After making the wild Boarding House Reach in 2018, Jack White decided that it was time to relieve himself a bit. So he re-founded the Raconteurs – the band he put together in 2006 shortly before the dissolution of the White Stripes with other Detroit musicians, including co-frontman Brendan Benson. Her first two albums have become fan favorites; their third, Help Us Stranger, is a welcome return to their garage-y-laxity and the mix of White's aggressive vocals with Benson's "sweet-sounding voice," as White, who calls from Nashville, puts it. "He's a real singer," adds White. "I do not do that."
This time, White recorded some of the more sentimental songs and let Benson sing some of the rockers. "What's cool is that it's not competitive," says White. "It's more like trying to inspire each other, leaving their comfort zone again and again." White's experiment worked ̵
It's funny. I was married to children and now I'm not married and everyone else in the band is there. We are 10 years older and have been making music for 25 years. I remember when I had my upholstery shop and played with a band and loved music from time to time, and I and I did everything to just play music, but I thought, "By no means, forget it." It is amazing to think that one day, let alone another decade, you can get away as an artist. It's almost as if you drive fast.
What is your everyday life in Nashville?
Now that touring has begun, you need to maximize your time to home. So I usually spend it with my kids. I try [always] to find different projects that we can do together and that I consider interesting. I have set up a upholstery project that will wait for me when I come home on every trip. And I always have Third Man projects, you know? We now have a press shop in Detroit. We did all the work on the records this year for the Raconteurs – the seven-inch records, the vault subscriptions, and the limited editions for mom and pop shops. Really, there is so much creativity at all times. I could go to Third Men's Art Department every day of the week and spend 18 hours there if I really allow it. We settled in a really nice place where many pistons shoot. It feels really good.
You have just received an honorary doctorate from Wayne State University that you visited before the White Stripes. How was it?
If I had been able to choose a place where a university in the world would be an honor to me, I would have chosen Wayne State. It was an honor. That they even noticed that I existed was quite a compliment. And to have that honor in a building where I once busts tables, you have a lot of perspective.
I could only afford to spend a semester there. I attended film classes and had lunch at the Studentenwerk. The White Stripes were allowed to play in the same room a few years later. I remember that the A / V Club has six microphones in a row, all pointing to our equipment – someone who has never done that before. It bangs in my head all the time. It's just so damn funny. It's so bizarre to assume, "Yeah, that's a great way to mic that stuff, you just put the microphones all lined up and put them on the device." It's just so funny. I was supposed to record this one day and see what happens.
If you listen to the White Stripes for Third Man Vault releases, do you always feel nostalgic?
It's always a catharsis. I was very lucky. If I had been in a scenario where someone had made me play the keyboard and I did not want to, or did not dress in a certain way, I would look back and say, "I'm not really proud of that." I'm not up to this Period. Almost everything we recorded was something we wanted to happen. There are times when we listen to live recordings and say, "Oh my God, we played this song way too fast because we just burned in the middle of the set and pressed it as hard as possible." Sometimes I hear Jimi Hendrix recordings where his live material is so fast and out of tune and it's great because it just does not matter. It's about the attitude.
What advice do you give younger musicians who come to Third Man?
All I know is that I'm not impressed when I hear artists complaining. As an artist you have to work harder than everyone else. It is a responsibility, 24 hours a day. I think about it all day. If you do not already have that in yourself, how it is uncontrollable, I do not know what to say to you.
What new music gives you hope?
All the Rock & Roll albums that come out here year. The beehives, the black keys. , , It's also great that people still appreciate a band that writes songs like Vampire Weekend and Twenty One Pilots. It's just really great songwriting.
It's interesting that you mentioned Twenty One Pilots.
I love what they do. The first time I saw her was on Saturday Night Live . And I thought, "Oh, that's really great, another really cool two-part band that can do something really powerful." I liked what they did to play piano and bass, this guy, the lead singer, and it was And then you have Royal Blood, another really good two-part band that's just plain bad.
