Results for Jack White

interviews

Jack White

Jack White is one of the most prolific, inventive, and mercurial characters in rock today. This week, Jim and Greg head down to Third Man studios in Nashville for a wide-ranging conversation with the former White Stripe and recent solo artist. White is known for being loose with the truth in interviews (no, Meg White is not his sister), but his talk with Jim and Greg is surprisingly candid and thoughtful. He recalls playing drums with his brothers at age five, being tutored by a neighbor in rock history, and discovering the blues recordings of Son House. There was no expectation, he says, that The White Stripes - a band that took design inspiration from peppermint candies and thwarted notions of“authenticity”by playing the blues like kids - could ever make it in the mainstream. The element of accident and luck in the Stripes' success, he says,“will never be lost on me.”White describes how his first record as a solo artist, Blunderbuss, also came about by accident. When hip-hop artist RZA failed to show for his Third Man recording session, White decided to record with the band that had come in himself. Blunderbuss earned Buy it ratings from both Jim and Greg.

Go to episode 349

Protomartyr

In the 1990's, the musical attitude of Detroit was reshaped by artists like Eminem and Jack White. But now the Motor City's mood has changed even more, and the minimalist post-punk sounds of Protomartyr are at the fore. The four-piece made a big impact on Greg back at this year's SXSW in Austin, TX with an almost contradictory mix of urgency and restraint, courtesy of guitarist Greg Ahee's stripped down playing and vocalist Joe Casey's sometimes callous, sometimes cool vocals. The band is rounded out by bassist Scott Davidson and drummer Alex Leonard and Greg welcomes them into the studio for a conversation and performance of songs off their sophomore album, Under Color of Official Right. In addition to their connection to literary icon Elmore Leonard, the band also tells Greg about how they went from a somewhat nonchalant beginnings, to constructing a tightly arranged and thoroughly purposeful album guided by the philosophy of doing more with less.

Go to episode 470

Dean and Scott Blackwood

One of the most curious stories in the history of American music is documented in a box set called The Rise and Fall of Paramount Records 1917-1927, Volume 1. The set includes 800 songs, 2 books, 6 vinyl LPs, 200 original hand drawn ads of the period, all housed in an oak case modeled after phonograph cases of the 1920's. This collection is produced by Jack White's Third Man Records & John Fahey's Revenant Records, and brothers Scott and Dean Blackwood joined us to talk about the set which documents how a Wisconsin chair company, producing records on the cheap and run by men with little knowledge of the music business, built one of the greatest musical rosters ever assembled under one roof. Paramount had an amazing roster of performers including Louis Armstrong, King Oliver, Jelly Roll Morton, Son House, & Ma Rainey.

Go to episode 422

Jack Wood

A few weeks ago, Greg selected a song for the Desert Island Jukebox called Born to Wander from a songwriter named Jack Wood. Recorded in 1966 in small town Michigan, the song was pressed on just 100 records and largely forgotten. That is until the song appeared in a worldwide TV ad campaign and was repressed by Jack White's Third Man Records. While Greg was able to research the song, less was know about Jack Wood. But Jack himself heard Greg's pick on the show, and he called our Hot Line. Jim and Greg talk with Jack Wood about writing a song that reached the height of popularity 50 years after it was recorded!

Go to episode 568

The Kills

It seems unlikely that a punk singer from Florida and a blues guitarist from England would link up, but lucky for us they did. Alison Mosshart and Jamie Hince formed The Kills over a decade ago, and 4 albums later, they‘ve perfected a mix of gritty, soulful blues with minimalist punk rock elements, all with just two musicians and a drum machine. As Jamie explains, that setup began as a practical, money-saving decision, but it’s one they favor to this day. In more surprising fashion, they're also loyal to their recording studio in Benton Harbor, MI. Jamie says the lack of atmosphere keeps them on track. And Alison, who moonlights with Jack White and The Dead Weather, admits to a fondness for the Meijers social scene. Check out video of the band in the studio.

Go to episode 331

The Alabama Shakes

The Alabama Shakes have only just released one full-length album and its members are only their early 20s, but already they are receiving a staggering amount of praise. Their fans include critics as well as Patterson Hood of the Drive-By Truckers and Jack White. Jim and Greg think they deserve every accolade they get for successfully bringing back and updating that great soul and rock sound of the south in the '60s and '70s. The quartet includes lead singer Brittany Howard, guitarist Heath Fogg, bassist Zac Cockrell, and drummer Steve Johnson, plus touring keyboard player Ben Tanner. And Brittany and Heath explain to our hosts that they have diverse musical tastes, but are certainly very influenced by the Muscle Shoals sound. Another key to loving the Alabama Shakes? Brittany's voice, of which she's too modest.

