Jack White: ‘Festivals are a necessary evil’

Guitarist says he doesn't enjoy playing outdoor events as they're 'not exciting'

Jack White has called festivals “a necessary evil” and has admitted that he doesn’t actually enjoy playing them very much.

The guitar virtuoso, who released his debut solo album ‘Blunderbuss’ earlier this year, has said that he doesn’t “get excited about festivals”.

Speaking to BBC News, White said of his views on festival season: “They’re a necessary evil in the business. I don’t get excited about festivals – they’re not my favourite place to play. A lot of people come to them and there’s all these pros to them. You get exposure to people who would never come and see you and the organisers offer bands a lot of money so they can’t say no, but they’re not my first choice to perform music.”


He continued: “Everyone’s drinking and lazing in the sun and walking around and that’s a fun thing for them but it’s not interesting for me. I’m not trying to be negative, it’s just never been too exciting for me.”

White also spoke about his approach to writing lyrics and said that he believes it his job to “try to tap into these different struggles” and he hates the idea that lyrics could be used for artists to “air their dirty laundry”.

Asked about his approach to writing lyrics, White said: “I think anyone who would sell their personal life out there, and have people listen to them whine about it is kind of ridiculous. When you’re a songwriter it’s your job to try to tap into these different struggles and put them out there for people to relate to, not for you to air your dirty laundry, especially in the tabloid culture that exists today. I have absolutely no interest in that.”

The guitarist also spoke about the writing of his classic 2003 track ‘Seven Nation Army’ and revealed that his then bandmate Meg White only thought the track was “OK” and his record label didn’t event want to put it out as a single.

Speaking about ‘Seven Nation Army’, he said: “I played the riff for the song for Ben Swank who works at Third Man. He said ‘It’s OK’ and Meg didn’t think anything of it either. I thought it was interesting. Even when we recorded it, nobody thought it was that good.”

He continued: “Even when the album was done, our record label didn’t want to release it as a single! But it shows you if you don’t pay attention to those things, you’ll miss a lot of them.”


Jack White will tour the UK and Ireland later this year. The run of seven dates now begins at Dublin’s O2 Arena on October 31 and runs until November 8 when White headlines Edinburgh’s Usher Hall.

The tour also includes shows in Birmingham, Bridlington and Blackpool’s Empress Ballroom, the venue where The White Stripes recorded their first live DVD ‘Under Blackpool Lights’.

Jack White will play:

O2 Arena Dublin (October 31)
London Alexandra Palace (November 2, 3)
Bridlington Spa (4)
Blackpool Empress Ballroom (6)
O2 Academy Birmingham (7)
Edinburgh Usher Hall (8)

To check the availability of Jack White tickets and get all the latest listings, go to NME.COM/TICKETS now, or call 0871 230 1094.