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White Stripes are to Jack White what the Yardbirds were to Jimmy Page – True or False?

The White Stripes are often cited as the next, best hope of rock n’ roll. Hardly. It’s what comes next for Jack White after White Stripes that may be the hope for rock.

Jack & Meg White form White Stripes out of one guitarist/singer (Jack) and one drummer (Meg). The music they are able to forge out of such a limited lineup is indeed astounding. In a very short career, they’ve resurrected the great traditions of rock and forced every other band to re-think their music. But when Jack sheds Meg, and puts together a real band with other real musicians…that’s very much worth waiting for.

At a recent show in Cleveland, it was easy to see. Jack White cannot be contained right now. The talent in this man is so vast, he needs the entire stage, numerous instruments and genres of rock, and the entire artistic space to himself in order to experiment with every great musical inspiration which he channels. The Robert Johnson/Jimmy Page/Pete Townshend of his guitar. The David Byrne/Robert Plant/Jim Morrison of his voice. The quick bursts of honky tonk. The raw attitude of Janis Joplin. The endless energy of every rock star rolled into one. There simply isn't room on the stage, literally or metaphorically, for another musician.

Which is where Meg White comes in. Meg White might be the worst drummer in all of rock, but Jack White needs her like an umbilical cord. Perhaps there is no other way that Jack could become what Jack is inevitably going to be if he didn't have some meaningless drone banging away like an 8 year old on a toy drum kit. Meg's entire reason for being seems to be the chemistry the two have developed. She knows when his guitar is going to do this, channel that, she knows his dynamic range and when he's going to go where, and punctuates it perfectly. Even if Stewart Copeland were sitting at the drum kit, he'd have to spend months figuring out where and when Jack's genius needed a supporting slam from the snare or cymbal or bass drum. Meg White knows that. Instinctively.

Someday, Jack White will move on, and Meg White will become like every other mother of genius... utterly indispensable in its birth, but necessarily having to let go so the prodigy can fully actualize into legend. Watching Jack White on stage, blasting around like a caged animal, but regularly, compulsively, hovering back to that drum kit for nourishment, one gets the sense the cord may be cut soon, but that it's gonna be hard for both. Let's hope Jack emerges on the other side and finds real musicians who are his equal, as when Bonham met Page met Plant. And when that first bass line from a real bass player mixes with that first real drummer mixes with that first riff from Jack's guitar, no force in nature will be able to resist it. Then we'll know the real measure of Jack White's art.

White Stripes On The Web

White Stripes.com
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Hear Jack Talk

[ Jack] on working with Michael Gondry:
"It's like working with a six year old but a brilliant one. It's amazing. Cameras and editing equipment are like crayons for him."

On the direction of their career:
"We really never were out to strike it big; success was never one of our main driving forces."