Go to episode 333

Benjamin Booker

Benjamin Booker has caused a stir in the indie rock world by melding the blues, punk and soul with a signature rasp. Fresh off the heels of his national television debut on Late Night with David Letterman, Booker visits the studio to perform songs from his first major label release on ATO records. He also tells Jim and Greg about transitioning from being a barista at Starbucks to touring with Jack White all in one year. He can also count influential label head Geoff Travis of Rough Trade Records as a fan. Despite all this, Booker's parents are still not quite sold on this whole music thing.

Go to episode 457
specials

Best Albums of 2012…So Far

Determining a year-end“Best of”album list is the highlight of a critic's year. Now that it's June, Jim and Greg get a jump on the winnowing down process with the Best Albums of 2012…So Far. Here are their mid-year best picks:

Go to episode 343
reviews
LazarettoLazaretto available on iTunes

Jack White Lazaretto

Jack White has just released his second solo album, Lazaretto. Jim and Greg both loved the previous solo album Blunderbuss, because it distinguished White's solo work from his other various projects like The White Stripes, The Raconteurs & The Dead Weather. Jim thinks that Lazaretto is very similar to Blunderbuss, and that's a good thing. The hooks are there, the melange of genres; garage rock, blues, gospel are there, and his guitar playing is as good as ever. Jim gives Lazaretto a Buy It rating. Greg thinks the album is very good as well, but wishes there was more of a departure sonically from Blunderbuss. He thinks Jack White has more sounds up his sleeve wishes he showcased them more on Lazaretto. As a result, Greg gives the album a Try It rating.

JimGreg
Go to episode 446
Album ArtHorehound available on iTunes

The Dead Weather Horehound

Another year… another Jack White project. After The White Stripes and The Raconteurs comes The Dead Weather. This time White has a more behind-the-scenes role as drummer and producer. Alison Mosshart of The Kills is the lead vocalist. Jim was let down by the second Raconteurs record, but he was blown away by the knockout, raw garage rock on Horehound. He gives it a Buy It rating. Greg is surprised to hear this. While he likes the sleezy, b-movie sound and vibe, he needs great songs to go with it. Greg looks forward to seeing the group live, but on record it's a Try It.

JimGreg
Go to episode 191
Broken Boy SoldiersBroken Boy Soldiers available on iTunes

The Raconteurs Broken Boy Soldiers

The next album up for review is Broken Boy Soldiers by The Raconteurs. The Raconteurs is a side-project for Jack White of The White Stripes. He is joined by power popster (and fellow Michigan native) Brendan Benson as well as members of garage band The Greenhornes. This marks a bit of a departure for White, who favors a much more minimalist approach with the White Stripes, and Greg is not entirely impressed. He feels that too much of the record is merely a classic rock imitation. Greg suspects that White ceded too much power to Brendan Benson, and wishes that he made more innovative musical choices, as he did on the album he produced for country star Loretta Lynn. Broken Boy Soldiers gets a Burn It from this critic. Jim, however, cannot stop listening to The Raconteurs, and for him that's all that matters. Rock and roll has never been about originality, and according to Jim, every song is catchy and energetic. Jim would Buy It.

JimGreg
Go to episode 25
Sea of CowardsSea of Cowards available on iTunes

The Dead Weather Sea of Cowards

Jack White might be the new hardest-working man in show business. Not only does he front his original band The White Stripes, but he's a member of The Raconteurs and most recently The Dead Weather. That group just released its second album in less than a year called Sea of Cowards. White is joined by Alison Mosshart from The Kills on vocals and Dean Fertita from Queens of the Stone Age. But, as Greg explains, it's White's stamp that's all over this record. He does the songwriting and production. Jim hears a lot of enthusiasm in the music, and it holds together more as a project than the self-titled debut. He compares White to Nick Cave — the music is dangerous and enticing and gets a Buy It rating. Greg can‘t believe Jim would compare White to Cave — he doesn’t think he has nearly the same songwriting chops. And the songwriting is where Sea of Cowards falls off for Greg. He loves the attitude and sound, but thinks the songs are fragments at best. It gets a Try It.

