Tuesday, March 6, 2012

The Jack White Lesson.

Jack White is everything I wished I was that I never will be but hope to someday become even though I probably won't. But maybe. Three nights ago he preformed two new completely different songs, with two different full bands, from his new record  on SNL.  He fucked my shit up!  Jack's whole "thing"  from White Stripes to the Raconteurs, from the Dead Weather to his now looming solo record are works of artistic perfection even in their missteps and *wrong turns. And here's why I believe that. Because everything Jack White does takes place in a world created exclusively by Jack White for Jack White. All of it from his pants to the tubes in his amplifiers are a specific considered choices made by Jack White to further the ideas of Jack White to the people that like and or love Jack White. Or don't for that matter. If you don't like him he's given you lots not to like I suppose. Because Jack White, does not live in our world... but he is happy for us to live in his. At least what he's willing to share with us.

When White created the White Stripes in 1997 with his then wife Meg he had obvious parameters. The band use only the colors red, white, and black, for everything from live shows to artwork.  They were only ever going to be a two piece, drums and guitar. They were going to play straight up classic American blues slightly filtered through Led Zeppelin, the Stones and the Stooges. White specifically chose a red JB Hutto Montgomery Airline guitar which in the hands of a lesser player can be a pretty crappy guitar. In fact his guitar tone at times can be pretty challenging but when you hear it you know its Jack White. Jack and Meg pretended to be brother and sister. They made their own records. They own their own music. Which means in the old days they probably had to finance their own work.  And they started their little peppermint stick band in Detroit city during the height of grunge. BALLS! What an amazing way to undertake any artistic endeavor. For sure when you make choices like that you are immediately ruling some people out. You are saying that this will only be this. Take it or leave it. But you also have the joy of knowing what the fuck it is you are doing. You define yourself. You don't have to look on other people plates to see what they are having. 

Since that time White has expanded his franchise to include many other people in other combinations but all carefully crafted to fit in his particular version of the world. I am forever fascinated by people who live their lives in such seemingly expert detail because the detail says every decision counts, and those decisions are how they prepare themselves to do battle.  Be it the decision to only wear red, white and black or choosing to work with the Tom Jones each choice seems to be specific to a personal ideology. What is your personal ideology? What are your rules? Not just as an artist but as a person. How can you get more specific to better serve your goals? What are the things that don't serve you. When are you going to get rid of them? These are the questions I've been asking myself a lot lately. Ultimately it's once again having the courage of my convictions to do the things I want so badly to do. Jack White plays by his own rules. I think I'm gonna go play by mine. ODTE!

*The Insane Clown Posse single

1 comment:

  1. One of my favorite satirists/writers (second to you, no doubt)talks about "sacred cows," or those things in which we define ourselves and place great personal value (whether they be internal or external.) I think when you find them, you answer a lot of those questions you pose here. Oh, and Greg...your work is one of my sacred cows (not just your books, your stand-up, all of it.) Thanks for chewing the cud.