What Jack White Has That I Don’t
April 25, 2010
“Under Great White Northern Lights” is your average black and white, or overexposed, not too telling tell-all band docu, following The White Stripes on their first Cross-Canada tour. From the Yukon to St John’s NewFoundland, from soft seaters to quirky free shows at the local flour mill, this DVD release is on the surface just as calculated and pre fab as some accuse the Stripes being themselves. Red T shirts, a live show that’s just messy enough for cred, a lead singer adept in making rumours his legend making best tool.
But if you watch a little closer, you may see…well, Jack.
A phenomenal guitar player and supremely skilled all around musician and arranger. No I don’t believe him when he claims, soapbox style in an interview the filmmaker puts on, that their live show is as free and un-mathematical as he claims. But have you watched this show? I mean the music aside from showmanship. It’s fucking loud, flawless and intricate- Drum perfect planned out parts for non-drummer Meg use her flaws as an advantage (and a good foil to his flame), changes in meter and tempo grip and wow you, guitar parts fusing Blind Willie with Jimmy Page stay with you in your dreams- Plainly, this guy is just awesome.
Jack’s talent is impressive BECAUSE it amazingly melds two sides of artistry-
Raw odd shaped inspiring ideas that make him oh so unique- but it is his creative calculations, his master of his instruments, his laboratory approach to mixing potions of sound and performance that make him, well, a star in the same way as, a David Bowie I believe.
Bowie was an extremely calculated artist, which is something many fans aren’t aware of. He was a master of orchestrating his own fame, his talent, his musical legacy. Read up a bit on him, it’s quite the journey.
And White throws in for good measure an excellent grasp of what music came before him, one so apparent in his great and profound writing.
So yes, Jack White may be arrogantly deliberate, but I commend him for 1- having the balls to do it without too much regard for the critic and 2- for having more playing and writing and visionary chops that most musicians out there today.
Jack, I wish I could commit so fully to both sides of artistry, to both Heart and Will. I have tried and keep backing out: is it too hard to study and bear down or too easy to just let go? I dont know. I will however continue my strive, so thanks for being what you are, I needed a rock star I could look up to and grow from.