JimGreg
Go to episode 233
Consolers of the LonelyConsolers of the Lonely available on iTunes

The Raconteurs Consolers of the Lonely

Like Gnarls Barkley, The Raconteurs had a successful debut album in 2006. Now, Jack White, Brendan Benson and company are back with a follow-up called Consolers of the Lonely. From the start this project was clearly an opportunity for Jack White to step outside of the boundaries of minimalism that contain the music of The White Stripes. But at the core of all the instrumentation and experimentation of the first Raconteurs record were strong melodies. And for Greg, that's where the second album falls short. In addition to missing the great songs of the White Stripes, he found himself longing for their humor and eroticism. There isn't really anything appealing to Greg on Consolers of the Lonely, and he's not sure why the band rushed it out. Jim, who is an admitted fan of the art rock genre, says there is nothing worse than a bad art rock record — and this is a really bad art rock record. He notes that the band has made a point to encourage listeners to take in the album as a whole, but thinks this is terrible advice. There are only a couple of good tracks on the album, so listening to it as a whole was not an enjoyable experience for Jim. He calls it awful and depressing. Looks like our two hosts need the consoling. They both give the new Raconteurs a Trash It.

JimGreg
Go to episode 122
The Party Ain't OverThe Party Ain't Over available on iTunes

Wanda Jackson The Party Ain't Over

In the '50s, Wanda Jackson was the "First Lady of Rockabilly" and a girlfriend of Elvis Presley. Today she's partnered up with musician and producer Jack White. White previously collaborated with Loretta Lynn, and now he's again aiming to bring one of his idols into the 21st century. Jim explains that Jackson has still got her signature voice, but everything else about The Party Ain't Over does not work. He disagrees with the song selection and holds White to blame. Jim says Trash It. Greg agrees that this record is a disappointment. He wishes White had just let the singer be herself. The modern touches are too forced. But for one track alone, "Blue Yodel #6", Greg says Burn It.

JimGreg
Go to episode 270
A Letter Home (Deluxe Version)A Letter Home available on iTunes

Neil Young A Letter Home

Neil Young is living in the past. Over the last few years, he's released several box sets, a memoir, and a 2012 album called Americana stuffed with vintage folk tunes. Now, on A Letter Home, his 35th album, he's again stepping back in time, revisiting the songs he loved as a teenage folkie in Toronto. For bonus nostalgia points, Young recorded the entire album on the 1947 Voice-O-Graph at Jack White's Third Man studios. Jim points out that the record was literally recorded in phone booth, so it's not an easy listen — but the unrefined sound is somehow fitting for Young (despite the artist's hi-fi evangelism). For Jim, A Letter Home is a fascinating look at the influences of a musical treasure, and he'd gladly Buy It. Greg predicts that some listeners will be turned off by the "sub-lo-fi" quality, but advises them to reconsider, and to take this album for what it is: the scrapbook of a young Young, equal parts warm and spooky. Still, while it's nice to hear that inspiration brought to life, Greg doesn't consider it essential Neil, and only suggests you Try It.

JimGreg
Go to episode 444
Dodge and BurnDodge and Burn available on iTunes

The Dead Weather Dodge and Burn

The Dead Weather formed in 2009 as a supergroup of sorts, sporting a lineup of Jack White, Alison Mosshart of The Kills, Dean Fertita of Queens of the Stone Age, and Jack Lawrence of The Raconteurs. Now the band has returned with its third album, Dodge and Burn. White is taking a literal and figurative back seat here as he remains behind the drum kit, and Greg is grateful for the showcase of Mosshart's excellent vocal talents. He also cites Fertita as the band's secret weapon, using distorted guitars and keyboards to bring an element of pure nastiness to the record. Despite a couple of missteps, including the odd closing piano ballad "Impossible Winner," Dodge and Burn is a Buy It for Greg. Jim concurs – the dirty blues garage rock may be nothing new, but its swampy, southern Gothic flavor is perfect for Halloween season. It's a Buy It for him, too.