How long did it take to make the new Raconteurs album?
No one said, "Hey, we're doing A new album, we go on tour. "We just thought," Let's just meet and we'll work out a song, maybe a few, and see what happens. "And everyone was just so energetic, it was really inspiring Well, we had about 30 songs that we worked hard on, and in the end we had to say, "Look, we have to agree on a dozen songs here because we just keep writing, it's going so well." I know not how long it took until everything fer was over. I can not really say it. Probably weeks at the end of the day. I can not really remember.
One of your best lines is in "Don & # 39; t Bother Me": "You Wrong Punk Jacket Liar".
That's funny. It's almost like turning a noun into a verb or something.
What is this song  with lyrics like "How do you look in the mirror / you are your greatest admirer" ?
It was just all aggression. It was about eradicating aggression and finding a character that could eradicate that for you. Some people are very crass and want to write about themselves. I like to work with characters and sometimes you take something out of your life and then see how it makes sense.
I remember writing a really aggressive song with the White Stripes, how the hell it says. [ Break ] "There is no home for you here." And I was really aggressive, and it was a boy I knew back then in the Detroit scene, and I changed the pronouns to female just to shake me all that depends.
When you do this, you almost want to make sure that you are not constantly thinking about something that happened to you for the rest of your life. And when you look at it through the eyes of another character, it's almost like making a cover song.
How about Greta Van Fleet? They are often criticized for having copied older blues and rock acts as they once were.
There are three Polish brothers from Frankenmuth, Michigan – I thought that was a joke! But it's exciting to see young people playing Rock & Roll, no doubt. This guy has a very cool voice. The more he embraces, the better. People said when I first came out, "It sounds like Robert Plant." If you push on, that shit disappears.
You already mentioned the black keys. Your label's Twitter label recently congratulated on a new single, which was surprising considering its history of tensions. How did you get there?
I respect all Rock & Rollers. I think [the beef] were some lawyers trying to get me out of the picture and pull something out of context. Patrick Carney came by when we recorded this Raconteurs album and lent me a microphone. That was cool of him.
What is it like to have a friendship with him? What are you two talking about?
He comes from a zone from which I, the Greenhornes and many garage rockers come. We like similar plates. We would probably sit here for a while and talk about Captain Beefheart. He is a good guy. I usually watch festivals with the musicians [I]. I really miss going to shows four or five nights a week. I used to do this all the time, and I would still do it if people did not pat me on the back every five seconds. I do not do that much anymore, but I love talking. That's why I put so much emphasis on physical record shops, the mom-and-pop stores. All these conversations must end here. Here all these friendships are closed and here the bond takes place. How many bands were founded in a record shop? They have mutual respect for the same kind of music, and in the end they jam together. What a shame, if these shops would not exist someday.
The biggest song in the US is Lil Nas X's "Old Town Road". What do you make of it?
It's beautiful. The song is just a minute and 47 seconds or so – that was how long was "in love with a girl". People said, "They will not play this on the radio." But it worked and it's great that it happens again.
The raconteurs are to play Woodstock 50. Are you still planning that?
I do not really understand it myself. Someone told me they were not the right size or anything. I did not really understand it. All I know is whenever I hear about such things, all I can think of is, "I'm so glad I'm not a producer for a festival because it sounds like a nightmare." We say, "Wow, I do not want to play a role in organizing this thing, man. My goodness, oh mighty one. "Only the bathrooms alone could be complicated enough.
You know Bob Dylan, who's about to open a new distillery and new venue in Nashville, did he ever say anything to you that was related to you All the time, he was an incredible mentor to me and also a good friend, and I'm fortunate to even have a conversation with him, and everything else was the icing on the cake.
Is there a side that the People do not see?
It's very complicated, many people who go by celebrity, even a small part of it, make experiences that probably no one should ever go through, I went into a room and felt like I was People do not know what to do, I think people like Dylan end up trying to avoid that stuff.
Did you two write a song together?
I can not tell you that I wish I could tell you, but I can not.