare time.
Jack was romantically linked with actress Renée Zellweger (they met during the filming of ‘Cold Mountain’) before he married model Karen Elson. He and Elson were wed in June 2005, while on a canoe on the Amazon River.
In 2006, the Sunday Times Rich List revealed that White and Elson had a joint fortune of at least £20 million, ranking them in seventh place (under age 30 in the UK).
Aside from working with his bands, Jack White has collaborated musically with the likes of Jay-Z, Bob Dylan, Beck, Mark Ronson, Dangermouse and The Edge.
To find out more about the musical legend Jack White, purchase a copy of the special edition issue of NME, dedicated entirely to his musical career. It’s a must-have for any Jack White fan.