JimGreg
Go to episode 516
Icky ThumpIcky Thump available on iTunes

The White Stripes Icky Thump

Jim and Greg spend the last leg of the show discussing the new album from Detroit natives Meg and Jack White. Icky Thump is The White Stripes‘ sixth studio effort in nearly ten years. Jim and Greg trace the duo’s trajectory from their 1999 self-titled debut, to most recently, their 2005 commercial success and sonic departure, Get Behind Me Satan. Icky Thump continues this development, demonstrating how one of the biggest rock acts in the world are truly junk collectors. You hear them flirting with mariachi and flamenco music, referencing Scottish folk songs, and even covering traditional pop singer Patti Page. The album shows exactly how well-listened Jack White truly is. Greg calls Meg White,“terrific,”standing behind the oft-discredited drummer. He doesn't think Icky Thump is a beginning-to-end perfect album, but believes it's the band's best work to date. He gives it a Buy It. Jim goes even further calling this release“a masterpiece.”That gives the White Stripes latest a double Buy It.

JimGreg
Go to episode 82
Album ArtMother available on iTunes

Natalie Maines Mother

In a show dedicated to a country outlaw, how could we not review the new solo album by Dixie Chick Natalie Maines. She's certainly earned a reputation as an opinionated sass. But on Mother, she wants to be taken seriously. Why then, Jim wonders, would she tap Ben Harper to produce? Someone like Jack White could've given her the unique country soul she seeks. As it is, these songs belong as much on Nashville as they do in Nashville. Greg admires covers like Pink Floyd's "Mother," but she's out of her depths with many of the tracks. Ms. Maines gets a double Burn It.

JimGreg
Go to episode 392
BlunderbussBlunderbuss available on iTunes

Jack White Blunderbuss

A blunderbuss is an antique gun that shoots scattershot-the perfect name for an album by Jack White. It's a nod to the old, something The White Stripes front man favors, but also references how wide in scope the album is. On his solo debut, the singer, guitarist, producer and label head incorporated lots of piano and stringed music. Greg is as impressed by this variety as he is by the story the songs tell. Jim doesn't hear as many departures. But he does get another set of extraordinary anthems. So both hosts give Blunderbuss a double Buy It rating…but for different reasons.

JimGreg
Go to episode 335
LemonadeLemonade available on iTunes

Beyoncé Lemonade

Queen Bey is back with her refreshing new visual album, Lemonade. In the vein of her last work, the self-titled Beyoncé, Lemonade was a surprise release. This time, she put out a one-hour visual film of the same name on HBO about enduring infidelity, difficult times and Becky with the good hair. One of the many things Greg enjoys about Lemonade is Beyoncé's ability to become more vulnerable and gritty both in what she's singing about and how she's singing it. He also loves that she's working with unlikely collaborators like Jack White, James Blake and more. Greg thinks this is the best work of her career and gives Lemonade a Buy It. Jim wholeheartedly agrees, calling the album a masterpiece. He encourages listeners to listen beyond the drama of Jay Z & Beyoncé's struggling relationship to the greater picture Bey paints about the mistreatment of black women in America. He loves that she made an artistic record with some serious substance. Jim gives it an enthusiastic Buy It.

JimGreg
Go to episode 544
Unfinished BusinessUnfinished Business available on iTunes

Wanda Jackson Unfinished Business

Wanda Jackson, Queen of Rockabilly since 1954, is out with a new album. Unfinished Business - like last year's The Party Ain't Over - is produced by a young fan. This time, Jim explains, it's Justin Townes Earle, not Jack White, at the helm. Neither Jim nor Greg was a fan of the Caribbean-flavored, White-produced The Party Ain't Over. Does Earle fare better? Greg says yes. You have to remember, he says, that in addition to being rockabilly royalty, Jackson has a background in country and gospel. She sounds perfectly at home covering artists like Freddy King and Etta James. Greg gives Unfinished Business a Buy It. Jim agrees that Earle played it smart by keeping Wanda in her comfort zone and allowing her feistiness to shine through. But he says there are three or four other Jackson albums he'd recommend over this one. He gives Unfinished Business a Burn It.

JimGreg
Go to episode 359
Comedown MachineComedown Machine available on iTunes

The Strokes Comedown Machine

It's been 12 years since The Strokes debuted with Is This It, but they appear to be going back in time rather than forward….to the 1980's to be exact. The new album, Comedown Machine, is packed with references to that era-everything from Flock of Seagulls to Technotronic. The result, according to Greg, is a chilly and overproduced album that sounds more like a Julian Casablancas solo project than that of an actual band. He says Trash It. Jim calls Comedown Machine a“dreadful record,”and wishes The Strokes had been able to parlay their minimalist formula as well as Jack White has. Sad, but true: The Strokes gets a double Trash It.

