Jack White: 50 Geeky Facts You Never Knew


Jack White has just stopped touring for the foreseeable, but how much do you know about him? We’d wager you were unaware that he initially started out as a drummer, landing his first real gig playing drums for alt-country band Goober and the Peas.


He worked on a track called ‘Open Letter’ with Jay Z, which was released as a ‘playable letter’. Before their collaboration, White had dismissed rap music as novelty music “about women, money and cars, where every other word is bleeped out. It’s so meaningless.”


Jack, who released the world’s fastest record last month, has a history of turning around songs quickly. In documentary It Might Get Loud, he was challenged to write and record a song on camera, a task he completed in just under 10 minutes.



In 1990, White began an upholstery apprenticeship, going on own a shop called Third Man Upholstery. He used the moniker ‘The Upholsterers’ to package a demo EP he recorded with one of his co-workers at the time.


When White married model Karen Elson, the pair were officiated in a shamanistic ceremony, with Meg White as Elson’s maid of honour.


Jack is the inspiration for a lesser-known Flaming Lips track ‘Thank You Jack White (for the Fiber-Optic Jesus That You Gave Me)’ from their 2003 EP ‘Fight Test’.


Although White is seldom seen without his classic jet black locks, he is actually a natural brunette.



Jack has two children, Scarlett Theresa and Henry Lee White, who he had with ex-wife Karen Elson. However, he traditionally refuses to share any further information about them with the press.


Jack prides himself on only recording in analog, cutting his tape himself with a razor blade. “It’s sort of like I can’t be proud of it unless I know we overcame some kind of struggle,” he told the New York Post. “The funny thing is, even musicians and producers, my peers, don’t care. Like, ‘Wow, that’s great, Jack.’ Big deal.”


His disdain for the internet doesn’t stop there. In 2010, White told NME that the enemy of the music industry was online gossip, or rather “Your mom, and the internet.”


He was once interviewed by his childhood hero, Buzz Aldrin. The chat was for Interview Magazine and occurred when Jack, asked who his dream interviewer would be, cited the astronaut as a huge inspiration.



Jack never intended for The Dead Weather to become a proper band. “The idea was to do a 7 inch single and be done with it, but we started writing songs and something happened,” he once admitted.


White doesn’t mess around when he hits the studio. The first two White Stripes records both only took 2 weeks to record and The Dead Weather’s ‘Sea of Cowards’ only took three. “It’s a big mistake to spend too long on a record, it spoils the energy of the original performance,” says the man himself.


Jack is often disparaging about the Detroit scene in which The White Stripes were formed. “I think Detroit has a history of blowing it. When a bands about to do something, their tour gets cancelled at the last moment.”


Jack’s love of red and black extends to his choice of cigarette – during his time in the White Stripes, he would only smoke Embassy No 1’s because of their packaging.


Jack made his movie debut in 2003’s Cold Mountain, also starring Nicole Kidman, Jude Law and Renee Zellwegger. Jack didn’t seem too bothered about hob-nobbing with the stars – he was more interested in the 200-year-old skull they let him buy from the set, adding to his collection of taxidermy and animal skeletons.


When Jack broke his finger in a 2003 car crash, he decided to ‘make it up’ to fans disappointed by White Stripes show cancellations by filming the experience of his operation that helped viewers “better understand the complexity of the situation” and included gory close ups of screws being inserted into his finger.


When writing the video treatment for The White Stripes single ‘Black Orchid’, Jack only gave director Floria Sigismondi three words: “Scary, manic and happy.” He refused to provide any further information, allowing Sigismondi to weave her own world of the charred, dark mansion.


Jack penned a song for Coca Cola in 2005 called ‘Love Is The Truth’, stating that he felt the deal was acceptable because it was an original track and he loves the brand


In 2005, Jack produced country legend Loretta Lynn’s comeback album ‘Van Lear Rose’. In 2011, he played a similar role in orchestrating ‘The Party Ain’t Over, a late-career comeback record from Wanda Jackson.


White is a huge Bob Dylan fan, once famously saying that he had “three dads: my biological father, God and Bob Dylan.” Dylan was the first concert he ever attended, and he insists that he was sat in seat 666.


Jack has never performed his Bond theme duet with Alicia Keys ‘Another Way To Die’ live. On the track, Jack can be heard playing drums, bass and guitar, as well as being on production and mixing duties.


Jack owns six Grammy awards for his work with The White Stripes and Loretta Lynn. Although he was nominated for both his solo work and albums with The Raconteurs, he failed to add to his trophy cabinet.


In 2013, Jack donated £130,000 ($200,000) to the National Recording Preservation Foundation in an attempt to rally other industry leaders to part with their cash and “help preserve America’s radio, music and recorded sound heritage”.


Jack is set to stay solo for the foreseeable future, telling NME in 2011 that he will never formally join another band. “Three’s enough for a lifetime,” he said. “If I can’t say it in any of these bands, I’ll have to say it myself.”


Jack’s stage outfits are designed by Brandy St.John, including his now famous ‘Pearly King’ suit he wore during The White Stripes ‘Icky Thump’ era. The outfit required the hand stitching of over 32,000 pearly disks. We’ll allow you to insert your own ‘hardest button to button’ joke here…