JimGreg
Go to episode 383
dijs

Greg

“Born to Wander”Jack Wood

Inspiration for a DIJ pick can come from anywhere. Even a TV commercial. Greg recently heard a track used for an ad and it jogged his memory of a song he heard on an old mixtape. Sure enough he found the tape, and the song "Born to Wander" from the singer Jack Wood. In the mid-1960s, Jack Wood recorded two songs in small town Michigan. The songs borrowed sounds from soul, garage-rock and Morricone film scores. Greg says the tracks got a few spins on local radio before the music essentially disappeared. Fast forward to 2015 when Jack White and Third Man Records re-released the single. Greg says it is a great, one off moment in rock history that is worthy of the Desert Island Jukebox.

Go to episode 563
lists

The Best Songs of 2014 - Mixtapes

Before 2014 gets too far back in our rearview mirror, Jim and Greg tackle the timeless art of making a mixtape featuring their favorite songs from 2014. Each host plays a selection of tracks off their mix, but you can stream both in their entirety below.

Go to episode 475
news

Music News

Sad news for a number of rock fans this week. Both The White Stripes and LCD Soundsystem have announced they are closing up shop. James Murphy of LCD Soundsystem suggested he'd be calling it quits (at least under that name) when he was on Sound Opinions last year. But the White Stripes announcement has come as a surprise. Greg is disappointed since Jack White's other side projects as a member of The Dead Weather and The Raconteurs and producer of albums by Wanda Jackson haven't provided him the vehicle he deserves. But, as Jim notes, the adage is true: nothing gives an artist a greater boost than dying or breaking up. Albums by The White Stripes have seen a massive sales surge.

U2's Bono and the Edge have joined forces with veteran theater and film director Julie Taymor to bring Spider-Man to the Broadway stage. The early reviews are in, and they ain't pretty. From The New York Times ("sheer ineptitude") to the Los Angeles Times ("an artistic form of megalomania") to the Chicago Tribune ("incoherent"), the critical pans are far harsher than anything U2 has received on any album. And it wasn't for lack of funds. The $65 million musical production is charging fans up to $300 just for previews. Jim and Greg wonder if Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark will fare any better than Capeman.

Go to episode 272

Music News

Recently Jim and Greg saw a flurry of stories in the“People Will Buy Anything”department. John Lennon's Gretsch 6120 guitar, which he used to record The Beatles' classic "Paperback Writer," was sold to Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay for $530,000. And that's not the only famous guitar up for purchase: Rick Nielsen of Cheap Trick is starting to auction off some pieces from his massive collection of vintage axes. Some of his guitars have reached prices as high as $8,500.

Meanwhile, the secret buyer of Elvis Presley's very first recording has been revealed, and it's none other than Jack White. The Third Man Records honcho paid $300,000 for the 1953 acetate of "My Happiness"/"That's When Your Heartaches Begin" and plans to reissue it on vinyl for Record Store Day.

Those all may sound like worthwhile purchases, if you‘ve got the cash. But the same can’t be said for some other pieces of music memorobilia showing up on the auction block. A plastic bag allegedly full of air from a Kanye West concert reached bids of over $60,000 before eBay shut down the auction. Many copycat listings have followed, including a bag of Ye's flatulence for the bargain price of $5.

Go to episode 486

Music News

The music industry's transition into a digital economy has not been the smoothest. But, in England, artists are banding together to make sure their voices will be heard in this revolution. British musicians including Radiohead, Billy Bragg and Robbie Williams have formed the Featured Artists' Coalition to insure that they can maintain the rights to their music and have more say about distribution in the future. Artists have traditionally been“abused”by big music corporations, and Jim and Greg think the changing landscape of music gives musicians the perfect opportunity to get more rights. Hopefully musicians in the States can follow suit.

Filmgoers are eagerly anticipating the release of the next James Bond film. For now they'll have to settle for the new opening theme recorded by Jack White and Alicia Keys. Traditionally each Bond movie is accompanied by an original song, making it one of the biggest song franchises in history. Some were hits, and others were big misses. Neither Jim nor Greg think that the White/Keys collaboration ranks up there with great Bond tracks like "Goldfinger", "Nobody Does it Better", or "You Only Live Twice". They'd put it in the“misses”category with "The Living Daylights".

Go to episode 150